The Multiculturalism of Yoga
by Carolina Daza Carreño

Teaching Yoga in New York City, Paris, and Madrid, has become a common ground reference for understanding the multiculturalism of Yoga in the West. These are three buzzy cosmopolitan vibes, three major languages being spoken, and three kaleidoscopes to the world’s cultures; thus in these three, Yoga has become a human revolution for spiritual evolution.

 “What is out of sight is out of mind...” is the big principle that has guided our societies for decades, and one that has strengthen my approach to Yoga as a revolution towards nourishing “what is out of sight”...our most precious internal world. Hence, my teachings nourish students’ inner awareness with Vinyasa flow practices, Ayurvedic hands-on cooking and tastings, as well as Satsang talks delving into:

Who am I really? Who is talking, my ego or is it my true Self? Why am I on this planet? What is my unique gift and how can I fulfill it in my lifetime? How can I strengthen my inner power? What is true happiness and how can I get it? Is this good or bad for me? Will this hurt anyone?

I feel these are some of the many questions that are never meditated upon in our fast-paced Western lifestyles, especially in cities like these three.

In the Big Apple I aimed at inspiring students to hold on, take a break and breathe into their awareness. Living in a 24/7 high-speed city becomes a challenge for practitioners as they carry along intense energies that keep their vrittis –mind fluctuations- very active. Being under constant pressure forces the majority of practitioners only to focus on the physical asana practice. Hence, my biggest effort was to introduce basic meditative yoga exercises.

Inhale, pull the entire abdominal region backwards into the spine, connect the floating ribs to the pelvis, activate the bandhas, relax the spine and breathe into your awareness, let go ~ English.

Yoga in the City of Light is delightfully growing. Teaching to a bunch of receptive yoga souls in Paris is always pleasurable. More and more Parisians as well as expats are starting to practice yoga asanas as well as pranayama techniques. As the classes evolve, I feel students are eager to discover all that lies within Yoga, as it is something fairly new compared to NYC.

Vous inspirez, ouvrez la poitrine, descendez les omoplats al interieur, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana  ~ French.

In Madrid, I also had fascinating experiences while teaching. Students were open to everything including Satsang Talks and reviews of the Ayurvedic cooking principles. I feel the Spanish capital has developed an interesting yogi community that is evolving fast and that has been able to balance out the active nightlife of the city, especially the late night eating hours, with holistic Yoga practices.

Exhala relaja la columna vertebral, pies paralelos a la misma distancia de la cadera, distribuye equitativamente el peso de tú cuerpo Adho Mukha ~ Spanish

Teaching Yoga in buzzy cosmopolitan cities has profoundly evolved my yogic path, while making me more of a beginner student. I feel these experiences have summed up to Yoga being the all-encompassing passion of my life, an incredible art of spirit that has created an altogether new destiny for my life where I am able to honestly sense my unique teaching voice. I firmly believe that the multiculturalism of Yoga will continue to prove its successful human revolution for spiritual evolution.

As a multi-faceted artist, Carolina Daza (The Global Yogini) travels the world sharing her yoga skills and natural cooking in a creative way. Her inspiring yoga teachers are Linda Munro and Gérald Disse at  Ashtanga Yoga Paris. A native Colombian, she completed her M.A. at New York University while working as Artistic Director at the TISCH School of the Arts. She has embarked on various yoga/cooking teaching and training tours throughout Europe, including the Helsinki Yoga community with Kylli Kukk’s Joogakoulu Shanti as well as living in Copenhagen, while staging in the kitchen of NOMA, one of the world’s top restaurants. Carolina is the founder of Ecocozina.com, her own social development project to promote healthy and creative lifestyles. You can connect to her on twitter @TheGlobalYogini.