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Save the date


Upcoming AmSoc events: Apr 1st - Easter Kids Party Apr 21st - Volunteer Day Apr 21st - Annual Basketball Championship Apr 25th - AGM May 11th - Annual Gala Jun 30th - 4th of July Party

Monthly Newsletter April 2012 www.AmSoc.com.br

AGM at Consul Generals Home


Be among the first to see inside of the incoming Consul Generals home at the American Society Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Wednesday, April 25 at 7.30pm. Open exclusively to Society members, the AGM will be the first official AmSoc event held in the house, which is located in a lovely residential area of Santo Amaro. Come enjoy a cocktail on one of the beautiful terraces overlooking the garden, while mingling with other Society members. In addition to the lovely setting, cocktails and dinner, the AGM is a wonderful opportunity to share your ideas with those who are responsible for running the Society and planning its events. The important task of board elections is also a part of every AGM. Members of the Board of Governors serve two-year terms and at each meeting half of those terms expire and must be filled. Whether youve been in Brazil for a long time or are a recent arrival, the AGM is one of the best ways to keep in touch with and learn about what the Society is doing. Its also a great way to make new friends and connect with people who want to improve our local community. In order to attend the AGM, you must RSVP by April 17th as space is limited. Attendance is free and limited to Society members only. Contact the Society at amsoc1@amsoc.com.br or call the office at (11) 5182-2074 to reserve your spot. Also, be sure to bring your passport or RNE to the meeting as identification will be checked at the door.

The Sports Issue


Soccer in So Paulo
Page 6: Our handy guide to the Who-is-Who - the biggest teams and the biggest rivalries.

2014
Page 10: What the foreign media outlets are reporting about the state of the affairs for the 2014 World Cup.

You Are Invited!

Yoga
Page 16: Our columnist Maureen tells you how and where to do Yoga.

Our Mission
The American Society of So Paulo promotes friendship by organizing social, cultural and athletic events for its diverse membership; encourages integration with the Brazilian society; and supports the American traditions of education, philanthropy and volunteerism.

(see more about the Gala on page 3)

Presidents Corner
April marks the end of our terms as Governors of the American Society of So Paulo and I would like to thank members of the Board, as well as the many By Joe Sherman, volunteers that we AmSoc president have working on our committees for jobs well done this past year. We will be having our Annual General Meeting on the 25th. There will be changes in the Executive Committee (officers) for next year. Jennifer Showers will be leaving the Board as the Vice President to take on new family responsibilities and Jacques Vaney will continue on the Board but no longer as Treasurer. Thanks Jennifer for your help on the Membership Committee, and Jacques for your overall contribution on the Executive Committee. I have asked Ruth Hollard to be next years Vice-President, Richard Wegman to handle the Treasury and Frank Pierce to be the Secretary of the Board. These officer positions, as well as Board members up for election, will be presented at the AGM for approval. You will be receiving the proxy in the mail in case you cannot attend the meeting. We will also be proposing a change to the by-laws, to reduce the Board from 24 to 20 members. At our last Board meeting there was a consensus that 20 governors is an adequate number for the Board, and a more manageable number for our meetings. I also feel that a smaller Board will improve the commitment of the governors. I would like to welcome new Board member Nadja Venezian. Nadja is a 30 year resident of So Paulo, and an artist. Nadja will be helping us with our cultural events. You can read her profile on page 4. I am also happy to inform you that our corporate sponsorship effort is off to a great start this year! On a general note - It is amazing how times change. In the past Brazil was characterized by high inflation and a weak currency, the cost of living was cheap. Today the topic at most social gatherings is how expensive things are in Brazil. Articles on flights to the U.S. totally booked with Brazilians filling up suitcases with electronics, clothes, even laundry soap and diapers. Amazing! I am just finishing a book that I would like to recommend: The River of Doubt by Candice Millard. The book is about Theodore Roosevelts and Candido Rondons trip down one of the Amazon Rivers tributaries in 1914. This wasnt your typical tourist trip! The AGM will be at the new Consul Generals residence, hope to see you there. Abraos, Joe
Lynn Cordeiro, editor and layout Ernest White II, staff writer Forum is printed by EGB. (http://www.egb.com.br) Views expressed in Forum do not necessarily reflect those of the American Society board of governors, members, or staff. Forum reserves the right to edit content for brevity and/or clarity.

How to buy tickets for the Gala


Getting tickets is easier than ever. You can call the American Society office at 5182-2074 and charge them on your credit card or make a deposit through your bank. You can pay with PayPal at americansocietygala.com. Or, you can meet up with someone in your neighborhood to buy the tickets directly. Below is a list of ticket sellers in neighborhoods throughout the city. Sue Merrick Brooklin/Moema/Santo Amaro 2372-7313 steveandsuemerrick@msn.com Silvana Mooney Casa Grande (Santo Amaro) 4304-2179 silvanamooney7@gmail.com Irene Garcias Chapel School/Alto da Boa Vista 5523-2047 irene.abusada@gmail.com Eileen Tasso Granja Julieta/Morumbi 5644-5482 tasso@comcast.net Lynne Couri Santo Amaro 5548-6070 courilyn@gmail.com John Kennedy Alto de Pinheiros john@kennedy-partners.com Kevin May Jardim Paulista kevdmay@gmail.com

About Forum

Forum is published monthly, with the exception of January and July, by

The American Society of So Paulo Rua da Paz, 1431 04713-001 So Paulo, SP Tel: (11) 5182-2074 Fax: (11) 5182-9155 email the editor: mail@falaphoto.com

