Urban aventures a Lyon

Posted on May 30, 2013

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I’ve spent this week in Lyon and have enjoyed some absolutely glorious runs taking in the fantastic Parc de la Tete D’or, exploring the quaint cobbled streets of Vieux Lyon, ambling up and down the river, past canal boats and bars, along graceful tree-lined boulevards with their imposing French architecture and al fresco cafes and taking on the steep, invigorating hills up to the effortlessly elegant Bastilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere. There, I’ve then found a quiet pew inside and just sat, absorbing the silence, soaking up the atmosphere and marvelling at the utterly magnificent interior.

These runs have brought back wonderful memories of so many cities I’ve discovered on foot … too many to mention … but I’ve long thought that there’s no better way to discover the true heartbeat of a place, its people, its colour, character and culture than via daybreak or sunset runs. Bliss!  They’ve also reminded me of a post I wrote last year about the glorious French word ‘flaneur’ … coined by the French philosopher, Baudelaire, the word means to stroll, to saunter, to explore without purpose or pursuit, rhyme or reason. It refers to discovering a city at a leisurely pace, taking in the surroundings with no particular destination in mind. As JRR Tolkien so perfectly put, ‘Not all those who wander, are lost.’

I’ve also been enjoying some great yoga classes at a lovely little studio I found.  Run by two ladies, a fellow Scot and an American, the classes are taught in a mix of French and English and attended by both. Despite my love for immersing myself in new cultures, I miss my yoga practice when not in Dubai so seeking classes elsewhere makes perfect sense.  Still, you can pick any country in the world, any people in the world and you find that yoga in all four corners is very similar no matter what language we speak. You take a pose, you learn how to do that pose, you learn how to unlock its energy and breathe into it, how to deepen it and well, the same format applies beyond all borders. Yoga so definitely transcends the level where our cultural identities reside which makes it all the more inclusive for those who practice it together.

Next stop Geneva, followed by Zurich, then back to the land of sand … the heat will hit me with a vengeance but it won’t be long before I return to cooler climes once more …

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