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After the first failed attempt of finding a yoga studio I found one, Yoga Boys Berlin. Three nights a week 8-20 mostly gay men meet and practice together and after each Monday session the ones who wants to can join for dinner at a local restaurant in Kreutzberg. The guy leading the group talks about the importance of building a positive community and that this yoga group is part of that. Once a month there is a brunch as well.

The men coming to the classes I have attended so far are between 24-50 years old with different level of yoga experiences, different bodies and backgrounds making it a safe space. I have no sassy gossip to tell you this time, no dirt. Just that I will continue go to these classes during the final weeks of my Berlin stay.

If you are in Berlin and interested, here is the Facebook page.

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Back in Stockholm I have an amazing yoga teacher. S is humble, teaches well and encourages us to own our practice, including doing variations or even different poses if we have the need to or for some other purpose wants to do so. This is key in his teaching and I agree with it and have incorporated that also when I am taking classes for other teachers.

Together with my friend K we decided to go to a community yoga centre in Neukölln here in Berlin. I have done yoga for a while but I still feel like a beginner, it was K:S first time. The place came highly recommended, although I saw on Facebook that someone posted that some of the teachers had a bad attitude, little did I know how right that person was.

The studio looked just what I would expect from a Berlin yoga studio, wooden floors, a fire place, white painted bricks and huge windows which let in so much spring light. It was a beginners class but I could see K and other beginners struggle since the teacher was not very precis about left and right, positioning of the feed and other key elements. I did pretty ok due to my previous experience. At the end of the class he did something unexpected; he tried to teach this class of beginners, who could not do proper ujjayi breathing, The Crow. The crow is one of those poses I cannot do. I either fall or hurt my knees so I decided to do a simple headstand instead. It looks advanced but I learned the basis of that in 10 minutes a few years back.

crow

The Crow

I went up, felt strong and concentrated and I went down to catch my breath. And on my way up for my second headstand I felt a finger poking my butt, it was the teacher. I lost my concentration and went down heavier than usually, still not falling, please note.

The teacher in a harsh voice: That is inappropriate. If you don’t wanna do a position, do child’s pose.

And then he went back to the front of the class and continued in his normal soft voice. Needless to say, I was furious. First, you do not interrupt while someone is super concentrated unless you pose a danger to yourself or others. Second, you do not call anyone’s practice “inappropriate”. What does that even mean? I was not naked, I did not have a boner, I did not drool over the hot guy in front of me (only inside my head). Third, if you feel like correcting someone for breaking some community rule not being communicated anywhere, do it after class in private.

I left the yoga centre in anger, and decided to find another centre. Which I did, a centre with only gay men. To be continued…

Once upon a time when you wanted something to sound cool and futuristic you added  words like Hyper (as in Hyper Island) or Tronic (as in Technotronic) or Cyber (as in 90s London club wear brand Cyberdog). One would have hoped that those days were gone, wouldn’t one? Yes, one would. But no.

McFit, my home here in Berlin has got something called Cyber Workout which is basically classes of yoga, spinning et cetera and the concept is 55 minutes of pre-recorded videos on a huge screen beginning every hour. The benefit for the gym is obvious; it is cheap since you do not have to pay people more than the production costs, which are spit between all the branches of McFit. The benefits for us as consumers are that you can pretty much choose exactly when to work out and you do not have to pre-book  since, as far as I know, the classes are never full.

How was it? I am glad you asked. I attended Cyber Spinning the other day and the class was led by a fit German guy who present himself as “Hannes” via his headset. That is all the headset is used for throughout the class, except for recording his breath… weird hearing his breath, but the instructions came from a voice over. A very typical German voiceover i would say, you can really hear him dubbing Daniel Craig, Ian McKellen AND all the kids in Fuller House.

And then we have the gaze that would make any POV porn star absolutely green of envy. The gaze freaked me out and after 30 min I had to leave the class and finish my cardio workout in another room. If my self-hatred is big enough, I will attend some other Cyber Workout next week. To be continued…

Spinning_teaser

As I pointed out in a previous post, Berlin gym goers are not really into hygiene; the three showered catering for the entire male audience of McFit by KaDeWe are rarely used. The hygiene ritual for most men at the gym consists of two key procedures. First, drying off the sweat with the same towel they used to clean the machines with. Second, spray-on deo.

Yes, spray-on deo is big in Germany. Cheap, spray-on deo. This is problematic since the spray is so powerful that everyone within three meters will be get so much deo on their bodies or clothes that you can smell it for six hours. Remember that Lynx commercial from the 80s? Yes. Like that.

lynx

And then we have the smell. It is somewhere between 80s eau de cologne Van Gils and some cleaning stuff used in the bathrooms at California Fitness in Thailand which I visited and wrote about a few years back.

Twice, so far, have I gone straight home and taken a second shower after a gym session. I need coping strategies. Fast.

PS: Watch the Lynx commercial here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZ-QpLcLMBI

I have really choosen a shit gym. But for 20 euros per month, shit is ok. Or is it? It does not have a sauna, which is odd for a Swede. And boring, but I guess in a gym culture where people do not even take a shower after gym, who would relax in the sauna afterwards? But at a gym where your protein drink is being picked up and delivered by a robotic arm, which by the way looks like a 90s sci-fi movie, one would expect the basics; a shower head. Not getting head in the shower. An actual shower head.

At both the McFits I have been to there were basically one thick stream of water hitting you in the head. And every two minutes, the water stops and you have to get out of the shower and press one of the three buttons on the wall. Three buttons. Three showers. Really? The first time the water stopped I had to ask for help since my body was covered in shower gel and I did not look forward to just drying it off with a towel. Thank Mae I could ask the cute and kinda inbred looking guy in the shower next to mine to help me out.

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I like showering after gym. I do it every time I have worked out. And I do it at the gym rather than at home; putting on a shirt on my body that I just sort of just dried with a towel is just not my thing. But apparently it is the Berlin way.

During my first week at McFit here in Berlin the showers were being repaired so I dried off and took a shower at home. But today the showers were working again and I was hoping to be able to write something juicy / humiliating but no. At a gym the size of four SATS Regeringsgatan it only has three showers and no sauna. So, were there a queue this crowded night? No. None. The Berlin way is apparently just to continue to dry off, put clothes on and leave into the night. That is just dirty. And not in a good way.

I a previous post I wrote about absolutely necessary frases that I needed to learn to keep sane at the gym. And it did not take me long until I got all the translation help I needed from a person who speaks fluently gay, besides German and English. Here we go:

Bitch, do not interrupt me in the middle of a set. Rude.
Ey du Spast, unterbrich mich nicht mitten in meinem Satz! Rude.

No, I am obviously using these dumbbells.
Nein, offensichtlich benutze ich diese Dumbbells wirklich…

I agree. What kind of schmuck name is “McFit” anyway?
Das stimmt. Was ist ”McFit” eigentlich für ein beschissener Name?

Keep your fucking voice down, this is not the hair saloon.
Halt verdammt nochmal die Fresse, wir sind hier nicht beim Friseur!

Hey, that scruffy chin matches with your furry chest.
Hallo. Dein Grübchen am Kinn passt sehr gut zu deiner behaarten Brust.

Yeah, I would love to have a coffee with you. When?
Ja, gerne können wir uns auf einen Kaffee treffen. Wann denn?

My marvelous translater adds: “OBS! Germans are way more direct than Swedes. If a German asks for a coffee, they really just mean having a coffee… If a German wants some nookie, he is most likely gonna ask for it straight away: Entschuldigung… Ficken? (Excuse me… fuck?)”

Now I am all set for the gym. Thank you, Mr Translator.