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April

The American Society of So Paulo

Dance the Night Away at the AmSoc Annual Gala


What you need to know about AmSocs Annual Gala
The American Society of So Paulos Annual Charity Dinner Dance will benefit Associao Maria Helen Drexel and other AmSoc projects, and will be held on Friday, May 11, at Buffet Torres - Moema, Av. Dos Imares, 182. Cocktails and a silent auction will run from 7:30 to 9:30 pm, with dinner, dancing and a live auction to follow. Dress is Black Tie optional, and the cost is R$250 per person. A numbered invitation is required for entrance. What if I cant get a whole table together or do not know anyone to join? We will seat you at a fun table and try to match you up with people similar to you. If you specifically want to sit with certain people, mention this on your ticket order form and we will do our best. Many local social groups, expat organizations and even schools will be organizing tables and you might like to be a part of one of those. We will have fun tables for the singles too, so dont feel shy about stating your preferences. No one has approached me. How can I buy a ticket or a table? You can buy tickets online at www. americansocietygala.com or call 51822074. Or if you prefer, you may also buy tickets from one of our ticket sellers by contacting Lynne Couri (courilyn@gmail.com) or Eileen Tasso, (eileentasso@gmail.com) chairmen of ticket sales. They will put you in contact with one of the sellers near you (see also page 2). Will there be entertainment? Yes! One of So Paulos finest DJs will be spinning your favorite tunes throughout the evening so wear your dancing shoes and come prepared to dance the night away! What are the auctions? The price of the tickets (R$250/ person) covers most of the cost of the party. In order to raise money for the AmSoc charities and projects, specifically for Associao Maria Helen Drexel, we need to raise additional money with our corporate sponsorships and auctions. Those who have been to previous AmSoc events have seen the success of the lucky box. We will have one big box from which to choose prizes, and each time you pay, you are guaranteed to win a prize greater in value than the price you paid. Better still, you dont need to bring cash because you can pay with a credit card. Examples of gifts include dinners at top restaurants, spa visits, baskets of products, wine and much more. We will also have a silent auction of about 50 items such as art, golf green fees at a private club, rare wines, and vacation packages. Our most valuable items, such as international resorts stays, possibly with airfare too, jewelry, etc., will be sold at a live auction. I am single and want to go to this dinner-dance. Is it going to be fun for me? Of course! You will meet a lot of amazing people some arriving with dates and some solo. There will be a cocktail party, a wonderful dinner, and lots of dancing and games. The American Society spirit of supporting worthy causes is a great reason to participate. We want you and your party spirit, single or in couples. Is this party for AmSoc members only? Absolutely not! This is also a party for all our friends American, Brazilian and other nationalities. Come join us in our celebration! Were working hard to make this our most successful fundraiser ever and, of course, the most fun party of the year. Can I help? Yes! We need help securing items for our games and auctions, selling tickets, assisting with auctions the night of the event and more. Please contact Kevin May, the gala chairperson, at kevdmay@gmail.com to find out more about how you can help make this AmSocs most fun and successful charity event to date! We look forward to seeing you on May 11!

A helpful Q&A about the party


What should I wear? Women, wear your most beautiful long or short party dress. Men, youll look lovely in black tie or in a dark suit. Can we reserve tables? When a group of people buys a table, they will be asked where they would like the table to be. As soon as all the tables have been sold (probably mid-April), we will assign spots to groups based on who reserved first. So make your reservations soon and sit in the center of the action or near the dessert! Why do we need to fill out a form in order to buy a ticket? This will help us communicate with you and help us be more organized. We will be able to tell you your table number and remind you of your ticket number. This is the number you will use for the live and silent auctions. We also will be able to send you updates about prizes and other news. Filling out the form also means you will spend less or no time in lines when you arrive at the party.

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Board Profile
By Nadja Venezian Hard to believe Ive been in Brazil for 30 years! I remember arriving here in 1981 as a newly wed with my Brazilian husband, Roberto, who I had met a year and a half earlier in Paris. At first, I had trouble adjusting to the Brazilian culture but over the years Ive come to love it and have even become a Brazilian citizen. We have two grown children Stephanie, who lives in Paris and Leonardo, who lives here in Brazil. Im a award-winning sculptor and create figurative and abstract works in bronze and resin. My works are in private collections all over the world and have been in galleries in several different countries. For the past year, Ive been advertising on google ad words and am getting calls and emails from all over Brazil for commissioned works. This year a dream of many years is coming to fruition: Im starting to create installations and public art. To see my work, please visit my site: www.nadjavenezian.com.br I grew up near the beach in Sea Cliff, New York and graduated with a degree in Psychology for Lycoming College, Pennsylvania. After many adventures, including living and skiing in Breckenridge, Colorado for a year, I moved to San Francisco and worked in sales, sales training and management. Im relatively new to the AmSoc board, having participated in exactly one meeting so far. Im looking forward to the Gala event in May and am cochair of the committee to get donations for the live and silent auctions. So, if you have any connections (at hotels, restaurants, gyms, stores or any other aspect of the service industry) who would like to donate their services to a worthwhile cause, please let me know. (art@nadjavenezian.com.br). Ive been a member of Community Assistance Commitee since its inception and am the liaison with Casa Limiar. I work to empower them and give them ideas to decrease their dependence on CAC and start tapping their own fundraising skills. Casa Limiar appreciates the generosity of AmSoc and immensely enjoys participating in the Angel Party and Volunteer Day. Ive always enjoyed AmSoc events and am looking for forward to being active on the board. I feel like this is a way of giving back to both the American and Brazilian communities. I want to get involved with the organization of informal AmSoc get-togethers, which I think will give AmSoc more of a community feeling. My hope is that you participate too!

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April

The American Society of So Paulo

Welcome to our New Members


Welcome the following New Members who joined us recently. We are very grateful for your support! Last Name Lambert Name Rick Spouse Brighid Type of Membership Family Membership Nationality American Company U.S. Consulate

Dominowski Duncan

Michael Michelle

Andrea Shaun

Family Membership Family Patron Membership

American Australian

Fonseca

Amaury

Elisa

Family Membership

Brazilian

Germani

Federico

Tracy

Family Membership

American /Argentine

Lan Airlines / TAM

Hrinak

Donna

Frans

Family Membership

American

Boeing

Ishihara Lahaye

Amelia Kathy

Family Membership Single Membership

Brazilian American

Gemalto do Brasil ST Microelectronics Inc.

