A job in China can lead to new experiences and opportunities that you might not even consider at home. Discover yoga in China while you're teaching English as a second language and see how this ancient spiritual practice can change your life as it did for Eunice.
I first came across yoga when I was attending college in the US. My sister couldn't stopraving about how her yoga classes helped her get into shape and decided to take me toone. In a suffocatingly hot room packed with people, we were asked to bend our bodiesinto all kinds of uncomfortable poses that I struggled to hold. After the class, I concludedthat nobody in their right mind would want to practice yoga.
After graduating, I moved to Shanghai. My first full-time job was at a law firm, where hourswould run regularly from 9 am to past midnight. The extended periods of sitting in front of acomputer started to take a toll on my body, and I started feeling aches, pains and stiffnessall over.
At first, I tried getting massagesbut found that the same aches and pains would return thenext day. My body was also getting increasingly out of shape, so I decided to takeadvantage of my company's gym stipends and join a yoga studio not far from my home.Even though I only managed to go to one yoga classes every one or two weeks, I couldimmediately feel its effects—the aches and pains that had bothered me disappeared. Moreimportantly, yoga helped me reconnect with my body, something I had long neglected.Growing up, I always felt the need to keep achieving certain external goals—good grades,prestigious schools, etc.—to prove that I was worthy. I was in aconstant state of anxiety and panic, and never felt that I could stop and take care of mybody.
Yoga changed that. As I started practising regularly, I started to develop strength, flexibilityand balanceand became able to perform comfortably and sustain poses I did notpreviously think was possible. I became truly grateful for the support that my body hasprovided me.
More significantly, yoga helped me to be in the moment and be still. Focusing on thebreath and learning to tolerate physical discomforts rather than immediately reacting tothem, the mind finds a place of stillness within.As our bodies become strong and flexible, we also cultivate inner strength and the abilityto see things from others' perspectives. We become more empathetic and compassionate,and happier people as a result.
People who wish to check out the yoga scene in Shanghai can take advantage ofdianping.com, which has a Tuan Guo(akin to Groupon) section that offers trial yoga classesat studios all over Shanghai at very reasonable rates. After finding a studio that you like,you may then decide to purchase a monthly, seasonal or annual pass. Annual passes canrun from as low as RMB 3500 to over RMB 9000, depending on location and can be much cheaper outside of Shanghai, also depending on facilities and other factors. While a good teacher is crucial, it is perhaps moreimportant to remember to stayconnected with your body during practice to prevent injuries.
Want to learn more about life in China? Read our tips for eating Chinese food in China.