Korean Yogahhhhhh!


Emphasis on the ahhhh. Yesterday was my first day back at yoga. I went regularly when we lived here the last time and good intentions were that I would continue it when I had returned to the U.S. But being good intentions, they never really materialized. Oh, that’s not to say if I was stiff or sore, I would be totally Korean and use a closed fist to hit myself in the affected area but I never continued with my yoga.

I was really scared to start back knowing what I was in for and worried I would embarass myself. Choi met me at yoga and in fact, it was his first time back in several months due to some health issues. It was all new instructors. My old instructors had transfered to another Daum Yoga in Suwon. I was very attached to my old instructors so I wasn’t too happy with the change.

As we began warm ups, more regulars from when I took two years ago showed up and surprised looks on their faces. I ran over and gave each a big hug and some of them grandmothers put their hands on my face which is an endearing Korean greeting used only for family. They were all so glad to see me back.

Practice went well and like I imagined, I could hardly keep up the the 70 and 80 year olds. I was surprised to see how my balance had suffered along with the inability to hit myself in the stomach for 10 minutes. I did it but my arms hurt like crazy.

The head instructor also knows quite a bit of English and I would hear commands like “breath” and “relax.” She would also come over to me and tell me to straighen my feet (of course, I couldn’t at least not right now). She would mention body parts like “heart,” “stomach” and “brain.” But there were several times during practice when she would say. “close your anus.” I’m not kidding and the first time I heard it, I thought I had imagined some Korean that sounded like that. I heard it a few more times until I knew that is exactly what she was saying. I think she wanted me to tighten my bum but who really knows. I just tried not to laugh loudly.

We were laying on our back making our stomachs go in and out (try doing that for 20 minutes) when she came over to me and unsnapped the top of my uniform. She then took her pointer finger and pressed with that one finger somewhere in the center of my upper chest. It hurt like a knife. She smiled and said “good,” and then moved her finger down a few inches and did the same thing which resulted in the same reaction only this time I removed her finger. She told me to imagine the pain going doing my left arm and out my fingers. She was apply pressure to pressure points on my body. In 10 days of yoga, I will feel no pain and be in better condition. My chest hurt the rest of the day.

I had some shopping to do at Home Plus and then I caught a bus home to Suwon Station. From Suwon Station, it’s a three to four block walk to the Dormy and when you are wiped out, it seems like a marathon.

Today she wanted me a half hour early to evaluate my body. I knew I would be in for some more major pain and I was ready for it. I never knew my spinal cord could hurt so much. She had me lay on my stomach on a mat and she used her pointer finger and then the palm of her hand to press down hard along my spinal cord. It hurt like crazy and she seemed to really like when it hurt. I’m sure it just confirmed to her that my body is in bad condition. Luckily, most of the evaluation was her explaining Daum Yoga and their beliefs. I told her that I had taken Daum Yoga before and understood but she still wanted to tell me. I like the workout.


Afterwards Choi went with me to my bank to try and do a wire transfer. Of course, that failed. I needed my passport to do it even though I had my ARC, they still required a passport number. After Choi told her multiple times that I wanted to take out of my U.S. account and put into my Korean account, it wasn’t till the end that she realized that she had the form to do the opposite. That would have been a real mess since she said it takes two weeks for the money to transfer.
We really don’t need the money but we want to see how long it takes and if I can ever be able to do it myself.

Then Choi asked if I was hungry which I was and he said there was a mandu shop not too far which was famous for mandu. I haven’t had mandu since we arrived so I was excited. We got galbi (meat) mandu.


I grabbed one of their flyers as we left. The waitress told Choi that his English was very good. He really liked to hear that. I tried to pay for lunch but he wouldn’t let me. He is going to go with me on Friday to try and do the transfer at the bank again. Tomorrow is my first chilbo (Korean enameling) class and I can’t wait!

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