Here at Blue Osa, we’ve been having a blast over the past two weeks with what is one of our favorite times of the year—Yogi Aaron’s immersive yoga teacher training in Costa Rica! It’s an intense, life-changing month full of morning meditation, hands-on learning, yoga philosophy, invigorating yoga practices, farm-to-table food and so much more. The awesome participants have journeyed from various places around the world to take part in the program, each and everyone eager to take their yoga practice deeper while also learning how to share their passion for yoga with others.
This year I am incredibly grateful to be part of the group myself, and though the past two weeks certainly haven’t been easy, they have been more rewarding than nearly any other experience of my life to date.
Our days at yoga teacher training start before the first light of the sun. At 4:30am we have already begun our purification rituals, and by 6:15am we have finished our first session of breathing exercises, relaxation practices and guided meditation. I knew the practice of getting still and steady would be difficult for my racing mind and tendency towards ‘productivity’ at all times; what I didn’t realize prior to beginning the training was the tangible grounding and clarity that breathing and meditation would bring. Yogi Aaron likes to say: “Let the breathing guide you—it is the link to your intuition.” I may not have my intuition on speed dial just yet, but I am on my way.
After morning meditation and a light breakfast of fruit and granola, we continue on our day with morning yoga practice, yoga philosophy, learning how to hold and lead a yoga space, working on sequencing and adjustments… Though we are often learning and practicing for 10 hours a day, the time goes by quickly as we enthusiastically absorb and write down as much information as possible.
But don’t worry—it’s not all work and no play! During our sunny breaks you’ll typically find a few yogis-in-training going for runs on the beach, lounging by the pool, or cuddling up with our favorite furry friends. When the thunder rolls in and we’re blessed with afternoon rain showers, then we read, write and mingle, typically with a steaming cup of local Costa Rican coffee in hand. And speaking of coffee, it wouldn’t be Blue Osa without all the mouth-watering fresh and local farm-to-table food. We’ve been spoiled with large salads, soups, pastas, curries and more. A pre-dinner glass of wine is one of my favorite indulgences, though the desserts crafted up in the cocina are also a sweet reward after a hard day at work.
We have also found time for releasing baby sea turtles, kayaking through mangroves, rappelling down waterfalls and getting swoon-worthy spa treatments and massages. We’re all here for the yoga, but we are definitely getting a bit of time to explore Costa Rica while we’re at it.
One of my favorite parts about working hard in the yoga studio has been listening for Aaronisms. An Aaronism is simply a saying from Yogi Aaron that inspires, educates or humors—or simultaneously does all three. These quotes can come at any time, like when we are breathing our way through a challenging pose or taking notes on the history of yoga or practicing making adjustments. It’s difficult to choose a favorite Aaronism (I’m starting to collect quite the handbook!) but there has been one in particular that really stuck with me:
“The real task of a yogi is to go towards your fear and move through it.”
Yogi Aaron estimates that 99% of our decisions are based upon moving away from pain and moving towards pleasure. It is a completely unscientific number, but there is colossal power in the notion. What is the motivating factor behind each of our life decisions? Why do we choose our careers, our spouses, our friends, our hobbies, our homes? How do we decide to spend each minute of each hour of each day—and why? And if we weren’t moving away from fear but instead walking through it, slowly conquering it with each step forward, then what would our lives look like? How could we reshape our destinies from just surviving to actually thriving? They are powerful questions with no easy answers, but ones that certainly warrant thoughtful contemplation.
We’re already at the halfway point on our journey, which is unbelievable on many levels. The spiritual, mental and physical guidance gained so far will likely take me years to fully process and internalize, and yet we still have so much to learn during our time here. My natural tendency is to want to soak up as much potential knowledge as possible right at this very moment, but I’m learning to stay present; to be okay with not knowing everything there is to know about yoga all at once; to not get distracted along my greater journey.
Next week I’ll begin teaching full yoga classes and leading meditation practices. I have a bit of a background being in front of a classroom, but teaching yoga is an entirely different experience. I am jam-packed full of nervous energy, but more than anything else, I’m ready to soak in all the experience I can while I have the opportunity.
Want to hear more about how the teaching goes? Be sure to stop back by the blog in November for another update on yoga teacher training! Next time we’ll be sharing what it is really like to be a soon-to-be yoga teacher leading a full-on class.
Have you ever thought about taking a yoga teacher training course? Do you have any questions you’d like answered? As always, we love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
About the author:
Casey Siemasko is a content marketing consultant, travel blogger and wandering yogi. An entrepreneur at heart, she is the co-founder of the award-winning travel blog A Cruising Couple.