Shakti’s new favourite work out: Capoeira

Shakti’s new favourite work out: Capoeira

Heart and Soul of a Brazilian Body


It’s been suggested that Capoeira was first created during the 16th century by slaves who were taken from West Africa to Brazil by the Portuguese colonists. Prohibited from celebrating their cultural customs and strictly forbidden from practicing any martial arts, Capoeira is thought to have emerged as a way to bypass these two imposing laws. Hidden in the musical and rhythmical elements of the form, violent kicks were disguised as passionate dance movements, and its combination of multiple West African cultures saved it from being identified as an attempt to preserve any specific tradition. As such, Capoeira came to life as a survival tool, not only of self-defence, but also iconic of Afro-Brazilian culture.

Sometimes referred to as a blend of martial art meets dance meets game - Capoeira is a unique phenomenon which has caught the world’s attention. Capoeira is recognized as a game that is “played”, not fought; paired with musicality and acrobatic movements of the performers, as they seem to move together and then suddenly attack each other, still keeping in time with the rhythm. It has a strong acrobatic component in some styles and is always played with music.


The word Capoeira can have many meanings. It is believed to be linked to the tall grass, capoeira, in forests where the slaves would hide and attack their slave masters when they escaped. The term is also believed to be linked with a breed of fighting rooster. Many believe that Breakdancing originated from Capoeira. In the 1970's, many Brazilians immigrated to the US, mostly New York, where they would practice Capoeira in the streets and it was able to influence this new dance form.


There are two main Capoeira styles – Capoeira Angola and Capoeira Regional. All Capoeira styles are played within a ring of people called Roda. This ring is usually formed by other Capoeira players, or just people interested in this martial art, clapping with hands and singing traditional Capoeira songs under the sound of Capoeira music.

One is called Angola, which is characterized by tricky, low play with particular attention to the rituals and tradition of Capoeira. This style is often described as slow, however, it may be just as fast as the next style, but with different rituals. Regional, on the other hand, is known for its fluid acrobatic, high-flying kicks and powerful attacks. Speed and agility are common traits of this style. Both styles of Capoeira are marked by counter attacks and feints, and use lots of ground movements along with elbows, hands, kicks, headbutts, sweep and other take-downs.

Today capoeira is a cultural icon of Brazil, and it is widely practiced around the world. Being performed in different contexts, from entertaining choreographed dances to competitions where one competitor must make the other get out of time with the music or fall over, capoeira is a diverse martial art and is also popular for those interested in a fun exercise that teaches basic martial arts and acrobatics. If travelling to Brazil, either seeing a capoeira performance or visiting a capoeira school is a must.

You can learn Capoeira anywhere, however it is customary to be educated in a Capoeira academy, headed by a Mestre. A Mestre is in the loosest sense an instructor, but they are in fact much more, and are responsible for not just technical teachings of capoeira, but also its spirit, music and history.

Get a Massage

A thorough kneading can help you de-stress in many ways. Not only is it a well-deserved treat, a masseuse can help work out any tension and anxiety that's physically manifesting deep within your muscles. Ask her to use a massage oil that's formulated with a calming fragrance, like lavender or ylang-ylang, and you're all set.

Excited? Intrigued? If you get a chance to check out a Capoeira class at a studio near you, be sure to drop us a comment and tell us how your first class went in the 1) comments below or 2) tweet it to us or 3) leave us a comment on our facebook page so we can share it with our beloved community!

Choose Soothing Scents

Everyone has a love/hate relationship with tourists. How well do you know your city? How about your state? When was the last time you ventured outside the city limits? Taking a day trip to explore your own backyard can be a fun solo trip as you learn lots about yourself when on your own. Reward yourself by taking a zip around and exploring past your city limits. You might surprise yourself and make it a habit of living outside your local zip code.

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