Soon time to move on. Back to reality. However that’s defined. It’s been an amazing journey with plentiful of cerebral and physical challenges. I’ve not only discerned how to modulate my eating habits, in the process I also added a slew of demanding new yoga poses to my growing collection.
I’m finally at a point where I can either keep true to what I’ve learned from classes in Vinyasa, Hatha, Yin or Bikram yoga, or create a “greatest hits” with poses from each. I love being free and independent with my training and not always having to adhere to class schedules and poorly curated playlists.
There is no singular yoga teachings, though there are definitely some that try to institutionalize yoga as if it was yet another religion. Being the sceptic that I am, I refuse to see yoga as being anything more than a great physical workout. Plain and simple. Any other benefit that you feel afterwards – mentally, spiritually – is a result of the exertion you put your body through. And to not see how all of the different types of yoga schools originally stem from an ancient collection of poses and breathing techniques, is just naive. Yoga is believed to have been created some 5000 years ago by so-called yoga masters. There is some research that argues yoga is actually even twice as old but was for several millennia guarded and held secret, dense with mysticism and hokus-pokus.
When yoga became more mainstream and less occult, the yogis of the time created a system of practices designed specifically to rejuvenate the body and prolong life. They rejected the ancient teachings and embraced the idea that it was through the physical body one could finally achieve a clear mind.
This morning I went to the gym hoping that I’d find a place where I could roll out my thick rubber mat and start the day with an hour long Bikram yoga session. The gym here at the Peninsula is well-equipped, but somewhat compact. There was just no way it could have accommodated me. Luckily, the manager for the hotel’s fitness and spa happened to be there and he chaperoned me to the tennis courts where I found a sunlit spot perfectly suited for sweaty yoga.
After my session, a shower and shave, I met Charlotte down by the river restaurant where the Peninsula’s grandeur breakfast buffet awaited. As I sat there, eating from a full plate of local fruits and sipping on freshly made, chilled mango juice, I noticed an elderly American couple pass by a few times as they retrieved food from the voluminous buffet. I’d spoken with them in the elevator the day before, so I waved to them during one of their round trips.
Looking at them got me thinking about all the hotels I’ve stayed at in the US and how most American hotels don’t even offer a breakfast option, let alone include one that would come even close in quality or scope of what the Peninsula (or, any of the other nearby hotels) offer for breakfast. And if you were to stay a night at an equivalently plush hotel in midtown or lower Manhattan, near the beach in Miami, Chicago, San Francisco or Los Angeles, the comparison, the room rate would be astronomically higher. Obviously you can’t compare the two places. But I still find it remarkable how here in Asia and in most of Europe, breakfast is almost always included in the room rate, while in the States it ain’t. Strange.