In the last 12 years I have yogered all over the world and each experience has been a learning one. Some painfully so, others more mild but each has its teachings. This week I found myself in the mountains of Chiapas, a beautiful region in south east Mexico, rich in mayan culture and home of many indigenous tribes each speaking their original native language. I could have spent months exploring and have purposefully left things to see so I have to go back. Apart from the stunning Mayan Pyramids, incredible dense jungle and fascinating people I discovered a wonderful yoga teacher in the heart of San Cristobel de las Casas.
Vaidya Srimati Kuntidevi has a small studio in her garage with beautiful turquoise and white tiles floors, bright yellow boardered windows and a Ganesh Shrine. Mahalakshmi is a treasure, with 3 hours of yoga morning and evening. From Iyenga and Kundalini to Ashtanga and Vinyasa aswell as Dosha and Yoga Therapie This beautiful Hindu lady has everything covered, she teaches all the class with such grace and gentleness even if the Vinyasa class is one of the fastest I have ever done. The hi speed Hindi music also gave me the giggles, it was just such unusual circumstances, to be in the mountains in mexico doing ankle circles to up beat Bollywood tunes but quickly there was no time for giggling (although a smile remained) and even breathing had to be carefully monitored as we were launched into the quick step of yoga, springing from Warrior 2 to standing split, dropping back to warrior 1 and then launching into a one armed headstand. The instruction was minimal and of course in Spanish (Via India) so when I was facing the back of my mat in Ardha Chandrasana it was a flexi feat to try and see what my next more would be.
But amongst all the madness I loved it. Her sequencing was fun, interesting and innovative and my body felt as if it had come home. We opened and closed every joint, stretched every muscle with never a moment to worry or wobble. It was a wonderful exercise in harbouring the mind and clearing stagnant thoughts. There wasn’t time to think about errands, feel bad about late bill payments or missing boyfriends and that is exactly why yoga is so powerful. Above and beyond touching our toes we have a desire to feel present. To do things consciously and not always be thinking about something else. Yoga helps you live in the present moment. To be alive and aware in your body and mind, it’s an invigorating practise that sheds light on every corner of your life. There really is yoga for everyone, fast, slow, chanting, acrobatic or even on a paddleboard! (check out Kimberly Bragg-Depasquale’s Love Life Paddle) I guarantee there is a style that will suit you. If you do find yourself in Chiapas you have to go to Mahalakshmi on Cuahtemoc 24A but you will probably find a great place a little closer to home. Just be sure to find a teacher that you feel comfortable with and a style that lights a spark in you and compels you to go. And let me know who you find and where so we can spread the love.