Saturday, April 21, 2012

Costa Rica YTT - Week 1

Beautiful entrance to our Yoga Shala

As you know from the last post we all made it safely up the mountain in Nosara, Costa Rica. We really are quite the eclectic group from all over - from Vancouver BC, Ecuador, Egypt, Costa Rica, NY, Denver, Seattle, Connecticut and SF of course. We started the evening with a group dinner, small chit chat and excitement over finally being able to put faces to names.

5 Rhythms

Following dinner, we jumped right into a 5 Rhythms session with Amber Ryan. 5 Rhythms (flow, sticatto, chaos, lyrical, stillness) is a movement meditation – think music and dance with different themes or focus on a particular body part. I’d also describe it as a different form of self-expression and communication with others (sometimes there are moments of pairs).

I struggled with this session – it felt awkward and uncomfortable at moments. I barely know these people, but maybe this is what we needed – to get our bodies moving and to learn to be comfortable in our own skin. Luckily I can report that later on in the training we had two additional 5 Rhythms sessions and I absolutely loved those. 


Our first day, we worked with identifying and refining our Sankalpa (Intention).

In my YTT application my intention was Exploration. What is yoga? What’s it al about?
For me, Yoga is a tool to ease and open my body and mind through asana, meditation, study of ancient text and breathe work. Yoga is a practice – which I still have a lot to discover. I have begun to explore my physical, mental, energy and spiritual body. What does this all really mean? How are they connected? How can I tune into each of these experiences. Here we’ve already started learning techniques to understand and be more aware of each of these states.
Here were some other definitions we discussed that resonated with me: Yoga is…..
Path for self-discovery, embetterment, release of negative energy. Lifestyle. Process of building a relationship with myself. Slowing down. Freedom. Mindfulness.

Refinining my intention to include Maintain.
At first I didn’t understand why maintain came up for me, maintain what? As the days progressed it became clear – I intend to sustain/maintain all that I learn during this experience when the 21 days are over. Sounds easy, right? But in reality a lot has already came up during this time and it is hightly important that I take those lessons into my daily life and life returning to the corporate world. A lot those lessons are on the mat in my physical practice, but many more of them are lessons off of my mat and remembering who I am, what’s important to me and so many other things.


Koshas are our body sheaths. We began really paying attention to the 5 Koshas and what each body sheath – physical, energetic/pranic, mental, wisdom, emotional/bliss – are telling us.
It’s been amazing to slow down, pause and become more aware. Being aware and present is very import to understanding your body and to deepen your practice. Whoa. A lot has been unfolding for me in the last couple weeks. Especially when we started using the Kosha’s to identify our Samskaras.


Samskaras are our habitual patterns/imprints that create our personality.
“Samskaras can be positive—imagine the selfless acts of Mother Theresa. They can also be negative, as in the self-lacerating mental patterns that underlie low self-esteem and self-destructive relationships. The negative samskaras are what hinder our positive evolution.” – Stuck in a Rut

Once you are able to identify these patterns, the best part is that we all have the ability to shift and create new patterns! Here is one in particular I have been working with:

Using Sankalpa (Intention) to shift Samskaras: Joyful Acceptance
One of my main focuses has been on self-love and self-acceptance. I am my worst critic and not in a constructive way. I think it’s very common on in all of us. Why are we so hard on ourselves? Sarah mentioned something that resonated so strongly with me: “If I treated my friends the way I treat myself, I wouldn’t have any friends”.  I have been working towards loving who I am and treating myself as I would my very best friend.

I have also become more aware of my speech, to myself and others. I have many patterns of speech that are not healthy.  I have a tendency (samskara) to throw out the “can’t” word - when really I am not able to YET. I’ve been amazed at how making the small switch of ditching “can’t” has been empowering and uplifted my attitude.

I’ve been amazed at how far we all have already come mentally and physically in just a week. To celebrate we ended our first week with a trip to the beach for some play, beach yoga and a group dinner dinner out. I can’t forget to mention all the new wonderful friends I’ve added in my life :-) What a beautiful process this training has been so far…
Here are a few photos. Many  more to come! 
One of our many amazing meals

Jamie, Wendy, Me and Rachel loving the pool
Playa Palada

Beach Yoga at Playa Pelada

Dinner at La Luna - Rachel, Jen, Lili, Kristin, Kori, Wendy, Me, Jamie, Chris and Sarah

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