The hectic rhythm of Buenos Aires can be enough to throw anyone off balance. Late nights, loud traffic, and slippery sidewalk tiles are just some of the culprits here that leave most of us looking for respite, a literal breath of fresh air.
There are several spots about town to take a yoga class or indulge in a massage, but it can be difficult as an expat to feel a sense of inclusion or community there. Luckily, this has changed with the recent opening of the BA Life Centre located in in the heart of Barrio Norte.
Founded by two Canadian expats dedicated to healthy living, the BA Life Centre aims to establish an inclusive community based on well-being while providing a full range of services, from yoga and Pilates classes to massage therapy and nutritional coaching.
Dina Samelis and Jennifer Klueppel are trained professionals in their respective fields; Dina received her first yoga instructor certification in Baja, Mexico at the Yandara Institute. She is currently completing her second yoga certification and working toward her Anusara Inspired status. Jennifer is a certified massage therapist who is currently finishing up a nutrition course. Both women are dedicated to continuing their education and formation in their respective fields of expertise, and are enthusiastic about transmitting their knowledge to their clients. The centre offers a variety of yoga classes – hatha, vinyasa and power – taught by six certified expat instructors. Jennifer provides therapeutic massages, as well as Swedish, relaxation and even prenatal massage care. Dina also practises reiki healing therapy and Thai massage. Pilates will be fully incorporated from February.
Buenos Aires is a city that makes it difficult to find a moment of quiet solace. Luckily, the centre’s location – facing the inside of the city block rather than the street front – provides a welcome respite from the buzz of activity below. The studio space is bright and cheery, with colour-blocked walls and an airy feel. Its central location makes it easy to get to, whether you’re closer to downtown or up in Palermo. A plus is the absence of tall buildings in the vicinity, as the studio is flooded with natural light and more than just a slice of blue sky. The massage room is as private and enticing as any hotel spa, and the yoga space is welcoming and open. Clients enjoy complimentary use of high-quality yoga mats and towels during class, something not available at most yoga studios here. Mats, water bottles and other imported goodies can be purchased at reasonable prices as well.
Classes are available six days a week, twice a day Monday-Thursday and once on Fridays and Saturdays. Plans for 2012 include expanding the schedule and adding “karma” yoga classes where students pay what they can in form of a donation. Commitment is flexible; clients can sign up for monthly yoga packages or just drop-in for a single class. More plans for the New Year include weekly health lunches and a variety of workshops. They also hope to add acupuncture to their list of services.
But sometimes a yoga class or a massage isn’t enough to regain balance. The endless piles of steak, oodles of dulce de leche-laden pastries, and heaps of pasta so common in BA will leave most anyone looking for some form of detox. Jennifer provides nutritional and lifestyle coaching, such as diet plans, recipes, and consultations, to help clients feel good both inside and out.
Even just one visit to the BA Life Centre is enough to make you feel more centered, more “zen”. Dina and Jennifer are dedicated to living out their beliefs every day and hope to inspire those who pass through their doors. In a city where it’s easy to cultivate more than a few vices, it’s reassuring – and refreshing – to know that the BA Life Centre celebrates health and balance.
More than just a place to practise yoga or work out a kink in your back, the BA Life Centre encourages community and friendship among its clients. Its integral approach to wellbeing – both physical and mental – is conducive to the formation of relationships that go beyond sharing a mat or crossing paths in the elevator. As Dina says: “all of our services complement each other. We are offering a safe space for growth where people can connect with themselves and others. We are building a community where like minded people can meet one another” and interact.