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Last night, my boyfriend and I took a walk to see the Széchenyi Chain Bridge in Budapest, Hungary. When each bustling day falls into the softness of evening, the historic connector between the two areas of the city—Buda and Pest—illuminates, sparkling like the city’s very own string of stars.
On our walk, we passed a girl about our age carrying a yoga mat. Minutes later, we spotted another woman holding a similar rolled-up cylinder under her arm—further evidence that yoga lives and breathes in this foreign place. It was apparent that a studio was nearby. We continued to stroll toward the River Danube to find a spot for our picnic of cured sausage, Gouda, fresh bread, and rosé.
Our five-week trip consists of stops in a number of countries throughout Europe. So far we’ve made the effort to practice only twice in formal studios. Two nights ago, we found a special spot in the city center of Pest called Yogatree Studio, where the Hungarian teacher taught a lovely 90-minute, bilingual Vinyasa class.
It became so clear to us just how much every place, every choice, is a creation from an intention.
Peace enveloped the small space despite its bustling downtown location. Outside, street vendors, wine bars, and bistros served up evening eats and libations to spirited crowds. But inside the studio, with its windows closed, it was quiet. It became so clear to us just how much every place, every choice, is a creation from an intention.
We brought two travel mats on the trip, realizing that the sticky, rolled-up surfaces are worth their weight every time we venture away from home. Hotel room and Airbnb apartment practices don’t always have to be an hour long, as even a 20-minute stretching session after a long day of walking will make a difference.
We both teach yoga, but that doesn’t always mean we dedicate a specific amount of time to our personal practices. We are students—feeling what we need, listening fully, and responding to every lesson that comes our way. Yoga moves with us, wherever we go and in every moment of life. “Wherever you go, there you are,” as they say.
Being fully present happens when we step into the flow of life and experience each moment for what it is—to see it, to inhale it, and to move with a cadence created by curiosity and choice.
And while the asana practice of yoga, the movement, has been important to fit in on this European adventure, what’s been even more significant is our awareness and sense of wonderment, noticing mindfulness and breath. Being fully present happens when we step into the flow of life and experience each moment for what it is—to see it, to inhale it, and to move with a cadence created by curiosity and choice.
There will always be people you meet, all over the world, who are obvious yoga practitioners. Mat-carrying walkers and cyclists are always an easy giveaway, and in places like Europe, an individual’s apparel can actually reveal the wearer’s recent activities (wearing stretchy pants and a sports bra all day is not the norm everywhere, apparently).
Then there are people you will meet by chance, like Thomas, our favorite Budapest breakfast server at Déryné Bisztró, who always seems to make mindfulness a priority. These are the people who act from a place of consciousness—people who are living and breathing all over this wide world. They look at you clearly in the eyes when they speak, and they listen even more intently; they are bright and beautiful, just like the twinkling bridges in this city and many others. They are the links that connect us to one another—here, there, everywhere.
Photo by Ali Kaukas
Kim Fuller grew up in the Colorado mountains and has always found beauty and inspiration through nature and movement. She is currently a freelance journalist and yoga teacher based in Vail. Her writing and photo work has focused on health, wellness, recreation, food, and travel since 2007, and Kim began her yoga practice in Boulder, followed by her first teacher training with Real Evolution Yoga at Peace Retreat Costa Rica in November of 2012.