After one of the most beautifully demanding and rewarding months of my life, I can now officially say it: I’m a certified yoga instructor!
Last Monday was the conclusion of my 200-hour yoga teacher training immersion at Blue Osa, one of the best wellness retreat centers in Costa Rica. After a touching temple ceremony, us twenty-three women fittingly celebrated the feat with cocktails, dancing, gelato and a moonlit bioluminescent swim. It was the perfect (if bittersweet) ending to an absolutely fantastic four weeks.
I knew this month of my life would go by mind-boggling fast, yet somehow I’m still in a bit of disbelief that the training is, in fact, finished. We first solidified our plans to return to Blue Osa last January. That meant there was a period of around ten months that consisted of me trying to stay present on our travels while subconsciously counting down the days until I was back practicing yoga in paradise. Naturally I can’t help but feel a touch of shock that the training is all said and done with now.
Despite my insane excitement leading up to the teacher training, I never could have imagined just how life-changing this experience would be. I came to Blue Osa with the idea that I would learn how to be a yoga instructor and perhaps deepen my personal practice in the process. But as one of my fellow trainees put it perfectly, when I said deepen my practice, I really meant move deeper into the yoga postures (perhaps with a bit of self-improvement on the side). I couldn’t have been more naïve.
What Yoga Teacher Training In Costa Rica Is Really Like
For starters, the women I was able to go through this journey with were absolutely awe-inspiring. For being a group of twenty-three women, we formed an incredible bond, abounding in estrogen yet devoid of any drama—a titanic feat when you’re spending all of your time together in the middle of the jungle. Each conversation, each laugh, each exchange with each woman deeply touched and inspired me. I’m sure our group was not an ordinary one, and I consider myself eternally lucky to have known every one of these ladies.
Of course, I learned heaps about myself over the past month. These lessons were very personal, not always easy to face yet utterly necessary to further me along on my journey of self-discovery and growth. Some of the lessons were mind-blowing, like realizing I actually can (and even kind of enjoy) the practice of meditation. I discovered how much power there is in getting still and steady and the gift in allowing myself to move inward and feel at home within myself.
Other lessons dealt with the power of surrender, of letting go of deep attachments and disappointments. I’ve always been good at setting goals and doing my best; I’ve always struggled with working my hardest but letting go of any resulting expectations. Throughout the month I was consistently reminded that when we let go and surrender our attachments to the things we think we want and need, then the universe has a way of opening doors that are bigger and better than anything we could have imagined in the first place.
Under the guidance of Yogi Aaron and his assistant Jerko (an inspiring Belgian life coach and all around sweetheart), I began to refocus my attention on what I do want and not what it is I don’t want. I stopped ruminating on the past and worrying about the future, instead focusing on being immensely grateful for the present. And I learned that when in doubt, just return to one-to-one breathing.
And as we dived deep into meditation and mantras, Kriya and Kirtan, Ayurveda and chakras, (and loads of other concepts I had never heard of before the start of the month), I remembered perhaps one of the most important lessons of all: there is immense power in expanding our comfort zones, in learning new things, and in opening ourselves up to new experiences. You never know what can happen as a result.
In a bit of a fun little twist, I was able to begin my journey as a yoga instructor much sooner than expected—the same day that the yoga teacher training officially ended. A woman arrived at Blue Osa for a private yoga retreat, and when Aaron asked if I wanted to lead it, I was ecstatic. I was also bursting at the seams with nervous energy, but this was one opportunity that there was no way I could turn down. The week consisted of me teaching three hours of yoga each day to an individual client. Not only did I have the unique opportunity to put into practice everything I had just spent 30 days learning about, I also had a one-of-a-kind experience to discover more about my role as a yoga teacher. I’ve always thought I wanted to teach yoga professionally; this week solidified that passion and excitement for what the future might hold.
The more I learn and practice yoga, the more passionate I become about the life-changing effects it can have on the mind, body and spirit. I fully believe that the world would be a much happier place if everyone practiced yoga, and I am eternally grateful for the experience this past month at Blue Osa has provided me with to further my yogi journey. Of course, I’ve barely peeked the tip of the iceberg. I know it will take me years to process all I’ve learned—and the power of what I’ve learned—but I’m ready for the ride.
