Una yogini en Donosti

carla room

Una tarde lluviosa encontré mi amiga, Carla en un bar en la Plaza de la Constitución. En todas partes la gente estaba bebiendo y fumado, pero nosotras estuvimos allí para algo mas raro, hablar de yoga. Carla es una instructora de yoga de la Ciudad de México. Hice su formación en San Cristóbal de las Casas en Octubre 2018 y se mudo a Donosti en Enero 2019.  Yo conocí Carla a Pintxopote en Abril, y pienso que es una de las personas las mas encantadoras y inspiradoras en la ciudad.

¿Carla, como descubriste yoga?

Mi mamá era yogini. Y empecé mi practica copiar sus posturas que me parecieron muy naturales. También me enseño sobre el descanso y la alimentación. Me encantó!

Después de la universidad viví un tiempo difícil y probe muchas terapias distintas. Con el psychoanalysis que es una terapia de palabra, me perdí en mis historias, pero con yoga que es un reconocimiento del cuerpo y mente, encontré un espacio para dejar que el ser se manifieste.

¿Y en tu opinión que somos?

En el nivel esencial, somos todos parte de lo divino. Nuestro cuerpo es un templo y tenemos que respetar este espacio para actualizar lo divino en nosotros mismos.

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Donosti tiene una cultura muy fuerte de gastronomía y esta llena de bares. Mucha gente trasnocha y se despierta tarde, algunas veces con resaca. ¿Te parece que sea un buen lugar para practicar un estilo de vida yoga? 

Si quisieras alcanzar a una iluminación completa tendrías que vivir fuera de la ciudad y seguir una rutina diaria muy estricta. Yo no querría vivir una vida muy ascética, y eliminar cosas. Soy yogini y otras cosas también en el mismo tiempo, y pienso que Donosti es un buen lugar para practicar yoga, porque tienes la naturaleza en la ciudad. Una parte muy importante de yoga es la respiración, y aquí puedes respirar el aire poco contaminado. También hay muchos productos frescos en Donosti, ye por eso, es posible alimentarte bien.

Cuéntame de la primera vez que estuviste en Donosti.

Hace 8 años que visité Donosti con algunas amigas de México. Me enamoré con la ciudad, con su belleza perfecta. Unas amigas se aburrieron y quisieron ir a Pamplona. Y yo pensé que si estas personas no pudieran ver la belleza de ese sitio, tendría que encontrar nuevo circulo! 

Cuéntame un poco sobre tu trabajo aquí en Donosti.

Estoy trabajando en dos ciudades muy distintas en la costa Vasca. La primera es Irun, una ciudad árida cerca de la frontera. Irun hay una población muy diversa con muchos inmigrantes. Allí la gente, a veces, no puede ir a yoga por que les faltan recursos económicos.

Sin embargo, Donosti es una ciudad llena de abundancia. Enseño en el Centro Sherab en la calle Aguirre Miramon. Es un estudio muy cálido y tranquilo y muchos estudiantes se apuntan a las clases.

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A Carla le gusta pintar en su tiempo libre

Me dijiste antes que no viajabas ligero. ¿Que llevaste contigo cuando te mudaste a Donosti? 

Me llevo mis libros de filosofía y historia del arte, y también, una memoria con fotos de mi vida en México. Es importante para mi de conocer que puedo volver a la Carla de antes, si lo quiero. Hasta ahora, no le he usado, pero me da tranquilidad que puedo hacer lo.

¿Que planes tienes para el futuro? 

En un mes me voy a Bélgica con mi novio, que estudiara un Masters. Allí intento enseñar clases, pero también encontraré otro trabajo para tener mas recursos económicos y vivir bien.

Esta entrada forma parte de una serie sobre mi primer año en San Sebastián. Es mi primera entrada en castellano, por favor disculpe los errores y el Spanglish! Existe también en inglés!

A yogini in San Sebastián

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I meet my friend Carla on a rainy Thursday evening in a cafe on Plaza de la Constitución, the closest thing to European-style square in San Sebastián. Though we both have colds we keep our plastic macs on and sit in the sheltered terrace with everyone else.  People around us are drinking and smoking and at 9:15, the night is so young it could be a foetus. On Friday the sun will rise late, as it does in this part of the world and those with hangovers even later.

