It’s a Thursday night. I’m at the hotel Real Dinastia at La Pintada, a small town two and a half hours from Medellin in Colombia. I’m there to do a month long intensive teacher training course for Yoga. It’s the talent show night. We had been asked to prepare something and share it with everyone. It’s my turn. I stand up and put my surfing hat on, literally, I put my blue hat on that makes me look more like a surfer: “Alright, you can use your mat as your surfboard. We are going to lay down on the mat like we are in the cobra pose, hands next to your shoulders, palms facing down, legs together and at the count of three we are going to jump up, ready, 1,2,3, up! We are surfing!.”
You may think I’m crazy; How can I teach 30 odd people to surf while I’m in the middle of the mountains during a yoga course? I also thought that when I was getting ready for the talent show, but once I started thinking about it a bit more I realized that it made perfect sense. See Yoga and Surfing are really linked, at least for me.
While I was preparing my “surf lesson” I realized that the Hawaiian greeting “Aloha Ke Akua” which means “ I am what I am, or God is inside us”and refers to saluting the spirit in you , that is the same spirit in me, has the exact same meaning as the “So Hum” in Sanskrit; so I used it to finish my lesson and it showed the strong spiritual link that these two activities have.
Surfing has helped me so much to get in touch with myself and also it has taught me many lessons. I think I can sincerely say, that the ocean has been my first “Guru” teaching me lessons of humbleness, perseverance, respect, love, gratitude and specially recognizing the unity in all, and how we can find ourselves through nature.
Surfing and Yoga have been huge in my growth and development as a person, and it was actually thanks to surfing that I started doing yoga. My desire for surfing for as long as my body let me, led me to search for something to maintain my body. That something was yoga, and thanks to yoga I’ve learned to enjoy surfing even more, I’ve also learned more about myself and how to live a healthier and happier life.
My relationship with yoga started 10 years ago. I was still living in Montanita and a girl from Brazil (Ingrid)was in town. One afternoon at the beach, she taught me a few yoga postures. (Thank you Ingrid!)That same week, I decided to end up my 6 year old long relationship (a pretty bad relationship, so it was a good thing!) and I thank yoga for that.
Yoga has helped me through so many things. It consoled me when I was feeling lonely in a new country. It helped me heal all kinds of injuries and it has helped me connect with my true inner self. Thanks to yoga I have a better relationship with myself and with the world.
I was lucky enough to have found an amazing yoga school once I got to the Gold Coast. Before I arrived there, I tried a few others, but it wasn’t until I went there, that I felt at home. I just loved all the teachers, each one of them, sharing a different style of teaching and each of them wonderful. I loved that it wasn’t only focused on the physical part of yoga, like many schools especially in the West do, but they also taught us a bit of the philosophy, meditation, pranayama and bhakti yoga.
Thanks to them, my interest to know more about yoga grew, so I started reading lots of books and not only having yoga as an activity in my life but making it part of my lifestyle. If you happen to live on the Gold Coast or pass by, please make sure to visit the Gold Coast Yoga Centre. It’s an amazing place to practice. http://www.goldcoastyogacentre.com/
Although Yoga has been an integral part of my life, I never considered becoming a yoga teacher. I was just happy to do my own practice, until we started this trip and I thought, why not? I love yoga and I love teaching, so why not combine both and share what I know with others. So, once I got to Ecuador I started researching for schools that offered teacher training and luckily enough , there was going to be a course during July in Colombia with the Sivananda Yoga School.
Now I’m back in Guayaquil, after spending 4 weeks of intense training, I feel so blessed to have found Sivananda Yoga Schools and to have gone there to do my training. It was an amazing course. We lived and shared our time with the teachers and other students. The days were so busy, from 5:30 am until 10pm, we were meditating, chanting, studying, practicing, doing karma yoga, reading, listening, doing yoga, breathing; there was not enough time in a day to do all these things but magically we fit them all in.
In my group, there were 24 people from different parts of the world, like Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Germany, France, Brazil and Colombia. We were all from different ages and different backgrounds but we all shared the same love for Yoga. It was hard and intense, but we also had fun and shared lots of laughter. The course was really well planned and we had different activities every week.
I loved learning about the Masters of this tradition, Swami Sivananda with his love for humanity and wanting to share the teachings of Yoga with everyone and Swami Vishnudevananda, who was his disciple and came to the West to spread yoga all over the world and was a big peace activist. They and the teachers in our course, Kanti Devi, Swami Premananda, Swami Dayananda, Nirmala and Satyadev, inspired me and motivated me to go out, practice earnestly and share the new acquired knowledge with the world.
I’m not sure exactly what I’ll do with this new training. I know it’s helped me a lot with my own practice. Mick has been my first student so far and we’ll see… now that we start travelling I’m sure the opportunities will present themselves for me to teach and share what I’ve learned. I’m thankful for having the opportunity to experience this course and I highly recommend it to anyone seriously interested in Yoga. You can check their website for upcoming courses http://www.sivananda.org/courses/ and also check the Divine Life Society website for free reading material http://www.dlshq.org/download/download.htm. All I’m sure of is that I’ll continue practicing because as Swami Sivananda said: “One ounce of practice is worth a ton of theory”
P.S. I’m so lucky to have a wonderful husband who supports me and encourages me to follow my passions and dreams. Mick travelled with me to Colombia and while I was doing the TTC, he continued travelling around the country. He left me at La Pintada and then continued south to Manizales, where he’s stayed with this beautiful couple, Martha and Felipe. After that, he went to Salento and saw the coffee plantations. Later, he travelled north to Rio Claro and back to Medellin where he took a plane to Bahia de Solano. He stayed there for a week with Enrique and Nancy at Cabo Mazo. There, he enjoyed the beaches and beauty of the area, went fishing and relaxed. Finally he travelled back to Medellin and took a bus to La Pintada where he met me for my graduation. We travelled back to Medellin and stayed with this great couple, Isabel and Yusuke, they rent rooms through airbnb and are looking to start their own hostel soon. We then travelled together back to Ecuador.