I highly encourage anyone who even has the slightest interest in yoga to consider taking a month out of their life to participate in a yoga teacher training. You don’t need to have years of experience (one woman had only been practicing for a few weeks) and you don’t need to want to be a yoga teacher. But if you want to learn about yourself, venture inward, and spend a month challenging yourself in ways you never thought possible, then a yoga teacher training might just be for you. If you can take one month off of your life and invest in 30-day immersion, all the better. As always I’m happy to answer any questions you might have about the journey, so feel free to drop us a line at any time if you are considering deepening your own personal yoga path.
Have you ever considered a yoga teacher training or a yoga retreat?
I participated in Yoga Teacher Training as part of a work exchange that included writing a review. All thoughts and opinions on A Cruising Couple are my own.
If you liked this post, you’ll love:
Yoga Teacher Training: An Adventure Outside The Studio
A Day In The Life Of A Yogi In Training
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Congratulations! I’ve been thinking of taking up yoga again for a while, but am finding it hard to fit into my crazy schedule. After reading this I’m going to just to do it! Practicing in Blue Osa must have been amazing. Thanks for the inspiration :)
Linda McCormick @EcoTraveller recently posted…Dreaming of Beaches, Balconies and Overwater Bungalows
YAY! I definitely understand how difficult it can be to incorporate yoga when you’re really busy, but I’m excited to hear you’re going to just do it! It will be so worth it :)
I am headed over to India to do a yoga instructor training in January, and I am so excited! I am glad you shared this post and your experiences with the course you took, it seems like a great experience and a life changing one at that. Thanks for sharing!
Katie @WorldWideVegetarian.com recently posted…Raw Pumpkin Pie: Vegan Thanksgiving Preview
I cannot wait to hear about your yoga teacher training in India!! We are hoping to get back to India next year, so we’ll have to pick your brain about the experience. It is definitely a life changing experience, and I’m so excited for you!
Wow, Casey, it really sounds like your month of yoga training was truly life changing for you. I’m so glad to hear it was such a powerful & moving journey for you, one that you feel has fundamentally changed the way you approach yourself and all aspects of your life. Certainly not what you were expecting, but I guess once you let go of those expectations and they no longer got in your way, a whole new universe of possibilities opened themselves to you. :)
I’m a terrible yoga practioner (and horribly unflexible) but I do love the whole idea of this retreat you did. You know that one of my goals is to some day do a meditation retreat, and this sounds in many ways exactly like one (but more social!). I can’t imagine myself ever being a yoga instructor, but who knows where life might take me. Your reflections on your experience have certainly given me a lot of food for thought!
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Thank you so much Steph! You’re so right about letting go of expectations. Definitely something the universe seems to be teaching me on a regular basis haha! I think you would love an experience like this. Lots (and lots) of meditation and time for self-reflection. Only about half of our group planned on actually teaching yoga, the rest were just there for a retreat and to learn more about the practice. But like you said, you never know what could happen ;-)
This is an awesome post. So happy you have accomplished the statis of yoga instructor! I am no where near your level but do get inspired with each session of my classes. Thanks for sharing your experience!! Love you
Thank you so much! It was such life-changing experience :) Can’t wait to see you soon and maybe do some yoga together :)
Congratulations Casey and well done not only for finishing your training , also for getting your first assignment as yoga teacher but more importantly for having challenged yourself and happily succeeded. I cannot even imagine how it must feel and how proud of yourself you must be right now. The way you talk about yoga and what it does to you is very inspiring, who knows, maybe one day I’ll find myself experiencing yoga too thanks to your recommendations :)
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Aw thank you so much Franca! It was definitely an honor to be asked to teach almost immediately, and one I learned so much from :) Do let me know if you decide to give yoga a try! I hope our paths will finally cross one day and then we could practice together :)
It definitely sounds life changing! I don’t have any inclination to be a yoga teacher but I do enjoy yoga (especially Bikram) and I am interested in doing a yoga or meditation retreat so will definitely consider doing it at Blue Osa – it looks incredible
Katie @ The World on my Necklace recently posted…What life is really like on a houseboat in London
That’s awesome! Costa Rica and Blue Osa are absolutely amazing places for a yoga and meditation retreat. I’ve actually not done much Bikram yoga, but that’s great you enjoy it! Only about half of the students in my training wanted to be teachers, so you’re not alone in wanting a retreat but not actually wanting to instruct :)
Congratulations!! Maybe one day I can take a class with you!
