Hanoi – the second largest city and my last stop in Vietnam. Second in size behind Ho Chi Minh, but not second in charm. Like Melbourne and Sydney, there are some clear differences:
- Hanoi – Communist, French architecture, picturesque and wealthy.
- Ho Chi Minh – Socialist, rooftops, modern cafes and edgy.
But what they do have in common is that the food is amazing and so are the people. During my stay I found Zenith Yoga & Cafe, a one-stop-shop for all things Yoga and healthy vegetarian/vegan food located in the old quarter of Hanoi. As much as I loved the street food in Vietnam, I was definitely ready for a salad and kombucha! I wasn’t disappointed. As a matter of fact I was so impressed, I ended up back there every lunch. If you’re a yogi, or just want a fresh vegetarian meal in a laidback environment, put this at the top of your list.
The Yoga class was delightful. I didn’t realise how much I missed Iyengar ropes until I found myself hanging in an inverted supta baddha konasana (bound-angle pose). For those who have no idea what I am talking about get to your nearest Iyengar or Aerial Yoga class IMMEDIATELY, if not sooner. Apart from being energising, increasing your immunity, improving blood circulation and making you taller, inversions can literally give you a new view on life!
And a new view was exactly what I needed. Despite loving everywhere I have travelled to so far, there have been more than a few hiccups and challenges along the way. Continuous natural disasters causing several re-routes, the lack of coeliac-friendly food giving me tummy issues, and my grandmother’s health rapidly deteriorating – the ‘relaxing holiday’ I had hoped for was yet to unfold and I was letting the stress get to me. I needed to go back to basics. After a few minutes upside down and a few minutes of yogic breathing (I like to call this combo ‘hitting the reset button’), I realised it was time to let go of my expectations and embrace all the exciting new experiences the rest of my holiday had in store for me. Ishvara Pranidhana – surrendering to highest. It was that, or continue to suffer – no brainer.
So if you’re ever in conflict, or struggling to make sense of a situation, perhaps it’s time to hit the reset button, get a new perspective and realise that there is very little in life we can actually control. Life unfolds in front of us, all we need to do is hop on for the ride. Sounds pretty damn exciting to me!
A big thank you to Zenith Yoga & Cafe for nourishing my mind, body and soul during my time in Hanoi and to ZenFlow for helping me make sure I’m on my mat when I need to be! Next stop – Bangkok, Thailand. Check out where I’ve been and where I’m going by following my blog.
See you in Thailand!