For city dwellers looking for late night eating, late night drinking, and late night anything, Buenos Aires is the place. And if you’re looking for a city that doesn’t sleep, well New York has nothing on Argentina’s capital, where heading out to the boliches before 2am is considered seriously uncool. As residents of Buenos Aires know, living life to the full can be exciting, endless and just a bit exasperating, and those who are throwing themselves into the porteño lifestyle will, after a while, probably be in dire need of some rest and relaxation. So, what better way to escape the madness and regain that inner calm and zen-like feeling than by dabbling in some meditation?
The Association of Buddhism Soto Zen
If meditation is your thing, and you’re serious about it, then there is no better place to practise than at the Association of Buddhism Soto Zen. Located in Buenos Aires’ Japenese Cultural Centre, this school of meditation practises the philosophy of Buddhism.
The class begins with the Gassho; a buddhist custom that involves placing the palms of your hands together to align with your nose and bowing down to greet your fellow class members and teachers. This also marks the beginning of your meditation session. The class, which lasts for around an hour and a half, is then followed by Zazen, the practice of mindfulness and relaxation. You will be required to sit cross legged with your hands in the lotus position and your eyes partially closed for 20 minutes. By this time, your busy mind should be winding down and the still and quiet atmosphere of the room and the disciplined teachings will be transporting you to a calmer place.
The class will then start the process of Kinhin, where students will form a circle to walk around the room by taking slow and mindful steps, again with eyes partially closed. This is followed by the Sutra, where the class will together chant a passage from a Buddhist 14th Century canonical scripture. It all ends on a sweet note and members are served with green tea and a dulce de leche biscuit, a perfect relaxing ending to this enlightening experience.
Meditation classes run on Wednesday’s at 7pm, and Saturday’s at at 7.45pm. For more information visit the website.
The meditation class at Palermo-based Urban Lotus is perfect for those busy city folk who can only spare half an hour to get their quick fix of zen. This class promises to transport you to a calmer world within minutes, as the peaceful and warmly lit studio is the perfect place to unwind and leave behind the noise and tension of the city.
The meditation practice at Urban Lotus involves lying flat on the floor, while the instructor asks you to focus on parts of the body that are likely to be causing you tension. At the same time, the lavender-infused smell of the room and the soft chiming of the meditation bells will have you in a complete state of relaxation for the entire class, and some time after. And if you prefer your meditation to be a little more on the physical side then Urban Lotus’ soothing Hatha Yoga class, which commences after meditation, could be the perfect thing.
Meditation classes run every Friday at 7pm, and the Hatha Yoga classes follow on after at 7.30pm. For more information visit the website.
BA Life Centre
The BA Life Centre practices various forms of yoga which help to bring awareness of your breath in order to help calm the mind. The centre’s Akhanda yoga class combines a more physical yoga while incorporating a balance of yin and yang postures, pranayama, relaxation, and meditation. The class which is taught in a charming and tranquil studio in Palermo, aims to help develop your strength, balance and concentration, while the tranquil music and motivational directions from the instructor will give you that peace of mind that you have set out to find.
The yoga/meditation class at the BA Life Centre will appeal to those who want a slightly more physical work-out before indulging in the relaxation and meditation techniques that come at the end of the class.
For more information on times and classes, visit the BA Life website.
Meditation at the Sahaja Yoga centre is a unique experience. Founded by Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi in 1970, Sahaja yoga is a meditation technique that aims to awaken the inner energy system, which according to the Sahaja practice, is composed of three parallel channels of power and seven centres, known as the chakras.
The chakras are believed to be responsible for the development of our best qualities as human beings, and by illuminating them through meditation, the Sahaja practice says it will help with balancing emotions, as well as mental and physical activity, to revitalise creativity, self-esteem, communication, inner peace, and righteousness. Underlying this, Sahaja’s main message is to stop worrying about the past and the future, because “the past has gone, and the future doesn’t exist, so we just have the here and now, and we have to make it count.” And with this philosophy and its careful and disciplined mediation practices, it’s hard not to appreciate the teachings and the idea behind Sahaja yoga.
Meditation classes are free and run every Friday at 7pm, and Saturday at 4pm. For more information, visit the Sahaja Yoga site.
Eco Yoga Park
The Eco Yoga Park is the place to go for those yoga and meditation lovers who want to indulge in something a little more luxurious and special. On this one-day retreat you will partake in numerous yoga and mediation practices in the beautiful countryside surroundings of Puente Cascallares, just outside of Buenos Aires. The day starts at 9am where you will be served an organic breakfast to prepare you for the day’s activities. The group is then taken on an ecological tour around the park, which is followed by an hour of relaxation and Hatha yoga.
After working up an appetite you will be served a lovely lunch prepared by the Eco Yoga Park’s vegetarian/vegan restaurant. The afternoon then begins with the calming tibetan bell meditation and chakra harmonisation where you will feel the benefits of practicing these calming techniques in the quiet countryside. And just when you feel like you couldn’t be more relaxed, the class engages in mantra therapy, which involves listening to the harmonisation of oriental instruments. The day is nicely rounded off with an organic snack and some tea before wishing the team farewell. For those zen seekers looking for some respite from the busy city, good food, and a varied option of meditation techniques, then you won’t have to look much further than the Eco Yoga Park.
For more information visit the website.