Agora Yoga Project: Lisboa 2019
Health & education, Sport
Agora Yoga Project: Lisboa 2019
Agora Yoga Project: Lisboa 2019
A dream come true…
AGORA, « Now » in Portuguese, was born of a dream.
A dream to create a different space, thought as a bridge between yoga-only studios, meditation spaces and centers for social and cultural exchange. Our wish is to create a space where practices for the body, the mind and the heart can merge. Where physical and meditative experiences can meet creative and artistic explorations. A place where people can meet and get to know each other in a environment of simplicity, loving kindness and acceptance. Where ideas, new ways and a community can take roots.
Où et Quand?
We fell in love with the wonderful city of Lisbon, so we decided to lay the foundations of this collective project there. We found a very nice and inspiring apartment with plenty of light in the center of Lisbon, and we are very happy to invite you to join us there for a special Open Doors weekend Saturday 6 & Sunday 7 of April 2019. It will be free, opened to everyone, with yoga classes, talks, and suprises during the two days. We will be settling there slowly as of January, working on getting the space pretty and ready for your arrival and the start of the activities. We are planning to start the Yoga classes on March 16.
Who is behind Agora ?
Sonia practices Yoga for almost 10 years, and studies with experienced international teachers on a regular basis. She mainly teaches Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and Yin & Restorative Yoga, but also Vinyasa. She is interested in Yoga Philosophy and sees it as a wonderful tool for self-exploration, acceptance and inner transformation, gifting us with a better understanding of who we are. *
In her classes, Sonia emphasizes the importance and power of breathing, and looks for images and metaphors to accompany the practice. When teaching dynamic forms such as Ashtanga, she encourages a mindful practice, respectful of everyone's own body, adapting the poses when needed. In soft practices, her wish is to create a space of trust and loving kindness allowing to let go and to cultivate a more receptive and accepting attitude, on and off the mat.
It is first through Reiki that Adelia started her quest for meaning and spirituality, 12 years ago. Five years after this discovery, Yoga entered her life and has never left since.
For her, every life is an initiatory path towards self-awareness and personal evolution. There is nothing more important than to find our own path, connecting to our inner self to understand ourselves and the other better, and to find our own inner truth. It is coming from this understanding and these values that she shares Yoga in its different forms: dynamic with Vinyasa or Ashtanga and soft with Yin or Restorative Yoga.
Why exactly « Agora » ?
The idea to open a yoga studio in Lisbon has been growing in our minds for about two years. We both had the desire to leave Paris and to create a project that would resemble us ; we both had plenty of ideas, but we really connected together during the Summer 2017, and realized our personal dreams had a lot in common.Since that day, we water this seed with patience and dedication, and a lot of passion…until today when the dream is becoming real….A bit stressful ! But so exciting too… The name AGORA, once pronounced, felt just made for this dream, and stuck with us since. Why ?
First, AGORA is the Greek word for « Open Assembly » . Nearly every city of ancient Greece had an agora when the classical period of Greek civilization began to flourish. Usually located near the center of town, the agora was easily accessible to every citizen. It was the heart of the city – where ordinary citizens bought and sold goods, politics were discussed and ideas were passed among great minds like Socrates, Aristotle and Plato. Some of the world's most important ideas were born and perfected within the confines of the Athenian agora including, most importantly, the concept of democracy.
Then, AGHORA in Sanskrit, is derived from the root word « ghora » which means « darkness » and « fear ». A- ghora stands for the opposite, « illumination », « peace », « calmness ». Darkness represents ignorance, whereas knowledge brings forth light. The path of Aghora, which is also a school of Tantra, aims to eliminate the veil of ignorance.
Finally, AGORA is simply « Now » in Portuguese, because the only space of creation where all is possible is the present moment.
So…What to expect in this space ?
Of course, the foundation of the project, its essence and first aim…is the practice and teaching of Yoga. We are passionate for years, and not only do we love to practice and study Yoga, but above all, we love to transmit it.
By the way, it is almost written in our DNA…Adélia was a teacher in the state education system before she became a Yoga teacher ; for Sonia, it is hard to find someone in her family who isn’t or hasn’t been a teacher at some point, starting with her two parents. We believe that teaching Yoga is a calling, that is lived fully from wake up to bed time, that is not a « job » but more so a lifestyle, the practice being a canvas to explore life and our interactions with living beings surrounding us.
In that case…What do we have planned for you at AGORA ?
First, regular Yoga classes, made so that everyone can find what they need and like. Why ? Because each body is different, everybody is going through a different phase of life, each mind has its easiest ways to get quiet and calm….Thus, to each their own favorite practice, and way to build a balanced Yoga practice, with one or many forms of Yoga on their schedule.
Therefore, there will be dynamic forms of Yoga for those who get out of bed full of energy (or would like to…. ;) :
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, based on fixed series of postures practiced with constant deep breathing, as an in motion méditation. Taught in Mysore-style (group classes usually in the mornings, these classes are not guided but the teacher helps and teaches each student individually, and where each student practices at his/her own breathing pace and within his/her own limits), but also taught in guided classes by levels, for beginners and intermediate practicioners.
Vinyasa, for those who want to explore the postures of the Ashtanga series with another approach and perspective : in a different order, sometimes with music, sometimes detailing the practice more and other times making it flow more. These classes are very creative, always different and full of surprises. There will also be levels, from complete beginners to advanced vinyasas.
