by Lana Kleiman
I found Mala almost two years ago when, I moved across the street from the studio and became a weekend regular. While I have been practicing yoga on and off for many years, it was only recently that I truly realized that having a consistent yoga practice and strong foundation has many benefits, including curing homesickness.
I recently traveled by myself to Guatemala, spending a month living with a family in a small town and attending a Spanish immersion school. While I ultimately came to enjoy my experience, the first week was extremely difficult and lonely. I was a world away from my life in Cobble Hill, including my husband, family and friends. I was alone in an unfamiliar city. I lived with a host family who did not speak English, a reality amplified by the fact that I did not speak Spanish. I missed all the comforts of home, like hot water and clean raw veggies, whole wheat bread and familiar faces. I was very homesick, but the one comfort from home that I was able to bring with me, and ultimately helped me get through this experience, was my yoga practice.
In the small town of Xela, a four-hour drive from Guatemala City, I was able to find a small yoga studio. I woke up every morning for a 6:30am class (which is quite a feet for me!), and practiced yoga with a small group of Guatemalans and a few foreigners. The class was in Spanish, so I usually didn’t understand what the instructor was saying. But it didn’t matter. I simply followed my own practice and followed my own breath. I realized that I had a strong foundation, and because of that, I could safely practice yoga, no matter the language or the place. The amazing teachers at Mala, through emphasis on proper alignment, helped me establish a strong and safe yoga practice. I want to thank all the teachers at Mala for their guidance and the gift I can now enjoy anywhere in the world, because without it, I do not think I would have been able to get through a whole month in Guatemala by myself.
My experience in Guatemala has taught me that having a consistent yoga practice has many benefits. With a strong foundation, you can safely practice yoga anywhere in the world, and when everything else around you is foreign and uncomfortable, you can always rely and fall back on your practice for grounding and a little piece of home.