January 26, 2023

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Mountaineering in Patagonia Gave Me a Higher Understanding of Yoga

Mountaineering in Patagonia Gave Me a Higher Understanding of Yoga

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Mountaineering to locations that may solely be accessed on foot is among the most immersive methods to expertise nature. The sacred reveals itself in these unspoiled landscapes the place all you hear is the crunch of your boots, the sound of your breath, and the wind singing its historical tales.

On a latest journey to Patagonia, Chile, I skilled pure moments of peace within the forests, exhilaration on mountain peaks, and revelations—refined and vital—alongside the way in which.

Mountaineering in Patagonia Gave Me a Higher Understanding of Yoga
(Picture: Ingrid Yang)

Patagonia is a area that encompasses the southern finish of South America, ruled by Argentina and Chile. After I requested my information to clarify the geographical borders of the Patagonian area, she responded, “It’s not a spot, it’s a tradition.” I nodded knowingly, however I puzzled if my Spanish translation had failed me. I didn’t actually perceive what she meant, however I remained quiet and refocused my consideration on descending a dusty path of unfastened rocks.

Ingrid Yang practicing yoga asana on a large rock in front of a green body of water. In the background are tall gray mountains, The Towers are located in Torres del Paine, the national park that is central to the Chilean side of Patagonia.
(Picture: Tessie Vukovich)

Our group hiked to the famed Three Towers in Torres del Paine, the nationwide park that’s central to the Chilean facet of Patagonia. From the rocky summit of the three granite Towers, I may really feel my coronary heart pounding in my chest as I took within the unbelievable topography created by glacial erosions tens of 1000’s of years in the past. As a gust blew again the hood of my jacket, a sutra emerged as a melodic chant in my head.

“Bhuvanajñānaṃ sūrye saṃyamāt.”

There are various interpretations of Sutra 3.27, however the one I at all times gravitated to most is Sri Swami Satchidananda’s translation of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra: “By samyama on the solar, information of the complete photo voltaic system is obtained.”

Samyama refers to dharana, dhyana, and samadhi–focus, meditation, and divine union. As I appeared in awe on the huge steppe of the Patagonian panorama in Chile, 1000’s of miles from the place the Yoga Sutras had been conceived, I puzzled why this sutra got here to thoughts.

Rocky streams flow through the green forests with Patagonian mountains in the background.
(Picture: Ingrid Yang)

With a acutely aware consciousness of my environment, I gazed previous the massive boulders of the Torres del Paine’s mountain passage, and adopted the downward slope which revealed lenga forests dissolving into fields of prairie grass ribboned by crystalline streams.

A brown and white sentinel guanaco, a Chilean llama, in a field of rocks. Behind it are brushy hills.
(Picture: Ingrid Yang)

I noticed a sentinel guanaco, cousin to a llama, perched on the hilltop, able to warn its herd if it noticed a preying puma. An Andean condor soared overhead, displaying its unbelievable 10-foot wingspan (twice my top!). One other blast of wind startled me to consideration and pushed me to proceed.

We entered a forest of lenga beeches, bushes which might be native to the southern Andes vary and thrive within the subantarctic forest. Daylight peered by their jagged leaves and we had been welcomed by the singsong name of native birds, as if we had stepped right into a storybook.

I assumed again to the sutra, which focuses on the theme of interconnectedness. It tells us that, upon considering this common information, and association of the solar after which the moon (Sutra 3.28), the interconnectedness of all beings is revealed. On this method, we could also be supplied perception into our very existence.

People rest along a rocky hiking trail in the Patagonia. In the foreground are rocks and green brush. Below them is a pool of deep blue green water, and in the background green hills rise up into the snow dusted mountains.
(Picture: Ingrid Yang)

Strolling on the terrain the place nomadic tribes as soon as journeyed did really feel like a non secular sojourn, the paths we hiked creating a typical thread between us and those that walked these paths way back.

“It’s all related,” I whispered to myself.

Patagonian landscape with a bush with bright orange flowers. A gravely terrain is in the midground and the blue-gray mountains rise in the background.
(Picture: Ingrid Yang)

Good calafate flowers supply a burst of coloration in opposition to a backdrop of mountains and rolling hills. Legend has it that anybody who eats a calafate berry shall be sure to return to Patagonia.

this panorama, I feel I understood what my information meant when she defined that Patagonia is a tradition, not a area. By definition, tradition is a lifestyle. In Patagonia, this revolves round a connection to and reverence for nature. The tradition grows out of a communion with the setting. It acknowledges that knowledge unfolds within the form of each calafate flower, within the seemingly chaotic motion of bees round their hives, and within the dignity of the mountains that stand majestically in opposition to the unending wind. It’s in these advanced simplicities that we really feel the interconnectedness of all beings, drawn along with the very important power of prana.

The snow-dusted mountains of Patagonia against the blue sky. In the foreground are brushy green hills with a blue river running through.
(Picture: Ingrid Yang)

Patagonia is commonly referred to as “the top of the world” as a result of it’s the southernmost a part of the American continent. On this place, an precise half-world away from the place the sutras had been transcribed 1000’s of years in the past, I felt a deep connection. The wind performed a symphony round my ears that week whereas I continued to chant “Bhuvanajñānaṃ sūrye saṃyamāt,” as if the breeze had been singing it to me. Had it been carried by the years, on the commerce winds, to me at this very second?

