Tora Bueno

What part of town do you live in?
We’ve been in Pinecrest for 10 years.

Where are you originally from and what brought you to town?
New York City. My husband lived in Panama as a child and had fond memories of growing up in the tropics. He really thought it would be a great idea. We had our children in New York City and it’s hard to raise children in the city. And, my dad has been partially based here on and off since the 80s.

Would you share a little bit about your family?
I have a son and a daughter who are 10 and 13. I met my husband in high school, when we were 15, and we have two dogs from Paws 4 You.

What keeps you busy during the week?
I’m an Iyengar Yoga instructor and I teach where the old Gardeners Market used to be (opposite Evelyn Greer park). The studio was started in 1978 by Bobby Golden. I started my journey of learning to be a yoga teacher when I moved here and have been teaching full time for five years.

What makes Iyengar different from other Yoga practices and why did you choose it?
I took my first yoga class when I was 18 and I literally never stopped after that. I started with Mysore style Ashtanga Yoga, which is a much more dynamic practice and very strict. I did that for seven years straight. But, I sustained a couple of injuries. To heal from those injuries, I went to an Iyengar Yoga teacher because they’re known for their therapeutics. The teachers have to go through a lot of rigorous training to teach at an introductory level and know how to fix your alignments in every pose. It’s ego crushing to go to an Iyengar teacher because all of a sudden everything you thought you were doing right you might need to adjust. But, it’s worth it if you don’t want to be injured and if you want to continue yoga practice for a very long time. The Iyengar style has allowed me to go deeper.

What does Iyengar style look like?
You can have a very dynamic class where you move a lot, but they tend to be known for holding poses longer and for checking your alignments and doing very precise sequencing. You can’t just go from any pose to another pose. Like, if you were driving a car you wouldn’t want to go full speed in fifth gear and then all of a sudden push the clutch and shift into reverse. You tell your body where you’re going and then you sort of ease your body out of the pose and ease it into another pose. You build up into deeper, stronger poses and learn to sequence into them.

I know that you grew up in the Art world. What is your view as in insider?
I love the art scene here in Miami because it reminds me of London in the 90’s. When I was eight years old, my mom moved us to London and I came of age in London. I went to university in London and I was at a teenager in London and I had a lot of friends in the art world in the 90s. In Miami now, people support each other a lot. They’re very open minded and very creative, but you have to sort of seek them out. You have to look for them. And there are good people who are supporting them through arts residency programs like the Bake House or Fountain Head. And, there’s also a lot of collectors here and some interesting galleries. But, the artists themselves are very interesting.

I grew up in the art world because my dad has been an art dealer since the early seventies. He’s mostly worked with minimalist work. Both my sister and I worked for him and as independent Art Advisers. My brother, who grew up here in Miami, recently opened his own gallery here in Allapata, west of Wynwood called the Bonnier Gallery.

Are there any artists that stand out to you?
Yes. Carrie Sieh, who you interviewed a few weeks ago. I love her. She’s wonderful. And she has taught me a lot about trying to live a more environmentally friendly life. I was already trying to be zero waste, but she showed me a whole new side of how to think about the food you buy and everything that you do in life. I love Sarah Michelle Rupert. She’s a wonderful artist. I love Karla Caprali. She is a dear friend. She was at the Bake House and she’s always doing new stuff and interested in new things. Her new show was in collaboration with a coder. There’s a lot of artists moving into the coding and technology sphere which is very interesting. Also, Michelle Weinberg – and she has a great website.

Do you have any advice on how to attend the Art Shows here in Miami in December?
I think a smart way is to choose one fair per day. Try not to go with too much expectation and then let yourself just wander around. If you’re glossing over things too much, take a breath and look at one piece and read about it or ask about it. That will help slow yourself down – especially if you’re a buyer. I love Untitled on the Beach. It’s not too big, but I still couldn’t do the whole thing in one visit. If you’re buying, find something within your price range and something that you love. Don’t buy it necessarily because you think it will become more valuable.

How often do you come to the Pinecrest market?
I try to come every week.

