My boyfriend and I were staying in Lisbon for the month, but I didn’t speak any Portuguese. I looked up the nearest ashtanga teacher to the Príncipe Real neighborhood where our apartment was and messaged her through Instagram to ask if I could still come to a Mysore class. “Of course, I was welcome,” she responded, “here was the location and the time.”
“Don’t let the thighs separate from the arms as you lower down into supta kurmasana—that lets the energy escape and makes the pose harder.” She was right, and I no longer let the energy escape there. “Why aren’t you going into bakasana before jumping back?” I didn’t really have an answer, so from that point on I always did. Now, I hold bakasana with relative ease.
During one of these mysore classes, she kept repeating a word in Portuguese that I didn’t know. After class, there was fortunately another student who didn’t speak any Portuguese who asked what the word meant. The word was “padrões”–or “patterns.” Our teacher said she kept repeating it because it was the most important word. “Burn the patterns,” she said. That’s what we’re doing every time we come here. Burning our patterns. The ones we’ve learned and the ones we’ve inherited. The ones that we repeat and the ones that keep us stuck.
If any of you find yourselves in Lisbon wanting to practice ashtanga, the teacher’s name is Isa Guitana, and, as of the time of this writing, she teaches in Lisbon and Cascais.