We were blessed to work with hundreds of enthusiastic Bowspring students in a total of 17 European cities (20 different teaching venues), which in terms of days away from home was the longest teaching tour of my career going back to 1989. Gratefully, we were well taken care by many bright and good-hearted people throughout our European Bowspring community, so generous and hospitable.
On the European streets, we met taxi drivers, independent shop keepers, and family-run restaurateurs; and in the Bowspring classrooms, we connected with a wide range of functional movement aficionados, yoga teachers, cranial-sacral therapists, osteopaths, science professionals, and artists. Although the cultures and languages were quite different between most of the 9 countries we visited, the demographic of the students who attended our Bowspring workshops was very similar - your average European yoga practitioner – young adult Caucasian women (average age range 25 – 45). Our classes in Europe were usually 80-90% women, Berlin having highest attendance of men at around 25%.
Outside the classroom people would ask us where we are from, and when we told them, ‘United States’, they would eventually bring up the topic of President Trump. Those who were worried about their employment with the surge of immigrants and refugees in the last 5 years, like some of the German taxi drivers we met, were pro-Trump, while many others thought Trump represented the worst of the world today – narcissism, anti-intellectualism, and predatory greed.
The state of the economy (local and in the EU), the future of their European lifestyle, climate change and the health direction of Earth were also some of the important issues that many people wanted to discuss with us. Also, the sensitive and emotionally charged topic of immigration was widely brought up in our discussions with local citizens. Many were aware that the US military industrial complex expansion into Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya since 9-11-01 was a central cause of the refugees flooding Europe and the UK, especially in the last 5 years when immigration rates have quadrupled in some countries like Germany. Despite us being outed as Americans, local people on the street were generally very good-mannered and nice to us!