Yoga 108 is my favorite thing about our neighborhood. It is the best yoga studio I have ever found while abroad and it makes me happy every time we take a class there. Just a 10 minute walk from our apartment, we try to make it to class as often as possible when we are not in the campo. The woman behind the front desk always greets us in a way that makes me think she is chuckling at our mere existence (we are “gringos” after all), but somehow it is endearing and I instinctively like her. She always asks about my “esposo” when Jake doesn’t show up to class with me, genuinely interested in why we would ever part each others’ sides.
Upon our arrival we say “hello” to the familiar faces – mostly women with a fair amount of plastic surgery, wearing very expensive and very revealing yoga gear. Some of them are coming to the yoga class as part of a full time schedule of the gym time, pilates classes, and other calorie-burning activities. But no mind… The main instructor at the studio, Hector, moved to Medellin from Bogota in January and expressed a disdain for Bogota’s smog, cold weather, and horrible traffic, striking an immediate chord in Jake’s heart. They added a heated class when Hector arrived, which struck a chord in mine.
Additional perks – different, fresh tropical flowers decorate the space every time we come, they play the same yogi music as my studio in Madison (making me feel right at home), and after class they give you a tiny porcelain tea cup of hot tea that usually combines some mixture of ginger, papaya, and other glorious flavors. I like the spicy kick after a tiring class.
The research we are doing often makes me anxious, as there are only so many interviews about war and violence that you can listen to before you start to imagine that there is danger lurking around every corner (even when things are perfectly safe). The yoga studio is a little haven to escape from the intensity of fieldwork, the heartbreaking stories that people tell us, and to burn off a few of the calories that we consume eating entire cows and fried everything out in the campo.