A feeling of gratitude
I’m back in New York after having spent 7 weeks in Strasbourg, France, to teach a Yogaworks 300-hour teacher training.
It was a wonderful experience to be able to rediscover the French pace of life and ambiance after 15 years living in NYC.
I wanted to share with you a list, non exhaustive, of some of the differences I’ve noticed between the two cultures during my stay:
. the calm of the streets; even the fire engines and police cars sirens seemed to be a soft music to my ears in comparison to the ones in NYC!
. French people don’t look at their phone when walking on the streets or at the restaurant. They actually look at one another in the eyes and the French being the French, they compliment the girls passing by.
What a change from New York where everyone has his/her head glued to their phone and people bump into you or worst in a car while crossing the sidewalks.
. not having to take the local transportation once to go anywhere: what a luxury! The apartment I rented was a 5-minute walk to the yoga studio I was teaching at: Yogamoves.
Being a yoga teacher in New York, taking the subway several times is part of my daily routine to go and teach my group classes and private sessions. Even though I’m grateful to be able to go around so easily in the city, I regret how loud the subway is and the constant delays.
. French people don’t answer their e-mails within a hour or within a day. They can take several days or weeks to reply to you.
Being used to the American efficiency, I found myself destabilized by this habit. But I realized that most French people make the distinction between their professional and private lives. And I value this a lot!
Here, in NYC, the line between professional and private lives has become totally blurry. People replied to their e-mails anytime, anywhere, making themselves more and more available to their work and increasing their stress level in their private life. So stay as you are my people and I’ll wait patiently for your response.
. the French yogis are much less tight in their hip flexors than the Americans! What a difference! One of the reasons is that American people sit for long hours in front of their computer at work which contracts these muscles. There are also lots of runners in NYC who need to engage them while running.
. the 2 or 3 kilos I gained! So so many temptations everywhere…
. it’s challenging to eat at a restaurant in France if you don’t eat dairy. In the country where food is a culture, butter and cream are kings. I stopped eating dairy 18 months ago.
In NYC, I easily find vegan restaurants or regular ones ready to cater to my diet. But in Strasbourg, it’s complicated! Butter is such a key ingredient that the waiters often don’t know that it’s in the dishes. One of them suggested I have the dessert with salted butter caramel as a substitute!
. the lack of juice stores. In NYC, it is hard to walk a few blocks without finding one. That trend has a difficult time to pick up in France.
. the incoherences of the French services such as Air France and the SNCF (the French railroad) just to name a few. I’ll spare you the details but I found myself in the middle of a comical situation due to the lack of professionalism of these two services. I was amazed to see how in France, one tend to make you responsible and feel guilty for a situation their lack of organization and communication created. There is always that underlying assumption that the customer is guilty. What a contrast from America where the client is king and the notion of service is part of the culture. American people will do everything they can to solve the situation in your favor especially if they are responsible of the problem.
. the French style and natural “classe”. What a delight to see people well dressed and paying attention to small details in their outfits.
The yoga pants have not yet invaded the French sidewalks!
There would be so many more things to add but at the end of the day, I like and feel good in both cultures and I’m so grateful to be able to navigate from one to the other with ease.
I’d like to thank all the students who welcomed me with such warmth in France. You were truly incredible. You allowed me to feel at home and this is priceless. Thank you so so much!!!
Both transitions, arriving in France and coming back to NYC, were extremely smooth and fluid and for that I’m also very grateful. Grateful to have yoga in my life that gives me the tools to stay present, centered, anchored where ever I am.
“Hatha Yoga Anushasanma”: the practice of yoga is here and now.