Yoga Teacher Training in Paradise: Costa Rica (#yogastory)

We have arrived in Costa Rica, to spend our last two weeks at a yoga teacher training in paradise! Excitement flows in my veins. What a place for the last half of our evolation yoga teacher training.  In the morning I awake with the sounds of birds and the morning sun filtering through our window.  When I gaze outside I see the lush and tropical greenery which surrounds the pond shaped pool.  Our locale is an incredible tropical resort with green vines covering the façade of the apartments, huge bamboo and insects of all kinds.  We are thrilled that the beautiful volcanic sanded beach is our backyard.   In the evening we adore the amazing sunset and we dance and frolic in the water.

We study while sitting in the shaded grass with the ocean in front of us and the sun peeking over my left shoulder, reading the dialogue along with me. The overwhelming natural beauty is distracting and nurturing at the same time. The roaring waves are providing a steady rhythm. It helps me memorize.  It is a dream for our whole crew of teacher training trainees to be staying here together like a family.  The weather is divine- warm and humid.  We practice yoga on an open platform with nature all around us.  It is incredible! What can I say? Heaven pretty much sums it up.  Practicing yoga here is amazing and meditating…bliss.

I teach my very first class for our trainee group.  I stumble over my words, confuse my rights with my lefts, and I am really nervous.  However, I feel that when I will teach my next class that I’ll be more prepared for it with this experience.  After yoga class we have posture clinic. In clinic we review each posture in detail including what students may have difficulty with and what they tend to do incorrectly, the benefits, the fundamental elements for a teacher to queue into, etc. During clinic we also demonstrate the postures ourselves and get feedback.  In addition, this is the time that we, the trainees, teach the postures one by one.  Our command of the dialog, presentation, tone, etc. is analyzed and we get feedback by our instructors and peers.  We all love posture clinic…well besides presenting the postures.  But I have to admit it’s certainly getting easier every time.  These days I even volunteer to go first just to get it done and over with and surprisingly I do ok.  We come to know that it’s all about learning it and letting go.

Our days start with morning practice or meditation.  The meditation is sometimes a grounding exercise, a chakra practice or a sound routine. I find it difficult as well as amazing.  One morning has been marked in our memories as the Monkey Meditation.  On a hill overlooking the ocean, we are guided through a one-point focus meditation. As we sit in stillness the animals come closer.  Mark asks us to open our eyes to see that eight monkeys surrounding us.  The monkeys are observing us and I realize that you attract energy when you are still and peaceful.We end the morning sessions with a moving meditation that finishes in a spontaneous movement practice.  Next we learn about the limbs of yoga and how they can be applied into daily life experiences.  The afternoons are typically filled by lectures on the yoga sutras or the bhagavad gita, until dinner.  We continue yoga philosophy over tea and dessert.  At 10pm and I’m ready for bed but I need to study.

Each of us teaches another class. Oufff…..this is when I start feeling really down on myself.  Boy am I tired…tired of everything at this point.  Negativity  starts to accumulate and I feel really low and heavy with strange emotions: negative, sensitive, stupid, mad, frustrated, annoyed and exhausted and I can’t wait for this training to be over with.  I want to spend time on my own, but every single moment of the day is occupied by training.  I start to resent the process.  I am swept away in a whirl of emotions.  It seems that I am more vulnerable…and these feelings start to spread like a wildfire. We meet another teacher.  She shares her own training experience with us and assures me that it’s perfectly normal to have these emotions in this stage of the training…whew…big relief. The sunset does amazing wonders.

The next morning we have class with Zefea.  Her classes always move me physically and emotionally.  She really inspires me.  After her class while I am in the final meditation I realize it is my ego I am struggling with this entire time.  My ego had been so powerful that I was actually able to convince myself that it wasn’t my ego, but external things. This has been my personal battle.  The other students have been going through their own stuff.  Wow!!  After this realization I feel like a new person. I now understand that my life is unfolding exactly as it should.  I’ve been suffering so much because I refused to let go.  I feel so much lighter now, it’s incredible.  I love yoga so much…it’s my therapy.  This is a reminder of why I have chosen this path.  I’m so grateful.

One of the many reasons I was attracted to the evolation training is because of the integration and focus on the spirituality of yoga.  After all, this is all so much more than just teaching postures….it’s about the evolution of the human mind and spirit.

We have finished our last posture.  Wow!!  I can’t believe we did it! I can’t believe our yoga teacher training in paradise is coming to an end!  When I first received the dialog it seemed impossible to get through it all….but we all did it!  Now it’s time to add more layers.  Each time that we teach it becomes more and more comfortable.  I know that the learning process will need to continue after this training and I know I need to study a lot more.  No problem it will be done I am confident that I am capable.   We all teach mock classes on the beach.  It is an incredible experience…many people are intrigued and some curious passersby join our classes.  Remembering the dialog is very, very important.  However, there are so many other aspects which are as equally important; the tone and volume of the voice, our own body language and composure, the ability to engage and motivate the students, etc.  We’ve learned through these mock classes how to fine tune ourselves and the extreme importance of moderation. Oooooh…I have so much to learn still!

We have reached the last day.  I can’t believe we’ve been training for a month. It’s been a really adventurous journey filled with ups and downs, laughter and tears, sweat, hugs and kisses and lots and lots of love.  I can’t express my gratitude for this yoga teacher training in paradise experience.  Each of us has a journey on our own path towards self-realization.  One of the other trainees tells me that she has learned that the mind is much stronger than the physical body and she quotes Medicine for the People–“This is the place for all my relations to bring celebration to meditation, giving thanks for all of creation.”  We are so provided for.
Love and Light.