Thursday, June 14, 2012


I decided to try out the 10 days for 10 euros deal that the bikram yoga studio next to the Goethe Institut has. I got up nice and early so I could give my breakfast time to settle down, put on some nonrestrictive clothes, and headed on over for the 9:30 class. The changing/show/coat room I was directed to had a man in it. I quickly closed the door and looked for somewhere else to put my stuff. In the next room, two women were changing. Apparently that includes changing underwear. I decided to wait a bit before going in.

After safely packing away my bag and jacket, I went up the stairs to the yoga room itself. Now, until today I didn't actually know what bikram yoga was. Thus, I was rather unpleasantly surprised by the blast of hot air from the room. My baggy t-shirt and full length sweatpants were starting to look like a really bad idea. What is more, I unthinkingly chose the spot right in front of one of the heaters in the room. Just lying on my borrowed mat, the sweat began to prick through my pores.

Then the class actually started. The woman leading it spoke quickly and a lot, mostly in German. I understood when she said to come out of a pose, when to inhale, exhale, and when to do something with my feet or hands. That was about it. However, my German understanding did not concern me so much as the nausea slithering through me. I had done most of the poses before and had never found them particularly strenuous apart from the balance challenge. This time, though my muscles said go, my pulse and stomach said no. Half way into the 90 minute class, I was done. I sat in the cool lobby, lay down, drank water, and finally recovered.

I'm going back tomorrow.

This evening, I attended a performance by the Staatsballett Berlin at the Komische Oper called "The Open Square." It was fantastic. The music varied between sharp and violent to rhythmic and wild, to understated and melancholy. At one point, the musicians did nothing but clap, which the choreography played off of well. The dances were hardly traditional. I don't think I saw a single leap or pirouette. Instead, the twenty or so men and women moved in calculatedly unnatural ways. Half the time, they looked like robots, the other half like puppets, and I mean that in the best of all possible ways. After all, the repeated theme of the show was individuality versus conformity. During a particularly hilarious dance, where a group of men hopped about like jack-in-the-boxes, one dancer separated himself and started shaking it for all it was worth. The other men quickly sorted him out with a kick to the backside.

I could prattle on and on about the performance, but I do not have the energy or the time to do so. What I will say, however, is that my German must really be getting better. I understood everything that was said during the ballet! ;)

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