Medeiros

Roberto

Anna Letcia

Family Membership

American /Brazilian

Qualcomm

Miller

Clinton

Danielle

Family Membership

American

Real English

Navarrete Sekles

Alex Flavia

Marie-Louise Renard

Family Membership Family Patron Membership

American American /Brazilian

HSBC

Smith

Jeffrey

Family Patron Membership

American

Independent Consultant - Lawyer

2012

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Soccer in So Paulo
By Will Arredondo, AmSoc member If you have ever had your early Sunday evening activity distracted by a sudden eruption of cheering, car honking and all types of boisterous street revelry, chances are an exciting soccer match has come to a riveting close. Paulistanos, like most Brazilians, are crazy about soccer and when a local match is underway, its almost impossible not to know whats going on! Soccer, as you probably already guessed, is by far the most popular sport in Brazil and many of the worlds best players are from this great soccer nation. Brazil will be home to the 2014 World Cup and So Paulo is proud to be hosting the opening match for the worlds greatest sporting event. But while rooting for the national team is a national past time, rooting for your favorite local teams is where the rivalry really begins. So heres a primer on the soccer scene in So Paulo soccer so you wont be left out of the revelry come next street celebration! The Paulisto, is the intrastate professional soccer league. A total of twenty teams represent series A (1st division) and each team plays against each other as well as teams in other states. The season typically lasts from January to April and the biggest rivalries are between the four most wellknown Brazilian teams (Corinthians, Palmeiras, Santos and So Paulo). Just as popular is the national league competition known as Brasileiro. The season runs from May to December of the same year, with teams playing 38 matches each, totalling 380 matches in the season. So between the Paulisto, Brasilero, smaller tournaments, international competition and friendly scrimmages, professional soccer is a truly year-round affair! Corinthians, affectionately known as Timo (big team), is the most popular of the top 4. By far the wealthiest, it was also was the first club to make room for poor players and the second soccer club in the Brazil to accept black athletes on the team. Corinthians has won the Paulisto a record 26 times, the Brasileiro five times, and even reached the quarterfinals of Pan-American tournaments Copa Sudamericana, Copa Conmebol and the semifinals of the Copa Libertadores. Corinthians plays their home games at Pacaembu Stadium, which holds up to 40,199 spectators and is home to the renowned Museum of Soccer. In 2013, Corinthians will move to their new home at New Corinthians Stadium, a 65K-seater in the Zona Leste neighborhood of Itaquera, which will also serve as host for the opening ceremonies and So Paulo matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Palmeiras is Corinthians archrival and is almost as popular with almost 17 million supporters, including a large number of Brazilians of Italian ancestry. It was founded in 1914, as Palestra Italia but changed to the current name in 1942. The team has won 10 national competitions, a record in the country. The clubs most important titles have been the 8 national league titles and 2 national cups. In 1999, the team was declared Champion of the Century, an extremely prestigious honor. Palmeiras home stadium is Estadio Palestra Italia in Perdizes, with a 27K capacity and which is currently under construction until 2013. So Paulo Futebol Clube, or simpy So Paulo is Brazils most internationally lauded team and third in South America, with 11 international titles. They play in a white shirt with two horizontal stripes (one red and one black), and white shorts and socks. They are the third most popular soccer club in Brazil, with over 15 million supporters. So Paulos home ground is the 67,428-seater at Morumbi soccer stadium in So Paulo. And finally, Santos Futebol Clube is the defending Paulista and South American champion hailing from the namesake port city of Santos. Nationally, the club has won nineteen Paulisto titles, one Copa do Brasil, and a joint record of eight Brazilian championships. Santos is the home team of Neymar, Brazils 20 year old star sensation and Brazils greatest hope for an unprecedented sixth World Cup championship title. The young offensive player is already compared to former stars Ronaldo and Pele. Last year, Neymar won the highly coveted MVP award Craque Brasileiro and also turned down lucrative offers from the top major European ball clubs to remain with Santos and play with the national team through 2014. There are many other great teams with great rivalries and with loyal fan bases and impressive histories, however since we cant name them all here, why not go take the family out and learn more about them by visiting the Museum of Soccer? Located behind Pacaembu stadium, its a great crash course into Brazils soccer fever history! Happy sightseeing! Goooool!

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April

The American Society of So Paulo

Consulate Corner: Register with the Consulate to Keep Yourself Informed


Our most important responsibility in our U.S. Embassies and Consulates is the safety and welfare of the American Citizen community. To help achieve this goal, we encourage every American Citizen living or traveling overseas to register with the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Sometimes Americans wonder why this program is so important. While it is not mandatory to enroll, it is helpful to you and to the Consulate. When you sign up through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, your name and contact information will be added to a secure database (only accessible to limited Consulate and State Department staff) so that we will be able to keep you informed not only about any potential emergency but also about important news from the Consulate. For example, this year we have sent out email reminders about how to vote from overseas during the 2012 U.S. elections as well as messages about the public services and police strikes in Rio de Janeiro and in Salvador. We will also send emails to let you know of any Consulate-sponsored special events for American Citizens, such as when Deputy Chief of Mission Todd Chapman visited So Paulo recently and held a town hall meeting with American Citizens. Enrolling through the Smart Traveler system is a great way to keep yourself informed of important news or events affecting the American Citizen community in Brazil. Aside from providing useful information to you, registering also helps the Consulate to know how many Americans are resident in and visiting Brazil. Then we can plan better for any potential crisis as well as for routine services, such as passport renewals. Signing up through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program is quick and easy just go online to https://travelregistration.state. gov/ibrs/ui/ and enter your contact information. Also, keep in mind that if you return to the United States or decide you no longer wish to receive our messages, you are able to unenroll at any time through the website or by emailing us directly. As always, if you have any questions about this or any other service we provide for American Citizens, please visit our website at http://brazil.usembassy.gov/service. html, email us at ACSInfoSoPaulo@ state.gov or call (11) 5186-7000 during our daily public inquiry phone hour, between 1-2 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you would like to vote absentee from overseas in the 2012 U.S. elections, go to www. fvap.gov to register and request your ballot or email us with any questions at votesopaulo@state.gov Take a moment now to sign-up in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program and keep yourself in the loop with the U.S. Consulate!

