At Free Haven Farms, we are committed to a holistic view of health. We grow organically and sustainably produced vegetables and fruits and also facilitate educational programs that focus on healthy eating habits. But there is more to good health than just eating healthy. We also understand and implement exercise and physical movements into our lifestyles. Sustainable and attainable are attributes that describe our growing practices as well as our philosophy regarding physical activity.
What is Capoeira Angola?
Capoeira Angola is an Afro-Brazilian martial art. Capoeira is often described as a dance/fight. This art form is based on movement, expression, music, and combative exercises. Capoeira is rooted in Africa and took home in Brazil by way of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Capoeira was used as means for Africans that were forced into slavery to keep their culture and strengthen their bodies, their minds, and their spirits.
What types of lessons do you learn from Capoeira?
Capoeira is a multi-disciplinary art that incorporates aspects of physical exercise, history and culture, music, and philosophy.
Physical exercise, History, and Culture
Capoeira involves movements that increase the practitioner’s flexibility, strength, balance, agility, stamina and cultivates discipline. A typical Capoeira class will include 45-60 minutes of vigorous exercise. Capoeira is a positive outlet for energetic youth. The exercise that the student receives from practicing Capoeira regularly will help combat obesity issues that affect our community. Capoeira has been proven to help children with learning disabilities and hyperactivity to focus and channel their energy. Capoeira gives children an international cultural connection and is a gateway to learning more about their history. The classes provide a positive mentor and role model for children, who are, now more than ever, in need of such things.
It’s been said that we learn best hands-on. Our music class provides a complete hands-on experience. Students will learn how to play and make several different African instruments as well as learn to sing traditional Capoeira songs, which are sung in Portuguese.
Who is the instructor?
Professor “Ras” Micaiah Hall has been practicing Capoeira Angola for over 15 years and is a student of Mestre (Portuguese for Master) Rene in the ACANNE group from Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. He has been given the title of Professor and has the responsibility of continuing the teachings of his Mestre, whose lineage can be traced back to Africa. Professor Ras Micaiah travels to Brazil annually to study directly with his teacher and be immersed in Brazilian culture, all of which he brings back to impart on his students. He has taught in several schools throughout Philadelphia in both in-class and after-school settings since 2009.
What is yoga?
At its root, yoga is a system that allows the practitioner to connect the various aspects of themselves. In Sanskrit, yoga means to yoke or join together. There are the various limbs of yoga, which explain the many paths to reaching this objective. Hatha yoga is the practice of physical movements and breathing techniques. It is vital to keep these objectives in mind when approaching yoga, especially since the popularization of this ancient system has glamorized the difficult and intricate postures that are included in this practice. These postures are, indeed, beautiful in shape and form and can offer the practitioner the benefits of strength and flexibility through practice and mastery. But more importantly, yoga should be accessible to everyone, regardless of age, size, race, gender, physical ability, social class, or previous experiences.
How are our classes unique?
Our classes focus on simplicity and accessibility. Each pose and exercise is achieved in stages to allow students to find their comfort level and to be able to receive the healing that they require. Although we practice in a class together, yoga is an individual art form. Some students like to challenge themselves and finish class sweaty and feeling sore. Other students prefer to focus on relaxation and meditation and approach each posture with the goal of finding the most comfortable form and opening up from that place. Most likely, with a regular practice, students will experience the various aspects and benefits of yoga.
Who is the instructor?
Dr. Cynthia Hall has been practicing yoga since 2001. She discovered yoga at a local gym in Washington, D.C. while she was finishing her undergraduate studies at Howard University. After moving to Atlanta and exploring more yoga classes, she eventually began to delve into yoga as a lifestyle while studying with Dr. Sudhvana Char at the Hindu Temple of Atlanta. In 2005, she co-founded Downward Cat Yoga with Chelsea Jackson Roberts, now of Chelsea Loves Yoga, and focused on offering yoga classes to the young, thriving Black community of Atlanta. Since then, she has continued her works of making yoga accessible to communities of color in Philadelphia and South Jersey. Over 15 years of experience as a yoga practitioner, mother of 3, wife, and professor have all shaped her practice and teaching style.