May 30, 2009

Yoga Adventures in Buenos Aires

I don’t pretend to be any kind of yoga expert. I can barely to that one head stand position for more than 2 minutes and I can’t meditate for the life of me. The yoga classes I’ve taken in Boulder were casual and inconsistent, but I always enjoyed them and wished I had the time and money to reach a deeper level. When I got to Buenos Aires, the favorable exchange rate made this desire more more feasible. Without doing a lot of research, I signed up at the closest studio I could find. It’s called La Universidad de Yoga where they practice Swasthya, an “ancient” type of Yoga.

I had never heard of it, and that’s because it’s not practiced much outside of Latin America, where a Brazilian dude named DeRose began implementing the method. Now, people have set up DeRose Method studios in a few big cities like San Francisco, London, and New York.

This type of yoga is a bit mysterious because it’s not practiced very widely. What makes it distinct? I am not quite sure. I’m still figuring it out. What’s interesting about this yoga that I’ve never seen is the choreography. They’ve more or less turned yoga into a dance. I don’t know how I feel about it, but it makes for an interesting show. One instructor has this to say:

  1. Ancient Yôga contains those elements found in all other modalities of Yôga. There is not a single kind of Yôga that is so complete. In a SwáSthya Yôga practice you will be practicing Ásana Yôga, Rája Yôga, Bhakti Yôga, Karma Yôga, Jñána Yôga, Layá Yôga, Mantra Yôga and Tantra Yôga, as well as the constituent elements of the more modern subdivisions, born from these branches, such as Hatha Yôga, Kundaliní Yôga, Kriyá Yôga, Dhyána Yôga, Mahá Yôga, Suddha Rája Yôga, Ashtánga Yôga, Integral Yôga and many others.
    But be attentive: although Ancient Yôga (SwáSthya) has, in itself, the constituting elements of all these types of Yôga, it is not formed by combining these branches, but rather, it is based on a much more ancient tradition, one which precedes all of these.
  2. SwáSthya Yôga has, as its roots, Sámkhya. Because SwáSthya is extremely technical, dynamic, and does not adopt any mysticism, it pleases people who are dynamic, who are achievers and who are rational and logical.
  3. SwáSthya is Tantric. This means that it is a matriarchal, sensorial and non-repressing. Non-repressing means that it does not prohibit anything and contributes to liberation from repression. It guides, but does not repress. Sensorial means that it respects and values the body, its beauty, its health, its senses and its pleasure. Therefore, you have complete liberty. You may eat what you want, do what you want, and above all, there is no prohibition of sex. Nevertheless, there are recommendations on all these aspects and you follow them if you think you should. As you develop your life habits and cultivate more healthy ways, you will receive more advanced techniques from you teacher.

Read the rest here.

Because all of my classes are in Spanish, and well, I’m not fluent in spanish, I may not be getting as much out of these classes as I could be. I don’t really know what’s going on a lot of the time, but I have improved my strength, flexibility, and breathing techniques—a good start for someone at my level.

Feel free to comment if you have know anything more about this method or have any questions!

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