Yoga, a Hindu practice to balance body, mind and spirit, is not only for a selected few. With the ‘Yoga in your Neighborhood’ program, Mexico City seeks to bring the activity to various sites throughout the city at no cost.
One of the project’s founders, Berenice Hernández, said that the project, which began in 2011, seeks to spread yoga and facilitate access to all people. She explained that this practice was previously considered as an activity for only the wealthy.
However, with the passing of the years, yoga has been made available to the public in area parks, and Parque Mexico and España, in Condesa, as well as the De Venados, in the Benito Juárez delegation. The initiative has brought the practice of yoga and its health benefits to thousands of people in Mexico City.
According to UNAM Foundation, the word yoga means “union” of the body with the mind. In addition, it considers three elements, which are the physical postures, the breathing exercises and mudras, a little more advanced practice with the hands.
Among some of the benefits of yoga is the reduction stress and anxiety, better blood circulation that leads to greater cellular oxygenation, as well as a significant improvement in people’s ability to concentrate.
Hernandez mentioned that ‘Yoga in your Neighborhood’ seeks to promote the benefits of Yoga regardless of color, age, sex or social status, through free classes in various public spaces in Mexico City.
For six years, the program has changed into a festive setting to included a bazaar with holistic products from small and medium-sized Mexican companies that offer various products and services.
Initially, the programs were visited by about 1,500 people per day, a number that has doubled over the years to reach 3,000. In addition, each edition has at least 10 teachers who teach between one and two hours of yoga, as well as an average of 60 exhibitors, and to promote responsible consumption practices and the promotion of alternative therapies.
“Yoga does not only help you to have relaxation or a good physical condition, but also helps to strengthen the nervous system, to have a higher concentration and memory, as well as a good cellular oxygenation.”
The next edition of this festival will be on May 6 and 7 in the Naucalli Park, in the State of Mexico, and due to the size of the space will have at least 70 exhibitors, including vegetarian and vegan food area and holistic bazaar. Organizers expect 6,000 people to attend during the two days.
At the beginning of May, the month of Mother’s Day, the event will revolve around this festivity but with a focus of awareness for the care of Mother Earth and the one referring to the strength and creativity of women.
Yoga in your neighborhood mapped schools that teach this activity in Mexico City and determined that most of them are concentrated in the south and southeast of the city, so it is necessary to “bring yoga to many spaces, where it is not concentrated, so everyone can have access,” Hernandez said.