Oct 14, 2010

Yoga in Tel Aviv by Allison Gay

Tel Aviv is known to gain much of its character from its culinary scene-- and rightfully so. However, the food and dining experience does not paint the whole entire picture. Believe it or not- partaking in a yoga class is another social experience that will definitely help you understand the unique culture and personalities of Tel Aviv and its locals.
Right off the bat, you will notice that there is not much personal space here. People sit very close to one another in restaurants, and people are also very casual and laid-back when it comes to any type of organized group setting. So, all in all, it is the same attitude when it comes to yoga. And by the way, the culture here is not very 'zen". It is actually quite the opposite. Everyone likes to chat in between yoga poses, and these interruptions are more than welcome. 

So, I thought writing this form of a screenplay was a good way to give you a glimpse into typical Israeli culture, and what one of my very first yoga classes here was like:


GUY, gorgeous gay yoga instructor in his twenties, rolls out his mat on the wooden floor of his studio. He welcomes people into his class, as they roll out their mats as well.

(in thick Israeli accent)
Okay! Welcome everybody! Let’s
start in downward dog!

MEEKA, Guy’s tiny adorable cocker-spaniel, struggles to
unhook the plastic leash from the table it’s attached to.
The whole class is now in downward dog and Guy guides the
class with breathing “deep breath in and out, in and out.”

Bark! Bark! Arrrrr!

The yoga class moves into plank pose as Meeka barks.

Meeka, stop it! Okay, people, step
forward from plank, flat back, and
arms up!

Meeka unhooks herself and her collor wraps around her foot as she frollocks towards me, the plastic leash drags behind her.

Meeka licks my face multiple times as I am in a forward fold. She runs to lick all of the other student’s faces. Guy laughs as class continues.

Meeeeeeekaaaa. Nooo, come here my
precious. Goooood giiiirl.
I look around to make sure I am in the right pose, yet
everyone in the class is doing something different.

Isn’t Meeka adorable? Okay, people. What are we doing?
Common- downward dog into yoga pushup! Put some effort in this time!

MAYA, a young mother in tight spandex, carrying her newborn BABY in a carseat, walks into the studio thirty minutes late.

Shalom! Maya! It’s been forever,
how are you? Welcome to class!

Maya plops the carseat on the floor and rolls out her mat. She walks up to Guy and they kiss on the cheek. Maya moves herself into downward dog.

Oh, look at that baby! So cute!
Okay people are we warm yet? Let’s
go, warrior one into warrior two

The class clumsily makes it’s way into standing poses.

Waaaaaaah! Waaaaaaah!

Aw, baby, don’t cry!

The class is in Warrior Two. Guy bends down to pick up thecrying baby. Guy cradles the baby in his arms and the baby quiets down. Meeka jumps on Guy’s leg.

Ugh, I want a baby soooo bad. Cute
cute cute! Everyone in warrior two,
spread those fingers and toes!
Strong backs and flex your stomach!

The baby coos up at Guy as he walks around the room adjusting poses. 
Meeka barks and yelps trying to get Guy’s attention.

Meeka quiet! Don’t be jealous of
the baby, I love you too, my princess. Alright, people,
move into Warrior three! Hold the
poses! Breath in and out.  Focus on the pose!

The class struggles to hold Warrior Three. Meeka runs in fast circles around the studio, panting uncontrollably.

GUY (still holding the baby):

People, these poses are awful!
Let’s do these again!

Guy puts the baby back into the carseat and ties Meeka back up on the desk, and class goes on.

Ten minutes later in Shivasana (resting pose) the baby cries again. Guy picks up the baby. Meeka starts to bark. The whole class is resting. I begin to sit up, and others follow, as we make our way to the end of class. We sit at the top of our mats, eyes closed, with hands to our hearts.

MAYA (in Hebrew):
Guy, you know, you are going to be
such a good father someday.  You are so good with him.

Aw, thanks sweetie. You know, me and my partner, we are starting to talk about this. I think it is my destiny to have a baby.

Meeka begins to cry. She unhooks herself from the desk again.

Awww, come here Meeka! Oh, okay, people,  ehhm, that is all. Good class. Namaste.

CLASS (all together):

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