Now close your eyes and let’s all say “um”

Boaz and I went to a yoga class this morning, and after class, and after the five minutes at the end of class where we lie down and try not to fall asleep, and after the teacher rang a bell to wake up everyone who fell asleep, we all said goodbye and mimed cleaning our yoga mats and started putting our shoes on. One woman went up and thanked the teacher.

The teacher asked her what her name was, and the woman didn’t miss a beat before answering.

“Well, my yoga name is Priest.”

The yoga teacher then told the unnamed woman who’s yoga name is Priest that her yoga name was Alex. “I chose it because it’s something simple.” she explained.

I’ve never considered adopting a yoga name, and I don’t feel any more likely to do so after this morning. I’ve already chosen domain names and usernames a Hebrew name, and I’ve named plants and Word documents and three now-dead fish. The well is sort of running dry for name ideas, and I need to save a few names for future wifi routers and dogs and limited liability companies.

Maybe when giving yourself a yoga name, the place to start is ruling out possible yoga names. If that’s the case, I’m pretty sure my yoga name isn’t Priest. It might be Alex. Or maybe Alex will be the name of our wifi router or our limited liability company – I do like how simple it is.


This is not a priest, but the yoga studio looks a bit like this so it seemed appropriate.

Where’s the fire

I haven’t looked at any lists of the top tourist activities in Amsterdam, but I know what the most popular one is. It’s hard to miss.

It’s not the museums, or the tulip festival, and it’s not taking a selfie in front of the Anne Frank house. The most popular thing to do if you’re a tourist in Amsterdam is stopping in the middle of a street, and just standing there.

You have to try it.

Walk into the middle of a busy street where people are cycling – then stop, set down your purse, and just stand there. Breathe it in.

Or find an almost empty street when there’s just one cyclist coming, walk out and stand in front of them, and start deleting old photos from your digital camera.

Stopping and standing is great for groups too. Grab eleven or twelve friends, find a narrow street, spread out so you fully cover all the sidewalk and street space and then stop, just stop, and stand, and talk about where to eat lunch. But really talk about it, think of lots of lunch ideas. That place sounds good, but what other places? This street isn’t going to fill itself!

Why walk when you could stop? Why sit at a cafe, on a bench, or near a sidewalk when you could stand in the middle of traffic? Travel isn’t about the destination, or even the journey. It’s about stopping and standing for as long as possible. And it’s about waving your arms around to take up more space, if you can.