The sun is rising through open shaded windows, and as I peer out onto the horizon I see beautiful lush green palm trees swaying in the calm whispering breeze. Beyond that is the sparkling swells of the deep blue sea. Infinitely undulating it’s majestic tides onto the pebbles below. I have arrived to a luscious dwelling of sacred secrets and lucrative blessings from the nurturing Mother Earth, from Gaia. I have arrived in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica on the Nicoya Peninsula to lead Explorations of Self: A Costa Rica Yoga Experience with True Nature Education.
We are groggy from the previous days travel but there is a synergistic energy that is pulsating through each and every one of us on this morning. Yoga is at 7am and as I put the water onto boil for herbal tea I am filled with a sense of overwhelming joy and sense of, “New beginnings.” This retreats hold a special energy in this new year. This week holds the first New Moon of the 2015 and what a New Moon it will be. This year is one of owning our truth, our power, and letting go of the old. What a great platform this space is for this phoenix of transformation.
What a great group this is. There are 10 of us total. Auspiciously, in numerology, “The number 10/1 brings all sorts of new changes into your life, and there seems to be an element of luck within those energies. Through this vibration you have the insight to recognize and understand the needs of humanity, and the ability to bring peace and harmony to all. Number 10 resonates with the vibrations and energies of leadership, optimism, confidence, independence, creative powers, success, energy, originality, adaptability, determination and individuality.”
As we all sit this morning and close our eyes I start to sense each of our energies mixing and melting into One. I feel the anticipating, the nervousness, the excitement, the beauty, the love, start to collide with nature’s womb of creation. As we begin to flow and breathe together, I feel the energies become focused, harnessing a careful Qi that is telling of the powerful week to come. As we Aum out, I now know that everything I have done in this previous year was to prepare for this. This is a coming out and into our life’s Purpose. This is the beginning of the beginning. This is the exploration and owning of our Higher Self and Soul Purpose. The Higher Self that is connecting to everything and everyone. This retreat is about delving into our heart’s deepest yearning and living from that place of JOY.
Aside from the esoteric beauty of our tropical oasis and spiritual sangha, we are nurtured by the pampering atmosphere and staff at our eco lodge in Santa Teresa as well as the extraordinary guides of True Nature Education. We are greeted every day with warm smiles from Tropico Latino’s Shamballa restaurant staff as we sit down to eat our delicious meals. The food is local, fresh, and mouth watering to the taste, smell, and sight. I am in heaven on earth.
To go from such a nurturing, communal meal time, to the picturesque beach just steps away every day makes me remember what life is all about. Real life. Not the life that we leave behind when we come here, but the life that we ARE inside and in all moments whether we are here or not. The sky turns violet and a cool blue, and as the sun goes down it shoots a bright pink portal that beams it’s fluorescent rays behind a flock of pelicans skimming the ocean’s swells for sustenance. A gathering of beautiful people come to watch the ritualistic sunset over the Pacific.
I lived here, in Santa Teresa, for 6 months before leading this retreat. I can tell you that the incredible community of the Nicoya Peninsula are people of the sun. We fill up on it’s light and honor it’s beatific majesty. Worshipping the sun isn’t even something one has to consciously remember to do because the luminous spirit of Helios (Greek for sun, meaning Most High ) beckons to us every evening around 5:30pm. There are people who feed on the sun’s light and after experiencing it’s power for myself, I am starting to understand how that is possible. Being here reminds me that anything and everything is possible.
There is so much to participate in. While some are deciding to fill their days with Tortuga boat tours & snorkeling, horseback riding, hiking, spa massages, facials, wraps, and zip lining; others are finding that their journey on this trip is to go within and find stillness on the beach. I honor every one’s individual path and trust that they are guided in every moment of everyday by their inner wisdom. Every morning and early evening we join together honor our inner journey on the mat.
Every class is guided by the co-creation and intermingling of our collaborative energies. Morning vinyasa’s focus on different aspects of our chakras and emotional + physical balance in the organs as well as detoxifying the system. The evening classes are hypnotic, restorative yoga nidras sometimes beginning with gentle movement and deep, chanting, integrative breathing to allow the body and mind to receive a fully relaxed state. After each class I see a wave of calm brush over everyone’s being and I can feel our connections deepen as our heart’s soften. Yoga means to unite, to yolk. It brings us together by aligning the body, mind, spirit and then that space within connects to the same alignment within you. This brings us to a space where we realize there is no other. There is only One. One breath, one pulse, one spirit, one Universe. We are one in Costa Rica and always in life.
There is a surprise for the group on the 5th day of retreat. I have arranged to hold a sweat lodge (Or Temazcal in Spanish) with a beautiful man and local shaman, Oso. His name means, “Bear,” and his energy holds true to his name as he is strong and majestic. He joins us for dinner the night before the lodge with our divine goddess and guide, Maria. She serves as the interpreter for Oso so that he can answer any and all questions. 5 out of the 9 on retreat decide to partake in the Temazcal, yet all of us as a whole create group and personal intentions to transform in the lodge. We hold class the evening before we head to the top of a mountain to hold our sunset ritual. Each of us envision our worries going into the fire and our dreams being born into reality. Each on of us holds space for the group to create new possibilities and lasting change. Temazcal’s are rebirthings. It’s creates space for us to spring forth out of the ashes and step into our power.
As the 5 of us head to the top of the windy dirt road in the back of a truck with 30 other participants from different yoga retreats, we know we will never be the same. The sweat lodge is set in the center of a loop that is carefully laid out to create an infinity symbol. On the other side of the lodge there is the communal fire where the coals are getting their heat. It takes all day to prepare Temazcal and I am so honored by Oso, Maria, and the fire keeper because their care for our transformation is so prefusely apparent. They are taking care of us as if we are family. I am brought back to the, “One-ness.” Yes, these beautiful souls ARE our family. It is a choice. A choice to take care of one another and lift each other up! We sing beautiful mantras with Oso’s lovely wife as their children dance around the fire. When it is time for us to enter the lodge, we split up into male and female sides. Women enter first and we create two rows on the left as the men enter next to create two rows on the right. There will be four rounds of sweat. Representing the four directions NSEW and the four elements. We will sing 4 songs from the Lakota tradition in each round and then open the doors in the front and the back. We hold each other as we begin to sweat and the hot coals, one by one, are brought in. As we receive the 8th coal, Oso shuts the flaps and we begin to sing. “Sit up tall to align the chakras with Mother Earth and the Universe,” He says. I do. I sit tall and I sign loudly. I envision my chakras pouring open and all negative energies dissolving and being transmuted into the fire. Every one is more and more intense. We continue to support each other by breathing deeply, connecting with one another, sending reiki, singing mantra, sending love, and speaking out loud our prayers for hope, healing, and positive change. At the end of our last round we slowly exit the lodge and take showers. We are fed fruit and given water. We gaze into each other’s eyes knowing we are forever changed. I have dropped fully into my divine purpose. We all have. This is the beginning of the rest of our lives. What an incredible way to round out this incredible exploration of Self in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.
Whatever happens from here on out can only grow from healthy soil. We are blossoms amongst a field of blossoms. As they say in the Lakota tradition. Ahau Mitakuye Oyasin (All my relations/we are all related) and Namaste. I look forward to continuing the tradition of growth through explorations of self abroad in Costa Rica 2016. Join me Jan 16-23 with co-facilitator Lindsay Worek for, “I Am You and You Are Me: A Costa Rica Yoga Retreat!” Contact True Nature Education to REGISTER NOW!