One Hundred Thirty Four

IMAG1512A Year of Yoga: May 15, 2014

Pose: none

Location: On our street, Calle Enladrillada with our hosts. We had a crazy day of packing and cleaning. Our evening ended with tapas with our hosts Ezekiel and Adolfo. I am so happy to have found lovely friends in them. They are truly such amazing and generous people and I wish we had more time to spend with them. They had planned to take us to a vegetarian tapa bar that we had heard about, but we ended up not finding it. The place we ended up at was really good though. There were plenty of vegetarian options (a nice change). We had a good evening talking with them about their trip to Barcelona and how many places we didn’t get to see in Andalucia. It ended of course with us promising to return. One can hope/dream/wish. Tomorrow we are homeless for a few days (aka camping with all of our belongings loaded into a car) until we arrive in Barcelona on Monday.

Photography Credit: random lady on the street

 

One Hundred Thirty Three

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A Year of Yoga: May 14, 2014

Pose: Extended Child’s Pose

Sanskrit: Balasana

Location: Dining room after our last night of hosting student dinners. But before I reminisce about that, the day was filled with some other highlights as well. Today, Momo, Lulu, & me met Brandon and many of the students over at the university and walked together to Plaza de Espana. Momo had remembered from our tour the first weekend here, that originally the plaza was meant to function as a book exchange. There are actually little built in bookshelves. People took the books just fine but never returned any. Most of the students planned on saving luggage space for the trip home by leaving behind text books so Momo suggested that we drop them at Plaza de Espana. The girls and I also had many books that we were finished with, so we joined everyone today to leave behind our books. We definitely got some looks as we made a tower of books in the plaza. It was pretty epic though.

After the book drop, the girls and I headed over the the Science Museum. We had been intending to visit all semester so today was the last chance we had. Unfortunately when we arrived we discovered that the Planetarium only functions Friday – Sunday. Momo was extremely disappointed as space is her particular interest. We had to content ourselves instead with the exhibits of fossils, insects, and interactive games. There were a couple field trips of students around Momo’s age and one little girl in particular wanted to talk to Momo but seemed shy. I think she wanted to practice her English. They mostly ended up smiling and taking turns with the displays. So cute.

Tonight was our final student dinner and we squeezed more students in than any other night. I think our final count was 10 students plus our 4 family members. It was meant to be for the English majors but turned into anyone who hadn’t attended a dinner yet as well as a few students who somehow wormed their way back because they love us (heehee). The students arrived tonight with cake, wine, flats of strawberries, salad….it was lovely. Everyone discussed how much they had loved the program, how the experience had changed or challenged them, their plans for the end of the program, school plans for the fall semester. I will remember it as probably my favorite student dinner of the semester. Tomorrow is our last full day in Sevilla and we haven’t even started packing. I am definitely nervous about fitting all our belongings into a rental car. Child’s pose will help me deal with it all.

Photography Credit: Brandon

One Hundred Thirty Two

1233377_10203875294152244_2038232413916410295_nA Year of Yoga: May 13, 2014

Pose: Infinity Pose Prep

Sanskrit: Anantasana I

Location: A group photo on top of the Mushroom in Sevilla. We are down to our last few days in Sevilla. Two more days of class and then everyone will be going their separate ways. Tonight we all enjoyed a final night of tapas together. Some speeches were made, some tears were shed, and definitely a lot of laughing. It was great to have the whole group together one last time…although I believe a few people are missing from this photo.

Photography Credit: Sally

 

One Hundred Thirty

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A Year of Yoga: May 11, 2014

Pose: Dolphin Side Plank with Leg Raise

Location: Basking in the glow of the Catedral de Sevilla, for the last time. Tonight was the last night of Feria. It also happened to be Mother’s Day. My morning began with Lulu and Momo bringing me coffee and breakfast in bed. Poor Momo burnt her hand while making croissants. Of course it’s Sunday and everything is closed, including the pharmacy where we could get burn cream. She sat with her hand under cold water or with an ice pack for most of the day before it finally started to cool down. We enjoyed a pretty lazy day around the house and planned to head out for the fireworks show that signifies the end of Feria. We did a bit of research to find the best spot to watch and ended up down by the river near one of the bridges. It was pretty crowded but we found a spot against a wall and waited for things to begin. As it turned out, Sevilla’s biggest fireworks display wasn’t any better than what we get for the 4th of July in the States. But it was still fun to be out and part of the festivities. On the walk home we stopped to admire the cathedral for probably the last time. It looks really beautiful all lit up at night. We have 4 more days in Sevilla before we say goodbye to the students and set off for mountains and Barcelona.

