Finally the Costa Rica Vacation Recap

I would like to start off with apologizing. I got a little wrapped up in getting back into the swing of things, and was missing Costa Rica a little bit so didn’t quite feel like writing about it and reminding myself of all the wonderful time I had spent there.  Now I am in a better space to reflect and feeling less like I am torturing myself while I freeze to death in Canada knowing it is beautiful hot and sunny in Costa Rica.  Anyways…the vacation!

After four short weeks of yoga teacher training, meeting so many amazing people, and learning so many amazing things it was time to relax and unwind and see my husband again.  After graduation from Yoga Teacher Training and attending my last morning class of the month, I saddled up and hopped on the shuttle to the airport to pick up my husband, his flight arrived on time and we jumped in a cab and headed off to our home for the week.
793778_73_bWe stayed at the Barcelo Langosta Beach Hotel in Tamarindo.  After the time spent in the jungle I was more than happy to be living somewhere that was more built up and touristy.  Tourist hot spots aren’t always my preferred destination but it felt nice to feel like I had to wear nicer clothing and shouldn’t be walking around in my yoga pants all day.

The first two days of our vacation were spent being the laziest sacks alive.  We chatted and read, and napped and ate and went on short exploration walks along the beach, but nothing that would over exert us.  We were just happy to see each other and get some napping in.

After all our napping, relaxing, drinking, eating and general all around laziness.  We did make sure to hop into the gym a couple of times. I was seriously missing my regular weight training routine and I was ready to start lifting heavy things again, and it was nice to have a partner in the gym.

20140108-083959.jpgThen it was time for our big adventure.  We purchased an excursion up to Playa Flamingo and then hopped on some ATV’s and headed off on our adventure.  Taking us all around, up hills, through streams and so much off roading we then arrived at our first destination, the tree top zip lining adventure. Zip lining was one of those things I kept telling myself I could do, it wouldn’t be too scary right, you are only literally in the tree tops, suspended on a cable that was safety checked god knows how long ago, it will be fine…right?  Well my husband really wanted to do it, and I do attempt to do things that scare me regularly so I figured zip lining could count for like 10 things.

20140108-084035.jpgWell I did it and it wasn’t terrifying, it was so much fun.  After the first line it was all just so exhilarating not terrifying in the slightest…well maybe a little but perhaps that was some of the fun of it.

20140108-084017.jpgThe rest of our week was spent playing card games, catching up on reading, basking in the sun, hiding from the sun, and many a margarita.  It was a pretty wonderful time and on days like to day when it feels like the world is freezing over I am definitely missing it.

Happy Wednesday!

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Yoga In the Tropics

I know I have done some scattered reporting out on how my time was in Costa Rica and how yoga and such was, but I figured it might be fun to give a bit more detailed breakdown of how the month actually went.

Firstly, I went into this training not knowing much more than the information offered on the webpage and from reviews I found online. I had researched a load to find a school somewhere warm, accredited by the Yoga Alliance, somewhere different (not Canada) and somewhere that would feel like an adventure. I ended up narrowing my choice down to three schools and then the Nosara Yoga Institute (NYI) won out because of when the class was offered.
20131108-153430.jpgI mean in retrospect maybe picking a school because it was “conveniently timed” wasn’t the greatest way to go but it really worked out well for me.  I mean yes I knew I would be learning vinyasa style yoga and some restorative style yoga and that was attractive but really the selling point for me were the dates the program was offered.  Once I arrived at the school I found out that a lot of people had been referred by their teachers or had heard of NYI from fellow yogis and I felt a little silly thinking “well November just worked best for me” but it was all apart of my adventure.

So school, school was crazy.  I mean the course was called a 200 hour intensive and we all quickly found out it was called that for a reason.  The school had posted an idea of what the schedule would be like online and although the actual program was fairly similar I don’t think I really understood what it would be like until I got there and started practicing.   School was 7 days a week, with a bit more of a break on Sundays, but there was learning every day regardless.
20131117-084812.jpgThere was a LOT of learning, a load of stretching, listening, practicing, teaching and it was all hands-on.  The teachers were amazingly receptive to how exhausted each of us probably felt, and they were so supportive and encouraging of each and every yogis.

photo 3 (2)When I first signed up for NYI I figured that learning a powerful style of yoga and a more restorative style would be a great well rounded way of learning (and it was) but mostly I found it so necessary.  With all of the movement and practice we were doing, I found that the restorative lessons and classes were a welcomed release, this is coming from someone that would normally pick a power class over a yin class any day.   The balance between heart pumping challenging classes and lay on your mat and stretch it all out classes was perfect for learning and for the body, in my experience at least.

Beside the actual in class learning and moving there was our massive course pack, that book was so gigantic yet luckily there were many pictures and diagrams to help the reading go a bit quicker.  The information provided in the book was always explored in class and was generally expanded on.  I am happy to have my manual to take home and borrow ideas from while I start working on class programs of my own.

