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Posted by on Mar 20, 2015 | 5 comments

Yoga in Another Language


4-3-15 UPDATE – After one month of learning the Yoga Dance – I finally made it all the way through!

I love yoga!  When I do yoga regularly I feel so much better and I believe I am a better person.  I can find my Zen in yoga that I can’t ever seem to do when trying to meditate.

I am not good enough to be able to get myself through an entire practice without a teacher.  I have tried to do yoga online by watching a yoga tape on Amazon Prime or this awesome website I found called Do Yoga With Me.  Internet streaming always has its issues and my 60 minute yoga class can take up to 90 minutes.  The video will play for about 5 minutes and then buffer for 30 seconds; play for 5 minutes, buffer 30 seconds.  On bad days it is the other way around.  Try holding a balance pose for an extra minute while the video tries to play.

I finally got the opportunity to take yoga in Vietnam with my Expat friends; by a Vietnamese teacher who speaks very little English.  Thankfully I have taken enough yoga I usually remember to catch myself when I am doing the post incorrectly, but it must be super hard for someone who is new to yoga.  I can remember hearing my teachers over and over, lift your kneecap, keep the knee facing forward, keep your shoulders down and back.  I am sure that is what our teacher is saying here also, although I can’t understand her.

What I like

There is some added Zen in listening to the instructions in Vietnamese.  Our instructor has a beautiful soft voice and she tells us to breathe in, hít thở; breathe out, thở ra; bend to the left, uốn cong bên trái; bend to the right, uốn cong ở bên phải. The bonus is that I am picking up a few extra Vietnamese words.

We do self-massage.  Every class we spend about 10 minutes massaging our face, shoulders, arms, legs, feet and even mid-section.  I tend to forget to care for my hands and feet by massaging them daily and can really feel the difference it makes.

What I don’t like 

Since I don’t understand her I have to spend more time with my head lifted looking at the instructor.  I don’t understand the words in the relaxation at the end but I have done it enough times that I can work through this one my own.

What I am not sure about

Almost all of the poses are different than what I am used to; not a huge difference, just different.  We also do the Yoga Dance.  The Yoga Dance is called Kaoshikii  which comes from the Sam’skrta word ‘kosa” meaning “sheath” or layer of the mind. The dance is especially for women and develops not only the body but the subtler layers of the mind. I am naturally uncoordinated so this is very difficult for me – but I vow to keep trying.


“When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still, and the yogi achieves long life. Therefore, one should learn to control the breath.”

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

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  1. Hi Dawn,
    I loved your entry about your yoga experience. It sounds so peaceful and tranquil (we could all use more of this in our lives :). It was fun hearing about the different things your instructor does in class…probably unique to Vietnam which makes it just that much more special. So glad that you found this great new activity (you’ve convinced me that I need to do the same here :).

    Thinking of you often!

    • I hope you enjoy – just make sure you have a teacher who insists you take it at your own pace. My favorite teachers are those who encourage me to listen to my own body while practicing.

  2. Dawn, I love your post!! I had never heard of yoga dance but then I had never heard of snoga until 2 weeks ago.
    I can only imagine holding the eagle pose for an extra minute while the video buffers 🙂

    • I had to look up snoga – how about Hasyayoga?

      • I just looked up hasyayoga and I have never tried that either. It looks very interesting and I love to laugh 🙂
        I prefer hot power yoga otherwise, I can totally relate to the Zen feeling it creates.

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