by Raquel Alexandra
Chicago, my hometown, is a busy city. Busy in many good ways: there is always something to do, there are always people to see. My neighborhood, Logan Square, has a very small-town feel; I can count on seeing someone I know nearly every I leave my apartment–whether it’s a friend on the way to a yoga class or one of the awesome folk who work at the co-op across the street. “Sweet home Chicago” is truly that for me; I am a City Girl to the core.
But hidden deeply away, kept secret and still, is a Jungle Girl. She is wild, she free. She keeps her hair messy and dirt beneath her fingernails. She comes out when I visit Costa Rica and any other time I find myself surrounded by green. Right now, I am her.
There’s something about coming to Costa Rica that is inherently quieting. Being here, you immediately connect with Earth. It’s impossible not to; you begin to rise with the sun and get sleepy when it sets. The sweet soundtrack of the waves and birds lull the mind to a place of stillness. Your day-to-day activities slowly adjust to the rhythms of the day; you are active in the early morning and evenings when it’s cool, and slow down during the day when it’s hot. You rest during a downpour, then get a burst of energy when the storm breaks. It’s fascinating how quickly it happens.
Being this close to nature has taught me to slow down and drop into my body. To pay attention to my own rhythms and energy, and how I synch up with the Earth. I have become softer and more compassionate with myself as my focus has turned from my Instagram feed and emails to transplanting sage and sitting in stillness when I wake up. Finding joy in the sweet breeze coming off the ocean. Delighting in the warm sun shining on my skin. Watching bright macaws glide from tree to tree. Life becomes a little simpler, and finding joy in the small things becomes effortless.
I know this won’t last: of course it’s easy to stay present and mindful in a gorgeous tranquil environment like Blue Osa. But feeling the ease of this bliss will stay with me. I want to remain mindful, even when I’m back in Chicago, to come back to this simple joy and notice the small things.
About the Author
Raquel is inspired, challenged, ignited and balanced by yoga, and is honored to teach such a sublime practice. She started on the path of yoga in 2007, and realized few other things allowed her to connect with her body in a joyful, powerful way. Her first downdog led to countless others, and in 2012 she completed her 200-hr certification at Moksha Yoga. She leads creative and playful classes, linking breath with movement and incorporating breathwork and meditation for a well-rounded, comprehensive practice. She is grateful to Ashley Turner, Seane Corne, Rod Stryker, Aadil Palkhivala and many others for their teachings that influence her own practice.
When she’s not teaching, Raquel is a holistic wellness coach specializing in helping women cultivate nourishing relationships with their bodies. She remains passionately curious about yoga, wellness, tribal arts and indigenous herbalism, and continues her studies to better serve her students. A proud lifelong Chicagoan, Raquel also loves running, writing fiction, growing food and cooking with it, magical-realists, and mid-morning dark chocolate.