Jungle Evolution of a Yogini Goddess
It started back in July 2015 when I was sitting in my grey cube at my corporate job, I had just got back from a trip to Nicaragua. After that trip something changed, even my coworkers noticed. I was like a caged bird that got a taste of freedom when someone accidentally left the door open. I had been working in Technology and started Goddess Swimwear with plans to eventually leave the corporate world to focus on my line full-time. I had been practicing yoga for about a year and a half at that point but I knew one day I would complete my Yoga Teacher Training in the jungle. I had been to Costa Rica once before in December of 2012 and fell in love with the place. The dirt roads, exotic animals, the dynamic landscapes from vast country sides, to the biggest waves I've ever seen and the rainforests with exotic wildlife were all the qualities that set a free spirit gypsy soul on fire.
Fast forward to one year and one month later to August 2016, I decided to stop waiting for the perfect day to focus on my own business, dreams, and passions and to just go ahead and take the plunge. I gave my notice and immediately took a new path…the one I really wanted. I started Google searching “Yoga Teach Training Costa Rica” to find a program in the jungle that I thought would be the best fit for me. I didn't want to be away so long that I lost focus on Goddess Swimwear (and didn't want to miss my honey and fur baby too much) so It was important to me to find a program that covered all of the fundamentals but in a shorter time frame than an entire month but I also thought 2 weeks would be too short to cover all of the material. I looked for a few days at various programs in Costa Rica and other countries but then I came across The Sanctuary at Two Rivers.
It amazing how a website can give you vibes…. it originally was the look of the wooden zen casitas surrounded by the lush jungle forest that originally caught my attention. At home I practice with some pretty amazing teachers so I wanted to learn from someone who would be able to share that same level of wisdom with me. After reading the Kula Bio on Liz and watching some of the videos that she was in, I felt that she encompassed what I was looking for in a teacher. Liz has an extensive background in yoga and acupuncture and it was the paragraph about dynamic vinyasa flows that won me over! The program was also a 21 days which I felt was enough time to submerse myself without being away from home life too long. I booked the training and got the early bird rate for the January 2017 teacher training.
I wrapped up 2016 with a bang! My love and I took a two week cruise to 10 islands in the Caribbean… oh and I managed to sprain my ankle doing a “very special” dance and jump technique to the song Shout! Not exactly the best timing, as you can imagine i was in tears over the fact I just injured myself about a week before I was supposed to head to the jungle for daily yoga practice but the show must go on and I took it as a lesson to put my ego in check when there were certain asanas that i had to let go because of the injury.
January 7th with tears rolling down my face I good bye to my love Mario at the airport. I was sad to leave the safety of my nest but really excited for what the future would bring. Even though it was two short flights to Costa Rica, my journey was a long one. Sadly, there had been a shooting at the Ft Lauderdale airport the day before our flight was delayed first by an attendant that didn't show up. The airline called in a back up attendant and we started boarding. Once we were sitting on the plane for 20 minutes the pilot announced that we were waiting to take off because there was volcanic activity in Costa Rica. Ten minutes later he announced that we were cleared in for the San Jose airport but that the luggage belts for TSA had stopped working and we were missing 29 bags. Of course I was feeling a little stressed because everything I needed for the next three weeks was in my luggage. Finally, we took off because there was a storm heading to us in Ft. Lauderdale and thankfully, my luggage made it to San Jose. I had missed my connecting flight to Tambor and had to scramble to find a hotel as the next flight out was at 6:30 a.m. the next day. I was in contact with Liz during this time and she suggested that I meet some of the other girls at a hotel in Montezuma (the city where I was supposed to stay if my flight was on time) and all take a shuttle to The Sanctuary together.
After the stressful travels the day before, I finally got the taste of Costa Rica that I had so longed for when I planned the trip. Riding in the taxi from the small airport in Tambor to Montezuma I couldn't help but smile as the friendly taxi driver was giving me Spanish lessons while driving me on the dirt roads I love so much. The first person I met when I got to Amor del Mar was Eva. Her light beamed and immediately she said Yoga Teacher Training? She was a breath of fresh air! She took me under her wing and introduced me to the other girls. I knew then it would be a great trip!
Our shuttle picked us up at the hotel with some of the other girls who were also in our training. We drove a short distance and were dropped off at the gate in front of what looked like a forest path. Our luggage would be transported on a rugged golf cart and we were told to put on our river shoes. As we were trekking through the dry, tropical forest, i knew the journey was just beginning. I was walking slowly part taking in all the beautiful nature, part hobbling with my sprained ankle. I was grateful that Annette, a beautiful soul was walking at the same pace as me. After seeing a tree full of monkeys, an electric blue butterfly and crossing three river streams, we arrived at the gates of the Sanctuary. The other girls were far ahead and Annette asked me they went. I said “just follow the giggles.” I don't think I stopped giggling the next three weeks.
I was surrounded by Goddesses from various parts of the world, there were 15 of us in the training plus Liz, our instructor and a few beautiful members of The Sanctuary team. We were all so different in our lives, our story, our type of yoga practice. Each one of us a unique soul on a personal journey. It was amazing to me how all of us ended up in this remote location in the jungle but we all shared one common thread or sutra, the love of yoga.
Through out the three weeks we were all each others teachers and students. Learning from each other, sharing intimate details of our lives, letting go of our challenges and channeling our strengths. A bond, a sisterhood developed among us and each and every one of the women were amazing. It was a jungle alchemy on its own. When we had our free days and we walked back in the dark with our flashlight Rachel looked after me and held my hand crossing the river to make sure i didn't cause further injury to my ankle. My roommate Kathy, had me in giggle fits every night. It felt like we were kids at Girlscout camp. I feel so fortunate to have got to spend this time and build bonds with all of these women.
There is a certain rhythm to the jungle, the monkeys start howling in the trees at 4:30 a.m. No alarm clock needed. We began each and every day with a two hour practice of pranayama, chanting mantras, and yoga with daily meditation in the afternoon. I learned so much at the Lakshmi Rising school, we covered the history and philosophy of yoga, chakras, pranayama, bandhas, yoga asana lab, with anatomy, the subtle body, chakras, the eight limbs of yoga and most importantly we gained the understanding of what it means to be a teacher as well as the confidence to teach. We were all assigned a day to decorate the alter and a day to teach a 30 minute sequence. It was magical to me to see that each alter was decorated in the unique beauty of the woman who created it, no two alters the same and that each class taught by my fellow teachers illuminated their brilliant soul, no two classes the same.
So what has this journey taught me? To be a teacher means many things but what stands out most is that I am a lifelong student first. I will continue to grow as a giver, a seeker, a healer, and and inspiration for others and myself. Yoga isn't about the fancy leggings and Instagram photos, although if it motivates people to get on their mat, I don't think it cant hurt. Its not about being able to hop into a handstand or arm balance. Yoga is a full lifestyle of the mind, the body, and the soul. In the physical, showing up for yourself and arriving in the present moment connected to breath. Understanding you limitations or limitless possibilities for each and every day. Its about steadying the turbulent mind and finding balance within. Its about connecting to your soul and realizing that you are part of a whole and finding peace within. It was in that jungle in Cabuya, Costa Rica at The Sanctuary at Two Rivers that my soul took on a new evolution. It is now I will begin my role as the teacher.