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The Gift of Giving Time


Calling all members we need you! As the new volunteer coordinator for the Community Action Committee (CAC), I would like to reach out to our great AmSoc community and offer you an opportunity to get more involved in this big city we now call home. I am a trailing spouse, who came to So Paulo in 2011 with my family for my husbands job. Having given up my job as a Nurse Practitioner to make this move, I found myself with more time and energy to devote to something other than paid work. Through my desire and need to take care of others, I became involved with the CAC and now with the task of finding more helping hands for the many organizations the American Society sponsors. That is where you come into the equation. If you are like me, and have found that you now have more free time and would like to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate, volunteering may be an option for you. In keeping with AmSocs mission statement, members are encouraged to promote the American traditions of education, philanthropy, and volunteerism. Here is how you can get involved The American Society of So Paulo supports ten organizations that share the common goal of improving the lives of children who face poverty, disability, neglect, and abuse. All of the organizations - either childrens homes or community centers for children from low-income families - accept donations of money, non-perishable foods, and cleaning supplies. Many of them also need regular volunteers who can help weekly, biweekly, or monthly for those who would like to just help out occasionally, there are also plenty of opportunities to get involved. One of the greatest needs in the majority of the entities is lessons in Basic English for their children it is not necessary to be fluent in Portuguese or to have formal teaching experience to help in this way. They also offer opportunities to teach special skills to the kids they serve, including art, music, and cooking classes. Several of the entities hold bazaars where they sell donated new and gently-used items to generate funds; volunteers are needed to help collect, sort, and organize donated items, as well as work during the bazaars. Some of the organizations offer corporate volunteer days for larger projects; we are also working on developing family projects to get our own children involved in community service. The third annual Volunteer Day is right around the corner and will be held on Saturday, April 21st. Its not too late to get involved with this fun day for some of So Paulos underprivileged children, giving them a chance to get outdoors in a safe environment. This event will be held at the U.S. Consulate and will allow the kids to play games, practice different sports, swim and splash in the pool, and experience a traditional American-style cookout, complete with hamburgers and hotdogs. Volunteers of all ages are needed for two shifts (10:30 1:30 or 1:00 4:00) to help with various activities, including running games, overseeing the kids in the pool, and serving food. We are also still in need of food donations, or you can sponsor lunch for a child for just R$10. Even though it is only April, planning is already underway for the annual Christmas Angel Party, which will be held in November. On this special day, almost 250 children from our sponsored entities are treated to lunch, games, entertainment, and a large bag of gifts from Santa Claus. This event is a huge undertaking, requiring a small army of volunteers to help behind-thescenes with planning and organizing the party, sponsoring the children involved, donating food and prizes, and taking part in the activities and festivities. You will hear more about the Angel Party as the date approaches, but it is not too soon to become a part of the fun it is sure to be a rewarding and unforgettable experience. In a city as big as So Paulo, and with the poverty that exists here, there are endless ways to become involved and help - its also a great way to meet other people and embrace living in this sometimes crazy place. Working together, we can help to improve the lives of many children, giving them the opportunity to grow into responsible and independent adults. If you are interested in knowing more about how you can get involved, or know of any newly-arriving expats who may be interested, please dont hesitate to contact me Silvana Mooney silvanamooney7@gmail.com.

Save the date: AmSoc 4th July Party


July 4th Celebration will be early this year and Co-Hosted by the American Consulate. It will take place on Saturday June 30th at the American Consulate and we understand that the event was so great last year that the Ambassador himself has already scheduled the time to join us this year for Hot Dogs, Hamburgers and hopefully Fireworks. So, save the date and tell your friends to join AMSOC so that they can attend as well since this is a Members Only event. We are expecting over 300 people, so please be ready to make your reservations soon. Next months Forum will give you more details on this traditional event!

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April

The American Society of So Paulo

AmSoc Basketball Tournament - 2012


By John Kennedy, AmSoc board member The American Society will host its Annual Basketball Tournament this year on Saturday April 21st at the Graded School in Morumbi. Following last years format, this basketball tournament will start at 10am on two full courts of 5 on 5 for two 10-minute halves. Last year we had six teams divided into 2 groups with the three teams in each group playing each other. The group winners went on to play the second place finishers of the other group, while the third place teams were eliminated. So the number of games each team plays and the time the tournament ends will depend on the number of teams that enter. I expect to have the same teams as last year and maybe one or two more to make it an eight team tournament. This way each team will play at least 3 games, while the 1st and 2nd place teams will play 5 games. For those of you who are either building or joining a team, remember that it pays off to have a deep bench, because last years Champs, the Cougars won their last two games in OT largely because they had a 10-man team while their competition ran out of gas with only 6 and 7 players. And like last year, there will be light snacks and refreshments on sale so you guys and your fans wont go hungry! So if you are basketball player and have an interest in playing, either as an individual or play with a group of buddies that would like to form a team, contact John Kennedy at john@ kennedy-partners.com.

Tournament details
Agenda: March 26 REGISTRATION OPEN (8 Team limit) April 13 DEADLINE to Register (entry on first come first serve basis) April 21 1-DAY Tournament 8:30 9:45 - Warm-ups 9:45 10am - Welcome and Rules clarified 10am 5pm - GAMES of 5x5 Sandwiches and soft drinks will be sold by AMSOC. Participants may also bring their own food and drinks. Where: The GRADED School Avenida Pres. Giovanni Gronchi, 4710 (in Morumbi) Rules: 5 on 5 Play: Unlimited players/team, BUT minimum is 7 per team to avoid injury default Standard basketball rules, with one referee policing each game 2 halves of 12 minute each (5 minute halftime break) 1 time-out per half Format: 2 groups of 4 teams play a round robin within their group First place teams in the group get a bye into the semi-finals Second place teams in each group play each other to get to the semis The rest are eliminated Awards: Winning Team receives: basketball shirts and their name on AmSocs trophy Best player of the Tournament will be voted on and receive a MVP trophy Jerseys: Required to bring TWO Jerseys (one WHITE and another any dark COLOR) Teams can make their Team jerseys, and must be WHITE and COLORED: Can BUY basketball shirts at Decathalon or t-shirts at Magic T-shirt Costs: Player: AMSOC member = R$ 20 Non-AMSOC member = R$30 Registration: Individual or Team Captains MUST email John Kennedy the following: Names of each player Payment confirmation (for Teams, Captains make 1 deposit for your Team) Payments: either check/cash to John Kennedy OR a deposit to AMSOC, then email the receipt/comprovante to John. Banco Itau, Agency 1608 Account number 35.493-0 CNPJ: 62113261/0001-75

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The World Cup 2014 through Foreign Eyes


By Ernest White II, Staff Writer The ball is in Brazils court and its struggling to serve up anything like the stadiums, infrastructure, security and accommodation necessary to meet the needs of such a huge event, wrote journalist Andrew Downie. The article then quoted FIFA president Sepp Blatters opinion of Brazils preparedness vis--vis 2010 World Cup host country South Africa in March of that year: I must say that in comparison with the state of play between South Africa and Brazil three years before the World Cup, Brazil is behind South Africa. The World Cup is tomorrow. The Brazilians think its just the day after tomorrow. What they must do is to give a little bit more speed now in the organization. The brusque manner in which FIFA officials have continued to criticize the country about its slowness to prepare came to a head in March of this year when the secretary general of the soccer governing body, Jerome Valcke of France, offended the sensibilities of Brazil in general and sports minister Aldo Rebelo in particular when he suggested the country needed a boot up the rear end in no uncertain terms, as reported by Bill Chappell of American public broadcaster NPR (National Public Radio) on March 9, 2012: FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke enraged many in Brazil...when he said the countrys organizers need a kick up the backside (one of several translations circulating), and other remedies for its poor effort in preparing for the tournament. Valcke...has since insisted that his statements may have come off as overly harsh only because of a poor translation of his remarks into Portuguese. He apologized for any confusion. NPR also reported one Brazilian officials colorful response to the insult heard round the world: After Valckes...comments, the Brazilian presidents special adviser on international affairs, Marco Aurelio Garcia, called Valcke a bum (vagabundo), a colonialist, and a bigmouth (bocon). And Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo sent a letter to FIFA over the weekend to inform the organization that Brazil will have no further dealings with Valcke. Frances AFP news wire, on the other hand, reported at least one notable voice of agreement with Valckes remarks: Legendary Brazilian striker Ronaldo admitted...that FIFA chief Jerome Valcke was right to highlight the problems plaguing organisers of the 2014 World Cup in the country. Valcke has already apologised to the Brazilian people. The way he made his criticisms was regrettable, but that is not to say that he wasnt right, Ronaldo told Bandeirantes TV in So Paulo. Great Britains The Telegraph offered up Valckes entire commentary: I dont understand why things are not moving, The stadiums are not on schedule any longerand why are a lot of things late? You dont have enough hotels everywhere. You have more than enough in So Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, but if you think about Manaus you need more. Lets say in Salvador you have England versus Holland and you have 12 per cent of the stadium English fans and 12 per cent Hollandthats 24 per cent of 60,000 fans. The way to go to the stadium and all the organization of transportation has to be improved. American sports news network ESPN also reported Valckes remarks: In 2014 we will have a World Cup, he said. The concern is nothing is made or prepared to receive so many people, because the world wants to go to Brazil. I am sorry to say but things are not working in Brazil. What is the World Cup for Brazil: To organize the World Cup or to win the World Cup? I think its to win the World Cup. Importantly, the butt-kicking line was delivered as Valcke waxed frustrated about legislation permitting beer to be sold at soccer stadiums in Brazil being held up in Congress in Braslia for the past five years. The Associated

