Bonjourno from Italy where I managed to find Ashtanga yoga in the middle of Florence!
Traveling takes a lot out of people. While I had been doing my own Ashtanga-Vinyasa practice for the days previous to finding this sheer haven, being told what to do and simply falling onto the mat was incredibly comforting. This experience was the perfect combination of when I found yoga in Buenos Aires, Argentina (the linguistic component) and when I found yoga in Bloomington, Indiana (the Ashtanga while in an unfamiliar place component).
It’s Yoga Firenze is the perfect metaphor for Florence as a city. A studio which specializes in the styles of Ashtanga and Rocket Yoga, it merges the traditional and keeps it untouched with the ways it has been modernized and transformed (yes, I’m saying that Ashtanga is similar to Michelangelo’s David and these ancient piazzas I find myself surrounded by). Like Florence, the studio is small and manageable yet bustling and loving. Like Florence, the classes are gorgeously bilingual – or trilingual if you include Sanskrit. For example, the first Sun Salutation A was taught in Italian while the second was taught in English. Walking around Florence – a student city – I hear English just as much as I hear Italian. And, like Florence, the studio is abundantly relaxed, but also serious (my kind of pace!). I rushed along the Arno River to arrive at It’s Yoga five minutes before the class began. I heard rumors that in Europe, all studios were membership only so I arrived, panicked and in desperate need of some yoga, to It’s Yoga’s lax front desk, was greeted by the loveliest teacher who essentially told me to calm down and it was all going to be okay (in the midst of travel chaos I actually believed her), and handed over 15 euros for a phenomenal Modified Primary Series class. When she told me to come back the following day for Rocket 3 (their most advanced option), I made sure I was there again, the following day, at 6pm, and was greeted just as warmly. I left with sore arms, well-used legs, a much-needed break in the nonstop travel and a reminder of what yoga (and Florence) are for: providing the space to simply Be while moving, to get lost in the breath, and to practice the art of stilling the mind.