It was through an act of pure altruism that yoga entered the life and heart of Hugo Abecassis. His mother did yoga, but a long time had passed since she’d attended a class and Hugo wanted to motivate her to go back to doing it regularly. He offered to go with her and, in the end, his mother wasn’t the only one who won.
Even though, in this first class, Hugo had no idea what he was doing he found his path. He even asked his teacher, who gave him a handkerchief for a pranayama exercise if he was supposed to blow his nose in it, which made the entire class laugh. But even with this, he felt at home.
Afterwards, Hugo tried countless methods of yoga. Ashtanga Vinyasa, Shivanada Yoga, Dynamic Yoga and Acro Yoga, among others. Hugo says he is “appreciative of every method, as long as it is well performed”. Currently, he practices more frequently the Iyengar method — a method that he considers a piece of art and an extraordinary legacy to yoga —, guaranteeing that “even though sometimes it may look like a very physical practice, with time it also becomes a way for us to know ourselves”.
His passion and dedication to yoga led him to learn more about it. In 2005, as a way to gather more knowledge for his own personal practice, he decided to do a teacher-training course. But teaching was something that happened by chance. “One day, my teacher asked me to take over a class at the last minute. I was kind of nervous but I took the chance and it went great (at least in my opinion). This was my first experience as a teacher. After continuing my yoga studies and teaching a lot of replacement classes, I later realised that I loved to teach: actually, I love to teach anything, but teaching yoga and seeing my students evolve is already a great reward for the work I do”, he says.
His dedication and commitment, something he learned at the Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore, are the fundamental foundations of his practice. To his students, who are always on his mind, he tries to transmit these foundations, as well as the idea that what matters most is for them is to feel good about themselves and about those around them.
This teacher, whose dream is to practice with B. K. S. Yyengar and with Krishnamacharya, something that he knows will never happen, says he never wants to stop being a student. “I believe that if we all think like that and constantly leave our comfort zone, we contribute to the positive growth of Yoga”.
Hugo Abecassis is also an Ayurvedic therapist, Thai Massage therapist and an osteopath. He currently teaches at the Abhyasa Yoga Center on Marquês de Tomar Avenue, in Lisbon.