I’ve really been struggling with what to write about for this week’s yoga teacher training update. It’s not because I don’t have anything to say—actually, it’s quite the opposite. So much has happened in the past seven days that I simply haven’t quite figured out how to verbalize it all. My mind and body are absorbing insane amounts of new information, and I’m so excited about it all that part of me wants to ramble off every bit of it to you. But this is also a travel blog (not a yoga blog), so I understand that most of you have no interest in hearing the philosophy behind the Yoga Sutras or the energizing effects of different asanas. I’m also feeling a little bit selfish and want to keep some of the bits and pieces to myself for now.
So after starting and deleting about ten different drafts, I finally decided to start simply and dive into what the schedule of an immersion yoga teacher training program in Costa Rica looks like. Our itineraries will be changing slightly as we start to teach more, but this is at least a good introduction :-)
A Typical Day At Yoga Teacher Training In Costa Rica
First alarm goes off. I should really go ahead and get out of bed now, but instead, I hit snooze and cherish the next seven minutes.
Second alarm goes off. Now I really do need to wake up, because putting my contacts in and stumbling around in the dark at this hour takes longer than it probably should.
Morning bell rings. Time to grab my headlamp and my Neti Pot and head to the Cocina (kitchen area).
4:30 am – 4:55 am:
Here begins the hardest part of my day: completing the first purifying ritual, aka, the Neti Pot. If you’re not familiar with a Neti Pot, it is basically a device that allows you to pour water into one nostril. The water then flows through your sinuses and comes out the other nostril, carrying snot, allergens, bacteria and other things that make us sick with it. It’s really kind of amazing. I had no idea that I was stuffed up, but now after a week of using the Neti Pot, I can confidently say that there isn’t one bugger in my nose. Living in the humid jungle, that’s saying a lot. I developed horrific allergies the past few years, so I’m eager to see how the Neti Pot effects that come springtime.
It took a while for me to get accustomed to the Neti Pot. For the first few days, I felt like I was swimming a bit, with water going into my nose but not necessarily coming out. There’s quite a specific way to tilt the head and hold the pot, but now that I have had some practice, I can justifiably say that the Neti Pot might be one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
Once we’ve finished with the Neti, then we have a few minutes to drink hot water with lemon and ginger.
4:55 am – 6:15 am:
It’s time for morning meditation. We abide in morning silence until 7:30, so it’s peaceful as we head up to the yoga studio and assume our comfortable seat. The next hour or so consists of candle gazing, mantras, breathing exercises and guided meditation. Again this took me a few days to get used to, but now that we are headed into the second week, I can’t even begin to explain the power of the practice. If meditation isn’t already part of your daily routine, I encourage you to sign up for Yogi Aaron’s free meditation series to get started. Just 15 minutes a day of meditation can make all the difference in your life :-)
6:15 am – 7:15 am:
Once we have finished with our meditation practice, it is time for a break and light breakfast. We are still abiding in morning silence (which also means we try to stay disconnected from technology), so typically I grab a bowl of fresh fruit and granola, a steaming cup of coffee, and one of my yoga books.
7:15 am – 10:30 am:
At 7:15 we are back up in the yoga studio for morning practice. The first hour or so is typically a briefing session where we go over what poses we will be focusing on and why they are important. Then by 8:30 we are on our mats and moving in and out of asanas. The first day tends to be more of a flow, moving through a full sequence. The second day we break the flow down and really focus on fine-tuning a few postures and learning the appropriate alignments and adjustments necessary. It seems like a long time to be practicing yoga postures, but these morning sessions fly by. Yogi Aaron’s humor and insane amounts of knowledge and insight are probably why.
10:30 am – 1:00 pm:
By now most of us are starving again, which is a good thing since it’s time for brunch. The meals at Blue Osa are always delicious, so of course, this is no exception. Typically brunch is vegetarian, consisting of a soup and a few veggie dishes. After brunch we get about an hour and a half of free time, which can be used to relax on the beach, go to the pool, run, read, etc. For me, this is my work time, where I crank out as much writing and admin work as I can.
1:00 pm – 2:30 pm:
By 1:00pm or 1:15pm we are back in the yoga studio for a classroom session. We use this time to learn more about the postures we are practicing, the history of yoga, the philosophy of yoga and more.
2:30 pm – 3:00 pm:
After an intense hour and a half of learning, we get a quick snack to fuel our brains and bodies. We are often spoiled with yummy cookies, though the hummus and bean dip are my absolute favorite.
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm:
Now that we’re fueled and fired up, it’s back to learning. We either spend additional time reviewing the Yoga Sutras or we break into groups to practice teaching and modifying postures. We have done so much teaching and adjusting during one week that I can only imagine how confident we will all be when the one-month training has concluded!
5:00 pm – 6:15 pm:
By 5:00pm we are all pretty much exhausted. The next hour and a half are used to relax, Skype, or again, if you’re me, crank out some writing.
6:15 pm – 6:30 pm:
Around 6:15pm the delicious smells from the kitchen prove too enticing. A lot of the group will congregate in the Cocina for a pre-dinner cocktail or a glass of wine.
6:30 pm – 7:45 pm:
Dinnertime! Easily one of my favorite times of day. We all gather around the food to take in a big smell and so the staff can introduce the meal. Then it’s time to devour all the farm-to-table goodness! We get really spoiled with a dessert every night; the flan is irresistible.
7:45 pm – 8:30 pm:
After dinner, some people might congregate to discuss the readings or hang out, but it is all pretty low-key at this point.
We are in bed and ready to wake up at 4:30am to do it all over again!
That is my schedule in a nutshell, and I am loving every minute of it! Though I will admit it would be nice to be going for runs on the beach or sun tanning by the pool during our breaks, most of that time is spent writing and doing some editorial work for our freelance clients and the Blue Osa blog. It’s been a little bit challenging to balance it all (especially when a client forgets to send you a contract and then emails you asking for two articles within the next 24 hours…) but overall I’m so excited to be here and learning so much about yoga that I’m too grateful to even think about being stressed. I find the afternoon rain showers and mouthwatering coffee are also quite conducive to cranking out 1,000-word articles in no time.
Starting soon we’ll be teaching full classes and private lessons. I have a ton of nervous energy about it, but it’s the good kind of nervous energy—I’ve really missed teaching since we left Taiwan, and I look forward to getting my ‘teacher voice’ back on and in full swing.
And that just about rounds out this week’s Blue Osa yoga teacher training update! Again I could share so much more with you, but you’ll just have to wait until next week to see what goodies I decide to divulge. ;-)
Would you enjoy waking up at 4:30am every day—or do you already? Have you ever tried a Neti Pot?
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