It was only this past year that I discovered my love for yoga.
I’m not quite sure how I first embarked upon my new interest. More than likely it was the result of hearing everyone talking about yoga classes, posting selfies of their flawless arm stands on Facebook or something like that. I’m typically a pretty curious person, ready to try anything at least once, so looking back on it I think I decided to pursue a bit of yoga just to contribute to the conversation.
As it would turn out, I realized that I truly loved practicing yoga sometime while we were living in Taiwan. Had I learned Mandarin with a bit more dedication this might not have been a problem, but unfortunately my language skills were limited to ordering food and asking how much something cost—not exactly conducive to following directions in downward dog…
This meant that in the beginning of my yoga practice, it was just me, my computer, and the one tiny bit of floor space that existed in our apartment. I familiarized myself with a few websites streaming full yoga classes for free or at a low cost, and despite the limitations, found myself continuing to pursue yoga regularly on my own for over a year. Well, I suppose not completely on my own. Sometime in there Dan became interested in what I was doing, and after he discovered the benefits yoga had for runners and climbers, I soon had a yoga buddy sharing that restricted floor space with me.
Though my very personal practice was better than nothing, I was craving a bit more structure. I wanted a real-life teacher, someone who could notice my rookie mistakes and make the necessary adjustments required. I wanted to become part of a yoga community. Dan and I decided to make it a priority to seek out yoga classes and retreats while we travelled. Of course, there was no better place to start than in Costa Rica.
Surfing and yoga retreats have become quite the chic thing to do in Costa Rica. Honestly, it makes a lot of sense. The two exercises complement each other nicely, and many surfers find they improve with a regular yoga practice. Additionally, Costa Rica is a country without a military or standing army; it’s only natural that a practice rooted in spirituality and harmony would do well in such a peaceful place. But not all surf and yoga retreats are created equally, and we found it difficult to navigate the myriad of opportunities that exist in Costa Rica. Luckily we found Lucero Surf Retreats, who in turn introduced us to their yoga instructor, Francesca.
On the evening of our first yoga class, Francesca glided into Otro Lado with a natural finesse, delicately placing a red flower blossom into the Buddha statue’s lap. She introduced herself quietly, revealing an Italian accent and gentle, mesmerizing voice. We couldn’t have asked for a lovelier yoga instructor if we had created her ourselves.
The electricity in Santa Teresa had decided to cut off for a few hours (as it is known to do), so our first lesson was an impromptu candlelit class. As we moved with our breath, flowing through sun salutations and balancing poses, Dan and I experienced the exact calming energy we needed.
For the remainder of the week, we began our yoga classes at 7:30am, awakening softly to Francesca’s smooth and flowing voice. As the classes were solely for Dan and I, Francesca was able to cater exactly to our personal fitness levels and needs. As expected, our postures and poses improved greatly in just a few short days. Francesca’s graceful instruction even helped me to confidently relax into headstand—a pose I normally don’t attempt without anxiety and a squeal.
Our private lessons with Francesca only affirmed our newfound love for yoga. Just as others have difficulty balancing work, fun, and family, we ourselves have trouble finding the right balance between travel, work, and socializing. We’re still finding our groove, looking for a routine that works for us. And honestly, it’s the learning curve that can be the most exhausting of all. Everyday we are learning more about blogging, social media, managing finances, and building freelance portfolios to make our lifestyle sustainable. We love it, but sometimes it makes us feel as though one more YouTube tutorial might make our heads explode.
I’m constantly discovering that yoga is what grounds and calms me, while stimulating my creativity. The physical lessons learned through each pose correlate directly to our personal lives. Whether it’s going into headstand and learning how to see the world in a new perspective, or reaching to the sky and all the potential within us, yoga encourages us to take time to learn about ourselves, both physically, mentally and spiritually—while taking a break from all the information swarming around in our heads. Dan and I are still very much beginners on our yoga journey, but we look forward to seeing how we progress in the upcoming year. And we welcome the balance it adds to our lives.
We must say a huge thanks once again to Lucero Surf Retreats for hosting our week of adventure through surf and yoga. The experience certainly makes the list of top experiences we’ve had throughout our entire time in Costa Rica. Marieke, Francesca, Mark, Courtney, Nicco, and Baggi—thank you for such a beautiful learning experience!
If you’re interested in reading more from travel bloggers practicing yoga, don’t miss this recent article from eTramping, where Agness talks about discovering her passion for yoga!
Do you practice yoga? Have you ever thought about trying? How do you balance all of life’s demands that pull us in different places?
We were guests of Lucero – all thoughts and opinions remain our own.