Angelica @BkChickTravels recently posted…Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands – Island Talk Tuesday
That would be amazing! I hope so :D
CONGRATS, CASEY! I know how excited you’ve been for this experience and I’m so happy it had en even more profound effect on your than you anticipated. I can’t wait to take one of your classes one day (hopefully very soon!)
Thanks girl! I can’t wait to see you and catch up in real time <3 And yes - definitely do some yoga together!! Miss you!
A big congratulations on becoming certified. This isn’t easy, and requires a lot of perseverance. I don’t want to be an instructor, but have been practicing basic yoga for a long time, and would definitely like to consider 30 day immersion to gain more knowledge and discover oneself.
Anu @ Country Hopping Couple recently posted…Photo Essay: Oban town, Gateway to the Isles
Thank you Anu! It definitely isn’t easy, but it is so so worth it. Definitely let me know if you do end up taking a 30 day immersion – I know you would love it :)
A Cruising Couple recently posted…Places for a Green Escape in London
Congo Casey…. :)
So where are you going next?
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Thanks! That’s a secret actually ;-) Stay tuned to find out!
Congrats on getting certified! It sounds like it was an amazing life affirming experience. I recently picked up yoga and try to practice as much as I can. I’ve been thinking of maybe trying out a retreat and just getting away from the world for a little while. Thanks for sharing! It’s definitely giving me something to think about.
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Thanks Adelina! That’s awesome that you’ve picked up yoga! And I’m so happy that I’ve been able to give you something to think about in terms of a yoga retreat :) It’s definitely a life-changing experience I wish everyone could have.
Many congratulations Casey! :-) This is great that you are qualified to do something which you love so much.
You also make a very convincing argument for giving it a try, something I should do. I dare say it would take me a fair bit of time to become as flexible as you appear in those photos.
Everyone who does yoga speaks so highly of it. I do wonder though if starting out you’d even get close to the same benefits doing it in private as in a class or with an instructor.
BTW what is a bioluminescent swim? Is it night swimming?
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Thanks The Guy! I love doing yoga and I can’t wait to start sharing what I’ve learned with others! We highly recommend giving it a try :-)
Bioluminescence is a term that basically means an animal/plant that gives off its own light. Every so often there are plankton in the ocean that glow (sort of like tiny green fireflies) whenever they are touched or disturbed. So we went for a swim at night and whenever we moved hundreds of tiny plankton would light up like pixy dust all around us. It was quite an amazing experience and it happened just out of chance at the beach right next to Blue Osa!
Wow, that sounds like an amazing swim experience. I’m going to keep my eye out for those in future. I’d like to try it sometime.
The Guy recently posted…A Moment Of Reflection Away From A Holiday
Thanks for sharing this journey — I can definitely imagine that it was a very special, very touching experience. Congrats on getting to put some of your training to the test right away!
Thank you so much Dana! It was my pleasure to get to share it on the blog! :)
Your experiences are invaluable for some one who is going for yoga instructor training. The resort looks amazing and your experience too.
I like your point about expanding your comfort zone, because real growth and fun is out side of it.
I’m making a blog for yoga teacher training aspirant, hope you visit my blog.
Paresh Soni recently posted…How To Know If You Are Ready For Yoga Teacher Training ?
Great read Casey! And wow those pictures really capture the feeling of Blue Osa! (Nice one Dan)
Brandon @ TheYogaNomads recently posted…How to Start a Yoga Blog — in 6 Easy Steps
It definitely sounds life changing! I don’t have any inclination to be a yoga teacher but I do enjoy yoga and read your yoga post weakly
I’m so glad to hear you benefited from reading it, anyway! You totally don’t have to become a yoga teacher to start enjoying the perks of incorporating yoga into your daily life. :)