Friday, April 27, 2012

Costa Rica YTT - Lovin Every Minute of It!

Love & support is in the air up here at CRYS. There’s also a bit of bittersweetness as we round into the end of these 21 transformational days together. As this was a particularly busy week, loaded down with our teaching practicum, final projects and final exam to tackle, tension and stress were present as well.

Breathe. Pause. Look around. Aw. Being surrounded by the beauty of nature brought us back to the reality of this amazing experience. I am incredibly grateful. Especially for all the priceless lessons and new things I've learned....


In relationships, detach from somebody else’s reaction. You are only responsible for your words and actions. NOT for how they react.

Be courageous, take self-responsibility and be completely honest.

Those were a few really important sentences for me. I am blunt. I especially need to learn how to detach from somebody else’s reaction and work on delivering honest, kind, precise messages that are not emotionally charged in the moment.

During this training we all spent a lot of time looking inward and letting go. For many of us that was releasing pain that was inflicted on us by others – whether it was death that was out of everybody’s control or pain we held because of past and present friendships, family, partners; all of the people that we spend time with influence us and our happiness. 

We decide who we dedicate our time to. Time is something we can not get back. Spend it wisely!

Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga is a very powerful deep practice with mostly sitting or lying postures for promoting growth, clearing energetic blockages, and enhancing circulation.  With the Yin practice you are holding particular poses from 3 minutes up to 10 minutes or more. Yin yoga targets connective tissue, specifically ligaments and tendons in the joints and spine. Over time, practice of yin yoga can lengthen these tissues, increasing range of motion.

The Yin practice really forces you to surrender and let it all go. Monika Ramos brought in a bit of a Buddhist Meditation technique that I enjoyed called, Tonglen.
Inhale, Find the – discomfort, pain, frustration, judgement
Exhale, relief, peace, acceptance

I really loved the Yin class that Monika taught us. I think it’s an especially important practice for me because I am not naturally limber and am learning to surrender & accept where my body is at now – without judgement! I would love to incorporate at least one Yin session a week into my practice.


Fun. Really awesome connection you build with your partner. Another practice of surrender and trusting others. You really have to be open with each other and communicate effectively. Here is the definition of AcroYoga from their website:

AcroYoga blends the spiritual wisdom of yoga, the loving kindness of Thai massage, and the dynamic power of Acrobatics. These three ancient lineages form this practice that cultivates trust, connection and playfulness. There are 7 main elements that make up the practice: circle ceremony, asana, partner flow, Thai massage, therapeutic flying, inversions & spotting, and partner acrobatics. Our highest aim is to bring individuals into a state of union with themselves, with each other, and with the divine. From this place of mutual support the true self can be realized, celebrated and shared for the benefit of all. 

Definitely already planning on taking a workshop to learn to base and add the playfulness of this awesome practice. We had a bit of beach acro fun:

My first time Flying!

Teaching Practicum

Ash decided to try something a bit different and have us co-teach for our final teaching. We were broken into pairs and responsible for teaching a 90 minute class together. Ok I was definitely nervous, but happy to know that Wendy and I could lean on each other up there. Wendy and I worked together creating a sequence for our 90 minute practice. We decided on Dancer for our pinnacle pose and went from there. Here’s how it went….

miss you booty shakin wendy!

loving that beautiful smile & tons of verde Kristin
Go Jamie, Get it girl

Yoga Sutras

Throughout the YTT, Ash has been pulling in pieces from the Yoga Sutras. The  Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali are an ancient text consisting of 196 sutras that are divided into 4 chapters/books. The foundations of yoga philosophy were written down in The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, approximately 200 AD. This sacred text describes the inner workings of the mind and provides an eight-step blueprint for controlling its restlessness so as to enjoying lasting peace.

The core of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra is an eight-limbed path that forms the structural framework for yoga practice. The Yamas and Niyamas are two of the eight limbed path:

Yamas - Reflection of our True Nature. The Yama’s encourage us to live in peace with ourselves and one another. I was working with the following Yama – Dedicated to truth and integrity (satya), our thoughts, words and actions gain the power to manifest.
For me this had a lot to do with speaking my truth and finding my voice. If I work towards being an individual with integrity and live by my truth, all of my thoughts and desires will began to manifest.

Niyamas – Evolution Toward Harmony. The Niyama’s allow us to continue our journey inward toward wholeness and discovering our divinity. I was working with the following Niyama – Living life with zeal and sincerity, the purifying flame is ignited (tapas), revealing the inner light.
Stoking my fire, discovering who I am and being confident in that individual has been huge for me. I am light, I need to be confident in myself and let it shine. Who doesn’t love the word zeal either?