Photography Credit: Brandon

One Hundred Twenty Nine

IMG_4347A Year of Yoga: May 10, 2014

Pose: Dancer Variation

Sanskrit: Natarajasana

Location: Entrace to the Feria de Abril. Feria at night is magical. We brought our own rebujito tonight (which is what most people do), and we just walked around enjoying the music, dancing, and the lights. Even though it was crowded, I was determined to get a good yoga photo at Feria. I definitely got some dirty looks but it was worth it. This is definitely one of my favorite photos so far.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

One Hundred Twenty Eight

IMG_4238A Year of Yoga: May 9, 2014

Pose: Extended Twisting Chair

Sanskrit: Parivrtta Utkatasana

Location: Parque Maria Luisa. It’s hard to believe, but we are down to our last week in Sevilla. Ten weeks doesn’t sound like a long time, but in that time we found a home away from home. There were so many things we planned to do and now that we’re down to our last week, we realized we better hurry up and do them. Today we took a picnic down to the park, spent some more time wandering around the beautiful Plaza de Espana, and then went for a bike ride along the river. We have been wanting to go to the Isla Magica water park but we can’t seem to find any information online about when it opens. So we planned to ride the bikes down there to see if we could figure it out. The bike ride along the river was great. I really miss riding bikes. Unfortunately when we got to Isla Magica, the whole park was closed; probably because of Feria. I guess tomorrow I will call their information line and try to figure out if the water park is open. It’s getting really hot here and a water park is sounding really nice about now.

Photography Credit: Momo

 

 

One Hundred Twenty Seven

IMG_4219A Year of Yoga: May 8, 2014

Pose: Revolved Warrior 2

Sanskrit: Parivrtta Virbhadrasana 2

Location: Walking home from my first day of Feria de Abril. The Feria in Sevilla is a a fair/festival that usually takes place a couple weeks after Easter. Since Easter was late this year, Feria is actually taking place in May. They still call it Feria de Abril though. I didn’t know exactly what to expect. I knew that traditional dress is very important. Feria dresses cost between €250-500 used, but I found one second hand for €25. Of course I then spent €75 to have it altered, but I’m pleased with how it turned out. Momo also wore one. You can see pictures of the Feria under the Sevilla photo gallery. Basically, it’s hundreds upon hundreds of beautifully decorated tents, most of which are private. Inside the tents you eat, drink, and dance. There are several public tents for those of us paupers who aren’t special enough to get invited to a private tent. Everyone drinks the Feria drink, rebujito. It’s basically white wine and soda. Sounds like it wouldn’t be good, but it is delicious and refreshing. It was insanely hot at the fair today, so it was a welcome respite to drink rebujito in the shade. Other than the general dressing up, drinking, and merriment, there are also crazy fair rides. So today we let our girls loose and enjoyed the rides. There are still a few more days of Feria so next time I think I will come at night when it isn’t as hot. I hear it is even more beautiful with all the lights.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

One Hundred Eighteen

photo copyA Year of Yoga: April 29, 2014

Pose: Tree Variation

Sanskrit: Vriksasana

Location: On a tour boat on the Guadalquivir River. We are getting down to the last couple weeks in Sevilla and our last couple cultural calendar event. Today’s event was a river boat tour. To be honest, it was nothing special. It was really hot out and by now we all have a decent idea of what the city looks like….it doesn’t look that much different from a boat. Still, it was a chance to hang out as a group and enjoy everyone’s company.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

One Hundred Seventeen

IMG_3896A Year of Yoga: April 28, 2014

Pose: Runner’s Stretch or Intense Hamstring Stretch

Location: The Museum of Tolerance. Under the Triana Market, the remains of St. George’s castle is being excavated. This was the headquarters of the Spanish Inquisition. The museum tells the stories of individuals who were victimized by the Inquisition. A basic idea of the Inquisition, was that everyone in Queen Isabela’s Kingdom was forced to convert to Catholicism. Anyone suspected of secretly practicing anything else (i.e. Judaism, witchcraft, etc.) were subjected to the Inquisition…which basically operated on a “guilty until proven innocent” system. Anyone accused would automatically be detained and given an opportunity to confess. If no confession was made, well let the creative violence commence. My favorite thing about this exhibit was the sign at the entrance. A rough translation is “These terrible things happened right here in our city. We should know about them and think about them”. Wise words.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

