Yax Yoga Concepts Retreat, Day 1
Step into the Flow
It’s 10:20 eastern time and I’m now on my way to Costa Rica via Norfolk via Miami. Just me, my fidora, and my lululemon carry on bound for what I think could be the trip of a lifetime.
All morning I’ve had my phone on FB check nonstop. 3 friends were running a 1/2 marathon and I would have been there too if I wasn’t traveling, I couldn’t help but think about them and their running challenges. Just before boarding in Miami I received the updates I had been waiting for. All 3 runners in, smiling, and accounted for. Now to turn my fitness focus from running to yoga!!!
I’ve settled into a seat on the 737 where I was lucky enough to snag a row by myself. All the stress from the week is melting off and I feel the creativity coming on…hence this in flight blog fest. I just opened the May issue of Women’s Health and the letter from the editor is talks about spending time outside.
“A cost and side effect free way to help lower your blood pressure, elevate your mood, mitigate stress and improve your sleep-essentially.”-Michele Promaulayko, Editor in chief.
I notice how appropriate this article is as I embark on a week long yoga retreat to accomplish all of those things.
This region of Costa Rica where I’m headed is located within a Blue Zone. There are only a handful of Blue Zones in the world and they are where human beings are known to live the longest and the healthiest. This week I’ll be treating my mind and my body to the practice of yoga through Yax Yoga Concepts. We will dine on vegetarian gourmet cuisine and practice yoga a couple times a day outside in the beauty of the wildlife refuge appropriately named Blue Spirit.
As a child I played outside until well after the sun went down in the summer. Sweat, sunshine, and even dirt made for some of the best memories in my childhood. That’s probably why I still like to play outside now from a run, a bike ride, or some time on my paddle board. Now for an entire week I get to do nothing but play outside and fully take nature into my soul.
I was greeted at the airport in Liberia, Costa Rica by a wonderful driver named Miquel. He even had a sign waiting for me with my name on it. As we drove we chatted between some broken Spanglish between each other. We made our way through the 2 hour mountain drive to Nosara. The towns we drove through looked very similar to the ones I had visited in the neighboring country of Nicaragua. We paused few times for some Iguana’s to cross the road…literally. After a somewhat treacherous climb on a dirt road, we arrived at Blue Spirit. I arrived as lunch was about to end. I made a plate of watermelon balsamic salad, lentils, quinoa, greens, and some fruit. Clean, easy, delicious. I dumped by bags and within a matter of minutes had changed from my travel wear into my bikini and before I knew it I was diving into the Pacific. The beach was bare and untouched like something from a scene out of Survivor or Castaway. The sun hit the water stretching on for what seemed like miles. The warm salty water was dreamlike and I was childish in my floating and swimming. It was absolutely breathtaking, amazing, and some of us even joked that this was a sort of baptism, and I believe that it was! The quick dip was enough to energize me for the afternoon yoga session. Today was the first practice of the trip and I had arrived just in time.
There is no way to describe the scenic view from the practice room. Pictures will not do it justice. Imagine this: roof top, same level as the flying birds and the treetops~the sight and sound of waves crashing in the distance, the breeze through the open air yoga room~40 students, 2 teachers, and many more walking around helping adjust and correct. Chris and John Yax took a moment to bring us into our surroundings, realizing the beautiful landscape was a visible reminder as to what the practice of yoga is all about. Be present, be in the moment, be engaged in breath and movement. The session was at times difficult, but extremely fulfilling. All of us in attendance have yoga journals and I plan to carry mine tomorrow. I want to be sure I take in every possible gift that is here from the mat to the mountains around us.
Questions we were left asking ourselves to think about for the week:
How do I want to feel?
What type of experience do I want to have?
My goal for the week is to try to remain present in each moment as it comes. Try to learn how the poses are supposed to feel and get my form right.
We concluded the day watching the howler monkeys in the trees play and talk with each other. We were treated to another amazing meal. I concluded the night early with my own private outdoor shower, some writing, and listening to the sound of falling rain outside my window.
I am open to what this place and these teachers have to give this week.