A couple of days ago I posted my very first yoga picture on Instagram. ‘De kop is eraf’ would Dutch people say, meaning that the first is a fact. The picture was taken in Karolinka, Czech Republic, where my boyfriend and I attended a wedding of friends. So why did I do a random yoga pose in an orchard in the little town of Karolinka in the far east of Czech Republic?
Well, as some of you might know, I have challenged myself to do yoga (and take a picture of it) in every country I visit for at least the next five years. This way I cannot only monitor my own progress, but also prove that yoga can be practiced anywhere around the globe and doesn’t necessarily require a mat and a yoga outfit. I want to show (and experience) that yoga can easily become an important part of your life that provides you with energy, confidence, peace and a good work out.
So, back to the picture at the top of this page. That’s me, in the Royal Garden of the Schönbrunn palace in Vienna. This palace was a wedding gift to empress Maria Theresa (of the Habsburg monarchy) and was once the home of Franz Joseph, the longest-reigning emperor of Austria, who was born and died in the palace. One of the reasons this palace is so famous, is that it was also home to Elisabeth in Beieren, better know as ‘Sisi’ who was married to Franz Jospeph. Apart from Sisi being part of its history (who had quite an interesting life and was shot and killed by an Italian anarchist in Geneva), the Schönbrunn palace is also worth a visit for its beautiful decoration, both inside and out. I can highly recommend visiting at least some of the rooms in the palace (I took the Imperial Tour, allowing you inside 22 of them) so you can marvel at the grandeur of palace life.
The picture above was taken in the famous ‘Great Parterre’ of the Schönbrunn palace gardens. The look and feel is quite similar to that of the gardens of Versaille just outside of Paris, but somehow the Schönbrunn gardens felt more welcoming. Reason being that the Schönbrunn gardens are now (for the larger part) a free public park, so everyone can enjoy its beauty, use its long lanes for an afternoon run or admire the many – very detailed – sculptures that are in it. Not bad right?
Seeing myself like this makes me both proud and very self conscious. I haven’t even started my yoga teacher training yet and have only a year or so of experience, so doing this pose – the reverse warrior – at a super touristic location was way out of my comfort zone. I was constantly looking at other people and wandering what they must be thinking of me. Also, I was very self conscious for I knew I didn’t master the pose like a pro. So what if some super experienced yogi walked by and saw how clumsy I was or how hard I was trying to make it look smooth? Fortunately for me I had my boyfriend (and photographer) with me to reassure me that what I was doing was fine and more importantly, mine. I was doing what I love to do in a beautiful place and wasn’t bothering anyone. Though some people might have been wondering what on earth I was doing, others may have been inspired by it. Not even necessarily to do yoga, but maybe just to do what you love and not care (so much) about the opinion of others. Though I know I still have to work on the ‘care about what others think’ thing, this felt like a personal victory and has given me even more energy and motivation to continue my challenge; do yoga in every country I go to, take a picture of it and prove that yoga can be practiced all around the world!
Yoga in Vienna
Truth be told, I had less than 24 hours in Vienna, so – also wanting to see some sights, have a nice dinner and eat a slice of the original and very delicious Sachertorte – unfortunately I didn’t have time to visit a yoga studio or do a longer practice. But, since Namaste Your Way is all about the combination of travel and yoga, I do want to present you with some options for yoga studios in Vienna:
- Yoga Werkstatt. This studio gets great reviews on the web and according to it’s website, the owners of the studio established it around the turn of 2007/2008 in order to give a forum to all those who are interested in Yoga but don’t know yet how to get started, as well as to those who are already fond of it and want to practice it together, intensify their practice, and let it “grow”. Yoga Werkstatt is located at the Große Mohrengasse 23, 1020 Vienna and offers Hatha, Ashtanga, Yin, Nidra and pregnancy yoga for all levels, seven days a week. For more info check their website.
- YogaKula. This studio is very centrally located in Vienna’s 1st district, close to Karlsplatz and the State Opera (next to the State Opera is Hotel Sacher where you can try the famous Sachertorte I just talked about. Trust me, it’s worth it!)
According to its website, YogaKula stands for dynamic yoga that connects you with your inner vitality. You can choose from a variety of yoga styles and levels, such as basic Hatha yoga, Vinyasa Flow, Restorative or Yin yoga. The studio is open seven days a week and most of their classes are taught in English. YogaKula is located at the Bösendorferstraße 9, 1010 Vienna. For more info check their website.
- One Yoga. Though I was forced to base my knowledge of this studio on online reviews and its website, I would still describe the look and feel of this studio as ‘cool’. It reminds me a bit of the yoga studio I go to in Rotterdam, The Yoga Ground (more about that later). One Yoga offers a mix of vinyasa, ashtanga and yin and according to its website One Yoga sees every practice as a new beginning to a very old journey. They embrace change and imperfection and aim to surprise you every time you let them join you on your path. Doesn’t that sound promising? The studio is located at the Lindengasse 38, 1070 Vienna. For more information, check their website.
So, that was Vienna for me. I hope you enjoyed my very first blog and that it has inspired you to take your practice across borders! If you want to share your experience or have anything else you wish to share, please use the comment option below. If you haven’t already, you can also subscribe to the newsletter (on the right) and follow me on Instagram.
Have a great day!