Updated: Jun 28, 2021
Miles Bunch has been a yoga instructor for some time now, but about a year ago he decided to move to Central America. Miles first moved to Nicaragua in 2018. While his first priority was to practice and learn more Spanish, he signed a contract with Pure, a yoga studio in Granada, Nicaragua. Originally, he planned to be instructing yoga to tourists while living there. That all changed however when Nicaragua experienced a political upheaval just 3 days before his arrival date in Granada. This intense situation completely changed his experience in Central America.
Miles lived through a “long series of uncomfortable events” that included bombs and protests. While it was not what he had expected, his time in Nicaragua taught him Spanish in an immersive way. Miles learned that “trauma brings people closer,” and he was able to connect with the Nicaraguan community on a deeper level. He also struggled with a feeling of guilt that came to the realization that he could leave at any moment but for the locals, it was their reality. It was a temporary situation for Miles, but it was their home.
After his time in Nicaragua, Miles moved to Ecuador at a yoga retreat center where he was a yoga instructor mostly for tourists. He worked at another yoga retreat center in Peru.
In his experience, Miles had to figure out the right translation for yoga poses. Each place he taught came with learning and adapting to the correct translations both contextually and culturally. In the end, the hardest thing for him was his “personality translation.” In English, Miles has no problem saying things like “bootie” in an innocent or fun way, but in Spanish saying “la culata” might not be received well.
Miles also joined the Peace Corps and volunteered in Loja, Ecuador with the Red Cross. He taught free yoga classes through an organization called Yawi Natural. To his surprise and pleasure, the town of Loja had an established yoga community. Miles described Loja as a “yoga-oriented town” where there had already been studios available to tourists and locals.
In his time there, Miles worked with the Peace Corps working on urban garden projects and sexual health education, volunteering with the Red Cross, and teaching yoga. With about a year left on his contract with the Peace Corps, COVID became an issue, and Miles was sent home to Athens, GA. They had yoga retreats and teacher trainings planned that they could not complete due to the pandemic. However, Miles was able to organize one of Loja’s first yoga teacher training before he left.
In Athens, Miles continued his practice of yoga in Spanish via Facebook Live. He hosted free yoga classes online in Spanish every Sunday with the option to donate to different charities every week. His goal is to make a connection with the Latinx community in Athens. The pandemic has made it more difficult to connect with people on a deeper level, but we still have the opportunity to connect with people virtually.
On Saturday, January 23rd, Miles will host a yoga class in Spanish at 5:30 p.m. with Revolution Therapy and Yoga. He hopes that this will become a monthly class that can facilitate a relationship with the Latinx community in Athens. We hope you will join us for this class as it is open to everyone, not only Spanish speakers.
Author: Isabel Weber