Vietnam has always been near the top of the bucket list for me. The picturesque views of Ha Long Bay and landscapes of central Vietnam are among the world’s best. But I must admit, I’ve never been a fan of large Asian cities. Most are loud, polluted, congested, my personal space gets constantly invaded and my senses overloaded. So as you can imagine, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh) was always going to be an interesting experience! In some ways, Saigon is all of these things, but there is something harmonious about the madness. Yoga (union) can be found everywhere. But there have been 2 distinct instances, both very different from each other, that I have felt this vast sense of spaciousness similar to that found in meditation.
My first experience was on the back of a motorbike. I must admit it was nice to be on the other side of the chaos. Crossing a road in a city with over 5 million motor bikes and incessant honking feels like a life threatening experience… Every. Single. Time. But the traffic is like a moving organism, a well oiled machine. It is honestly a spectacle. Though people don’t really obey road rules and there are no such thing as lanes, it all just works. Someone speeds up, the other slows down. You drive on the other side of the road, others go around you. And all this happens just centimetres apart from each other. Like a flock of birds, there are little to no collisions and road rage just doesn’t exist. I’ve never felt so calm and safe in or on a vehicle. Everyone moving together as one – it was simply magical.
The second experience was on a rooftop of a building I found down an inconspicuous little lane way off the main drag. If you think Melbourne has awesome rooftop bars and grungy lane ways, you aint seen nothing yet! I was alone, the air was fresher, the breeze was light, it was about to rain, and the noise of the city slightly muffled – I had never felt so present. The vastness of the city and the 360 view of the never ending landscape of buildings helped me feel spacious and surprisingly grounded. It felt like my heart was beating with the pulse of the city and we were one in the same. Very cool.
Yoga seems to have stuck pretty close to its roots here in Saigon. Hatha, Vinyasa, Iyengar and philosophy classes was all I found and I thoroughly appreciated how they respected the tradition. Poses were instructed in Sanskrit and most people didn’t use mats. Thankfully, I had my ZenFlow Air with me. Humid weather and my sweaty palms does not make for steadiness and ease! Coming soon – my official review of ZenFlow’s Air.
Next stop, Da Nang in central Vietnam. Famous for being one of the cleanest cities in the world with exquisite beaches and marble mountains, you don’t want to miss out on what’s coming next! Follow my blog to see where else I land in South-East Asia!