Yoga in Amman is like everything else here–DIFFERENT, not bad, not good & EXPENSIVE (no values here!). Let me preface this comparison by acknowledging how THANKFUL I am to have found a place to go to practice yoga. I won’t call it a yoga studio, but a fitness club that offers classes twice a week. Here’s the shakedown of how yoga at home differs from yoga in Amman.
Yoga at Home in Old Town, Alexandria:
- I could WALK to the studio from my house, a short jaunt down a quaint street of historical, perfectly manicured homes, with GRASS, lots of dogs, cute boutiques and plenty of people out enjoying their day, regardless of the weather.
- I’m welcomed into a peaceful, serene space that smells like lavender or incense.
- I’m surrounded by like-minded people in fashionable, enviable yoga clothing–very unyogi-like , I know (that make me want to go home and order more Lululemon).
- The instructors are NICE and COMPLIMENTARY (and fit!).
- The music is hip and cool (similar to my musical tastes).
- People speak and smile to each other and the studio offers tea and cookies.
- Laughing is encouraged and practiced.
- Instructors encourage you to move at your own pace.
- You feel great after class: calm and collected.
- Although yoga is expensive, you don’t mind because you feel like it’s a value for the benefits you receive.
Yoga in Amman:
- I have to drive to the place (not a big deal, but driving here is DANGEROUS).
- There is no welcome. You enter, walk down a staircase into the inner sanctum of the gym that smells like a gym.
- No one wears yoga clothes.
- I was told and even asked to demonstrate how I do a pose the wrong way (Did I mention that I’m a certified yoga instructor? No one else has ever pointed out that I don’t do chair pose correctly. Shame on you former teachers of mine!) She told me that I’ve formed a bad “habit” and have to fix it.
- There is NO music! No sound, just the instructor’s voice.
- No smiling, no talking, no treats after class.
- No laughing allowed. This is very serious business.
- We all do the same pose, regardless of our level. Apparently, we are ALL beginners, plus there are long breaks in between the poses (we only did THREE, one of which was mountain pose).
- We practice Iyengar style yoga. Need I say more? Iyengar is a form of yoga, which I’m sure is fabulous, but extremely strict about alignment. I prefer vinyasa-style yoga, active, energetic classes where you feel like you’ve gotten a workout. After class I asked the teacher if this was a beginner yoga class and she told me it was a “mixed level” class. We did THREE poses in one hour and fifteen minutes and used chairs as props. God help me. Breathe! I also asked if she ever teaches vinyasa classes. She said, “No, ALL teachers in Amman teach Iyengar.”
- I paid more per class than I do in DC.I expect to pay a lot in the land of milk and honey–it’s a big city with lots of options. Here in Amman there are NO options and the price should reflect this.