What Yogis (and Everyone Else Can Learn Ffrom Pura Vaida )
|Yogi Aaron, author ofhis newly released Autobiography of a Naked Yogi is the coowner of Blue Osa Yoga Retreat and Spa, where he brings passion and adventure to countless students through his teachings and lectures.|
SOCIEDAD Y CULTURA
Yogi Aaron and Nicole Tovar
Being a yoga teacher, you can be burdened with many expectations—both self- inflicted and external. Many people are of the opinion that yoga teachers have it ‘all together,’ are completely centered, in control, healed, at peace, and full of love. While yoga certainly helps in achieving those states, I am here to tell you we do not have it all together.
There are numerous benefits associated with being a yoga teacher, such as the reward of guiding students into their most authentic form through yoga poses and breathing techniques. The revolving door of students that each bring their own light and lessons is another reward. However, outside the classroom there are personal responsibilities that many yoga teachers have to juggle, including school, work, relationships, and many other obligations which can sometimes be challenging.
I’ve learned that it is all about balance.
Teaching yoga can enhance our inner strength, help us get closer to our best self and encourage our authenticity to shine. However, it is also important to ensure we enjoy activities and social interactions such as going out to a concert and hanging out with friends.
This is what I’ve come to learn from living in Costa Rica: “Pura Vida!”
This wonderful phrase translates simply as “pure life.” However, if you’ve spent time in this country, or are familiar with Tico culture, you already know that these two words have a much more profound meaning for the people of Costa Rica. This everyday term extends beyond words; it’s more a way of life for Costa Ricans, who use the expression in many forms—a greeting, a response, an adjective, or a simple expression of happiness.
Lessons from Pura Vida for all the yogis out there
Costa Rica is the only place I’ve felt the need to adopt a simpler approach to life. Here, nobody dwells on his or her material needs or boasts about their possessions or jobs. After work many people like to take advantage of the rest of the day, perhaps go surfing or fishing with friends, and it’s the simple moments that make it all worthwhile. Instead of allowing time to pass, Costa Ricans make time for things that do matter in life. Simple moments . . . that lead to big changes.
Yoga instructors may get stressed sometimes with our schedules, jobs, kids, or other responsibilities. However, “Pura Vida” serves as a reminder to enjoy simple moments in life that will only bring you more happiness.
If you’re going to be a mess, then be a happy mess
Another lesson that “Pura Vida” has taught me is to be full of life at all times. I don’t mean always smiling or expecting unicorns and rainbows, but just like my teacher says: “If you’re going to be a mess, then be a happy mess.”
It’s about knowing how to handle the difficult, rocky moments in life as well as the good ones, to feel both, and to turn the corners of your mouth upwards, because there is so much more that life has to offer.
When you feel like it’s the end, it’s only the beginning.
The first thing I noticed when I arrived in Costa Rica was how joyful the locals were and the manner in which they welcome anyone new into their country. They don’t judge or look at you differently based on color, skin, or race. You are who you are, and they simply want to look after you and make sure you are content.
We can learn from this attitude: to serve and help people can result in overwhelming joy when our intentions are pure and we are not expecting anything in return beyond witnessing the happiness of others.
Life has many ways of testing us; sometimes we sail through problem-free and other times we run aground. As yogis we learn to accept both, awarding them equal non-attachment. In both situations, we must remember to be at peace and go with the moment. This is something I’ve frequently heard about but had not experienced until I spent time in Costa Rica. The locals appear to maintain an impressive life balance. After work they afford themselves time to relax and have fun, whether that be swimming or surfing in the ocean, walking the dog, going out for a drink, or simply having down time.
When managing your life, remember the importance of balancing your responsibilities with activities that will provide enjoyment, and allow yourself to unwind and relax.
It’s no surprise that Costa Rica is rich in nature. “Pura Vida” is all about staying connected to nature and absorbing the vast array of flora and fauna. Most of us don’t have enough time to spend with nature, but it’s important to remember and to return to your roots.
Take time out of your day—or before teaching a yoga class—to spend some time with nature. This can be on your own or with a group of friends.
Nobody is perfect, but we are perfect with our imperfections. We all have a variety of hobbies and responsibilities but by remembering to include simplicity in our daily lives, by being happy even when all seems to be failing, and by maintaining balance and staying connected to nature, we can be reminded to live with “Pura Vida.”
Sometimes it’s the little things that remind us how sweet life can be. Even as yogis, we can overlook these reminders.
Costa Rica has provided an inspirational environment to enhance my practice by connecting with nature and adopting the locals’ approach to living life simply and taking it easy – Pura Vida!
You can experience paradise too, come see for yourself!
“Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are.” – Jason Crandall
Writers: Yogi Aaron and Nicole Tovar
Yogi Aaron, author of the newly released “Autobiography of a Naked Yogi” is the co-owner of Blue Osa Yoga Retreat and Spa, where he brings passion and adventure to countless students through his teachings and lectures. Inspired by his own practice, he guides students to secret and far-flung locales, empowers them to realize their own limitless potential, and makes yoga relevant and accessible for the modern world. Since 2002 he has been traveling and leading retreats worldwide. He currently serves as the yoga director leading the One-Month Immersions at Blue Osa. Follow Yogi Aaron on Instagram.