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Barcelona Yoga Conference

9 July 2012 2,670 views 2 Comments

Friday

brutal 4.45 alarm after going bed at 1.30 • quiet roads • busy Gatwick • lots of hen n stag parties • asleep before taxying, wake up when the wheels touch down on Spanish tarmac • train, metro, metro • it’s hot • Barcelona Yoga Conference • walk up to yoga campus, it seems to be a concrete-y area, little character • reg, schedule, wrist band. it’s fun being on this side of the desk for a change • delegate bag is cute and includes a groovy water bottle • mini crisis: am supposed to have brought my own mat • mini crisis solution: there’s a charity renting mats for a donation. it’s cool, they do yoga with marginalised groups • bump into Carlos from Yoga Barn (!) • opening ceremony with speeches from different dudes being translated by a very funny guy on a microphone. but i’m shattered so, rented mat at back of hall and couple of hours sleep for LJ • wake in time for dharma flow with Marc • he’s great. straight to the soul, amusing and provoking. his style reminds me of Troy • there’s a funny bit where we all hold our neighbours’ foot but in my line someone wobbles and we all wobble and domino over. yoga, it’s a union :) • best savasana i’ve had for ages • scoop everything together and leg it to the canteen before it closes • three courses with sides for ten euros, boom! it’s vegan too: chick pea salad, roasted veggies with romesco sauce n salad, proper nice rye seeded rolls, fruit. like i say, boom! • the little exhibition is cool, some stalls with clothes n accessories, some snacks, some massages, some charities, some schools • yes, everyone is smiley and friendly • walk down the road for a coffee, it’s leafier than i had first, palm trees even • actually these side streets are quite cute, and it’s cleaner than Madrid was • man, the coffee is good and i know this is an average one • how can Spanish girls walk around in denim in all weather and look cool n chic. it hovers between inspirational and depressing • back at the conference i hang around the ‘village’ which is where the stalls are and a load of tables in the shade with WiFi. muchos gracias • er, i think i got sunburned • next class, ‘awareness in every action’. we do basic moves, slowly, intently and very very consciously, more of a lesson in concentration than physical technique. nice class to end the day on • chat to a couple of girls that i met earlier. one of them did an acroyoga course this week and shows us some moves with a partner, very impressive looking • get stuff, metro to where i’m staying, wander around looking for supermarket, shopping (bread, tomatoes, artichokes, water gaseosous), meet dude at apartment, keys, pay blah blah • sit out on terrace munching n reading • there are apartments all around, and i can hear restaurants too. i’ll take a look round more tomorrow • dusk finally arrives, the sky is clear, the air is still and i’m really hoping there are no mosquitoes! • sit in the massive lounge area, then bed mmmmm

Saturday

brutal 5.45am alarm. this is the not cool bit about yoga • quiet streets. quiet metro • erm, quiet yoga conference… • world record: am the first one to arrive for this morning’s class. never been first for anything, least of all an am start • on the rooftop waiting for the class to start, sun is rising. it’s not picturesque but it sure is nice • i’m just not convinced this teacher is gonna arrive so i leg it to another class instead • Anasura, it’s a lot of focus on alignment, especially midline alignment, this is the sort of stuff that transforms a pose that you’ve ‘known’ for years • so, lovely, today we’re having core focus, and theming around Kali, ‘the black one’, goddess of change, change usually through dramatic/ violent means, yummy • cracking class – simple poses done with intention. got some good adjustments and we did this assisted back bend that was fun • go straight to next class – Vinyasa with live music. i quite honestly feel like this class changes my life all over again. we start sitting close together and do some Kirtan chants. i’m still surprised by the idea that i sing in public. we continue singing as we move back to our mats • David is so deeply passionate and so very talented at articulating his passion, for a while i’m distracted thinking about how can anyone be this good • we do a lot of vinyasas and spend some time on peripheral parts – can’t remember when i last stretched my toes and eyeballs! • my favourite bit (of possible any yoga class ever) is the ardu chandasana dance that we do, it’s strong and stunning, moving with breathe from one leg to the other • the music is amazing – a Spanish trio called Onesound – the whole class experience is magic • spring out of class with smiles n joy n light and er, extreme hunger • fruit, wander, find mercat where i get coffee and tortilla bocadillo, back to ‘the village’ for hanging, WiFi and making friends • Kundalini class. i’ve heard these are different. there’s a lotta focus on breathe, and simple movements with breathe that you repeat faster and faster. the class is in Spanish so Johan (new German friend) and i have a bit of trouble following, there’s a fair bit of peaking when we’re meant to have our eyes cerrado • proper hungry now. Johan and i go for another ten euro feast, today there’s awesome mushroom risotto. tell ya what as well, all the fruit i’ve had since arriving has been super delicious. what DO we do to it in England.?? • chatting, Johan reminds of why it’s important to practice challenging poses (handstand, headstand) every day. he’s right and i make a renewed pledge • Thai massage workshop, four hours comprising an hour of tuition and then 90 minutes of giving, 90 minutes receiving • Krishantakis is a brilliant teacher (thank you Bex for the tip on this one) he explains and demonstrates everything clearly, relates it to practices we’re already familiar with, is personal & passionate, but mostly just a very wholesome, peaceful, generous soul • make friends with Rosario from Colombia, sort mats out, she lies down first • ninety minutes later i can’t quite believe i’ve successfully given a Thai massage. and Rosario said it was good. tell ya what it was an interesting thing to learn – how to use your body for the benefit of someone else and how to shape our bodies together • there’s much hugging around the room, a lotta love for new friends going on • i worked up a proper sweat (!) so hang outside for a bit • my turn :) yeah it’s heaven, massage is such a gift isn’t it. Rosario is smaller than me so there are some tricky bits and she could definitely have gone harder but mostly i’m like “woo, free massage”. and then i fall asleep • more hugging, more love, yay yoga • stumble out, metro, home, quick turnaround, out again • Jose and i haven’t seen each other for 15ish months, it’s awesome to spend some time together. we fill in the gaps of what we’ve both been up to and then get to our usual chat about life, love and the universe, some things don’t change • coupla beers & tapas at a muy typicale bar and yogaluce is shattered
bed time zzz