One Hundred Fifteen

IMG_5216A Year of Yoga: April 26, 2014

Pose: Side Angle Pose

Sanskrit: Utthita Parsvakonasana)

Location: Iglesia del santos sin manos. This is one of many churches we walk past almost everyday. At some point we noticed most of the statues of the saints didn’t have hands. Since we don’t know the actual name of this place, we started calling it “no hands saint church”. Tonight we were walking home pretty late so unfortunately the photo isn’t the greatest. This is the first weekend we decided to stay in Sevilla and relax. Saturday night, one of the Brits organized an impromptu night out to search for some live music. We joined her and some of the students. As you may (or may not) know, night life in Spain doesn’t really even start until midnight. I like to go to bed at midnight, but we decided since we had nowhere to be in the morning, we would do as the Sevillanos. We caught a little blues act in the jazz cafe and then decided to head over to Triana for some flamenco. Triana is said to be the best place for flamenco. We were hoping to find place called Casa Anselma, that someone recommended to Sally. We arrived at the right street but didn’t see anything with the right name. There was however, a queue of people outside a dark building. We determined that they were waiting to get into Casa Ansalma and that the doors opened at midnight and the show started at 12:30. We hadn’t anticipated waiting in a line for 45 minutes to get into a place, but we agreed that it would be just as late by the time we found another place and at least here, we were second in line. Once they let us inside, we could see that seats are for people with reservations. Apparently you can’t even get reservations unless you’re connected. Then there is standing room only which is first come first serve. And of course, I mean standing room only; European style. No fire codes, no personal space, just packed in as tight as possible. We didn’t have to pay a cover to get in though, so we thought it would turn out to be a night of free music. Haha, we should have known better. Sally (who speaks very good Spanish) asked for a tap water at the bar and got shut down. I believe the response was (in highly disgusted Spanish) “If you want a drink, you’re going to pay for it”. I guess we thought that meant drinks were not obligatory. They were €7 each, which is crazy expensive for Europe (although normal for a club in the U.S.) We’ve definitely gotten used to drinking for cheap. Even if I wanted to pay for a drink, I was really intimidated to order something. There was one bartender and she was being snippy with anyone that walked up to the bar. There was one server for the whole room. People were just shouting drink orders at her and she seemed to have a system that I couldn’t quite follow. She looked like someone I didn’t want to cross. About 20 minutes after the show started, the main woman, Ansalma I presume, kept looking over in our direction and must have noticed there were too many people without drinks. So she got up and came over and started demanding orders from people. Someone tried to tell her they didn’t want anything, and she yelled at them and said if they didn’t drink they had to stand by the door. So that’s how this works. Makes perfect sense. No cover, one drink minimum. But they assume you know this going in. Of course, I didn’t want to mess with Ansalma either so I ordered a whiskey and coke and nursed it all night so I didn’t have to order a second one. The whole atmosphere was amazing. I felt a little like an intruder, not being Spanish, but it was so good I didn’t care. It was an authentic flamenco experience. There was more or less a circle around the center. There were several men playing guitars and drums seated in the middle. Anybody who wanted to get up and perform could do so. There was an older, amply sized, woman who got up and danced. There was an engaged couple who got up and danced and kept getting coerced into dancing again and again. There was a woman who sang. The men playing the music each took turns dancing, singing, performing solos, etc. The audience participated as well, clapping and singing along. I don’t know how long the performance is supposed to be, but we finally decided to leave around 2am. Things seemed to still be going strong. They perform every night apparently. So if you are ever in Sevilla and you want an authentic flamenco experience, definitely go to Casa Ansalma and if you don’t have a reservation, get there an hour early to stand in line, and make sure you have a drink in hand!

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

One Hundred Fourteen

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A Year of Yoga: April 25, 2014

Pose: Warrior 3 Variation

Sanskrit: Virabhadrasana 3

Location: Italica. Today we had another cultural calendar event to see the Roman ruins of Italica a short distance outside of Sevilla. Archaeologists have been slowly digging up parts of this ancient Roman city. There are still many active dig sites. The city was the birthplace of the Roman emperor Trajan, and home of the 3rd biggest amphitheater in the Roman Empire. The amphitheater was definitely the highlight of the tour. The above photo is from inside the walls where they would keep prisoners, gladiators, wild animals, etc. It’s a little disconcerting to think about the history of a place like this. Thousands of Roman citizens watching people get tortured for entertainment….it seems like Europe has a lot of history like that. It’s good for us to be confronted with it, think about it, and contemplate.

