Oh(m) my goodness!
There was a time, not that long ago, I wore gym clothes for the sole purpose of walking around in public as the socially acceptable equivalent of walking around town butt naked. But recently I discovered the magic that happens on a yoga mat. My first experiences were more about excessive sweat and surviving an ‘ohm’ without the corners of my mouth curling upward. After a few months of practicing though, I can say I’m pretty much hooked like Winnie on his pot of honey. So, when I was asked to blog about a yoga-event at the Meir Palace, I said YEZ loud and clear (the Z emphasizes my above normal level of excitement).
To prepare for the Antwerp Urban Trail run, a morning yoga class by the very loveable Mounira Bazzi was organized at the ‘Paleis op de Meir’. This is one of the many jaw-breaking historical buildings in Antwerp.
Yawning mostly, pale-faced, blinking a lot and dry-lipped because I hadn’t had my morning coffee yet (still hurts) I found my way to the building. After climbing a big marble stairs (because nothing is more fun on an empty stomach) I finally entered at the room were I was about to get my zen on. If time travel would exist, I think I was just transported to a room at the 18th century French court and about to run into Marie-Antoinette or one of the Louis’. My eyeballs went mad over the sky-high with gold embellished ceiling, dazzling crystal chandeliers and abundance of large mirrors. And in this case, all that glitter was very much gold.
As I dropped my crap in a corner somewhere I took out my mat and picked a spot in the room with Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” spontaneously going through my head. As soon as Mounira started talking with her soothing voice and ever so charming smile, I was able to shut out the monkey business going on in my mind. Lying on my back, my senses truly spun around because of the details on the ceiling. Mounira succeeded beautifully in integrating the yoga session with its fairy-tale-like surroundings.
Where do we go from here? These are the last words of a catching poem Mounira wrote herself and recited to us as we were about to end our practice. In this age of mostly overbooked schedules it are events like these that make you take a step back and appreciate something we otherwise consider a common piece of our Antwerp street view. I rediscovered a piece of Antwerp through my yoga practice. And for that I’m forever grateful to Mounira.
Where did I go? After putting back on my 1 too many layers of clothes (because no sh*t with this typical Belgian weather limbo) I found my way to my favorite coffee stand Cafeat8 on Vogeltjesmarkt. For the rest of the day my face was reading a big fat YEZZ! (a double ZZ: above normal excitement and zen).
Text by Ikram Annouri
Pics by Ikram Annouri and Greetje Van Buggenhout