Yoga in Uruguay—A Quick Guide
Gone are the days of yoga being the new age past time of dreadlocked hippies and flower children. More and more, it is becoming a mainstream recreational activity—prepping young moms, retired professionals, and all in between are increasingly practicing the ancient form of stretching and meditation. According to a 2008 study by the magazine, Yoga Journal, 15.8 million Americans practice yoga. That’s nearly 7% of the country! Aside from its mental and physical benefits, yoga is also quite the moneymaker in the U.S. Practitioners spend $5.7 billion on classes, products, apparel, and vacations. For hotels, yoga is becoming as necessary a service as free wi-fi. Big chains now offer yoga classes not only in their spas, but also on the on-demand channels in guests’ rooms. Others have mats and straps available upon request.
For expatriates who practice yoga and are thinking of moving to Uruguay, you will be relieved to know that there are lots of options for you. Maybe not as many as back home, but there are enough that you should be able to find a place to regularly practice. Most classes are 90 minutes, as they are in the states, though Ashtanga studios will have the traditional 120-minute options. Most institutes will offer per-class prices, in addition to unlimited month or 10-class passes. Prices range depending on the professor, but are surprisingly similar to prices in the U.S. For all of its mainstreaming, yoga remains a luxury in Uruguay compared to other physical activities. A monthly pass for two or three times a week is around US$50. A per class fee is usually around US$12.
One difference between yoga in the states and in Uruguay is that there are seldom early-morning classes (like the 6 a.m. classes my mother and I enjoyed in Seattle), and it’s difficult to find a weekend class.
Intensity varies based on location, and some classes tend to be “easier” than I was used to. Lots of stationary stretching, which is a far cry from my preferred Power Vinyasa Yoga. However, to others, it’s a nice break from the high-intensity of some American classes. I have not heard of any “hot yoga” studios in Montevideo, though they may exist. Another difference, which I enjoy, is that unlike my yoga studio in suburban Seattle, in Montevideo it is very rare to practice in a room full of brand name organic cotton yoga tanks and shorts. Most people do their sun salutations in linen, or a pajama-like alternative. Though yoga is increasingly practiced in Uruguay, it is not the fashion fad that it is in the U.S. Consequently, it has been spared extreme commercialization.
In Montevideo: The Satyananda Darshan School in Montevideo is located in Pocitos and offers a full schedule of 90-minute Satyananda Yoga classes Monday to Friday. In addition, each week they have one pregnant yoga class and one Satyananda meditation class. If you are a small business owner, they also offer a service called “Yoga in the office,” where their instructors come to your office twice a week and give 1.5-hour classes focusing on improved posture and stress management. The school’s site is well maintained and offers its schedules online. (Address: Obligado 1068; tel. +5982-706-6059; website: http://satyananda.org.uy/)
Casa Verde in Carrasco has been recommended to me many times, but because I live across town, I have never made the trek to try it. Like the Darshan School, Casa Verde offers Satyananda Yoga. Their current schedule is limited to Tuesday and Thursday from 14:00 to 15:15, Monday and Thursdays from 10:30 to 12:00, and Monday and Thursday from 12:00 to 13:15. Their website isn’t very easy to navigate. Consequently, you should call and double-check the schedule for the week, before heading over. (Address: Divina Comedia 1632; tel. +5982-600-5784; website: mbu.com.uy).
Alternatives is a wellness center located in Pocitos. Its services include Reike, massages, pilates, and yoga. Different teachers rent out the space and offer a range of classes and styles from Hatha to Tibetan yoga. Email for exact schedule. (Pedro Berro 835 – 839; tel. +5982-711-9860; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: http://www.centrodealternativas.com/.
The Club de Golf del Uruguay situated in the Punta Carretas neighborhood also offers weekly yoga classes. On Mondays and Wednesday there are a variety of morning classes, and on Tuesday and Friday there is just one class from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Contact the club for prices. (Br. Artigas 379, Montevideo, Uruguay; tel. +5982-710-1721 ext 25; website: http://www.cgu.com.uy/).
Outside of Montevideo: La Brisas Boutique Hotel in La Pedrera is open from October 15th until April 30th. During the months of October, November, March, and April the hotel offers thematic retreats that include all meals and activities. One of their retreats is entitled “Well Being” and includes yoga classes, a special detox menu, and body treatments designed to reduce stress. (One block from La Rambla in La Pedrera; tel +598(0)479-2265; e-mail: email@example.com; website: www.brisasdelapedrera.com).
At the Diablo Tranquilo hostel in Punta del Diablo, instructor Molly, helps you relax and enjoy yourself through the practice of yoga. Walk with her to a special place overlooking the beach, and start your day refreshed after an hour of yoga in a picturesque setting. (Punta del Diablo’s entrance at km 298. Turn right and drive for about 5 km until you reach the coast; tel. +598-4772-647. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: http://eldiablotranquilo.com/)
Summering in Piriapolis? At the Hotel Tamariz you can practice chanting and meditation, Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:00 to 10:30, 15:15 to 16:45, and 20:30 to 22:00. (Salta 933 entre Av. Fco. Piria y Uruguay; tel. +5989-877-1640).
Heading to the hot springs? There are Satyananda Yoga classes in Aryuna with Pablo Cabrera. (E-mail: email@example.com; tel. +5982-364-8081.)
The Sheraton Colonia Golf & Spa Resort in Colonia del Sacramento, offers well-being treatments, including Zen Shiatzu, which is a passive yoga treatment where a series of stretches and digital therapy focused on pressure points helps release negative energy. For a 60-minute session, guests are charged $95. (Located on the Rambla of Las Américas, Colonia Del Sacramento; tel. +598 52 29000; website: http://www.starwoodhotels.com/sheraton/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=1534).
If you know of any other places in or outside of Montevideo to practice yoga, let us know. Namaste!