Easing In: Yoga & My First Day on Koufonisia

I arrived at the port of Koufonisia in the afternoon where Elena, the manager of My Island Home, the hotel where I’ll be teaching yoga for the next few weeks waited for me with her dog. She drove me to my small shack off the beaten path near the center of town, I dropped off my bags and we headed five minutes up the only road in town to the hotel so I could check out the yoga shala. It’s beautiful. Dark wood floors located outside next to the pool with a few triangular pieces of tan cloth forming shade over the shala, a breathtaking view of the ocean at the front and a magical mountainous landscape surrounding it from the back.

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I had a few hours before easing into the first yoga class I’d ever teach, so I walked down to Pori beach and had lunch at Kalofeggo, a small but hip rustic taverna by the sea. I was a little dismayed to find out they didn’t have wifi, but I quickly adapted and let go of all the things I thought I ‘had’ to do online– and what they lacked in virtual connection they quickly made up for with their epic music, small but delicious food plates and  views of sailboats in the small bright blue bay and the people enjoying life on the beach. And so, as I sat there nibbling on a plate of falafels and hummus, I was inspired and began writing freely:

Kalofeggo

Low key, slow vibe

full of people,but the decible of chatter is so minimal,

is everyone really speaking so quietly, or can I just not hear them through the waves of peace,

the music is taking me somewhere,

raw folk with a bit of that melancholic beauty that reminds me how good it is to be human,

to feel, forlorn, longing, nostalgic, grateful

Wooden Birds and Mountain Goats sooth through the playlist…

 

 

Time drifted by at the perfect pace and soon I was up at the shala teaching my first class. I had two students, which was ideal, because I was a bit nervous so a smaller group felt easier to handle. I did face a challenge with the language as one of the girls mostly spoke Italian, but I improvised and did many of the poses with them so they could follow me (although in general this is not recommended as I should be watching the students so I can make adjustments, this seemed to be the only way to make it work under the circumstances– if there were other English speaking students in the class who already knew the poses, I think I would have asked them to be in the front of the room so the non-English speakers could follow them and I could focus on alignment). Overall though, the class went smoothly. I think my biggest fear in the moment is having my planned sequence be too short and then not being able to come up poses that fit the flow to fill the time space, or forgetting parts of the sequence– but the 200 hour teacher training I did last month with Swaha Yoga led by the amazing Tanya Popovich prepared me for this much better than initially thought!

After class I took the public bus back to town where I strolled aimlessly through the small and dimly lit cobbled steets for a while admiring the town and the people, had a bite to eat at To Kyma (which didn’t have too much in the way of vegetarian dinner options, but offered an extensive cocktail list, a large patio on the water and a surrean, homey atmosphere) and then went home to bed.

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