Yeah, it looks like I have a yoga butt! A what?? Is that a well-trained butt? Yes and no… over-trained, over-stretched, over-done and now it hurts. How is that possible? I was asking the same question. I trained a lot before, High Intensity Classes, Yoga, Body Balance. Nothing wrong with that. Now I am training every day, and teaching 7 classes a week. Still nothing wrong with that, I think. But I have probably done too much, too intense and not enough recovery and I already had a hamstring injury… What does it mean for now? Less forward folds, more glute-strengthening exercises instead of stretching and lengthening. It will take time, but it will be ok. I have to back off, because I will start teaching in Sri Lanka after I am finished in Laos, 3 days break only.
What asanas can I do? Inversions 😉, arm balances and even postures in which I use my glutes and hamstrings, but with modifications (this is also good for me, a different point of view of teaching the asanas). And more abs-training, but that’s for the students whehehe. And, a massage, which I had Monday, 90 minutes Lao-massage with some Lao Tigerbalm. A Lao-massage looks like a Thai massage, but less strong. I like it (well, when she is squeezing and bending me maybe a little less 😉).
Besides of my yoga butt, I still enjoy my stay in Vang Vieng. I discovered that I don’t want to go out to a restaurant for having (the same) dinner (mostly white rice and something, noodles, padthai), so I have a new addiction: sandwiches (take away or eat now is the standard question). The baguettes here are lovely and we have found our ‘Sandwich Street’. And they have avocado! Something we don’t get in the hotel, so that’s why it’s lovely to eat it now and then. A very warm welcome to the common things. Mango-sticky rice and sometimes a piece of the vegan hazelnut-chocolate pie are very good substitutes for dinner as well!
I am here for about 6 weeks and everyday I explore something new. You know, toddlers or very young kids always see each day as a new one, everything for the first time. It looks like I am doing that as wel.l.. not always though. I realise how special everything is. That we should be grateful for every little thing. For all what Mother Nature gives to us, without any expectations to get something in return (except for destroying her…). Every day we have a beautiful sunrise, after a freaking cold night. 9 degrees, no heater, sometimes windows can’t be closed properly… but hey, I can feel the sensation of the cold wind, I become aware of it, I just put on extra clothes to protect myself from the cold. It brings people literarily closer to each other 😊.
People in Laos are amazing and they keep on surprising me. Sometimes they are so friendly, sometimes so lazy, and I think they are the worst salesmen I have ever seen. Every evening at 5pm the Night Market starts, clothes, gadgets, food, bags and so on. In my first week I looked into some shops and the men or mainly women didn’t pay any attention to me… watching something on their phone was more important. Once, I even got the look: don’t bother me, I am watching the last episode of my favourite series, you can come back tomorrow. Sounds crazy tho? They don’t want to sell things! And it’s their job, to make money, to feed their kids (who are always there, bunches of babies and toddlers, so cute btw 😊 ). Now, because it is more crowded, they are more pro-active in trying to sell their stuff, especially to Korean and Chinese people. I will buy a Laos-shirt later on, because it has my favourite flower on it (Frangipangi/Cempaka). And being a little bit of a tourist is good for the economy, isn’t it 😉.
We have a X-mas tree in our hotel! I think I will set up a X-mas class, X-mas Vrkasana (tree-pose), Reindeer pose in Virabadrasana 2 (Warrior 2). Deer pose in Yin becomes Reindeer pose, table top will be a side table which is needed for all the presents, and with Kapalabathi (breating exercise) we imagine the big belly of Santa Claus, expanding on the inhale and flatten on the exhale. Maybe we can even imitate the sounds of reindeers in some other breathing exercises 😉. Mmm.. all mentioned poses are good for strengthening the glutes as well 😊.
Ok… enough about yoga. What have I done so far, when I was not teaching? I hiked with Raul to Tham Poukham Cave and Viewpoint Nam Xay, we did kayaking and I visited him in Vientiane (capital of Laos) before he went off to Thailand. I hiked to the 2 viewpoints of Pha Ngern. My gosh, my legs ached a lot after each hike!! I did something for the website, created a new monthly schedule and together with the other teachers spread them out though Vang Vieng. I lay at the pool, had a little swim, read a book, listened to my listening books on my phone, went to the temples, just walked around in the nature, did a small hike with Fara (a volunteer from Spain, really good company), had 2 Lao-massages, prepared new classes and practiced them, I had some chit-chat with the staff here (most of them are really nice). I am always a bit crazy, the cleaning ladies work their ass off, they are always smiling! I once took over the mob and started to sing: I want to break free, I want to break free (for the youngsters: this is a famous song of Queen). They were all laughing at me. And another time, when they lay the tables for breakfast I grabbed a white table cloth, put it over my head and pretended I was a ghost. It resulted in a blue and a white ghost in the breakfast hall 😉. And two completely ruined table clothes, wrinkled all over 😉. But we had fun. And who cares, in the morning, all the guests are sleepy anyway. Oh, and the lady who is making the eggs and pancakes always looks so… serious, almost grumpy. But now, after 6 weeks, she is smiling when I come in. Once, I was the only one having breakfast (9.30am); I was in a singing mood, so I started to sing: you are the dancing queen (Abba 😉) including a dance. The staff thought one split second: she is really nuts, but then, suddenly, everyone smiled and looked happier (I know I can’t sing, but anyway, when I feel like it, I sing, no glass to break in here anyway 😉). Maybe I can start to set up a flash mob 😉! Sometimes I just do nothing, just sit and stare to the mountains, the hot air balloons, listen to the noise of the longtail boats and the karaoke-singing Koreans in their kayak. And I smile. Because it is lovely to see all of this.
Watching sunset during the outdoor class, sometimes watching sunrise during my outdoor practice. Watching people working hard for a bit money and thinking: my life is really good! Of course, I have struggles and some issues, but ain’t that just the way we learn? Really, if you have never been to Laos, I can highly recommend it (as a vegan it is harder to travel, but you will find your way, however also the bottom of your purse will appear quicker 😉). Ok, 2 months in Vang Vieng will be boring if you’re not working, but Laos is a large country, with beautiful nature everywhere and not yet many tourists. The visa on arrival costs $35 (European passports), available at all international airports. I thought Indonesia was my #1 country but Laos has beaten it! What I also noticed: Lao men are quite handsome and Lao kids and babies are really adorable. I am already thinking of adopting a baby 😉. For the party poopers: Free whiskey is available in many places, you can start your whisky tour at 5pm up to 10pm, in different hostels and bars. Alcohol is normal, abuse of the boose as well (people drown doing tubing…). And mushroom pizzas, weed, hash, all available. And for the Voices of Laos – Karaoke bars!
I think this post is long enough to get you through the long winter nights in Europe 😊. If you have any comments, you can post them. Or send me an email, What’s app message. I can’t promise I will reply soon, but I will read it anyway. For the ones who are really curious, check http://yogainvangvieng.com/ (and you will find me there in some pictures 😊).