After spending just over 2 weeks in Costa Rica I returned home with much more than a certificate to teach yoga.
First, A Little Background
Rewind to last January when I started doing “real” yoga. It was the first thing I’d found in a long time where I didn’t (and couldn’t) think about anything else while I was practicing. I stuck with the twice a week schedule for the 6-week session and immediately signed up for the next sessions as they became available.
Into the 3rd session I knew that I wanted to keep doing yoga and learning what it’s all about — this was my new “thing” and I wanted more. After much deliberating I signed up for the 200-hour immersive training program in Costa Rica! It turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made.
My yoga journey has led me to a stronger physical body and mind. It has strengthened my focus, improved my mental clarity and made me all around more peaceful. I went on to Costa Rica, not so much wanting or expecting to teach yoga afterward but to help me discover what’s next for me in this big, wide world.
The Adventure Begins
An uneventful overnight flight brought me into San Jose International Airport in the capital city of Costa Rica. Next up, collecting some of our fellow students before heading out to the Pacific Coast to Jacó where ZenSpot’s Yoga Teacher Training was being held. We stayed at the hotel DoceLunas, a twenty room luxury hotel located on 5 acres of jungle at the base of a mountain. Our accommodations were nice and there was a fantastic swimming pool with the best pool toys, a yoga studio, on-site restaurant that cooked up amazing vegetarian/vegan food and a collection of dogs, cats, monkeys, toucans, lizards and various other flora and fauna.
A Day in the Life of Yoga Teacher Training
Most mornings started with yoga, breathing exercises and meditation. This lasted anywhere from 90 minutes to over 2 hours depending on how we, the 200-hour students, did queuing our group through the yoga postures, breathing exercises and general teaching techniques. Following yoga was silent breakfast. After a giggly, uncomfortable first day (or 2) this came to be one of my favorite things – even if I wasn’t silent the entire time. If I didn’t have homework to catch up on I would also get in a swim (!) or a shower in the morning.
After breakfast we’d get in another session, focused on history, philosophy or Ayurveda; then a generous afternoon break for lunch and then back at it to finish up our morning studies and continue to hone our teaching with posture clinics until dinner time.
I came to love our simple schedule – I think maybe we all did – starting at 7am and ending with a group dinner at 6:30pm everyday. We all enjoyed our time together learning about yoga, how to queue the poses and learning about ourselves.
It wasn’t all sitting on cushions and doing yoga! A 15-minute walk (or 6-minute bike ride) from our resort is Jacó , a bustling surf town with about 3 miles of beach and a fun variety of shops and restaurants. We also got out and about for two, day-long excursions; one to Manual Antonio National Park and the other to Tortuga Island.
A very special side note: a friend who I hadn’t seen in over 15 years happened to be in Jaco with her family and I was lucky enough to have dinner with them one evening! Costa Rica truly is a magical place!
Manual Antonio National Park
Manual Antonio National Park, located on the central Pacific Coast, is teeming with wildlife including sloths, monkeys, iguanas, snakes, and birds. The forest (jungle?) runs right down to one of the most gorgeous beaches I’ve ever seen and been on and the swimming was simply divine.
Our last Saturday was a day spent on Tortuga Island, accessible only by boat. They only allow so many people on the island at once; highlighting the paradise that is Costa Rica. There were opportunities to go snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, swimming or just you could just sit on the beach and take in the beauty.
It was with mixed emotions that we graduated our 200-hour training (and some 500-hour graduates) in a beautiful and special ceremony. This slide show can’t even begin to capture how amazing these people are or how beautiful Costa Rica is but these photos help remind me to care of myself, my family and friends and this beautiful planet. Photo credits: ZenSpot’s YTT Costa Rica 2019.