The Jakarta Post
As an exercise that offers various styles with body and mind benefits, yoga is enjoying soaring interest in most big cities in Indonesia.
Anita Boentarman, the founder of the Jakarta International Namaste Festival, said that more and more people come to her event every year. The event provides yoga lovers in Indonesia with a range of yoga and wellness classes, as well as healing clinics.
'In the first year of the Namaste Festival, which was in 2010, we welcomed about 400 participants in our three-day event. In the fourth year in 2013, we had about 5,000 participants,' Anita told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of the fifth Namaste Festival in Jakarta in November.
Although yoga came into Indonesia as a global trend, Anita said that the practice will be more lasting than flavor-of-the-month fitness activities like zumba.
'Yoga is a very established discipline, and it is continuously growing with thousand of postures,' she said.
For some Jakarta-based yoga lovers, the festival was simply a joyful event, said Anita.
'We often bring in international yoga teachers who bring new yoga styles to the festival,' she added, citing American Cameron Shayne, who found budokon ' a mix of yoga and martial arts; as well as American Cristi Christensen, who introduced roga ' running and yoga ' to the festival.
The festival also offered classes in nada yoga (chakra chanting, toning and sound meditation), zenthai (an integration of Zen shiatsu, Thai massage and osteopathic techniques), jivamukti yoga (one of nine internationally recognized styles of hatha yoga), vinyasa for athletes and an introduction to ashtanga yoga.
Although yoga may come from the East, it was people in the West who turned yoga into an attractive physical and mental activity.
'Western people continue developing styles of yoga into exercise packages with dynamic, kind of gymnastic movements that are amazingly attractive to many people.
'Yoga in Indonesia mostly looks to styles that have been developed in the US and European countries,' she said, adding that most Indonesian people are in to dynamic yoga.
Christensen said that yoga has become one of the fast-growing fitness trends in the US due to its many physical benefits.
'A lot of people, however, are still seeing yoga as in sitting and chanting. They don't want to do it because [they think] it's boring,' Christensen said. 'But then again, some of the styles that become popular like vinyasa [fast-paced, fitness approach style of yoga] and budokon attract a wider base of people.'
On roga, Christensen said that the style was designed to enhance one's running practice by helping a person build stamina, power and flexibility as well as easing the recovery process.
'It's not a fast-paced class its you're moving slow, but you will work you core that isn't normally engaged when you're running,' said Christensen.
'There're no set sequences for roga, it is more of a concept that is how yoga support my running practice, how can my running practice support my yoga its two pieces that make the whole pie,' she added.
Budokon founder Cameron Shayne said that yoga has grown into a practice of many methods.
'Yoga has many, many faces today. Sometimes it's incredibly commercialized, sometimes it's dogmatic and religious, sometimes it's a middle path its it's just not either/or.
'Some people do it just for fitness routine only; some others use it purely as a way to relieve their suffering and pain,' said Shayne at the Namaste Festival.
Shayne, who counts Hollywood celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox-Croquette among his clients, says that merging yoga with the martial arts was natural for him.
'I found yoga in my early 20s, and I began to explore the connection between the two practices and found that they're naturally compatible and naturally borrowing for each other for centuries.'
According to Shayne, yoga and martial arts are fundamentally the same as they're both 'the exploration of what is present in the moment'.
Shayne, who holds black belts in tae kwon do, karate and Brazilian jiujitsu, claimed that budokon was for everyone ' not just students of yoga or the martial arts.
'Everyone can do anything but they have to do their own version,' Shane said. 'In budokon, it's not doing it like me, [but] doing it like you,' he said.
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