With barely 26 months remaining in the run-up to the 2014 FIFA (Fdration Internationale de Football Association) World Cup soccer competition, Brazil has begun to face criticism in the international press for what appears to be a slow and not-quite-organized preparation process. The Cup is scheduled to open with a match in So Paulos still-unfinished Corinthians Stadium on June 12th, closing with the final game at Rio de Janeiros storied Maracan Stadium on July 13th. Five years after having been awarded the competitionincidentally, Brazil ended up being the only candidate in the running for host country, in accordance with FIFAs rotating continent policyinfrastructure and stadium construction projects are behind schedule and over budget, the sale of alcohol in stadiums is still unresolved, communities of the poor are being relocated under controversial circumstances, and the once-powerful head of Brazilian soccer resigned amid heated criticism and serious allegations of corruption. Brazils press corp isnt the only media body keeping up with the developments; print, broadcast, and online media from New York to New Delhi are tuned in to what has become a real-life telenovela. The status of construction projects new and refurbished stadiums, new and refurbished airport terminals, new and expanded rail linkshas been in the international headlines regularly since at least 2010, when Abu Dhabis The National, among other outlets, openly questioned Brazils readiness to host the Cup:

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April

The American Society of So Paulo


Press wire service, among many other news outlets, has been reporting on the significance of the legislation: The sale of alcohol inside stadiums is currently prohibited by law, but FIFA said Brazil agreed to make changes to its legislation when it was picked to host the World Cup back in 2007. [Lower house government leader Arlindo] Chinaglia said there were some doubts on whether the commitment to FIFA existed, and other government congressmen also said...that it didnt have to be included in the current legislation. Aldo Rebelo released the statement immediately after voting on the bill was delayed and congressmen were suggesting the government would change its stance. Eve Parish, of CNNs Business 360 blog, outlined the financial side of the beer/soccer issue: FIFA receives tens of millions of dollars from Anheuser-Busch InBev the giant brewing company which makes Budweiserin World Cup sponsorship...In South Africa in 2010, Budweiser was the only beer for sale in World Cup stadiums. Not surprising then that it outsold every other beverage on offersports drinks, soft drinks and bottled water combined. The AP also summed up FIFA president Blatters short but important meeting with Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and soccer great Pel on March 17th in Braslia, an encounter with the express purpose of smoothing over the ripples between FIFA and the Brazilian government: The FIFA president left the country saying he was satisfied with the World Cup guarantees given by the local government, while Brazil got some of the respect it had demanded. Both sides said the constructive meeting in the nations capital will help Brazil move forward with the World Cup and the Confederations Cup, which is just more than a year away. Blatter said he and Rousseff were so satisfied they agreed to meet more often in the coming months. Brazil is the country of football, Blatter said. Its time they showed to the world, after 1950, when they organized the last World Cup, the capacities of this country. But while almost all major international media outlets have been tracking the process of Brazils World Cup preparations, a few have also been keeping track of growing dissent and worrying actions on the part of the government of the country of football. Simon Romero of the New York Times reported last month that the Cup and upcoming Olympics in 2016 are an excuse for the government to forcibly evict poorer citizens from their homes in areas deemed crucial to redevelopment efforts ahead of these athletic showcases: These events were supposed to celebrate Brazils accomplishments, but the opposite is happening, said Christopher Gaffney, a professor at Rios Fluminense Federal University. Were seeing an insidious pattern of trampling on the rights of the poor and cost overruns that are a nightmare. A network of activists in 12 cities estimates that as many as 170,000 people may face eviction ahead of the World Cup and the Olympics. In Rio, evictions are taking place in slums across the city, including the Metr favela near the Maracan stadium, where residents who refused to move live amid the rubble of bulldozed homes. Political sports commentator Dave Zirin was extremely harsh in his criticism of the powers that be over the evictions in his blog for the Al Jazeera English-language website: [The BRIC] nations have established themselves as the future, not only of global economic growth, but as future centres of international sport. They can offer two things that the decaying, Western powers can no longer provide: massive deficit spending and a state police infrastructure to displace, destroy, or disappear anyone who dares stand in their way. By bulldozing homes before families had the chance to find new housing or be relocated, the government is in flagrant violation of the most basic concepts of human rights. Zirin quoted Christopher Gaffney, Visiting Professor at Universidade Federal Fluminense in Rio de Janeiro and Vice-President of the Associao Nacional dos Torcedores [National Fans Association]: Similar to a military invasion, the only way to successfully occupy the country with a mega-event is to bombard people with information, get rid of the undesirables, and launch a media campaign that turns alternative voices into anti-patriotic naysayers who hate sport and progress. Interestingly, news of brutal demolitions and upheaval in poor neighborhoods came second to the not-quite-surprising resignation of Brazilian soccer czar Ricardo Teixeira last month, amid a persistent wave of corruption allegations. Reuters was but one of the news agencies that tackled the story: When Teixeira took the helm of the CBF in 1989, Brazil had gone 19 years without a World Cup title and the CBFs finances were in tatters. Today, the CBF is a vastly profitable enterprise and Brazil holds a record five World Cup titles, having won under Teixeira in 1994 and 2002. However, despite the successes on and off the field, Teixeiras tenure has been frequently overshadowed by allegations of corruption and shady business dealings. In 2001, a Congressional investigation accused him of 13 crimes ranging from tax evasion to money laundering to misleading lawmakers, although no charges were ever brought. Last year, the former head of the English Football Association David Triesman said Teixeira offered to back Englands bid to host the 2018 World Cup in return for favours. In February, the Folha de So Paulo newspaper said a company linked to Teixeira overcharged the organisers of a November 2008 friendly match between Brazil and Portugal. Teixeira has denied wrongdoing in all cases. Teixeira blamed a serious bowel conditiondiverticulitisfor his resignation. His successor, 79-year-old former politician Jos Maria Marin, could possibly run the CBF until 2015, when Teixeiras term was set to end. Reuters reported a little something about the new president as well: Marin made headlines in January while presenting the winners of a junior football tournament with their medals. Cameras caught him slipping one of the medals into his pocket, prompting accusations of theft. [He] told reportersthat the medal was a gift from tournament organisers and called the accusations a joke.

