Whether you are a hardcore yogi or a curious beginner there is no shortage of yoga classes in Buenos Aires. Walking around Palermo or Barrio Norte, it sometimes feels like you see a studio on every block. But if you want to get in on the action, yet still don’t feel confident following instructions in Spanish, there are now two classes on offer especially for English speakers. Both teach Vinyasa yoga (a style which involves a lot of flowing movement, rather than just standing in poses for minutes on end) and both are given by women from the United States. However, despite their obvious similarities, the tone of the lessons are very different.
Buena Onda yoga is absolutely true to its name: in a beautiful studio, with elements of aromatherapy and a calm, supportive teaching style, it’s an ocean of tranquillity in the middle of Buenos Aires.
YoGO! Saturday Night Yoga Fever also lives up to its title: a fast paced, almost aerobic class, it will get your blood pumping (sometimes to the accompaniment of reggaetón) before you go out on a Saturday night.
Buena Onda Yoga
If you do yoga to relax, then this is a class for you. Taking place in a lovely, wooden-floored studio in Recoleta, it is the perfect way to break up a working week, and give yourself an antidote to all those long journeys crammed into sweaty colectivos or jamming your way onto subte trains.
The class is run by Katie Trigg, a 23-year-old trained contemporary dancer from Wisconsin. She started practicing yoga in university to counteract the strain she suffered from dancing. However, after graduating college she leaned more towards giving yoga classes than working as a dancer, simply because she loved teaching. “I find it really gratifying…seeing someone begin to connect with their body,” she tells me. Her commitment to teaching and calm friendliness really set the tone of the lesson.
The best thing about Katie’s class is that, even though you’re always working on the same postures, it’s never about just going through the motions. Katie will take time to explain the point of the different poses to you, so that you understand what you’re trying to achieve. She will also come round during the lesson and gently correct your posture. With a training in Alexander technique, she has a profound understanding of how muscles and reflexes work, and with a light touch on you shoulder or back, she’s able to trigger your body so that you stretch or twist much further than you ever believed you could. This means that, even though the atmosphere of the class is tranqui, your muscles actually end up doing a lot of work, and you sometimes ache more afterwards than if you’d been doing an hour of running. I’ve been practising yoga more or less regularly over the past two years, and I can say with certainty that I’ve never felt like I’ve improved more than I did after three weeks in this class.
The atmosphere in the studio is intimate, as there are rarely more than seven of eight people in the room at the same time. Katie burns palo santo incense and plays music ranging from Bon Iver to Al Green to Radiohead. As you lie in the final posture, she will sometimes come round and give you a mini-shoulder massage with aromatherapy oils to aid relaxation. Lying on the wooden floor, with the smell of oils and incense, listening to Thom York and the sound of your own breathing, this is the absolute definition of Buena Onda.
What’s more, if you want to take the relaxation experience up a notch, once a month the Buena Onda yoga studio offers a ‘Moon Light’ yoga class. This is an evening of yoga, live music and massage, followed by a vegetarian meal. For $115 it is an incredible combination of the healthy and the decadent.
Katie teaches from 3.30-4.45pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The studio is at Arenales 2096 (corner of Junín). For more information see the website: www.buenaondayoga.com. Classes cost $40 for a drop in class, $20 a class if you subscribe to ten classes over two months. Katie has also recently started teaching classes in her house in Spanish. For more information, visit http://ktyoga.blogspot.com
YoGO! Saturday Night Yoga Fever
YoGO!, taught by 22-year-old Caroline McCann from New Jersey in Arenales Gym, absolutely lives up to its name. Although there is no 70s disco music, it is fast paced, fun and will have you sweating in minutes.
Caroline began teaching yoga in Buenos Aires a few months ago, after originally being certified as a group fitness instructor. She was motivated to switch to teaching yoga classes here because that she thought there was a gap in the market for fast-paced, US-style classes in Argentina: “I went to a few classes here that were basically just lying there the whole time,” she tells me. She had friends from the States who also expressed frustration, saying they wanted “more bang for their buck”. “They’re looking for a real work out,” Caroline tells me, and that’s exactly what she offers.
The atmosphere of the class is fun and sporty and the tone is set by the music Caroline uses, which ranges from the gladiator sound track (this really adds a dramatic element to the warrior poses!) to reggaetón. The choice of music, like the style of the class, is based on what Caroline herself has enjoyed in the past: “Most hard-core yogis say you shouldn’t have music at all, but all the classes I really enjoy have music. Not just chanting, but stuff that I recognise,” she says. However, despite pushing the boundaries of traditional styles, Caroline is also committed to the history of yoga, and still teaches all the stances and sequences that you would expect. “Yoga has existed for hundreds of years, and I think there’s something to be said for it’s long-standing power,” she tells me.
There are usually between 15 and 20 students in the gym, and, in contrast to Buena Onda yoga, which tends to have a lot more female students, here there are both guys and girls. One of the best things about this class is that it’s varied. Caroline will come up with a wholly different routine every week, often focusing on different part of the body, so that you’re always pushing your boundaries in a new area. In every way, she keeps you on your toes.
Caroline teaches on Saturdays from 7–8pm at Arenales Gym, Arenales 2593 (corner of Ecuador). Classes cost $10. For more information see the facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/YoGO-Power-Yoga/248220089418?ref=ts