If you are interested in picking up a copy of the sutras this is the one that I really could relate to, afterall I am a woman –

The Secret Power of Yoga: A Woman's Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras

Final Projects

I loved each and every one of them. It really showed a bit of our personality and I learned something from each of them. From acroyoga, to energy work & yoga, kids yoga, yoga for men, yoga and swimming, yoga nidra, yoga & surfing, yoga & the immune system, yoga & listening. Many of these short presentations sparked my interest. I especially wanted to pass on a couple of videos that Jen shared about Kids Yoga:

The Vinyasa Yoga for Youth had me tearing up. Growing up in this day in age is not the easiest, so much pressure and frustration to feel “normal”. My eyes were really opened at what Yoga could mean for even an 8 year old. Loved it.

Kids Yoga fun...even more fun for adults!
Downward dog tunnel, YES!
Yoga & Ayurveda
My final project was on Ayurveda. Ayurveda is the sister science to Yoga. I was first interested to Ayurveda about a year ago at a Yoga retreat. Jill is a really amazing Ayurvedic practitioner and I love getting her newsletter. Anyway since then I’ve always wanted to learn more and I thought it’d be a great topic to share with the group.

Ayurveda is the Science of Life. It is the world’s oldest holistic health care system dating back at least 5000 years. Ayurveda teaches us how to come back into balance with our true nature (inner-elements).

“Ayurveda is unique in that it takes the individual into account, rather than simply diagnosing disease and illness based on symptoms. Self awareness is the essence of Ayurveda and the foundation for good  health. The foundation of Ayurveda is in the understanding that our behavior is our most potent tonic. Specific principles in diet and nutrition, daily routines, exercises and techniques are utilized to stabilize the body & mind. Many of the remedies for common ailments can be simply and quickly prepared in your own ‘kitchen pharmacy’ with widely available foods, spices and herbs.” – Ayurveda Alchemy

Part of Ayurveda are the Doshas. A Dosha is an individual’s inherent physical and mental nature. Each persons constitution is a unique combination of the five elements, with some elements more predominant than others.
The 3 Doshas:
Ø  Vata = ‘wind’ and is responsible for movement in the body and the mind
Ø  Pitta = ‘that which cooks’ and is associated with the body’s metabolic system and the energy of transformation. Pitta is responsible for mental and physical digestion
Ø  Kapha = the energy that forms the body’s structure. It is responsible for building of tissue and lubrication of the body and mind.
Ultimately you want to strive for your 3 Doshas to be in balance (tri-dosha). A fundamental principle in Ayurveda is that an imbalance of the elements in the body creates an energetic imbalance in the body. If the imbalance is not addressed it can lead to illness or disease. Often a change in diet and lifestyle, which in essence is removing causative factors, is all that is needed to bring the body and mind back into its natural state of harmony.

The most exciting part of my Ayurveda presentation – this was the first time I wasn’t nervous out of my mind. I wasn’t talking fast, stumbling, getting flustered or trying to just get it over with. I really was enjoying sharing my knowledge and wished that I had more time. Woo hoo, one step to opening my 5th Chakra and finding my voice.

We graduamatated!

I was definitely sad to say goodbye to many of my new lifelong friends, the delicious meals and wildlife up here at CRYS – howler monkeys, hummingbirds, dragon flys, all the sounds of nature; even stupid cicada bugs. I will miss those silly crazy loud things.

My favorite memory? everyday. We each answered this question together and none of us were able to just pick one J The afternoon that really stands out to me is 5 Rhythms and pool time after. After two hours of dancing, meditating, releasing and feeling blissful during 5 Rhythms practice and we all ran for the pool. Fully clothed and sweaty, we jumped in the pool and couldn’t stop smiling. I know I can’t sufficiently capture the day with words or photographs, but just thinking about it makes me smile once again:
Luckily I didn’t have to say goodbye to all my fellow yoginis yet since half of us stuck around Guinoes for a few more days J I hope each of you do expect to see my face again very soon! Seattle, Colorado, Canada, NY, NC and CR once again, I will be there sooner than later. Each of you get your bootay to SF too. Amor Mucho Siempre!

The funny thing about YTT is you leave with more questions than answers….here’s to continuing to explore!
My Vision Board....

Muchas Muchas Gracias to my beautiful teacher Ash. I will be forever grateful for the transformation you helped me through. I look forward to our paths crossing again soon.
My wonderful teacher Ashley Ludman
Yay for some 600 pictures on Picasa:
Costa Rica YTT

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