Teaching Yoga in Malaysia brings a variety of students with different racial and ethnic backgrounds into my classes. One thing I noticed is that most of my Asian students seem to have more flexibility in their hips and upper backs compared to my Caucasian students. Without turning this into a racially biased observation, it is quite clear why. If you go around Kuala Lumpur on a bus you quite often see Malaysians squatting on the floor to wait for the next bus. Furthermore most public toilets in Malaysia are of the squatting type. Now if you gotta go you better learn to squat… How many Caucasians, me included, grew up with squatting toilets? I still remember the agony I endured to sit cross-legged for just 10 minutes, when I was 23 years old! The good news is it can be learned and I am good example of that as I sit quite comfortably for about half hour. And that’s it. While I am starting to squirm my fellow Malaysian keeps still as social or spiritual gatherings sometimes require. Now the upper-back thingy is another matter. Flexible upper backs require a “soft” and “open heart”, at least that’s what I have learned in the Anusara-Yoga seminars. Excuse me but when I am driving in Kuala Lumpurs’ crazy traffic I simply don’t experience many open-hearted individuals of any race. For all I know some of the red-light and queue-beating individuals might be late for their next gym-Yoga-class, where they then bend like willows into Urdhva Dhanurasana (upward facing bow). So this is my own personal theory: I am not super-flexible in my back, because I don’t like bending backwards, period. But I do it anyway and keep breathing and voila, my heart has “softened” quite a bit already. I can now keep my cool, when that crazy driver just pulled in front of my car WITHOUT indicating. You Malaysians, you know what I am talking about, right?