All in all I would say I am more than happy with the school and program I ended up choosing for my 200 hour yoga teacher training.   The whole experience was eye opening, enlightening and probably most useful of all gave me so many tools on how to manage stress once I came back to my real life outside of the jungle.  Although, I may have picked the school based on timing convenience I am so happy I went in with no major expectation other than “I am going to learn how to teach yoga” it gave me a chance to just experience everything instead of assessing everything and judging the experience based on expectations.

The program was excellent but the whole experience was also pretty fabulous. I feel it gave me the chance to not only deepen my practice but to get back in touch with myself, be silly and to feel the pride that comes with completing something that means so much to you.  It also gave me the chance to meet so many amazing people and start to plan my next adventure to go and see my new friends.

20131217-230913.jpg20131217-230935.jpgHappy Wednesday everyone!  Stay tuned I will have one more round up post from my time spent in Costa Rica, detailing my time spent as a tourist.

Stay warm!

5 weeks!

Well it has been five long super short weeks. On November 2nd I became a temporary resident of the jungle and holy was it ever an experience for me.

I have traveled but always to relatively comfortable places and often with all of the regular conveniences at my finger tips. For my first solo trip I figured a month on my own in tropical paradise would be a great start. Not that it wasn’t paradise or great, it definitely was, I just wasn’t aware that paradise was so filled with venom spitting, biting, stinging and creepy looking insects and reptiles.

20131209-210501.jpgNow that isn’t to say there weren’t some awesome lizards, iguanas, bats and monkeys that were great to see (and know they were around eating all the horrid bugs). There were also plenty of them.

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(monkey photo courtesy of a fellow yogi.)

Now the monkeys were something fantastic, that I never quite got used to. The Howler monkeys specifically. They are these adorable little creatures lounging around with their little families, you know being adorable.

I kept saying “no I haven’t heard them what do they sound like” and people kept say “oh you won’t miss it”. Anyways, it turns out what I had assumed were horrific dog fight noises were actually these adorable little creatures. Basically they sound exactly like nightmares, if you have never heard them it is worth a quick trip over to YouTube to hear what I am fussing over. Well once I found out the sounds I was hearing weren’t horrific dog fights I was able to pick up on a monkey howl anywhere. Luckily I was basically up before the monkeys everyday so I was never scared awake by their bellowing howls.

Besides the abundant wildlife and vegetation living in the jungle had many other perks. Perks like 45degree temperatures everyday, wonderfully humid air,and of course the sun (something we don’t see much in the winter up here in Canada). I mean as annoying as the rain could be it was at least polite enough to be on somewhat of a schedule so you had a bit of an idea as to when it would be happening. It was in the jungle that I also unlocked the secret to my curly hair.

Seriously look at these curls!

Seriously look at these curls!

I also had the odd opportunity to learn that I can live off of substantially less food than I was used to (probably not a good thing). Re-found my love for ice coffee and chocolate protein powder, discovered I can live with bugs and not murder them, be brave and get a scorpion out of my room and discovered I have a high tolerance for large amounts of rain (granted the sun comes out and it is above 40).

Although jungle living was more, let’s say, rustic than I am used to there were many conveniences (not in the Starbucks on ever corners sense but stick with me). In Nosara I found the first ice cream shop ever in my life to not serve a single nut filled ice cream (this is where I got my calcium for the month)

20131209-212519.jpgThere was a local restaurant that served amazing and super fresh sushi! And another that had burgers served with a grilled pineapple slice I mean what more could you ask for.

Don’t worry this is just the first installment of my jungle life recap. I will do my best to hit on everything.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Home Stretch

So I am sliding into home plate. Wednesday afternoon marked the first yoga class I ever taught and it was a fantastic experience.

20131128-102206.jpgStomach full of butterflies, dressed in my favorite yoga clothing (some of the items gifts from my wonderful friends) I pumped out some jams by Pitbull to psyche myself up and prepared myself to lead a 90 minute class.

20131128-101345.jpgAs my students/group mates slowly started to line into the studio my heart began to race and it took everything in me to remember to just breath.

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As everyone found their seat and began to settle in we opened the class up with a little meditation,and then got right into it a vigorous vinyasa. After about 10 minutes I forgot that I was leading the session and everything it felt as, though the class took care of itself.   It was such and amazing experience being surrounded by such supportive classmates and faculty.

Sorry for the coles notes version of my teacher experience but I am off to class, I have another two days before I am officially on vacation for a week. Once I get back to Canada I will be back tracking a bit to fill you all in on the wondrous adventures of yoga teacher training.

Happy Thursday everyone!

