May Day

Photo: The Interpretation of Dreams

Today is La Fête du Travail (May Day), a day on which people give each other sprigs of muguet (Lily of the Valley) to commemorate Spring. As it’s a national holiday, expect yoga studios in Paris to either be closed, or to offer revised schedules of classes for the day and -- in some cases -- the entire week and then some (Ashtanga Yoga Paris, Big Apple Yoga France, Centre Anjaliom, Espace Nataraja, Himayoga, Paris Yoga, Qee, Samasthiti Studio, Studio KellerYoga Bikram Paris, and Yoga Village, for example.) Be sure to check the listings before heading out with your yoga mat!

In the study of flowers, the muguet symbolizes sweetness, humility, trustworthiness and heralds the return of happiness. All things that you put into practice when you do yoga :)

Cool Haunting: Musée Carnavalet

A secret garden in the heart of the Marais. Even under a light rain (as it was the other day when I ducked inside) it offers a quiet respite from the frenzy of tourists and shoppers outside. I like to sit on the benches in open-eyed meditation, letting the architecture and garden’s symmetry decelerate my nervous system and breath. As the sound of cars and scooters fades, I close my eyes and focus my awareness on the crunching of pea gravel underfoot, the rustling of leaves, whispered snippets of conversation…
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Free Yoga in Paris

Over the weekend, I had a chance to check out a couple of Paris’ free yoga events: a Portes Ouvertes, and one of Lolë’s classes at Wanderlust Paris (held at Les Docks, Cité de la Mode et du Design.) Thanks to the sustaining energy of La Rentrée, there are still a few opportunities left to explore new teachers, studios and styles of yoga, take advantage of “Back to School” class pass prices, as well as unroll your yoga mat in surprising environments. This coming weekend is a perfect example: there are not only three free classes sponsored by Lolë, but three separate open houses at Studio Keller (11e), Sivananda (10e), and Red Earth Centre (10e).
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Juilletiste or Aoûtien?

There are two kinds of people in France: Juilletistes and Aoûtiens. Juilletistes are people who take their big summer vacation in July (juillet,) and Aoûtiens are those who go away during August (août.) My friend Frédéric was the first person to ask me which party I belonged to, and when I couldn’t answer, he laughed. “You freelancers! You’re either always on vacation, or always at work… Centrist!”

Declaring your tribal affiliation is not as insignificant as it might at first seem, for Juilletistes and Aoûtiens have completely different values, and preconceptions about both groups run deep. Juilletistes are thought to be idlers because they take off when many of their colleagues are still at work, returning when offices are empty and expectations of productivity are low. (Juilletistes, naturally, think they are smarter for vacationing when everything is cheaper and less crowded.) Aoûtiens are considered unoriginal; they go on holiday when everyone else does, get stuck in traffic and then spend most of their vacation in a competitive land grab for a small parcel of beach. (Aoûtiens are quick to point out, however, that they are still tan when La Rentrée comes around.)

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Weekend Kickoff

When Iya Traore’s professional football career stalled (he played briefly for PSG,) he transformed his athleticism and skill into a new art form: freestyle football. Keeping the ball afloat and bouncing in percussive counterpoint to his poised exterior, Iya performs impossible-to-imagine feats of balance and strength. If you think sitting in sukhasana with a football on your head looks plenty difficult, check out the video after the jump and prepare to have your mind blown.

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Yogateau… en Mouvement!

 

One of the best things about developing Yogateau has been getting to know the people who make yoga in Paris so unique. With every Teacher Spotlight, we discover how truly open and international the community of Parisian yogis is: of the three teachers so far interviewed, one is Canadian, one is Swedish, and one is Colombian! Their native cultures couldn’t be more different, yet they are all connected by their love and gratitude for the practice and by their desire to share it with others.

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One Year Anniversary!

While the idea of Yogateau had been percolating for some time, the site itself sprung up only twelve months ago. Having spent years practicing yoga in Paris, amassing info on studios, and having composed countless emails to friends and colleagues about where to go and which teachers to seek out in different arrondissements, I finally had an apple-falling-on-Newton’s head moment: what if all of this were online and accessible to everyone, not just people I know?

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“Wisdom Is Not Bullshit” —Judith Godrèche, French Actress

"J’ai découvert le yoga, et c’est un truc que je n’aurais jamais pu faire il y a quelques années. J’étais trop dans le contrôle. Avec cette discipline, j’apprends à ne pas vouloir tout, tout de suite. Pour moi, ça représente déjà un petit bout de sagesse. Et la sagesse, je vous le dis, ce n’est pas des conneries!" Translation after the jump.

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