YOGA AND LIFE IN UKRAINE THROUGH THE EYES OF AN ENGLISHMAN
Interview with a student of ‘YOGA FOR FOREIGNERS’ CLASS Bryan Waters
I am always happy when I have an opportunity to communicate with talented and interesting people and meeting Bryan who came to me to learn yoga has become such a pleasant and enriching cross-cultural experience. Our talks at the classes about life of expats in Ukraine, yoga and art have resulted in this conversation, which I want to share with you.
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Bryan, so why Ukraine, Kharkov? How did it happen that you moved here?
I ended up in Ukraine, and specifically in Kharkov, because of a combination of factors which came together.I had started to take an interest in learning Russian and had even done a basic course in the UK and was interested in working and living somewhere where it was spoken. I already had two friends here in Kharkov through work and we had spent time together in the UK and in Ukraine prior to my decision to move here. I had decided to move away from my previous career, as an engineer and technology marketer, and try teaching English abroad to have some new experiences and expand my horizons, so I had done a training course to enable that.
And what about communication with Ukrainian people? What is different and what is the same with English and Ukrainian people?
Communication has not been much of an issue for the most part. I had some difficulties, of course, when I first arrived - especially in Lvov! However, I had my friends here to help me in the beginning if I needed it and I have found that in general people are quite helpful and there is a reasonable level of basic English amongst many young people. The attitudes can be quite different and sometimes challenging, particularly in 'customer services' where there is less attentiveness to customers than there would be in the UK.
When did you come to the idea to start yoga practice? Why it was interesting to you? And what yoga practice means to you now? How it affects your life?
As for yoga, it really started when I got a bad football injury a couple of years ago and damaged my hamstring. I decided that I needed to do something to improve my flexibility - that was the main motivation at that time.
Since then, yoga has become more meaningful and more important. It provides a lot more than just flexibility - some great strength-building as well - and it also helps with other aspects like relaxation, balance, stamina and even attitude to physical and other challenges.
Can you also tell about your talents? (I know u have them:)) The music and photgraphy, when did start doing this and what emotions it gives to u?
My main other interests are music and photography, you are right, as well as sport and travel! I started playing the guitar when I was about 15 and I have had some long breaks from playing since then but now I am very active in trying to develop my playing and my songwriting. It gives me huge pleasure but, like anything worthwhile, it's also a challenge and it's a great experience to learn and grow. Photography is something that I take less seriously, I would say, for now, and just do it mostly for my own pleasure but I feel it's something I will get more and more into in the future. With both the music and the photography I really strive to avoid doing something banal and standard or predictable, but that's not always easy!
What would u recommend to those who want to start yoga practice but are still only reading about it on the Internet?:)
Finally, I would recommend yoga to anyone. I wish I had started earlier and I certainly hope to continue it in the future. It's great to learn more about your body and increase your 'awareness' of yourself through this practice. I feel that I benefit from it both physically and emotionally and I would just suggest to everyone that they try it for at least a month before making a decision. I think that each person has a different time in their life when they are 'ready' for yoga and for me this time is now :) I don't think I would have enjoyed it so much when I was younger and was more interested in competitive sports. I recommend it to all my friends and family!