Argentinian Yoga Soul
There are people who choose to go to India for many different reasons,but from my own experience I can say that most of the people go there to find themselves, practice yoga or to join some hippie communities.In my case it was just a trip to go somewhere where I wouldn’t know what to expect in every step of the way. Honestly, it was my hardest travelling experience I could ever imagine, but fives days later I got
used to it and cultural shock became a fun experience to remember. Before the trip, I knew that India was a country of yellow dressed, long haired gurus teaching yoga. In the middle of my trip I decided to go to Rishikesh – the city of yoga to learn more about the culture of yogis. I took some Hatha yoga classes there, and I spent some good time with people doing similar things down there. So here´s the story of one of them.
I remember so well the evening with you and other travel-fellows in Rishikesh at Mamma´s Guesthouse. We were sitting there around the campfire and exchanging travel tips about India as well as sharing stories about our own home countries. What was the reason that brought you to India then?
My first time, before being there, I was just starting teaching Yoga and having a strong feeling to go there, I wanted to go to the roots of the Yoga, get to know the culture, practice in an ashram, meet spiritual teachers – the “real” yogis. When I finished my studies, I realized that I didn’t know anything, only the shell, how could I teach yoga? This is only for illuminated people, but then I told myself: I cannot teach, but then again, nobody is really prepared. It takes a long time, its an infinite training, and you must study anduo practice all your life if you feel the passion for your work and you can do it at your best, and also, remember that you learn by teaching. A few things about my search… I came from a Jewish family, but my mother practiced Buddhism for 8 years, and when she left her body, I received her gohonzon, that is like an altar, the object of devotion. At that moment I started to practice Budhism more frequently, and a month before going to India I started to pray or, in fact like Buddhism said, invoke to meet my guru. So, I was traveling with my friend around some places of the north of India, wishing to go to Rishikesh and Varanasi and in the first place, I met an Argentinean girl, who asked me if I want to go to a satsang to meet with a (true) guru whom she had met two days ago. I said O.k., then we started talking a little more and she told me that she practices Buddhism. I said: So am I, the nam myoho renge kyo?” I asked …Yes! she replied. It was a nice causality.
The next day I went to visit Prem Baba, a Brazilian guru, I became fascinated, before he started the satsang there were many musicians playing very nice mantras, really lovely…in the way of bhajans, with a touch of a Brazilian rhythm. I was amazed, because in my childhood I lived for two years in Rio de Janeiro, and I really love Brazil. Half an hour later Sri Prem Baba entered to the “salón”. He was a very nice person, with a nice smile and a sense of humor. He really talked from his heart with words of wisdom. I started feeling a magnetic connection between our hearts, I don’t remember what he was talking about that day, but when he left I started crying, a purifying catharsis, then I decided to spent more days with him and I took the decision to be her disciple in the same day as my friend, Florencia we took diksha, the initiation in the school, Path of Heart, that is the way he calls his teachings, and we became “Sisters of Light”
By that time you were already into Yoga. What lead you to start practicing Yoga?
In my family, my parents were interested in oriental culture and philosophy in different ways. My father was a jiujitsu teacher when he was young and always had interest in alternative medicine, like acupuncture, shiatzu, consciences food, but then he became an accountant. On the other side, my mother used to practice mental control, then Buddhism and other types of practices, and she was cosmetology and English language teacher. My sister became a vegetarian at the age of 15 and at that age she started studying Tao, astrology, Buddhism and also theater. In my case I really loved it all, but when I was a child I always liked art, at the age of 17 I decided to study theater, I really love all types of expression, and also traveling. So, I decide to become an actress, in my theater’s training there were many techniques from yoga, like the sun salutation, bioenergetic, relaxation, breathing techniques, meditation, etc. So, eventually I wanted to know more about it, to know my body, my soul, to know the human sufferings and to help people. When I started practicing yoga I had a pain in my lumbar, maybe a lesson that came for making strong activities without the really consciousness and respect of my body. I started practicing yoga, listening to my body, to my feelings, and few months later this pain that took me two years of medical consultation “disappeared”, also at that moment my mother started feeling very ill, and I realized that my fantasy world was being destroyed, that my family had a very nice knowledge, but was only intellectual in some cases and in others very difficult to apply. I realized that my family had many psychological pathologies and I used to live in a very toxic and violent family. My brother, the youngest one which I didn’t mention, has schizophrenia for being addicted to the drugs and suffers from many traumas in his childhood. So with all this karma, I had the feeling that I want to help myself, to help my family and people. A way to be happy but without the mask of happy, you know, being a light person, and that comes with the practice and consciousness of your history, so now I am transiting this way with a lot of love, compassion and peace being always grateful, especially to all my teachers from parents, couples, many other people… and my lovely guru Sri Prem Baba.