A woman practices Downward Facing dog on a blue mat, set on a deck in front of a geodesic dome. Some of the triangular windows have crocheted curtains covering them. Located in Patagonia.
(Picture: Ingrid Yang)

After every lengthy day of mountaineering previous petrified fossils and glacier-made lakes, we returned to EcoCamp Patagonia’s compound of geodesic dome constructions, sustainable lodging for journey vacationers. My legs felt heavy, my toes begging for liberation from my footwear after the climb. However I felt a non secular lightness in my coronary heart, Sutra 3.27 nonetheless singing in my head just like the wind circling previous my ears.

Bhuvanajñānaṃ sūrye saṃyamāt.

The domes’ aerodynamic construction is designed to withstand Patagonia’s robust winds (which may attain as much as 250 km/hr). It permits the wind to maneuver gracefully over its curves, permitting air and power to flow into with out obstruction.

The form is a tribute to the indigenous individuals, who used to maneuver from one place to a different, constructing and eradicating dome-like dwellings. In historical Persia and the Hellenistic-Roman world, domes had been related to the heavens; a dome over a sq. base mirrored the geometric symbolism of perfection, eternity, and the heavens.

As a result of domes are concave from beneath, they will mirror sound and create echoes. Contained in the dome, I may hear the winds whirring across the partitions–a sound that appeared to echo spirits previous. It was the sound of the universe. The sound of indigenous individuals who migrated by this land, and of the philosophical seers who studied the sutras half a world away. It’s all related.

A woman is silhouetted against the triangular windows of a geodesic dome. In the foreground there are yoga mats rolled out.
(Picture: Ingrid Yang)

Every night as we filed into the yoga dome—the one certainly one of its variety in Torres del Paine—we shed our layers, leaving a litter of trainers and jackets scattered across the entry. One after the other, we entered the light-filled area with quiet reverence. The massive window within the dome revealed a setting solar, with the sky turning an excellent pinkish orange in opposition to the silhouette of mountains. Streaks of daylight jogged my memory of the sutra translation: “By samyama on the solar, information of the complete photo voltaic system is obtained.”

A group of people sit cross-legged on yoga mats on a wood floor. They are sitting in a geodesic dome in Patagonia. The sun set streams in
(Picture: Ingrid Yang)

In every yoga class, I deepened my breath and felt extra grounded and awake in my consciousness. As we moved collectively beneath the dome, our our bodies synchronized in gradual, deep stretches. The refined elements of our interconnectedness was shared within the motion of our our bodies, just like the dance of the wind. As every breath invited soothing waves of heat air into my nostrils, the connection of all issues unveiled itself, there on the finish of the world.

Bhuvanajñānaṃ sūrye saṃyamāt. Life unfolds in ever-changing and infinite methods to manifest consciousness inside us.

Having returned from this extraordinary place, I’ve discovered that the connections stick with me. The paranormal power of Patagonian tradition—revealed in methods each refined and vital—revealed my connection to all issues. It occurred in a method that may’t be defined however quite felt right here on the “finish of the world,” the place the journey each begins and ends.

Bhuvanajñānaṃ sūrye saṃyamāt.

 


(Picture: Kelly Bruno)

What it’s worthwhile to find out about touring to Patagonia

Touring mindfully cultivates deep connections—to others, to nature, to the universe, to these we meet, to previous and current. Attending to the practicalities of journey is an train in mindfulness as properly. Listed here are issues to concentrate on once you journey to Patagonia.

When to journey to Patagonia

Excessive season is November-March, when the climate is hotter, however the winds are additionally stronger. Take into account the shoulder season (October and April), between peak and off-peak seasons, when it’s a bit of cooler however the winds are calmer.

The best way to get there

Choose a detailed flight. The gateway cities to the Chilean facet of Patagonia are Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales (5 hours and a couple of hours from the doorway of Torres del Paine, respectively). Flights into Puerto Natales from Santiago are restricted, dearer, and solely run throughout excessive season, however for those who can snag one, that’s your greatest guess for a handy arrival right into a small, charming city that caters to worldwide vacationers.

The place to remain

EcoCamp is the world’s first geodesic resort, a compound of geodesic dome constructions which might be designed to be robust, gentle, and power environment friendly—ideally suited for somebody in search of sustainable lodging. It has three day by day yoga lessons in its one-of-a-kind yoga dome. Practising asana earlier than and after mountaineering helps rid your muscle tissues of lactic acid and offers you one other method to fill your lungs with mountain air.

Necessities to pack

A requirement of mountaineering in Patagonia is guaranteeing you’ve got simply the appropriate variety of layers to control your physique temperature. The temps can fluctuate from lows within the 40s to the mid-70s through the day. What you actually wish to put together for is the wind, which may make it really feel a lot colder. Remember to equip your self with windproof every thing. My information wore this jacket and really useful it for its windproof and waterproof capabilities. Beneath are hyperlinks to different objects that labored properly for me. However, after all, select the gear and tools that shall be most comfy for you.

Layers, layers, and extra layers
Balaclava for the wind
Windproof and waterproof jacket
Insulated jacket (down is usually the warmest)
Waterproof footwear to put on on the campsites
Gloves to guard your palms from the wind but in addition with versatile grip on your mountaineering poles
Mountaineering boots
Day pack
Journey backpack that matches 5-7 days of clothes (for those who’re mountaineering the W path)
Hardcase baggage (for those who’re checking a bag)
Foldable mountaineering poles
Journey water bottle

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Ingrid Yang is an inside medication doctor, yoga therapist, and printed writer. She has been educating yoga for over 20 years and is the writer of the books Adaptive Yoga and Hatha Yoga Asanas. Dr. Yang leads trainings and retreats all around the world, with a particular deal with kinesthetic physiology and therapeutic by breathwork, meditation and mind-body connection. Discover out extra at www.ingridyang.com.