The most frequently asked question I received over the last month was likely some variation of “Why did you decide to travel and/or study in Hong Kong?” So in order to appease all those curious minds, I will go ahead and address that right off the bat…
In late February 2018, I completed the first 100-hour module of Jason Crandell‘s advanced teacher training program. Because I already earned my 500-hour credential in 2014 as the first graduate under the Colorado School of Yoga‘s 300-hour advanced teacher training program with my teacher Gina Caputo, I wasn’t in a hurry to finish another 300-hour program. Since Jason is an international yoga teacher, I knew he offered trainings outside of San Francisco so I decided I would wait and travel with him to Hong Kong and London to complete the 2nd & 3rd module in 2019 & 2020 respectively.
While many have Hong Kong on their travel wish list, it was never really on my radar. Since I was so focused on immersing myself in the teacher training, I hadn’t done much research prior to the trip as I might have had I chosen the destination myself.
Hong Kong, a republic of China, is much more metropolitan than I anticipated. While several friends and family sent me countless tips on ways to navigate around the city and long lists of places to eat and explore, I experienced a bit of reverse culture shock. I highly underestimated this place and my naiveté left me in profound astonishment.
Luxury shopping malls are everywhere with entrances all around you and access on ever corner! The local metro station (MTR) is highly efficient and functional with stops that lead directly into a mall so you may somehow never see the outdoors! And with Louis Vuitton, Rolex and Dior on almost every corner, high-end stores are unavoidable as well. The cash money is colorful and fun and Hongkongers appear to have lots of it!
I quickly learned that people don’t have much respect for personal space and will literally walk right into you on the street, in the metro or anywhere they damn well please. That cultural difference took some time to get used to but eventually I returned to my NYC roots and navigated urgently around the passersby. Challenge averted!
As a former British colony, Hong Kong is also quite international as well. In the teacher training alone, I counted 21 countries represented including Mongolia, Indonesia and United Arab Emirates. The yoga scene is huge and much of that proof can be found at the 12 Pure Yoga studios in Hong Kong proper. I expected a translator to be in Jason’s teacher training program but with so many astute and educated students it wasn’t necessary.
While Hong Kong certainly triggered me in many different ways, I’m still grateful for my experience because it pulled me outside of my comfort zone and led me to share a new experience with like-minded yoga professionals from all around the world. I love that I now have yogi friends in Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi, Melbourne, Queenstown, Zurich, Taipei, Johannesburg, etc. Plus with any training, I learn more about myself both as a yoga practitioner and as a yoga teacher and all that increased self awareness contributes to my growth as an individual and as a conscious contributing member of the world.
May it be of benefit. Until next time, Hong Kong! Mhgoi! (Thank you!)