Let’s Get Real

Hello Dear Reader, I would like to just take a second and apologize for being so sporadic with my posts.  I had initially figured I would have so much time on my hands, I mean yes I was coming to Costa Rica for yoga teacher training and there are people to meet and places to see, but I figured I would always find some time to hunker down in front of the good ol’laptop and bang out a post here and there.  Unfortunately that is just not the way it all panned out.

The course has been much more demanding (in an awesome and amazing way) than I had initially anticipated.  By the time I get home at 9pm not only is my body completely zonked for a day of yoga, assisting and sitting with a straight back (yes not sitting in an office chair seems to be a challenge all in itself) but my brain is completely zapped as well.

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Apparently learning through your body and your brain is a challenging feat.  It is kind of surprising how much I seem to be taking in.  I have yet to have any late night panic attacks about not knowing this chakra or that mantra or this asana.  Everything seems to be sinking in, as though it is being absorbed by all facets of my body.  I guess that is what they meant by integrative learning.

At first, being the person I am, I was frustrated that I didn’t get my course pack for reading in advance of the course (I like to be ahead of the game and do solo learning).  But now that I am starting my last week of classes their method of teaching makes 100% sense. Receiving my course material ahead of time would have made the learning experience purely academic and I would have missed out on learning through my body as well as my mind.  It has been a pretty amazing experience, and unfortunately that is really the best that I can explain it, so if you have the opportunity to take a month off your regularly programmed life to head on over to Nosara to do the YTT I strongly recommend it.

Seeing how I am now entering my last week of classes I am shocked with how quickly a month can go by.  Who knew that November could actually feel like it was 5 days long?  Besides being completely shocked that we are in our last week, I also found out that I will be leading my first ever yoga class on Wednesday of this coming week.  So for the past couple days I have been trying to figure out a program and maybe some music to go with it.  I am starting to feel pretty good about what I have outlined, I just have to actually physically go through what I have thought up to make sure it works fluidly.

Well that is what is up with me, designing a yoga class, getting antsy about being in front of people as a “teacher” and getting so excited to see my husband again! And then to see my little fur babies shortly after.

beach day legs

I hope you are all able to bare with me a couple more weeks until I am able to get home and get back on a regular schedule.

xoxox

Brittany

It’s Happening!

Oh god it is happening. With less than a week and a half left of my intensive 200 hour yoga teacher training at Nosara Yoga Institute and today was the day we got our first talk about preparing and leading our first yoga class.

Although I am likely prepared to get up in front of a small group of peers and was feeling pretty great about it, until we actually started to talk about it. Isn’t that always the way it is though.

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This training has almost daily pushed me to my limits and then some of comfort. Which I mean is pretty much exactly what I signed up for I guess I just wasn’t able to conceive it being this challenging and intense.

So now the cards are all laid out on the table I guess it is time to throw a towel down on the beach and start working out a nice flow to share with my fellow yogis next week.

If anyone out there has a favorite mellow song that might go nicely with a 90 minute yoga class please do share any recommendations.

Happy Thursday everyone!

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Week 3 in the Jungle

Today marks the beginning of my third week of living in the jungle. This past week has been challenging emotionally, physically and mentally and knowing that I completed it and didn’t give up is so satisfying.

This past week was likely one of the most intense weeks ever. We were learning how to instruct and assist the first half, so for most yoga flows the standing and balancing postures, of a 90minute class. As the week went on finding your own works, knowing how much pressure to apply, finding someone’s hips for that matter all became much more natural. The fear of making a mistake slowly melted away and the feeling of excitement when finding words that were comfortable to your own style became more frequent.

20131117-084812.jpgHaving the opportunity to practice with so many others and if you were like me having the luck of picking the same partner a couple of times was an amazing experience. You are given the opportunity to test out new things, pick up new queuing and make your own little basket of tools to build on.

Although the week had my brain a little broken, I left the house three times without shoes on having to unlock my million locks to get back inside to properly equip my feet for the jungle, as well as needing a bit more alone time than normal it was one of the most fulfilling weeks I have had the opportunity to experience. It was a chance to truly push myself to my limits.

On top of all of this yesterday was a full moon here. I am sure you are all think whatever a full moon, but never have I seen something like it. First it started with one of the most amazing sunsets I have ever witnessed with half of the sky turning orange and the other half a bright pink.

20131117-085553.jpg20131117-085607.jpghe moon then lit up the sky like a giant night light cutting a massive circle of darkness out of space and filling it with light. It was so bright my cabin was lit up as though the lights were on all night long. Unfortunately photos of this didn’t turn out so great. So if you ever make it out to Costa Rica look up at the full moon.

My Sunday has started with a 6am yoga class and then what has proven to be my favorite breakfast right now (coffee protein shake with a bowl of fruit), this blog post and then I am off to the beach until our evening session.

20131117-085942.jpgI hope you are all having an amazing Sunday and have had a great weekend so far.