How Helen The Yoga Teacher Landed In Nerja

I’m 27 and my boyfriend, Deedee is 31 and it has always been a joint ambition to learn a foreign language. We have both been lucky enough to travel around the world, but we wanted to embrace the huge challenge and life experience of living in another country. We love the language, culture, people, lifestyle and food of Spain and of course being British, the climate too! Last year we decided we weren’t ready to settle down in England and make all those important scary decisions just yet, so going against social conventions we left our secure, well paid jobs in a beautiful area of England and upped sticks to come to Spain.

We were chased by concerns of how crazy we were to go with the current economic climate, thankfully our family and friends understood our desire for a new adventure and know we’re not the sort of couple to let ‘what ifs’ and ‘buts’ put us off an idea so we bit the bullet and booked a one way ticket to Valencia.

We spoke a handful of Spanish words and shared a love of San Miguel, not naïve enough to think that this was enough to be mistaken for natives, but it was a good place to start! We hired a ‘Wicked’ campervan, they are not a classy mode of transport, rather – the cheapest! A couple of my friends had hired one previously which had pictured a kangaroo doing something unrepeatable to a kiwi bird, in comparison we got off lightly and ended up with a large black camper with a red stripe in the style of the A-Team!

And so our Spanish adventure began. We travelled along the south coast from Denia to Cadiz, stopping off in various places to see if anywhere felt like a potential new home.There were a range of amusing moments, reversing through the tiniest rabbit burrow streets in quaint towns, zipping along those horrendously high bridges on the new motorway, using the beach showers as our bathroom, oh and not forgetting the flat tyre in Gibraltar!

We had one of those common your-annoying-me-shut-up moments where Deedee revealed how off putting it was when I squeaked every time we veered to one side or got too close to the vehicle in front whilst he was driving, this moment was quickly followed by one of those common the-woman-is-always-right moments whereby Deedee looked longingly to one side at a Pizza Hut, simultaneously we hit a kerb (needless to say it happened because I was forbidden to squeak) it made an almighty bang and we quickly discovered we had a flat tyre…oops.

It turns out ‘Wicked’ camper vans are not quite so ‘Wicked’ when changing a tyre, a lovely Spanish man who we fondly called ‘Our Hero’ came to our rescue and all was well, apart from our puncture had delayed our exit out of Gibraltar and we happened to hit rush hour along with 1000’s of Spaniards. How’s ya luck?!

Anyway we had no intention of staying in Gibraltar, that was purely a tourist trip but the number of places crossed off the list grew: Bedar, Lanjaron, Sayalonga, Alora, Vejer, Chiclana, all had things to offer but didn’t tick all the boxes and then there was Nerja! Close to a main airport, traditional, not too built up but with tourism and an expat community for more opportunity, on the coast with gorgeous beaches and everything within easy reach. Tick, tick and tick!

So that was decided, Nerja was to be our new home and what about jobs?! We’re both qualified to teach English as a foreign language and after putting up posters for an intercambio language exchange, we were lucky enough to meet some lovely Spanish people and through word of mouth both have some Spanish clients we teach English to. Since we have been in Nerja we have been very lucky to make some wonderful Spanish friends who help us with our Spanglish and enrich our social life enormously! We can often be found laughing too loudly in the Little Italy Pizzeria! Embracing a complete life changing experience I felt inspired to qualify as a teacher in something I love – Yoga, and I haven’t looked back since. I qualified as a professional Yoga Teacher in January in the Andalusian mountains with Spirit of Yoga, certified by Yoga Alliance International, and have been teaching classes ever since.

Nerja is an ideal place to teach Yoga, from my experience people in Andalucía are more open and accepting of alternative and holistic therapies, meditation and generally want to escape the stresses of everyday life and get in touch with their body, mind and soul. I have been practicing Yoga for 5 years now and couldn’t live my life without it. Most people think of Yoga as a class of different positions and sequences which strengthen your body and mind, and this is what I teach. However Yoga extends to be a way of life, it’s about being the best ‘you’ that you can be, incorporating more compassion into everyday life. My classes are very relaxed and don’t panic – not too hippie-dippie!

My Yoga classes take place in the spacious and cool basement of Hotel Villa Flamenca, I also teach classes at Time Gym every Friday morning. I absolutely love teaching Yoga and hope that through teaching conscious awareness of movement and breath I can help my students feel stronger, empowered and compassionate. I feel privileged to have discovered the positive magic of Nerja and be able to do what I love and love what I do!

For more information on Helen’s yoga classes click here.

Words And Pictures Copyright © Helen Hymas 2012.

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