Photography Credit: Brandon

One Hundred Twelve

IMG_3855A Year of Yoga: April 23, 2014

Pose: Camel – Mermaid Bind

Sanskrit: Uttrasana – Eka Pada Rajakapotasana 

Location: Out for a walk in my neighborhood (Macarena) admiring the street art. There is a lot of graffiti in Seville. I’m sure the city has given up any attempts to clean it up, as it just reappears again. A lot of it is typical “tagging” people’s names or whatever in plain black or white spray paint; really unimaginative and stupid in my opinion. However, often there is true art in graffiti.

Photography Credit: Lulu

 

One Hundred Eleven

IMG_3844 A Year of Yoga: April 22, 2014

Pose: Wide Legged Forward Fold

Sanskrit: Prasarita Padottanasana

Location: Alameda de Hercules. Tonight we had another cultural calendar event. We met the students and the Brits at the residence and then all set out on a walk across the river to the Teatro Central to see a flamenco guitar performance by two women, Antonia Jimenez and Marta Robles. The Teatro Central is in the area of town that was built up for the 1992 expo. It always looks more or less deserted whenever I’ve seen it, although Sevillanos swear they use it. Even tonight, when there is an event at the theater, this part of town seems empty. We took our seats just in time. The show was very good. It was just guitar, no dancing. The type of flamenco music was definitely more mournful and serious; no clapping or yelling out. Although I prefer more lively flamenco, it was very cool to see two women being given opportunity and respect for their craft. I play a little guitar, but I could never imagine playing the way these women do. After the performance we walked back towards the residence with the students but then split off through the Alameda which is a faster route to our house. I haven’t been in this famous plaza since we moved here. It’s a wide and long plaza with places for kids to play, benches, bike paths, and surrounded by lots of cafes and bars. Either end of the alameda is marked by two tall columns with statues of Julius Cesar and Hercules on top. The Alameda is actually the oldest and largest public “square” in the old city of Sevilla.

Photography Credit: Momo

 

One Hundred Nine

IMG_3834A Year of Yoga: April 20, 2104

Pose: Standing Bow Variation

Sanskrit: Dandayamana-Dhanurasana

Location: Ave Kansas City in the middle of the rain in front of the Sevilla Santa Justa train station. Today was Easter Sunday. We started our morning with the very American Easter tradition of champagne brunch. I don’t think champagne brunch is a thing in Spain, so we made our own at home. After some lazing around at home, Brandon went out for a walk and found himself at the fútbol stadium purchasing tickets for the match against Granada. So I met him down at the stadium and we cheered Sevilla in person one last time. We were seated next an English couple and ended up having a discussion about the differences in the fans at fútbol matches, England vs. Spain. In Spain, the fans are very joyful. They sing, clap, bounce up and down, hug and kiss when things are good. When something bad happens on the field there is some yelling but the focus is definitely more on the joy. Apparently the English are a bit more “angry”. (English subtlety implied). Sevilla easily won the match. Granada isn’t a great team and every year they are usually just happy if they don’t get relegated. After the match, it was pouring down rain so we ducked into an Italian restaurant and had dinner. It was still pouring down rain when we finished dinner, but we didn’t want to pay for a taxi since it’s not that far of a walk. On the walk home we stopped here for a quick yoga picture.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

One Hundred Eight

IMG_3821A Year of Yoga: April 19, 2014

Pose: Bridge Variation

Sanskrit: Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Location: Parque Muralla del Valle. I have been so exhausted from traveling in Portugal for a week and coming home and jumping right into Semana Santa. Today I mostly rested at home and then took a walk in the afternoon and got this picture at a park near our house. Brandon did take Lulu and Momo out earlier to see a few processionals and bought Momo a €5 Spongebob balloon.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