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By Melissa Harkin, AmSoc member

Travel Safety: Scams Foolish Tourists Fall For


most common cons. 1: Good Samaritans A Good Samaritan is a person who goes out of his or her way to assist a fellow human being. When youre traveling in an unfamiliar country, you might hope for a Good Samaritan to help you find your way. Unfortunately, however, some Good Samaritans are actually con artists in disguise. Some people will offer to help you use an ATM. Some thieves set a trap in the ATM that will cause it to eat your card. Others will hang around at train stations and ask if you need assistance purchasing a ticket -- then take your money and run. While driving, a car may pull up next to you and the driver will helpfully point out that you have a flat tire. While one person assists you in changing the tire, an accomplice will help himself to your pocketbook or any other valuables. Oftentimes, the people that flag you down are the people that punctured your tire to begin with. In Spain, theres a popular scam where an older woman offers you a sprig of rosemary, as a sign of friendship. Then shell grab your hand, read your fortune and demand payment. How do you avoid falling victim? Dont make eye contact or accept anything thats handed to you. Purchase any tickets yourself. If you need assistance, utilize the concierge at your hotel. Never let anyone help you out at an ATM, and never give anyone your PIN. 2: Unscrupulous Cabbies Its quite easy for cabbies to swindle money out of an unsuspecting tourist. They prey off your being a stranger in a strange land. Again, its important to be knowledgeable about the local currency. If you hand a cabbie a large bill, he may drop it and then pick up a hidden smaller bill, insisting you didnt pay enough (very popular in Argentina). Some will charge higher nights and weekend rates on the meter during a weekday. Some might quote you one fare and charge you double once you arrive at your destination. How do you avoid falling victim? Make your travel and lodging plans in advance. If you need a taxi, use a hotel or restaurant to call for one. If hailing a cab on the street, choose only those with prominent logos and telephone numbers. Never accept a ride from an unmarked car - you could end up losing more than just your wallet. 3: Money Changing Errors Many crooks like to take advantage of your unfamiliarity with the currency of the country youre visiting. One common scam is called the slow count. In busy tourist areas, some cashiers will count out your change very slowly, with confusing pauses, in the hopes youll just take what theyre holding out to you and leave. Usually the amount in their hand is way less than what you should have received. When you do receive change, inspect it before leaving the premises. In Italy, for example, the old 500-lira coins look a lot like their 2-euro coins. The difference? The 500-lira coins are worthless. Also, try to avoid paying for anything with a large bill. Some cab drivers or cashiers will insist that you mistakenly gave them a one when youve actually handed them much more. When you arrive at your travel destination, youll want to change your money over to the local currency. You may notice people on the street or in the airport offering excellent conversion rates,

Your passport is fresh and awaiting new stamps. Your bags are packed. Youve put a hold on your mail, arranged for someone to water your plants and picked up a set of travelsized toiletries for your carry-on. Youre definitely ready to travel. Maybe youre looking forward to eating exotic cuisine, adventures in foreign countries, visits to historical landmarks. Youre probably not, however, expecting to be the victim of a tourist scam. In 2011, more than 250 million turistis worldwide traveled overseas. To a seasoned scam artist, thats a lot of potential victims! The best way to avoid falling victim to a crime is to use your head. Be aware of your surroundings, trust your gut, take appropriate precautions and keep your wits about you. Traveling is supposed to be fun. Going on vacation doesnt have to be a scary or paranoia-inducing experience. The idea is to travel smart and know what (or who) to avoid. So lets get you acquainted with some of the worlds

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The American Society of So Paulo


better than the hotel or local bureau. But this isnt the time to bargain hunt. Often these black market exchanges will leave you with a pile of fake money or a bunch of newspaper wedged between two actual pieces of money. How do you avoid falling victim? Learn what the currency in the city youre visiting looks like. Count your change carefully. Exchange money at authorized centers only. Pay with small bills. 4: Create a Distraction, Steal Your Wallet So many variations on this scam exist; I cant even list them all! But heres the gist -- someone creates a distraction, and someone else steals your wallet. Pickpockets often work in teams. Heres one scam thats popular in Europe: While youre walking down the street minding your own business, a pretty woman arguing with a street vendor captures your attention. Her argument with the vendor, who is accusing her of stealing, escalates until a crowd gathers. Sometimes the woman will even start to take off her clothes to prove her innocence! While you and everyone else stand there gaping, her accomplice is working his way through the crowd, relieving people of their wallets and valuables. Other methods of distraction? Someone will accidentally spill something on you. Or someone will point out bird poop on the back of your shirt and offer to clean it off. A group of children will surround you, begging for money or food. An elderly woman will fall down in front of you. Some people even report a person shoving a baby at you, stealing your valuables when you instinctively reach out for the child [source: IMEX]. How do you avoid falling victim? Its unfortunate that many thieves and scammers rely on your sense of humanity in order to steal money from you. Anywhere theres a crowd or scene, youre a potential victim. So be smart dont walk around with an open bag and dont keep your wallet in your back pocket. Keep your bag slung around you so it cant be snatched. Wear a pouch or smaller bag under your clothes. 5: Fake Police Officers In any country, police personnel are supposed to be on your side. However, its also easy for scam artists to pose as police and use that implied authority to take your money. Heres how they do it. Most swindles take place in any popular tourist destination. If youre a tourist, youre probably not familiar with the typical law enforcement uniforms, so its easy for anyone to put on something that looks official. In this scam, a person claiming to be a police officer approaches you. He will tell you theres been a problem in the area with counterfeit bills and ask to check your wallet for any offending currency all under the pretense of protecting you. The fake police officer will then rifle through your wallet, giving it back to you with an all clear. Hell be long gone by the time you realize some of your money is missing. Variations on this scam include fake authorities at train stations, roadblocks and other official sites. Sometimes theyll just grab your wallet or passport and run. How do you avoid falling victim? Dont voluntarily hand your wallet or passport over to anyone, ever. Know what the areas law enforcement uniform looks like. Ask for identification numbers and names if in doubt about someones identity. Melissa Harkin runs a translation company called Melissa HarkinTranslations www. melissaharkin.com contato@ melissaharkin.com(11-8428-8714)

