The grin walks in and it's like a knife. It’s not your favorite movie-star smile. Not this grin. There is nothing familiar about this smile. But it’s peculiar. Peculiar because Camilla Coucheron, the woman whose grin it could possibly be, couldn’t be any more friendly.
It is mid-October in Oslo; I was rushing out of my daily Ashtanga practice, fortify and a little disorientated climbing the stairs leading to the exit of the studio. Ignoring the cold and dark day outside, Camilla appears in front of me smiling right next to the front desk. Hit or skip? Again and again I have been asking myself what a Jivamukti class would be like. Should I just try? I decided to hit it!. She described it in a few words, enough to awake the desire in me to attend.
Armed with my own Manduka yoga mat and a pair of blocks I step into the class. After 90 minutes of practice I could say this is my favorite class ever. Camilla builds an ad-hoc routine, without losing the essence of Jivamukti, with a series of asanas that steadily get faster and more complex. I’m pouring with sweat as she coaches me to go deeper and revolved bound side angle Utthita Parsvakonasana; following her instructions and actually making my body do what it’s told. We move on. Downward facing dog and boom! The Killers – “Human” followed by David Bowie/Queen – “Under Pressure” the beats went straight into my heart and brain, I felt so alive, present, euphoric and cheerful. I’m moving as if I’m learning a new language, getting into Warrior and clapping my hands up in the air because of the experience, as she continues with the class.
The Jivamukti Open class combines elements of yoga, expression and meditation and the introspective quality of the practice is central to a specific concept. "The new range of motion" is my favorite. I think it’s because I am a Latino and got fire inside that I need to move in some way. At the end there is a vibration that people can give off to take people down or lift people up, and you just have to be aware what direction you are going. And that is really what this class is about. What it is that you are feeling in there, and how your beliefs get challenged?
In Oslo, this season is Jivamukti with Camilla season. Why? Because I think that at its best, a trip to her class – as the professional she is, the relaxing experience and not to mention the fabulous playlist – is something to celebrate.