Language learning with Yoga
To all the yogis out there who love to travel and nourish their spirit by indulging in something new, this might be an interesting read for you! The ancient yogis taught us to nurture not just our bodies but also our brains by constantly learning.
As a practitioner of yoga I love to discover new things, broaden my knowledge, and learn something new – and not just through yoga! Whether you’re an old-hat when it comes to the ancient art or have never tried it in your life, we’ve got some great Language & Yoga courses that will help you get the most out of your stay.
Learning something new and getting out of our comfort zone gives us a chance to see beyond the everyday. It hands us great opportunities to open doors and see the world with wider eyes. Why not seek a rewarding and fulfilling experience by combining a language course with a yoga retreat in some of the most beautiful and tranquil parts of the world?
But first, for those who are unfamiliar: what exactly is yoga?
Thought to be over 3,000 years old, the practice of holding specific postures, poses, or asanas is central to Hindu philosophy. When combined with certain other practices such as meditation and ‘self-observance’, these postures are said to enable a higher state of consciousness. The aim with yoga is not just to master the asanas but also to be liberated from worldly constraints, from evil thoughts and actions, and from that which brings pain and suffering.
The terminology used when studying and practising yoga can be off-putting for some, as it feels a bit pretentious when first encountered. However, at its core, yoga is simply about listening to your body, controlling your breathing, and moving in a way that is said to calm the mind, improve circulation, and boost physical ability.
There are several types or ‘schools’ of yoga, and Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains all differentiate in their interpretation of the ancient Sanskrit term. The modern form, which you’ll practice when taking a course at one of our schools (and in most yoga studios throughout the world) is Hatha yoga, which dedicates itself to the study of breath and movements that stimulate certain areas of the body, referred to as chakras.
Health benefits of yoga
Speak to any yoga-fan and you will find yourself bombarded with information on how beneficial a practice yoga is. Though some of this is pseudoscience, we can say with relative certainty that regular performance of asanas can cause or contribute to various beneficial changes in our bodies.
The heavy focus on breathing in all forms of yoga is thought to help with respiratory problems, while repeated holding of sometimes difficult or physically strenuous poses tones muscles and increases strength. Stretching certain nerves and muscles relieves tension and alleviates pain, encouraging flexibility which generally results in increased mood. Vinyasas, the movements between asanas, also encourage flexibility, lubricating stiff joints and promoting healthy blood-flow. Tentative evidence suggests that practising daily asanas may even help to boost psychological health during cancer treatment – which may, in turn, increase a patient’s chance of survival.
Most of the quantifiable benefits of yoga are linked to maintaining bodily strength, adding movement to an increasingly static world (think office workers and video-game players), and teaching mindfulness. The mindfulness comes, in part, from the concentration and attention required to master some of the more complex poses!
Such emphasis on mindfulness and attention helps you to connect to your surroundings on a deeper level – in much the same way that learning a language helps you to understand and connect to another culture. A combined language and yoga adventure will make you experience something new, broaden your intellectual horizons, and help you to connect authentically not just with yourself but also with the people and the country you’re travelling to. Making new friends and being able to enjoy the lovely sunshine is just another reason to dive straight in – after all, who wouldn’t want to practice the Reverse Warrior under the Spanish sun?
What can we offer you?
Though yoga is heavily rooted in southern Asian culture, it is actually our Spanish-language schools that offer the most opportunities for practising yoga alongside your language course. While other language schools may not offer a specific yoga-based programme, staff at our many facilities across the world will be happy to point you in the direction of a local studio or instructor, and we are happy to help you find a location in which you can combine your passions for a truly fulfilling language experience.
Spanish and Yoga in Spain
Our school in Vejer de la Frontera offers a combined course of intensive group lessons with yoga practice. After enriching your mind with 4 Spanish lessons each morning, you’ll receive 3 1-hour yoga sessions each week (timetable subject to change and verified on arrival). Sessions take place in a local yoga studio just 10 – 15 minutes’ walk from the school. Here, you’ll get to meet local Spaniards, practice your language skills, learn new terminology, and perhaps even make lifelong friends! What’s more, your yoga classes won’t stop you taking part in all the other activities our school offers.
San Sebastian is another great location for yoga. Classes take place in the evening and are available all year round, so whenever you attend our school you’re sure to be able to get that all-important mat-time during your vacaciones. Students booking our Spanish & Yoga course in San Sebastian receive 1hr 15mins of yoga twice a week, which can be combined with any Spanish course the school offers. Students with beginner-level Spanish can attend yoga sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays, while students with previous language experience can attend on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Spanish and Yoga in South America
If you’re looking for something further afield, why not attend rooftop classes at our school in Montañita, Ecuador? Practice early in the morning before classes start to catch the sun rising, or in the evening to watch the sun set, and experience a yoga session like no other! Lessons are led by our school’s resident yogi, with whom you can arrange practice as per your personal preferences and your plans for your stay. If you want to attend just one class, no problem; if you want to attend more, even better! You’ll pay directly at the school, but make sure you get in fast – the atmospheric setting means spaces fill up quickly!
After attending language lessons at our school in idyllic Bocas del Toro, Panama, you can attend yoga classes at one of the town’s many studios, many of which are conducted in English. Students with little or no Spanish knowledge should seek out these classes, and our colleagues in Bocas will be happy to advise you on the best yogis to approach. We recommend that students who already have Spanish experience attend Spanish-language sessions, both for extra authenticity and for the chance to learn Spanish terms for all your favourite asanas. The studios are popular with locals and tourists alike, and are all within 15 – 20 minutes’ walk from the school. As well as getting in some vital practice, you’ll have the chance to meet and chat with local Panamanians and international students from around the world.
You can also attend daily yoga sessions at our language centre in Boquete, Panama, the sister-school of the facility in Bocas. There’s a studio in the same plaza in which the school is located, and several more within a 15-minute walk from here. One such studio is located in the Haven Spa, a quiet campus boasting a gym, saunas, a hot tub, and a tranquillity garden – perfect for relaxing after a hard day of learning and yoga-ing! Several of the studios here conduct their classes in Spanish, which is great for your immersive experience, but you will find classes in English if you’re new to yoga and/or Spanish and are concerned about falling behind. What’s more, classes generally cost between $5 – $10 per session, and mats can be rented for just $1!
If you’re interested in combining your love for languages with yoga and wellness, then these courses are what you’re looking for. Grab a friend or loved one or fly solo and enjoy a truly extraordinary experience!
Don’t hesitate to contact our office with any questions you may have. We’re more than happy to help you organise the perfect language-travel-and-yoga getaway.