When someone asks you to photograph a one month long yoga teacher training in Costa Rica and you don’t have any shoots booked, you can’t really say no. You might feel like you should stay home to work and update your websites, but the promise of sun and poolside heart opening is just too sweet to resist. Although, it might not be all too easy to get away. You just might forget your passport in the scanner when you applied for that job the night before leaving and have to drive an extra 6 hours in the middle of the night. You may hit every red light on the way to the ferry. An accident on the road might set your bus behind a little. And the airplane might be stalled for an hour and a half because someone forgot to finish logging in a mechanical issue. At that point, you might think that the universe is trying to tell you that the website aren’t going to update themselves… But you get there. And you soon realize that the Jivani yoga teacher training might just be one of the best things you’ve ever done.
For four weeks, I learned about breath initiating movement, kriyas, anatomy, twerking, tantric philosophy, goddesses, gods, waterfalls, unconditional love and deep friendship. I learned that there are 7 billion different types of yoga in the world and I embody just one of those types. I furthered my understanding of yoga as the art of life. The creative act of aligning oneself with the fullness of life. With grace, forgiveness, authenticity, unconditional love and the dance of polarity. Oh ya, and asana practice. I did a hellava lot of downward dog.
My teachers on this magical adventure were Emma Warmington and Ashton Szabo. I have known both these souls since I did my first yoga teacher training 8 years ago. Emma and Ashton had done the same 3 month training at Thailand Pyramid Yoga as me, 2 years prior. I have watched them become incredible yoga teachers over the years and it was wonderful to meet up again and learn from them.
The training was held at El Sabanero Ecolodge, outside of Tamarindo. Retreat style. The main lounging and dining area and gardened pool was perched on a hill, overlooking hills and farms. There were plenty of different areas to practice. My favourite was on the lounger, by the pool, soaking in the sun. Or in the hammock, watching the rain come down. It was the rainy season for the first week before the winds came and it was suddenly the dry season. There were iguanas, butterflies, dragonflies, parakeets, scorpions, and the howler monkeys would let us know it was time to get up at 5am every day. The food was above and beyond with lots of healthy variety. I recommend going when it’s your birthday. Luckily, there were 3 birthdays during our time there so we were blessed 3x with the most incredible chocolate cakes you’ve ever tasted.
Looking back on the month, I would say that my favourite memory of the training are the students and teachers on the course. They were amazing and so inspiring. One of the most soulful and honest circles of people I have ever met. We harmonized our intentions to create a better world, pulling the patterns into purpose and for four weeks, we gathered what it takes to become yoga teachers.
Another favourite memory is of Ashton’s 4 year old daughter, Sequoia. She brought so much light and playfulness to that time with her imaginative and magical games. I’ll never forget all the “beautiful stuff” we saw down the rabbit hole. She even taught her first ever yoga class!
Another moment that is forever etched in my heart, is when there was a sudden thunder shower and a bunch of us started screaming and jumping into the pool. It was raining so hard, the rain drops were bouncing off the surface of the water and refreshing rivers were sliding down the palm leaves. There was a feeling of stillness and bliss in that moment that no photo would ever be able to portray but I can still feel to this day.
I think doing a yoga teacher training is an incredible gift to give oneself. I did my first training without wanting to teach but by the end, you really do want to teach because you want everyone to experience the joy that yoga cultivates. I think that one day I will teach yoga but I’m not in a hurry. Ultimately, I see myself as a yoga teacher by the time I’m 60. For now, I’ll be living yoga and letting it infuse my art and photography with subtle awareness, appreciation of the simple things and a deep sense of love.
Synchronicity, it’s like a collaboration with fate, all of that becomes the norm and the ego is no longer the driving force in your life. You begin to recognize these is a powerful intelligence that is in all things and it’s working with you and for you, almost as if you’re making it happen just being connected to your source. ~Wayne Dryer
See more photos on my Facebook page here: Jivani Yoga Teacher Training Photos. To learn more about the courses in Thailand, Costa Rica and Ireland and see if one might be right for you, check out the Jivani website HERE!