Asana Alphabet partnered with the teachers from Musicworks this spring break with a volunteer work assignment at La Fundacion del Brass Band Ecuador. The Brass Band has a wide array of students ranging from age three to age twenty. With many talented musicians, the Brass Band is committed to allowing Quito’s poorest students attend class regardless of the tuition they can pay.
What can a yoga teacher do for a music organization? The Brass Band’s artistic director, Jorge Pachacama, was very interested in incorporating techniques which would prevent muscular pain from holding heavy instruments, but, more importantly, for calming and focusing his students. Before their spring concert, we did half an hour of calming yoga along with a teacher’s workshop on how to use these techniques in the classroom.
While I did find a couple of yoga studios online in Quito, Ecuador, including a unique Kundalini Yoga retreat, Fundacion Brethren y Unida, the city is massive and thus far, the reach of these classes to the population seems pretty limited, though the Ecuadorians I met were very open-minded and interested. Of course, private studios need to charge for yoga in order to pay for their studio to run (and there is a small but very wealthy segment of the population which can make that happen); however, as the country faces high unemployment and low wages on average, paying for a weekly yoga class is difficult for many. Our Quito host school was amazing and we are so gracious for such a fantastic volunteer vacation!
Later, we did some kids yoga on the beach in Puerto Cayo. Click on this link for a video of making a “yoga sandwich”, also known as seated forward bend:
If you are going to Ecuador, also consider checking out a private yoga center, “La Perla” on the coast…this is a really special place!