Fellowship Community Church


The Welcome Place since 1921
Phone (11) 3253-7609 www.fellowship.com.br

09:00 am - Walking in Faith Classes (English and Portuguese)

Sundays

10:30 am Worship Service (English only) 06:00 pm Culto em portugus

Conveniently located on Rua Carlos Sampaio, 107 Bela Vista Just a block and a half from the Brigadeiro Metro station on the Avenida Paulista

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ClAssifiEDs
H ousing
Vila Nova Conceio So Paulos best place to live. Near Ibirapuera Park. Modern building, with all Sports facilities, heated swimming pool, gym, play room, barbecue, multi purpose sports court. Three bedrooms (1 suite), living room with terrace, complete kitchen,maids bedroom and bath, big service area, two parking spaces. Fully furnished,with allappliances. Call Ana Beatriz or Eliane Phone (011) 3849.7085 or (011) 96266229-mail to: anabeatriz@caboverde.com.br Looking for apartments Looking for furnished, fully equipped apartments in So Paulo. Offer management, promotion, purchasing, remodeling and decoration services for your property. We will rent your flat to foreign tourists & executives visiting the city looking for alternative accommodations. Highly experienced specialized international group. Contact: Paola B. de Estrada 92102201, paola@apartmentssp.com or www.apartmentssp.com Rent or Own Sunny Apartment in So Paulo Sunny, ample apartment just a stones throw from the Graded School. Two-story apartment measuring approximately 300 square meters, with two large living rooms; four bedrooms (two suites and a suite americano); a separate TV room/office; large kitchen with brand new cabinetry; and ample rea de servio. Building includes heated pool, exercise room, playground. Each apartment has a depsito and three parking spaces. The full apartment was lovingly refurbished in 2010; the owners are now unexpectedly returning to the United States. Sale Price: R$770 thousand. Rental: R$6,500 per month. Email us at morumbiapartment@gmail.com

S ervices
Qualified Learning Specialist Success in school leads to success in life. Areas of expertise include in-home support for academics, behavior modification, and intensive preparation for SSAT, PSAT, SAT, TOEFL, TOIEC, IGCSE, and IB Diploma Programme. References furnished upon request. Dr. Wendy M. Smith can be reached at: 3885.7256 [office] or 9236.5267 [mobile]. Math and Science Tutor Teacher with 25-plus years of experience, tutors Math, Physics, Chemistry, and Science for all levels, including but not limited to the IB, IGCSE, SAT-I & II, ACT, AP and Brazilian vestibular. Elementary and middle school students are also welcome (all subjects). Currently St. Francis School, formerly Chapel and Graded. Call Fernando Knijnik at (11) 9134-6700. Selling Up Go with a pro! We have been selling household goods for families, individuals, and companies for more than 20 years in So Paulo and Brasilia for embassies. We have hundreds of preselected clients wanting to buy from you, safe and sound! Send an e-mail to meredithsales@ zaquie.com or zaquie@zaquie.com or call (11) 5908-1144 or (11) 7997-8808. Ask for Ms. Zaquie Meredith. Personal Trainer I will come to your home, office, or workout facility and create an exercise/fitness program tailored to your health concerns, fitness goals, and schedule. For adults and children, individuals or groups. Sessions in English, Spanish, or Portuguese. For more information please contact Daniela Franco at (11) 9739-6191 or dsf29@ hotmail.com. Argos Dog Kennel Traveling? What about your dog? Argos Kennel Hotel could be his second home in the country. Food, water, and shelter with lots of love and personal care. No lonely kennel for him, but our home and the freedom of a spacious garden. Fetch and carry service. English and French spoken. Call Jean or Christiane at (11) 4661-1430 or (11) 7230-3369 or send an e-mail to Jean. chris@uol.com.br. Embu Guau, SP.

For Sale - 2008 GM Zafira Expression 2.0 Flex engine automatic (mint condition), ABS, airbag, alarm, on board computer, cruise control, digital air conditioner, power steering, antivandalism insulfilm protection. 7 seats, 78.000 KM, single owner, all maintenance done at dealer, new brakes, tires, oil change with filter, kept in covered garage. Price R$ 41.000,00. Please contact Eileen Tasso 11-5644-5482 (h) American-Licensed Clinical Psychologist Heloisa Garman, Psy.D. U.S.-licensed Clinical Psychologist (covered by U.S. health insurance). Bilingual, with extensive private practice in Chicago and former therapist at the Family Institute at Northwestern Uni. Treats individuals, couples, and families. Specialized in anxiety, depression, cultural issues, and adjustment disorders. Call Dr. Garman at (11)7179-9723 or 3898-2330 or send an e-mail to hcbgarman@aol.com. American-Licensed Expat Psychologist Richard Morhaime, Psy.D., offers skilled psychotherapy for children and adults. He also provides complete diagnostic evaluations in English for children with academic or behavioral difficulties, featuring individualized recommendations for school and home. For more information, contact Dr. Morhaime at 5538-0099 or 9669-8057 or visit www.expatpsychologist.com.br American-Licensed Psychotherapist In this busy and ever-changing world, people often feel stressed and overwhelmed with no place to turn. Psychotherapy/counseling can provide a safe place to receive professional guidance and support. Brief or longer-term therapy offered depending on your needs, goals and expectations. Services: individual, couples, child/adolescent. Certified to conduct Adoption Home Study for American Citizens. Contact: Pamela Wax, MSW/LCSW at 5051-5988 or 9656-2106 or send an e-mail to pamwax@gmail.com. Located in Moema.

Forum does not check all of the advertisers appearing in this newsletter. We urge you to use these services; however, thoroughly check prices and services prior to finalizing any service or purchase agreement. A classified of up to 350 characters costs R$60 for AmSoc members and R$80 for non-members. To place a classified please call (11) 5182-2074 from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m., or send an e-mail to AmSoc1@ americansociety.com.br.

