25 May Meet Cristina, the Yogi in residence at the Palais Amani from Portugal.
Cristina Santos a 36-year-old yoga instructor from Portugal. She came to stay at the Palais Amani in May 2022 through our Yogi in Residence program.
Yogi in Residence at Palais Amani;
“What first made you connect to yoga?” asks Fatima, the Experience Coordinator at the Palais Amani
Cris: Before yoga, my life was normal; I was working as a sales manager in a shop and everything was settled down for me. Then I had the chance to go to Thailand where I met a Portuguese yoga teacher who suggested that I try yoga and that was a life changer. Yoga has affected me positively and since I decided to take the way.
Fatima: How long have you been teaching yoga?
Cris: I have been teaching yoga for five years now. Since my trip to Thailand, I have decided to start learning yoga so that I can be able to share those positive feelings with other people. And what’s interesting about yoga, is that the more we learn the more we understand the world around us.
Fatima: what type of yoga do you do and why?
Cris: I mainly teach Vinyassa flow along with some restorative Yin Yoga. Vinyassa helps with spiritual development and helps with the flows of the body. It helps connecting and synchronising the breath with body movements. The restorative Yin Yoga, on the other hand, is some sort of meditation. It is related to postures like Asana that teaches patience through holding into postures for a long time.
“Do you travel to different places to practice yoga?” asks Fatima:
Cris: I travel regularly to do yoga in different countries. However, my favourites are mostly Asian countries, India and Thailand.
Yoga In Morocco:
Have you been to Morocco before?
Cris: Yes, I have been to Marrakech and Casablanca few years ago. Still I prefer Fes because it is not as messy.
Can you tell the difference between those cities and Fes?
Cris: It is mostly quieter, safer and more traditional in Fez. What has amazed me is that everyone is welcoming, polite. Therefore, I prefer it in here than elsewhere.
“What are your impressions about the Palais Amani, once you have stepped inside the Palais Amani?” asks Fatima:
Cris: the moment I stepped at the Palais Amani the birds and the trees caught my attention. The place is beautiful. This allows the connection with nature. I totally loved the architecture of the building, the rooms, and the garden. And also it is the staff. They are friendly and caring. They all make you feel like home.
Fatima: “Since yoga is not part of the Moroccan traditions, why do you think yoga works in this environment even though it is not part of the Moroccan culture?”
Cris: “Contrarily, I think it works very well in here. Because first, the culture is a closed one, so people do yoga to open up for themselves and for others. The Moroccan culture is full of restrictions that push people to hide who they truly are. These restrictions push them to deny their true selves. Yoga then, plays a great role in helping people throughout their journey to find themselves. The time a person spends on the mat will open up their minds and help them with their emotions.”
Fatima: “For how long are you planning to stay in Morocco?”
Cris: “I will be here until the end of May.”
Fatima: “And what are your plans once you finish your Yogi in Residence program with us at the Palais Amani?”
Cris: “To be honest, I have not decided yet. I have few plans but I’m not sure yet.”
Fatima:”Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. And we hope as many people travelling in Fez will come and enjoy practicing yoga with you”.
Interviewed & Transcribed by Fatima, Experience Coordinator at Palais Amani