Softer forms of yoga, for the stressed ones, the tired, or just when you feel you need comfort and rest, to feel taken care of and loved, to let go, not to push yourself…Nourish our « Yin » energy, stimulate ou parasympathic nervous system (sounds good doesn’t it ?) :
Yin Yoga, to work on deep stretches using the work of gravity, and stimulate energy in the body meridians. Restorative Yoga, based on soft postures practiced during several minutes each, allowing a complete relaxation of the body, with music and the teacher’s voice as a lullaby. Yoga Nidra (Yoga of Sleep), to be accompanied in a soft and deep relaxation and enter in a resting altered state of consciousness. Each time, small softness and calm bubble to restore your levels of energy.
Meditation, to calm the constant fluctuation of the mind, that veil our inner peace and joy. Whether you will be introduced to meditation techniques through an introduction workshop, or that you join the daily meditation times at the shala, the collective enery and the atmosphère created in a space are a precious support to implement a regular meditation practice.
Pranayama (breathing techniques from Yoga), to learn how to breath better, how to reconnect with the numerous benefits of the breath, always available at our fingertips and yet so difficult to become aware of. Pranayama will be shared through special workshop or integrated within the Yoga classes.
Yes yes yes, we were saying earlier that we are passionate about what we do, so we will still want to see you on your mats and still some energy in store, on top of the regular weekly practices, to offer you some events and special practices. We call them « workshops », and they will either be taught by the teachers from AGORA or by guest teachers. They can take place over a weekend or be spread on several days or weeks. They will be tailored for different levels of practice : for beginners, experienced students or yoga teachers, depending on the theme and the guest teachers.
Areas and practices will be varied, and will evolve along our own inspirations and encounters : Yoga of course (guided practices or Mysore style, adjustments, trainings, Yoga for specific public), Pranayama, Meditation, Ayurveda, Thai Massage, OsteoThai, Anatomy, Acroyoga, danse, chanting, artistic creation
We even plan on staying up a little bit (at least we will try), and to keep the community alive with some evening events such as Kirtan (collectif indian concert and mantra chanting), free movement or Ecstatic Dance, movie nights…Some events will be held in rooms rented outside of AGORA, and other in our small cosy shala.
At AGORA, we even have a small room for massage and treatments. Energy work will also be represented with Reiki treatments and trainings.
We are travel lovers, in case you wouldn’t know that about us yet…And we love to take our students abroad. We will offer you short or long retreats in Portugal mainly now of course, but we will still have some events in France and Europe, in Asia (Bali, Laos, India), in Africa (Morocco, Ivory Coast…) and Centra/South America (Costa Rica, Colombia, maybe Brazil… ;). The format of the retreats will vary between short weekend breaks near Lisbon, long immersion to fully disconnect, small getaways of a few days or socially oriented retreat to discover a country and its inhabitants in a more conscious way, less touristic, supporting projects we carry in our hearts.
And all that in 3 languages : Portuguese, English and French !
Indeed, our dream is to build a communauty where everyone can find his/her own place, in a sharing and caring environment.
A space where you can stop by
To meet with yourself, or with the other, whether you are visiting Lisbon for a few days or living in this diverse and rich city. Come for a cup of tea, of coffee, or for one of our evenings, and feel well, simply « be » there with us. For that to be possible, we are dedicating one room of the studio to « studio life », with a library, a space to chill a little before or after practice.
And projects we carry in our hearts
For us (and we imagine many of you will relate to these lines), the practice of Yoga, by getting us closer to ourselves through self-introspection process and self-understanding, becomes by essence a practice of openness towards the Other. There are so many causes and projects that we would like to support one way or another through AGORA, the community, and the Yoga. Here are some examples of our thoughts as of today.
In Africa (where Sonia lived and kept ties along the years), Yoga, massage and meditation can do a lot of good to youth, women, sick people, children for instance. Our dream would be to transmit the gift of Yoga in a sustainable, durable way – going there regularely, supporting associations offering yoga classes there, and training instructors locally so they can share it in their communities and on the long term. The actions in that area have already started, but there is still so much to build and implement
Teenagers, with who Adélia worked several years as Science teacher but also Yoga teacher, are going through an intense stage of life, very important, a time of self-construction that needs support. Yoga, breathing or meditation are wonderful tools to help all life transitions, including the teens.
We would also love to support a colombian association that works to support women displaced by the armed conflict. We would like to support this social brand at AGORA by selling some textile products co created with street artists of the city of Bogota.
Finally, we would like to make Yoga accessible for all, including in Lisbon, right where we live. We would like to have Karma Yoga classes, on free donation, in the studio but also in town for punctual events, so that the price of the classes doesn’t shut the door to people opened to discovering Yoga.
Allocation of funds
Right now, all our energy, material and spiritual, is directed towards this project.
If we want it to make it possible and even more vibrant with you, we would need a minimum of 12000 euros :
- Installation : bring everything we have in France to set up the studio (that will also be our house, at least at first !). To have all the furniture we need in the studio to get the classes going. To have an equipped kitchen for you to use for tea and coffee after practice and to set up the « common » room and make it cosy with a yogi library. And also for a few basic music instruments and a videoprojector for Agora evenings and classes.
- All the material to give you great yoga classes : good quality yoga mats, blocks, belts, eyebags, sandbags, pilates balls, zafus for meditation, beautiful new massage futons for massage courses (without plastic !), soft blankets…to pamper you during your classes and workshops and to satisfy everyone’s bodies needs.
- Web and marketing : we try to do it all or almost by ourselves with the help of friends, but we are not professionnals… and we have to admit we need a little to do some communication, very important in this first year.
With 15000 euros : we change the floors to have nicer polished wooden floors in the main practice room and the common room. We decorate the studio and put plants EVERYWHERE !! To feel even better at Agora.
With 20000 euros : we create an association for all the social projects we want to support and we redirect the funding to develop actions in Africa, for the teenagers, for the Karma Yoga work…
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