Seventy Eight

A Year of Yoga: March 20, 2014

Pose: Side plank with tree variation

Sanskrit: Vasisthasana + Vrikshashana

Location: Real Alcazar garden. Today’s cultural calendar event was a visit to the royal palace in Sevilla. Concepcion (pronounce – Conthepthion) was our tour guide for the palace and was extremely knowledgable and kind. We started our tour in the newer buildings of the palace which date back to the 16th century. Yeah, those are the newer buildings. We went back in time seeing each part that was built prior to the one we just saw all the way back to 11th century Muslim architecture. Apparently the palace is the oldest one in Europe that is still currently in use by a royal family. (Yes, Spain has a royal family). The real gem of the palace though is the garden. Of course I am always more drawn to nature and the outdoors no matter how impressive the architecture is. These gardens are expertly manicured with lovely fountains and pools around each corner. There’s a garden maze and peacocks wandering around. We didn’t have enough time for me to wander and enjoy all it had to offer. Hopefully I will get a chance to come back.

Photography Credit: Lulu

Seventy One

A Year of Yoga: March 12, 2014

Pose: Handstand variation

Sanskrit: Adho Mukha Vrikshasana

Location: My new hallway. My new hallway is great for a couple of reasons. I still need wall support for my handstands and there’s not really a great place in the living room or bedroom. But this hallway is perfect. I have always wanted to live somewhere with nice hard wood floors. This is laminate flooring, but it’s still a huge step up from the cheap rental carpet that has been in every place I’ve lived. It’s also great for sliding on, as Lulu and Momo have discovered. Every room in the house has a door that opens/closes to this hallway. The layout is unlike anything I’ve seen in the states, but I really like it.

Photography Credit: Momo

Seventy

A Year of Yoga: March 11, 2014

Pose: Downdog Splits

Sanskrit: Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svansana

Location: Rooftop Lounge at Cuesta Sport. This is the gym I joined. I will probably keep talking about the perks of moving to a new country with part of a study abroad group. One of the lovely, well-traveled, fluent Spanish speaking, British program directors found this gym and got them to extend a special offer of €99 for 3 months. When I found out from the other study abroad wife that she had paid upwards of €30 per yoga class in Italy on another trip she had done, and that this gym offered several yoga classes a week, and that it was less than a mile from my house, I was sold. As I write this post on Tuesday March 18, I just went to my first yoga class yesterday. But I will write about that experience in another post. The gym is really nice and I love the rooftop lounge. It’s nice and quiet and obviously has lovely views of the city. Hoping to spend some nice afternoons up here reading and sunbathing.

Photography Credit: Brandon

Sixty Nine

A Year of Yoga: March 10, 2014

Pose: Half Lotus Forward Fold

Location: Parasol de Sevilla. If you google images of Sevilla, you will most likely find a picture of this plaza. We live just down the street from it and it is our closest major landmark. I haven’t learned much about the parasol but it seems like there’s a lot going on there including a produce market, museum of Roman and Moorish remains, and a restaurant on the top level which offers the best view of the city center (or so I’ve read). We will definitely be spending some time exploring this place.

Photography Credit: Brandon

Sixty Eight

A Year of Yoga: March 9, 2014

Pose: Kneeling Crescent

Sanskrit: Anjaneyasana

Location: In front of a fountain at Parque Maria Luisa. Today we joined all the students for a picnic in Sevilla’s largest and most beautiful park. I’m guessing most beautiful because even though I haven’t seen any of the other parks in Sevilla, this one is breathtaking. I didn’t even have a chance to explore the whole park, but I look forward to coming back soon to see more and find little hidden treasures.

Photography Credit: Brandon

Sixty Seven

A Year of Yoga: March 8, 2014

Pose: Cat

Sanskrit: Marjaryasana

Location: A window on the ramp up to the minaret of the Catedral de Sevilla. Today was our first full day in our new hometown. One of the great things about doing this trip as part of a study abroad program, is that a lot of things are planned for us; the cultural calendar as its referred to. Our first day here included a student orientation (although teachers and their wives (me) were encouraged to attend as well) followed by a bus and walking tour of the city. Our tour guide was a very knowledgable and kind woman but the tour seemed to highlight some less interesting things, skip out on some major places, and lasted about an hour longer than necessary. That aside, the highlights were visiting the Plaza de Espana and the Catedral de Sevilla. Here are a few “fun facts” learned during the cathedral tour:

1) It is the third largest cathedral in the world and the largest in the world by volume and the largest gothic cathedral in the world. (It’s massive and you can’t miss it!)

2) The remains of Christopher Columbus are here. They have been DNA tested against some of his living descendants and its really him. However, it’s actually just a small amount of ashes. It is believed that other remains also reside in the Caribbean and maybe a few other places.

3) The minaret (or tower) is the tallest structure in the city and there is a city ordinance that nothing is allowed to be built taller than it. Unfortunately on our tour, the guide pointed out a new building project (commercial office space) that she believes was going to end up being taller than the minaret. As she put it, “money talks”. Some things are the same no matter where you go. Also, rather than stairs, there is a ramp leading up to the minaret because in the past the monks would actually ride horses up to the top in order to ring the bells.

