In Chiapas, in the mountainous center of Southern Mexico, we went to the main city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas. We had heard so much good about Chiapas and how the indigenous culture was really still thriving here. We heard the tales of magical Maya ruins deep in the jungle and we were really looking forward and it was hard to keep expectations down. But as it turned out, we were only impressed. 'San Cris' and Palenque are truly special places in the midst of green mountain hills and lots of secret magical Maya culture.
We went with an Airbnb that sounded really nice and we were welcomed in a the family of Maria and Tonyo and their four children. We got integrated almost as part of the family here and during a breakfast, Tonyo told us that he had mentioned our project to a local project called Artería, run by an American expat called Mac and Claudia, who is local. They are teaching art in different forms to local children around the age of 8-10 years and Tonyo remembered that he was really interested in some yoga for the them.
Acroyoga for local children at Artería
So we went there and this resulted in a beautiful meeting with both Mac, Claudia, others teachers and visitors here and - of course - the children. We ended up teaching 3 sessions of acroyoga for the children (and the adults!) the week after. The project was very inspiring for us for what we are doing ourselves and it gave us a lot of input for the future.
Teaching children was also nothing less that a great inspiration - we have taught children before - but now, with three classes in three days, we really felt how they totally opened up - how their trust was growing, how they got braver, how their personalities could really shine through in their practice, their collaboration and in meeting their boundaries and often crossing them to great joy. Upon leaving the last class, the children made a surprise party for us and they all wrote on a big thank you note - and told us they would miss us - their enthusiasm, courage and love will always be with us, inspiring us. We for sure hope to come back - for many good reasons.
Acroyoga at Casa Plena
And our project continued - with the local project and yoga studio, Casa Plena, we arranged a free acroyoga class - on the day it was raining like crazy and no-one was there wen we arrived... we talked about the possibility of just going to have a cup of the local warm chocolate in stead... and of course, with the irony of life, 1 hour later we were teaching one of the most beautiful classes we have ever taught - that's at least what we said to ourselves after - 14 people from many different countries showed up; and from our feeling and everybody's feedback after the class, we realized that we had all shared a really beautiful moment. Surprise...
Photos and dinner for the family
With Nûna Moves we also gave a present to the family we stayed with - an Italian dinner and promotional photos for their Airbnb.
We enjoyed wandering around in this small and picturesque colonial city and Raquel had her first horse ride trip when we went to the neighboring town of Chamula - famous for its church that harbors a peculiar mix of local indigenous and catholic religion. For sure this was the first time we have seen people sacrificing chicken inside a church... it's not allowed to take photos, so you'll just have to imagine!
Our journey continued onward to Palenque - again by bus and another long trip. But it seemed we were getting a bit used to it and we slept through most of it. Only thing was that the traveling also started to feel tiring with the many bus travels, half sleeps, constant changes and impressions.
We stayed 3 days at the Mayabell hotel, pretty much straight in the jungle next to the ruins of the ancient Maya city. We came late at night and were greeted with a night full of stars and a background of dark jungle and the roars of monkeys all around us somewhere in the deep darkness!
Both of us are a bit apprehensive about ruins and felt that it can sometimes feel like not much more than a pile of stone. Especially being a bit tired from long travels with many new impressions all the time. But this time, it was different. Deep in the selva (jungle) a section of the jungle had been cleared and several buildings restored and ... yes, its impressive, it is beautiful - both in itself, but for sure also with the incredible mountain forest backdrop.
The day after we contacted a guide that was recommended to us and he took us on a 3 hour trek through dense jungle. Pedro surprised us with his dedication to really show us what this place is about - he was a humble and knowledgeable man and he showed us how many ruins are still buried under the trees. He showed us animals, monkeys, crabs, birds and not least lots of medicinal plants; many still used by the locals. We were tired and happy when we finally came out of the dense forest - for sure we would recommend this to everybody.
We left Chiapas with our longest bus trip yet - 12 hours to Tulum. 4 more days before Lima, Peru...