While we were visiting Bolivar, Argentina, I got to attend a yoga class. The yoga studio was in the back of someone´s apartment in the center of the city. The studio was sunny, had hardwood floors, and pretty much looked like a yoga studio in the U.S.
The class itself however was a different experience, being in Spanish and all. I felt like I had to pay a bit more attention to directions, but it wasn´t a distraction nor a deterrent to being able to focus or be present. It also offered a good review of Spanish body part vocabulary. For example, I had forgotten that your rodijos (rodillos) are your knees.
Through this class, I also realized the universality of yoga. The class was made up entirely of women about my age or a bit older, while is exactly what my classes are like in the states. I think the evolution of yoga is absolutely fascinating and the fact that it has migrated to pretty much all parts of the world is so interesting. We did a fair amount of chanting in the class and the idea of connecting to the universal ´´om´´ took on new meaning. The yoga mats had the following words on them ´´Yoga: un lugar para sentir y compartir´´ or a place to feel and share.
During the savasana (corpse pose) at the end of class, one woman in the class fell asleep and was snoring a bit. She later shared with us that she has been suffering from insomnia for the past 10 years! She is seeing a psychologist and has identified that for whatever reason, she feels ill at ease and unable to relax in the city of Bolivar and for this, she cannot sleep. I thought it was really meaningful that she felt safe and relaxed in the yoga class surrounded by a group of people and was able to finally fall asleep.
My last observation of the class was related to the format of the clas. We mostly did stretching, a few asanas (poses), and chanting. For all intents and purposes, it was not a work out. The majority of yoga classes in the U.S. that I have attended are directed way more in the work out direction. I think this distinction is very interesting. Most Americans hold a notion that movement or exercise is futile unless you ´´feel the burn´´ or sweat or hurt or are completely exhausted afterwards. From the perspective of a yoga teacher, this is a difficult mindset to work with. I believe that yoga is and should be therapeutic. This class is Bolivar was 100% therapeutic and for me, I want to persevere in offering classes that are restorative, therapeutic, and safe. I want my students to leave the class and feel better than when they entered.