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A Note to Our Readers

April

CAlEnDAr
April 2012
01 Sunday

The American Society of So Paulo


Learn more about this months AmSoc events (highlighted) at www.AmSoc.com.br.
Important Dates: 1 April Fools Day (US), 6 Good Friday (BR & US), 8 Easter Sunday (BR & US), 21 Tiradentes (BR)
Easter Party for kids At Chapel School. There will be sandwiches, soft drinks, water, cupcakes and Easter egg hunting in the yard! Lets play together! For members: R$ 20/child. For non-members: R$ 30/ child. The play explores the relationship between man and woman without words, their mistakes and successes, joys, frustrations, battles and inevitable complicity. At Teatro Unio Cultural. Price: R$20,00. For more information call (11) 2148-2904. Time: 10h00 - 14h00 / Location: Espao Escandinavo. Rua Job Lane, 1030 - Alto da Boa Vista, So Paulo, 04639-000, Brazil. At Credicard Hall. To buy your ticket visit www.credicard.com.br Red Rose Coffees that are geared towards providing new members with helpful information about settling in. Time: 9h00 - 12h00. Location: Given upon RVSP. Please RSVP to redrose@newcomers-sp.com.br At Credicard Hall. To buy your ticket visit www.credicard.com.br You can sign up for Volunteer Day shifts from 10:30-1:30 and from 1:00 - 4:00 by contacting the CACs new Volunteer Coordinator Silvana Mooney silvanamooney7@gmail.com. We also need donations of snacks, drinks, hamburgers, hotdogs, and baked goods, or you can sponsor lunch for a child for just R$10. Thank you in advance for your involvement. We are looking forward to a fabulous day! The show is a circus ballet on ice, the only one in the world. The Moscow Circus on Ice is an icon of excellence. At Via Funchal. To buy your ticket you can go to Via Funchal or buy online www.viafunchal.com.br At Credicard Hall. To buy your ticket visit www.credicard.com.br See front page Time: 12h00 - 14h30. Location: To be determined. Please RSVP to luncheons@newcomers-sp.com.br

Until 30

Deadly (Theater)

11

Wednesday

INC Monthly Coffee & Bazaar 3 Doors Down Show INC Red Rose

12 18

Thursday Wednesday

20 21

Friday Saturday

Demi Lovato Show Volunteer Day At US Consulate

21 & 22

Saturday & Sunday

Moscow Circus On Ice

21 & 22

Saturday & Sunday Wednesday Wednesday

Bob Dylan Show

25 25

Annual General Meeting INC Monthly Luncheon

Enjoyed this publication? Become an American Society Member and get a free Forum subscription!
For more than 60 years The American Society of So Paulo has worked to establish a strong network for expats living and working in So Paulo. Join Today!!! Visit our website at www.amsoc.com.br and fill in our on-line form or call the AmSoc office at 5182-2074

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Yoga in So Paulo
By Maureen Kennedy Alves, AmSoc board member Im not a betting kind of gal, but if I were, Id say chances are, that you, dear reader, have probably taken at least one yoga class in your life. And if not, you know someone who has. Your sister, maybe. Or your mother. Or your grandmother. Perhaps even your dog (yes, you read correctly, theres yoga for dogs). Today, millions of people in the West practice some form of yoga. And its no wonder. The list of benefits of yoga is inspiring: Increased muscle tone and flexibility. More strength and endurance. Improved posture. Lower blood pressure. More calm. Less stress. (Those last two might be particularly worth repeating considering life in So Paulo.) And thats just the tip of the iceberg. My own journey with yoga began about 15 years ago when I was drawn to a Bikram yoga class (the hot yoga that is now all the rage) by the studios ad that promised to melt the pudge. I wasnt overweight, but felt haunted by what Oprah had dubbed the muffin top. I was determined to send my love handles packing and Bikram, with its 90 minutes of sweat and hard core stretching, seemed to be just the solution. Two years later (with no sign of the pudge budging I might add, though that probably had more to do with my penchant for drinking beers with my friends than any type of yoga I was doing), I decided for many reasons that Bikram was no longer it for me. After experimenting with different types of classes, I settled happily into a long-term relationship with vinyasa yoga that led me to do a 200-hour teacher training in 2010. The teacher training was an eye opener for me. I had never thought about other peoples practice except maybe to compare myself to people next to me in class, silently begrudging those who appeared to be more flexible than me but the training changed all that. Over the course of many months, observing countless classes, I came to see that each student that walked through the door was already perfect and theres no reason to compare ourselves to others. I also saw that although yoga has many benefits, some people do poses over and over again in ways that can be harmful. Group yoga classes are great they are convenient, less expensive than private classes and full of good energy. The only downside is the teacher cannot give each student undivided attention throughout the class. And that means students can and do get injured, mostly from overstretching and repetitive strain. With some general commonsense guidelines, you can reduce your risk of being one of them. Forget about your neighbor. Remember what I wrote above about comparing myself to other people in class? Thats not yoga thats ego and it will only cause you pain. And not just emotional pain. The desire to be as good as the person next to you can make you push yourself beyond your limits, opening yourself up to injury. Accept your body and where you are today. Its your journey, not your neighbors. Focus on your breathing. Its easy to check out when youre on the mat, thinking about what youre going to make for dinner or what you should have said to that jerk who cut you off in traffic. Paying attention to your breath keeps you present, grounded, and mindful of your body. It will help you see if youre gripping anywhere in your body or overexerting yourself (your breath should always be even). Listen to your body. Sure, yoga isnt always comfortable: your leg may shake while youre holding a pose or you may feel what Jane Fonda so perfectly coined the burn. But yoga shouldnt hurt. If you feel any kind of pain in your body, gently back out of the pose and take a rest. Do not try to power your way through it. Start with a non-flow class. When I first started vinyasa yoga, I was lost. The class was listed as beginner/intermediate, but everyone was flowing in and out of poses like dancers. I tried to keep up, but had no clue what I was doing, which made me ripe for an injury. If youre starting out, try a slow moving class like a Level I Iyengar, which focuses on basic alignment. Leave the Power Flow classes for when you have more experience. Where to practice in So Paulo There are literally countless studios in the city, practically in every neighborhood. Below are a couple of my favorites: Yoga Flow - yogaflow.com.br This studio in Vila Nova Conceio offers all types of yoga for all different levels. Many of the teachers speak English, too, and are happy to help if you cant understand what theyre saying. I love Iyengar I/II with Sandra and Renata. Be Yoga - Beyoga.com.br Okay, I actually havent been to this studio yet, but I took some Anusara yoga classes from one of the owners, Greta, an American, at a different studio several years ago and loved it. Be Yoga is in Itaim.