Monday, November 30, 2009
There’s no place like ohm. Click your heels and – actually, better yet place two heels together, stretch your arms over your head and reach down and breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out… Welcome to the wonderful world of yoga. Looking for a place to find your inner Zen among the craziness of Parisian life? Well, I certainly was until I found… Rasa Yoga. This yoga center in Paris’ 5th arrondissement was voted one of the top 25 yoga centers in the world by Travel & Leisure Magazine and has been voted the #1 Yoga Center in Paris by La Fleur de Paris. OK, so it’s the ONLY yoga I’ve done in Paris, but why go anywhere else when this is clearly the best? Rasa offers classes every day of the week, morning, afternoon and evening and offers classes in both English and French (some instructors end up doing the classes in “franglais” to please everyone, even better!) There are classes for every level – bring your grandmother or your friend the yogamaster visiting from India, there’s a class for both of them – and disciplines range from Vinyasa to Anusara to Ashtanga to Iyengar. I am currently mildly obsessed with Vinyasa yoga and enjoying the classes led by Brazilian instructor Adriano, but also enjoy the Anusara English-language classes* (*see: sometimes things, such as body parts are lost in translation. Story to follow…) led by the lovely Ebba and the charismatic Rajeev. The French-language classes were a good lesson in anatomical vocabulary for me. During one of my first classes in French, the instructor said “mettez les orteilles sur le sol” (“put your toes on the floor”). Now, the French word for ears is “oreilles” which, come on, sounds JUST like “orteilles” does it not? The word for “toes” in French can also be “petits doigts” so I was expecting that. In any case, I mistook “orteilles” for “oreilles” and, following instructions – or so I thought – placed my ears on the floor and lifted my arms. Everyone else was standing up, two feet firmly planted on the floor, hands in the air, as I was in a half-fetal position with my face plastered to my mat and my hands attempting to reach the sky. I unfortunately, don’t have a photo witnessing this, but you can imagine the ridiculousness of the situation. I now am fully familiar with the French word for toes. Not to mention, do not advise any yoga-like positions involving putting ones ears to the floor and lifting ones hands (I was sore for weeks).
But check out what I can do now!
(Just kidding, but one day perhaps?)
If you’re not Zen enough after a Rasa Yoga class, then head to the Anne Fontaine spa for a massage or facial that will – and you can quote me on this – change your life.
Located on the basement level of Anne Fontaine’s famous boutique on the rue St Honore, the spa is a haven of peace and beauty. Enter looking like Shrek and the talented Soraya will leave you looking like a supermodel. (*see my before and after photos below – incredible!)
I don’t know what they put in their oils – actually, I do, all-natural organic ingredients from Brazil – but they are quite magical. For all of you world-travelers out there (or even those of you in from the suburbs, once you’ve done it, you’ll be finding any excuse you can to return), I recommend the anti-jetlag massage. It’s 50 minutes of pure pleasure – a full body massage complete with oils (and, if you’re lucky, the magic hands of masseur Daniele), focus on re-energizing the legs and patches under the eyes to get rid of any trace of undereye circles and fatigue. Sip a cup of their “in-house tea” to purify your body and your mind. Every detail of the experience is perfect – from putting on your robe in the dressing area to waiting with a cup of tea and a magazine in the waiting area to a dip in the pool afterwards. Ooh baby, heaven IS a place on earth… and it’s right on the rue St Honore.
For those ladies looking for the best facial of your lives, ask for Soraya who will give you a “face evasion treatment” complete with exfoliating scrub, oxygenating mask and revitalizing massage with essential oils. If you don’t have the time – or the money – to go often, many of the beauty products used in the treatments are for sale. 50-minute massages and facials cost around 150 euros – yes, it’s not cheap, but can you really put a price on a trip to heaven? Plus, rumor has it, they’re opening a location in New York. To be continued… In the meantime, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out…