By Kim Baker, Director of LoveYourBrain Yoga Program
“How do I want to feel?” This has become my newly adopted compass. My ultimate decision-maker. For all things. Since I’ve returned from my Yoga Teacher Training in Costa Rica, I’ve received a bunch of questions about my experience . . . ”Would you recommend this teacher training?” “What is therapeutic yoga?” “Are you going to teach?”
Inevitably, I find myself answering all questions related to my training with how it made me feel.
For three weeks during my Costa Rica Yoga Training, I woke up every morning at 5 am. Under the moon and stars of the tropical sky. As I brushed my teeth, I stared – not at myself in a mirror – but at the following: “You are elysian (adj.) Beautiful; creative; divinely inspired; peaceful & perfect.”
By 5:30, I’d silently join my fellow yoginis in the studio. I would unroll my mat, find my meditation seat, close my eyes, and breathe, listening to the sounds of the jungle waking up all around. When I opened my eyes from our meditation practice, the darkness had lifted, and we moved into our asana practice.
Three Weeks of Costa Rica Yoga Training
For three weeks during my Costa Rica Yoga Training, our sleep, meditation and yoga practices were synched to the circadian rhythm of our environment. For three weeks, we ate three complete meals every day, didn’t drink alcohol, had very little processed sugar and gave our greatly overworked eyes a break from screen time.
We were guided to deliver feedback to one another “with loving eyes.” Also, we learned to listen to our bodies. Lastly, we were told not to push past discomfort in a pose, but to find a place of comfort and stillness. To invoke words of self-love when struggling during meditation, like this powerful prayer: “Oh my mind, be kind to me.”
For three weeks during my Costa Rica Yoga Training, I felt like I was floating in a sea of coconut oil and hibiscus flowers and mantras and mudras and sutras. Ever so slowly, mythical stories of Vishnu and therapeutically-safe alignment cues seeped into my pores. Our teacher, the founder of Soma Yoga Institute, shared with us that the meaning of the word soma. It means “the nectar of bliss that comes when we unite our consciousness with our heart.”
“Therapeutic yoga” is the practice of bringing more awareness to the typical places we go unconscious. It is identifying personal habits of misalignment both physically and mentally. It is noticing how we bring these misalignments into our daily lives. It’s conscious, mindful yoga, on and off the mat. It’s what I studied and integrated into my body during my teacher training. It feels like you are drinking and swimming and bathing in the soma.
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