Originally published in the Winter + Spring 2019 issue.
Noemi Nuñez is The SHINE Issue cover model.
Noemi Nuñez is making big waves in this world. In addition to her roles as an immigration attorney, environmental activist, craft beer geek and judge, and her talents as a handpandrum player, Middle Eastern dance performer and former competitive gymnast, Noemi is committed to Seva as a multilingual yoga instructor.
When and why did you start doing yoga, and then teaching it?
Well, technically, the asana part of my yoga practice inadvertently began when I initiated my gymnastics and dancing training at five years old. Sun Salutations were the warm-up for both of these disciplines. However, in the true contextual framework of the eight-limb yogic path, I really began my devoted and consistent practice in 2010, prompted by two motor vehicle accidents as a form of self-rehabilitation, as well as to treat my chronic stress due to my professional legal and litigation career.
My journey to becoming a certified yoga teacher it is a most serendipitous one. My local yoga community petitioned it, and a scholarship was set up in place as encouragement to persuade me to embark upon this quest. As you can imagine this powerful and intentional action compelled and injected me with confidence, and support. Thus, after a significant loss while training — the death of my mother — I decided to teach yoga in a revolutionary and meaningful way, partly in her honor. Hence, I developed a bilingual yoga class format in a grassroots effort to serve and connect my local community; I committed to forever change our social fabric by beneficially influencing future generations.
I developed a bilingual yoga class format in a grassroots effort to serve and connect my local community; I committed to forever change our social fabric by beneficially influencing future generations.
What has been your intention and mission with sharing bilingual yoga? In what ways have you been able to share this with the Denver community and beyond?
The mission is to serve as a cultural bridge by bringing diversity and inclusivity to yoga rooms around the world. The intention is to foster understanding and tolerance through this education and wellness tool.
I have been able to share this creation by presenting this bilingual yoga class format as a unique and accessible community offering, through the establishment and facilitation of partnerships between non-profits, educational institutions and cultural organizations in the Denver area. Some of them are the Denver Art Museum, Denver Botanic Gardens, Museo de las Americas, Denver University, and The Center for Trauma Health & Resilience. I personally connected them to make this bilingual yoga program reach thousands of people that otherwise would have never been exposed to yoga of any kind.
It is simply unheard off to have these classes being offered at no cost, or donation-based, along with providing the incentives of transportation, childcare and admittance passes to enjoy the facilities that host the class, and this is possible in some cases due to private and government grants alike.
What are some ways is this service helping the communities you serve?
Primarily I notice students walking away with an integrative packet of sound information, moreover insight into their current state of wholesomeness due to experiencing the millenary practice of yoga in all its aspects. Tears, sorrow and laughter alike have been presents on those yoga rooms and mats. Both the individual and communal transformation that have followed and still is developing is astounding.
In the bigger spectrum of things, I have witnessed this bilingual yoga program narrow cultural gaps, I have observed the cultivation of social justice and the debunkment of myths about the practice of yoga within minority demographics and underserved populations, particularly in the Hispanic & Latino communities. The benefits of this class format is not only for the underserved and minority communities. The native English speakers form all economic status that have been seeking a wellness experience that will provide them with the added value of the Spanish language immersion, are filled with both joy and surprise that this has taken so long to be created and offered.
The progressive and gradual defeat of biases such as religious implications, gender connotations, and the nucleus of the “family oriented lifestyle” intimations continue to unfold and unravel. Overall, this bilingual wellness technology has raised the vibration of my community in an impactful manner, being an active part of this is incredibly humbling and joyful!
Anything else you are currently involve in with yoga? What is next/coming up for you and your teaching?
Presently, I am designing a certified training module to empower other yoga teachers in this particular bilingual yoga class format, which is based on the scientific knowledge of the language center and meridians of the brain. This format and its teaching methodology is clear, concise and precise in order to not be a chatter box by talking the whole class and therefore not holding a safe space for students.
Concurrently, I lead workshops and retreats, this is something that I do upon request every year, and as much as I enjoy them, the real passion in my yoga work is to continue to make yoga available and accessible to all, to the people that may need it the most, be it at the local, regionally, nationally and even international level like I have been doing by partnering with YogaDownload.com which has a worldwide reach by offering the bilingual format that I created as well as classes in Spanish for FREE.
Simultaneously, one of my latest ideas is to form a non-profit that creates jobs in developing countries by certifying yoga teachers that reside in such countries. What better way to disseminate this proven-track knowledge? These new teachers would have the means to support themselves by teaching in their local communities and establishing a market for themselves. I firmly believe that yoga as a lifestyle can offer overall balance and quality of life. One of my deepest desires is to perpetually inspire others to want to be of service, to embody the Seva portion of the yogic path.
Photo by Kim Benfield.