Our guest writer Mahan has shared her wonderful experience in a Costa Rican yoga retreat. It was her first international retreat and she is keen to spread the word of her opportunity. We were amazed with her story and the beauty of her experience…
“I should tell you, I’m not really an animal person!”
I led a yoga retreat in Costa Rica. When we co-exist with nature, we heal. In the modern world, we are separated from nature. We build beautiful houses, restaurants and shops. We build skyscrapers and condos. We live 40 stories above the earth.
While on retreat, I noticed the only time I was indoors was when I was sleeping. From the moment I woke up until the moment I went to bed, I was in nature. All of my senses were alert; awakened by the elements. I could feel the breeze on my skin. Taste the salt on my lips as I bobbed in the waves. The ocean is the great mother, and like a river, we all return to her. Each morning, I taught a yoga class. It’s healing to rise with the sun and greet the day with a practice. The whole of nature becomes alive, the night has gone, the sun is coming up and everything becomes conscious and alert.
One morning wild horses ran along the beach as we stood balanced in tree pose. An iguana walked through the yoga shala on his way to an ancient tree that possessed prickly spikes on its outer surface. Each moment brought a surprise of creatures. A cat joined and sat on a yoga mat, doing neck circles with us. A family of monkeys made their presence known from the tops of the trees. Their primal sounds growing louder as we wildly danced to liberate ourselves. The monkeys softened and relaxed, as we sat in meditation; quiet. My consciousness on a wild journey of interconnection to the elements through the animals that call this nature sanctuary their home.
In the afternoon, we practiced yoga again. The atmosphere was warm and full of activity. Surfers were riding waves, which I liken to yogis riding the breath. People were swimming, walking, and lazing in hammocks. In nature, the mind calms and the body relaxes. It’s simply natural! One afternoon, we went horseback riding. The horses galloped down the beach as waves crashed on the shoreline. I felt free and alive! The colors of the tropics are vital and alive. Everything is breathing with prana; life force energy. Our yoga class would end in time to watch the setting sun.
This daily ritual for those enjoying “pura vida” ~ a good life, cultivates gratitude for the day and connects one to nature’s daily rhythms and cycles. The greatest view was the night’s sky filled with millions of twinkling lights reflecting to us our journey through time and space. We connected to the heartbeat of the mother, as we sat together drumming. We watched the moon change from golden orange to crimson red as it sank into the horizon. I wished upon a shooting star, wild, free and one with nature. I was aware that this moment had changed me forever!