4) The cathedral was a mosque before being consecrated as a cathedral and built up with a gothic style architecture around the moorish architecture. (This is a trend in Andalucia).

We are hoping to attend a mass in the main cathedral so we can hear the organ being played. We are by no means Catholic but the cultural experience is definitely something I want to have.

Saludos!

Photography Credit: Brandon

Sixty Six

A Year of Yoga: March 7, 2014

Pose: Reclined Bound Ankle

Sanskrit: Supta Baddha Konasana

Location: My new living room floor. Today is the story of our arrival in Sevilla. As this picture suggests, I am completely exhausted from about 24 straight hours of travel and a 9 hour time change. We landed at the airport in Seville around 1:30 in the afternoon. We did the normal debarking process and headed towards baggage claim. Our family alone required 2 trolleys to get all our luggage out to the bus. We were very grateful that the study abroad program had a chartered bus waiting for us and it was parked very near the baggage claim. Since we went through customs in Madrid, there were no lines and it was very efficient getting to the bus, loading the bus, and riding towards the city and our new home. This is where “easy” ended and stressful and chaotic takes over. Many of the streets are incredibly narrow in Sevilla and are unable to accommodate a bus. Therefore our bus had to drop us off in a plaza a short walk from the dorms where most of the students will be living. So imagine, 40+ people with enough luggage for 3 months, traipsing through unfamiliar, busy, and pedestrian crowded narrow streets. What a spectacle we must have been. Since we no longer had trolleys, our kids had to pull their own weight (literally) and were champs. (Although there were some frustrated tears). Once we arrived at the students’ residence, the study abroad program leaders called a cab for us to drive us to our new home. It was easy to see when it arrived that there was no way all 4 of us plus our luggage was fitting in one cab. So, we got another cab and Brandon rode in one and me and the girls rode in the other. I did my best to explain to the cab driver he needed to follow the other cab since he seemed to have no idea where the address I gave him was. Once they got us to our street, they realized that it was a one way street and our house was down the wrong way. So they proceeded to back up along the one way street as far as they could until cars going the right way blocked them. We had to get out, with all our luggage and hoof it some more until we found our building. Once we arrived at our building, we realized we hadn’t written down the number of our apartment or the phone number of our host (we didn’t have smart phones with internet turned on yet either). Thankfully we only had to stand there wondering what to do for about 5 minutes before our host saw us and came and rescued us. From then on, our host made us feel so welcome and spent an hour or so with us telling us all we needed to know. The catch was that he didn’t speak a word of English. So with our limited Spanish we did our best to communicate and he was great and spoke slowly and used a lot of hand gestures. I think we ended up understanding most of what he wanted to tell us. Our new home is lovely, although a bit of a walk from many of the places we often need to go. We went out in the evening and found the grocery store our host circled on the map, bought a few groceries, and tried to stay awake until a reasonable bed time to keep jet lag from setting in. This is me at the end of the day, after showering the travel off. Exhausted, but happy to be here and ready to start exploring my new home.

Photography Credit: Brandon

Sixty Three

A Year of Yoga: March 4, 2014

Pose: Toppling Tree

Sanskrit: Patanvrkshasana

Location: Our storage unit. This is now where the majority of our belongings live. It’s pretty crazy how much we fit in. It looks like everything might come toppling out the next time we open it. I am choosing not to worry about my possessions until I have to come back and move them all out. Here’s to traveling light!

Photography Credit: Brandon

Fifty Nine

A Year of Yoga: March 1, 2014 Pose: Legs up the Wall (yes it’s a real pose). Location: My empty living room. Today we moved out the majority of our belongings into storage. Only a few more nights in this house. Definitely feeling tired and a little overwhelmed.

Fifty Three

A Year of Yoga: February 22, 2014

Pose: Half Moon Series

Location: My driveway where Momo has graffitied a heart on the garage wall. A heart opening pose seemed appropriate. So this day we had our moving garage sale. It made our move to Europe a whole lot more real. We did well and made a bit of money. I’m a huge purger and I always feel much lighter after getting rid of the “stuff” that seems to accumulate.

Photography Credit: Amy

Fifty Two

A Year of Yoga: February 21, 2014

Pose: One Legged Chair

Sanskrit: Utkatasana

Location: The Olde Ship. Fullerton has an authentic English Pub. I always drink Speckled Hen when I come here. They of course have standards like Fish and Chips and Bangers and Mash. They have a few other UK dishes like corned beef and Scottish Bridie. They also have a few curry dishes, which I thought was a bit odd. But last night I learned from my new British friends here in Spain, that curry is actually the most popular dish in the UK and they actually export it to India. So I guess the fact that the Olde Ship has curry, makes it pretty authentic. Anyways, I will definitely miss this place but looking forward to hitting up a real pub in Scotland in a couple months.

Photography Credit: Amy