One Hundred Seven

IMG_5131A Year of Yoga: April 18, 2014

Pose: Camel Variation

Sanskrit: Ustrasana

Location: Along the Guadalquivir River near the Triana Bridge. Semana Santa is in full swing. Last night we made a point of being at the giant La Macarena procession (see post 106), so today we decided we would walk around the city and let fate lead us. We stopped for drinks in pink church plaza (see post 83) and heard a processional was about 40 minutes away so we waited. It was much smaller and most of the people in the crowd had family members in the processional. Little altar boys were marching through handing out candy to the children in the audience. After that we wandered through the city center where much of the street is closed off for the private boxes. We just got glimpses of how the rich Sevillanos get to watch processionals in luxury and comfort. We ran into a few more processionals before sitting down to a nice Italian dinner. After that we planned to watch the Triana church carrying it’s icon back over the bridge to its home. As we headed that way we decided rather than fight the crowds on the bridge, we would enjoy it from the river front.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

 

One Hundred Six

IMG_5096A Year of Yoga: April 17, 2014

Pose: Cow Face

Sanskrit: Gomukhasana

Location: Near La Macarena church. Most of our day was spent driving back to Sevilla from Portugal. It was a pretty long drive but we arrived back in town just in time for the most important processional of Semana Santa; La Macarena.

Semana Santa in Sevilla is the biggest Holy Week in Spain and maybe even the Catholic world outside of the Vatican. Each church in the city is scheduled to bring our their icon/virgin at some point during the week and parade it through the city to the cathedral. The icons are carried on a platform with dozens of people underneath who have been practicing for weeks. They know every turn and how many steps they need to take. Over the past couple of weeks we have caught some of the rehearsal processions. Some of these churches have been parading their icons out each year for as long as 600 years. El Silencio, the oldest, has been going since 1340. La Macarena, the one we attended tonight, has been going since 1595. Most of the processions also include really cool brass bands playing somber funeral marches (Godfather status). Each processional also has their groups of religious brotherhoods that march before the icon. Some of them wear typical Catholic looking religious garb and carry different props (candelabras, crosses, thuribles, etc). Then there are the Nazarenos, wearing their pointy hoods (KKK took their uniform from this religious tradition). The people of Spain may have heard of KKK but to them these pointy hoods are symbolic of their Semana Santa tradition, not a symbol of hatred and violence. For me, it was a bit disconcerting and uncomfortable to see thousands of people walking around in these pointy hoods.

Thursday night is the biggest night of Holy Week. Many of the larger and more important churches begin their processionals at midnight or so and arrive at the cathedral at some point on Good Friday. La Macarena is the biggest of the biggest and we live a short walk away (we live in the neighborhood of Macarena after all). La Macarena virgin is heralded as the most beautiful of all the antiquities that parade through the streets. There is tons of T.V. coverage and since we got there early”ish” we had a pretty good spot. After we had been there about an hour or so, we looked behind us and couldn’t tell where the sea of people ended. After about 2 1/2 hours of thousands upon thousands of Nazarenos pouring out of the church along with a band and the first icon, they finally brought out the virgin. The crowd gets really quiet and then one person calls out “MacareeeeeeeNA!” And the crowd answers “Guapa!” They do this many times. After the virgin passes most people disperse. By this point it’s almost 3 in the morning. I read later that this procession takes 14 hours from beginning to end, which means they won’t arrive at the Cathedral until 1:00 or so in the afternoon.

This all sounds like a pretty crazy serious religious event. It is that but it also reminded me of the 4th of July. People brought chairs, beers, and were hanging out with friends and neighbors. Then for the 10 minutes the virgin is passing people are somber (some of them even cry), and then it’s back to the fun. Kind of like how  people get patriotic and somber (and maybe even cry) during the 10 minutes of fireworks accompanied by “Proud to be an American”.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

Ninety Eight

IMG_3356A Year of Yoga: April 9, 2014

Pose: 5 pointed star

Sanskrit: Trikonasana

Location: A corner of my rooftop. A different spot than where I hang up laundry. A spot with a great view of the city lights at night. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you have probably seen poses, photos, posts, etc. taken with great haste (or laziness). Especially before leaving for Europe, some days would get so hectic or I would be so tired, I would just do what was easy. While in Europe I’m finding there to be a lot more opportunities for great photos, there are still those days when what you’re going to get is me on my roof at 10pm in any old pose. Tomorrow we leave for Portugal for a week and my whole day was trying to get things ready. There are those days when life is just life and it doesn’t matter where you live it. There’s laundry and dishes, not enough hot water for the shower, kids that don’t want to do homework or clean their room, and exhaustion at the end of the day.

Photography Credit: Brandon