Carla and I have come to discuss a topic that seems a million miles from where we are: yoga. Carla is a yoga-instructor from Mexico City and one of the most fascinating and insightful people I have met in San Sebastián.  As she sips her tinto de verano, a mix of red wine and soda water, she tells me that she doesn’t see this party-loving seaside town as an unlikely place for yoga. First of all, she’s not of the school of yoga that prescribes a restrictive lifestyle and has accepted that while some yogis get up to meditate at 4:30 am, here in Spain it is fine to begin her morning routine of tea, yoga and breakfast at the more civilised hour of 8:30 am. Moreover, the key element of yoga is respiration and here, in San Sebastián, she can breathe in clean air and enjoy the experience of nature in the city.

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Carla recharges by spending ample amounts of time in her room.

The first time Carla visited San Sebastián  was eight years ago, on a European tour with some friends from home. She said that she was enraptured by the city’s perfect beauty and even had the sensation that she was on tierra santa, or holy land. When some of her friends got bored and wanted to move on to flashy bull-fighting hub, Pamplona, she seriously considered changing her social circle; if they couldn’t appreciate the beauty of this place, what on earth could she have in common with them?  Being someone who is anxious every time I leave San Sebastián, just in case something happens to prevent me from coming back, I can relate to Carla’s extreme sense of connection with the place. And we’re not the only two people, who without having a drop of Basque blood, feel this way; it’s like the city bewitches certain travellers and makes them want to stay.

Carla got the chance for a longer spell in San Sebastián in January, when she secured a teaching placement in two studios along the Cantabrian coast. One studio is in Irun, an arid town on the border with France, which has a strong immigrant population. There, the space is modern and clean-looking and though the classes are adequately attended,  the locals’ main obstacle in coming to yoga, is economic. In San Sebastián, on the other hand, she teaches at the Centro Sherab, a cosy, richly coloured space, complete with Buddhas and wallhangings. The room strikes her as oddly wintry for Donosti’s beachy climate, but she says it feels very secure and protected from the noise of the city.

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Carla came to yoga very young, as a little girl in Mexico City, who followed in her yogini mother’s footsteps. Doing the poses felt natural to her and yoga became a staple that she could rely on, when later in life, she hit upon troubled times. Whereas she found that talking therapies such as psychoanalysis caused her to regurgitate the same stories, a yoga practice, which Carla sees as the ultimate union of body and mind, held space for her true being to manifest.

And what is our true being? I ask her.

We are all part of the divine and our body is a temple that acts as host, she replies.

Having felt the benefits of yoga for herself, Carla decided to become an instructor. In October 2018, she trained in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico, where she gained a more complete understanding of yoga and met masters whose teaching guided her when she set up in San Sebastián three months later.  In addition to her acquired wisdom, Carla brought several prized possessions with her, including an album of memories. In its pages, are photographs of her family and of Carla when she was small. She tells me that it’s important to her to have the possibility of connecting both with people from her life in Mexico and ‘la Carla de antes’ (old Carla). However, nearly six months into her stay, Carla has not felt the need to open the memoria. Perhaps that’s because she feels so grounded here.

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When I took a class with Carla, I found the practice a nourishing slow-flow vinyasa ( a style of yoga that involves the rhythmic transition between poses). Holding the poses for longer than I was used to, was both physically and mentally challenging, but I left the class transformed – both energised and more relaxed.  As a friend, I know Carla as a warm and open person and while this comes across in her teaching, as she adjusts students’ alignment and practices the poses alongside them, you also sense that there is a part of her that is sealed off from the class and in communication with the divine. She tells me that it’s important to have boundaries with students, so that the relationship between her and them does not become an overly egotistical or even sexually charged one. She is there to guide students to access the divinity within them, rather than be a pinnacle for their desires.

Sadly, Carla won’t be in Donosti for long. Her next stop will be Belgium, where she’ll accompany her longterm boyfriend who is doing a Master’s there. Carla intends to learn French and teach some classes, but she’ll also take up other work to ensure she has enough to live well on. She says that it’s important for her to have recursos (resources) as well as her dream job.

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Carla loves to paint in her spare time. Since moving to Donosti, she’s been experimenting with new colour combinations.

 

This post forms part of a series about my first year in San Sebastián. I fancied a change from writing about myself the whole time 😛 Feel free to like, comment or share! Click here for the Spanish version of this post and here for a wildcard I picked out at random.