What’s your ritual like when you come?
I’m very strategic. I’m in and out very quickly. I go to V&B, I go to you and I go to Margie. I buy as many vegetables and fruit as I can. I buy your Turmeric Concentrate every two or three weeks. And I love the Turmeric Golden Coins. They’re frequently my lunch.

How have you used the Turmeric Concentrate?
I’ve made it into salad dressing. I add olive oil, some lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. And, I have used it on grilled veggies and mixed it into soups and things like that. My favorite way is to have a shot, every day in my coffee, with my almond milk.

I’m gluten free because I have bad arthritis. As a yoga teacher, it’s very problematic to have that much pain. I found that by cutting out gluten and dairy, I stopped having pain. The Turmeric helps a huge amount, because I still will feel stiffness from time to time if I caught some gluten or dairy by accident or by eating out. The Turmeric is amazing.  

What do you think the market’s missing?
I miss the days when Zak used to come and sell his bread within the first 30 minutes and then he would play music. That was fun.

Do you have any favorite markets stories?
I just love running into people who I haven’t seen for a while. We’re all so busy in our lives that it’s a nice place to bump into people when they have a little more time to just stand and chat.

What’s a favorite activity you enjoy doing with your kids?
A big treat for my daughter is walking around Wynwood or somewhere more urban than Pinecrest. She loves that. Or going to the beach, to the quieter side up north in the 70s or 80’s.

Where do you all like to go out for food?
Our favorite restaurant is LAN. Another favorite is A Pizza Brooklyn. For like a special occasion, I really like Ghee.
I’m always looking through your newsletters for places. I’ve found a bunch of restaurants, that I didn’t know about, that were really interesting, and I’ve tried everybody’s suggestions!

What’s Miami’s best kept secret?
The Pinecrest Library. I love the library. It’s another great community place where there’s a lot going on. Ellen Book, who runs the library, is a wonderful person and a great resource. My daughter does coding there. It’s her second year in the program. The girls who graduate become teaching assistants and help run the group.

What is a worthy splurge?
Probably the prepared food at the farmer’s market. I usually try to be economical, buy veggies and go home. But, if I stay and eat something I have some great food. I had a great paella last week.

What’s a good rainy-day activity?
Some good books and a movie.

Where’s the most romantic spot around?
Out on the water, all the way to the end – the lighthouse beach.

Would you like to share a pitch about your Yoga Classes?
I teach at The Yoga Institute of Miami on Chapman Field drive. We have a big group of teachers and a lot of different classes. It’s really nice because it’s a spiritual practice and it’s a physical practice, so it affects your mind, body and your soul. So, it’s really like a three-for-one practice.

Are there any community groups that events that are important to you that you would like to share?
I think a lot about the environment. I would like to share Cleo. Caroline Lewis started the Cleo Institute to educate the public about climate change. They have free talks frequently all over Miami and they raise awareness for climate change. She was an educator here in Miami who started the Fairchild challenge – which is a multi-disciplinary science challenge in our public schools.

Do you have anything else you might like to share?
My husband and I went and visited the recycling and sorting plant here – which doesn’t actually recycle but ships our recycling to Vietnam and poorer countries. That was really a disturbing and eye-opening experience. We just throw things out and don’t think about where it goes. We’re creating a toxic mess. I think we need to be more aware of what we buy and not just live in a linear way from producing things to throwing them out. We have to think – ‘what is the final resting place for this? ‘

Also, to think about hidden costs. We don’t think about the hidden water that goes into our cup of coffee or making a pair of jeans. We’re carelessly polluting and wasting the 1% of fresh water that’s available to humanity. Especially here, living in Miami, which is such a wet place – we don’t really think about the fact that we’re number 10 or 11 in the world to lose our drinking water. It’s because of saltwater incursion and because of destruction of the Everglades.

If everyone starts to think the way you’re thinking we’re going to solve a lot of problems. You think about your business in a holistic way, the way you’re creating community and the way you’re being very mindful of the products you introduce. If everyone can do that, we will have a great future ahead of us – for our children, our grandchildren, and great grandchildren.