Sunday

oh good, just a 6.15 alarm this morning • everything aches from yesterday • i’m not backing off though, i’m getting me some more yogging • Vinyasa pranayana flow with Simon. he’s Asian American (Hawaiian?) and the whole practice is influenced by surf and martial arts. we do tai chi movements, Muay Thai stances, lots of arm sweeps, we ‘pour like waterfalls’, ‘arc like waves’, it’s playful, graceful and somehow even the tough stuff feels gentle • and when i say tough stuff i mean the has us doing half feather of peacock, hanumanasana variations and full hanumanasana, sort of side-plank-half-lunge-tortoise-arms-leg-lift (hard) preparation • marvelous • i’ve decided this conference is the place to test out different style and educate/ re-educate / reconfirm what i know, so i head to an Ashtanga class • unfortunately it’s not a lot of practice, more a talk on the eight limbs of Ashtanga and we go through some patterns • i was keen to practise because i’m so tired but the talk is good & interesting and the practice we do is solid • go for a wander to find breakfast etc • there’s a nice square by a church with cafes and a market. further down the road are more cute shops and cafes • find a bakery that sells multicereales croissants, how many shades of heaven is that!? and how may shades of bonkers?! • sit at a table making notes & drinking coffee • back to yogaland for a bit more in-the-shade hanging • am still hungry so get a snack plate from the raw food tent, no idea what everything is but it’s colourful, fresh and totally delicious • Bhakti yoga with Onesound. i don’t really know what Bhakti was but i loved Onesound so much yesterday i’m coming to find out • we start by chanting together, then the band sings and we join in, it’s beautiful • when the group first start to play it’s so touching; brings up all sorts of emotions • i can’t believe i’d never heard of Kirtan until a few months ago, this is proper new age luvin. praising the earth, cross legged sitting, eyes closed singing, lutes, harmonicas & drums proper new age luvin. if you can free yourself to it it’s incredibly liberating and uplifting • little break and then a closing class with David • this class is themed around the chakras and again David’s planning n execution is incredible • for the first four chakras he plays guitar, we all sing, we do visualisation, there’s background music, we do asana, there are adjustors, we dance and then we chant. waa! • he nails it and it’s a very thorough experience, a great ending to these few days in Spain • spend a bit of time thinking about whether i approached the weekend ‘right’ and crucially whether i got the most from it. it was different to my expectations and i do wish i’d been here for Friday morning to have gone to even more classes. don’t know that i always chose the right classes for me but in the end i’ve definitely had an amazing sampling of different styles and teachers. i can’t get this quality of teaching every day in my life and to have so much of it in one place for the weekend is a real gift, it’s totally inspiring. analysis done • home, quick sandwich, quick shower, metro across town to meet Jose • we walk through Barceloneta and around the waterfront, it’s busy busy busy, the first tourists i’ve seen • beach, happy girl • sunset beers on beach, super happy girl • walk back through Barceloneta and find a cool bar with tables on the street (my European equivalent of the Thai beach tables) • good tapas and good wine • more meanderings around middle-of-the-night Barcelona • we’re at Porto Olympica, i think this is where every Spanish teenager comes on a Sunday night. i feel approximately 9000 years old. Jose doesn’t care • find a salsa barmuchos bailamos • (is it me, or does that sound a bit Ricky Martin?) • Jose, king of merengue, is back • ok, so it’s definitely dawn • taxi, hostel, bed, oh good i have to be up in two and a half hours, good job no yoga tomorrow, just work :)

Photos from the conference on Flikr here.

studios & village






David and Onesound warming up




pretty, colourful, wholesome rawness


waterfront, yippee




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