Do you go to India frequently? Is it all because of Yoga?
That wasn’t coincidence that you wrote me to take the interview. At that time I was in Rishikesk for my second time studying with Sri Prem Baba, so it’s all connected… 😉 This year was very special, because there was the Maha Kumbh Mela (is the biggest religious event that is repeated every 12 years) I wanted to be near my guru studying more about knowing myself and be in one of the more important events in India in an energetic place and period of time for practice meditation, silence, austerities and purifying your soul.
In your home country, Argentina, you own Yoga center “Espacio Sinergia”. Could you tell me more about it?
My center is in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At first it was going to become a place for scenic arts, then we started making events in different places incorporating performances, VJs, innovated DJs, designers, plastic artists, photography, mixing it all with “new” technologies. Then I started to focus on Yoga meditation. This year our place became a place for incorporating, bioenergetic, chi kung, and also arts in a healers way, like ritualistic theater, music therapy, mandalas, etc.
I, at this moment am a manager, but my central tasks are yoga classes making a fusion of different styles in a very conscious and therapeutic work, but also the classes are powerful and dynamics. I do yoga classes for children from 4 years of age, making many plays like singing mantras and dances, painting mandalas, telling stories with the postures of the animals and gods of yoga, watching educational videos, which includes conscious food and ambient tips for children. I give workshops and classes with techniques of meditation and healing practices taken for different schools, mixing yoga and arts.
Is Yoga popular in Argentina? And is it widely practiced by both genders?
Yes, in Buenos Aires, there are many people that practice different styles of Yoga, there are many schools, institutes, private studios and very good teachers. You could always find more women, who practice yoga, but in the last years, there was an increase of men who started practicing and sometimes you could find an equal percentage of men and women. They start sometimes for medical derivations, and then they realize that they get better by practicing because you work with your body in combination with your breathing leaving your thinking behind. It would be nice to incorporate meditation and yoga at working places and at schools for children and teenagers, it would be very helpful for the society, I think it is necessity, because here in the city there is a high level of stress and bad habits, bad humor and violence, those things carry many emotional problems and then physical and mental problems, but when people start doing this type of practices they connect with their essence, with their bodies, and their minds start to be more quiet and they can experience the peace. This could be easy if one lives in the nature, but in the big cities like Buenos Aires, there is a necessity to prosperity in a high level of humanity evolution.
Besides Yoga, what do you do in your free time?
I really love arts, I like watching documentaries, movies from different countries, and sometimes I like to follow some directors. Also to go to concerts of classical music (Colon theater) or percussion (Cultural centre Konex), watch a theater play (San Martin Theater, Camarín de las Musas), have dinner with a good company (La Reina Kunti, Krishna, Milion), laugh and talk. I like training in different types of arts, yoga and meditation, read books and also stay in silence. Decorate my house, travel, of course…and maybe I would like to stay more in contact with the nature, but in this big city there isn’t so much of nature, some close places could be “El Tigre”. Its a place where you have a river and you can practice water sports, or just relax.
If there would be one place for traveler to see in Argentina which place would it be and why?
There are many interesting places in Argentina, like Cordoba, maybe Capilla del Monte is one of the most powerful and energetic places for people who like being connected with yoga and “alternative” medicine, also the Bolson, that is in the south of the country. In that region you can find very nice places with lagoons, forests, mountains and peaceful places. The north of the country is more rustic and arid, like Purmamarca or Tilcara or you could find rainforest places to go like the Iguazu´s falls or wetlands esteros. Argentina is a HUGE.
If you want to know more about Heidi’s yoga center, please visit her website Espaciosinergia.
[Interview by M.Borgarbúi]