Archive for Uncategorized
We’ve had such a busy season, with so much going on, I haven’t had much time to write. The past couple of blogs have been a whirlwind of experiences that all took place within a few days of one another. With all of the excitement, I neglected to announce the most exciting news! The newest addition to Shaka….the brand new, yoga studio….the yoga rancho!
Beautiful….all hand done teak, from floor to ceiling! She’s nestled under the jungle canopy….a stones throw away from the original Rancho…the heartbeat of Shaka. Her energy is sweet and inviting, welcoming the next group of adventurists to grace her with their presence.
No walls to contain her, allowing the sounds of the ocean and the jungle to mix and mingle with the energies of the class. Nature appears to be bursting at the seams, an ecstatic expression singing itself into creation! The high pitched hum of the locusts, a continual pulsation holding the space. A rich layering of information, woven together with a myriad of melodies…all singing to the beat of their own drum!
In addition to the sounds of nature, you will also experience the sights too! My favorite characters are the howler monkeys….to watch and to hear! I spent the whole morning in the studio today and was accompanied by a troop of monkeys! They were literally twenty feet from the studio! I’m not sure who was watching who! They seemed to be as fascinated by us, as we were them!
I love teaching and practicing in the new space, it feels good under my feet….and my hands…..connected and rooted to the earth….in the middle of the jungle….with the sound of the ocean in the background…..Gracias!
Om Mani Padme Hum
The powerful and hungry ocean
Surfing and yoga
The quad tour
The football field
More fun to write
Our purpose and our gift
La Vida Loca
Find the good
I’ve been a part of the collective at Shaka Beach Retreat for almost four months now. It has been one of the most beautiful experiences of my life and I am grateful for the opportunity to collaborate artistically and share space with such a wonderful group of people.
The Heartbeat of Shaka
A Sweet, Simple Life
My humble abode
It’s been a minute since my last post, as I have been busy settling into my new life in Costa Rica. I finished with my volunteer position at Shaka the first of December and moved in next door to my new place. A little casita, a studio with a bed, a refrigerator, gas stove, sink and a bathroom. All the necessities covered, my favorite part of my humble abode is the porch where I am lying in my hammock writing this.
The snooze button
I am surrounded by tropical flowers and a menagerie of critters…dogs, cats, roosters, chickens, birds, and of course howler monkeys. Between the monkeys and the roosters, there is no need for an alarm clock, they will begin to wake you at about 4:30 am. At least they are kind enough to allow you to snooze for about ten minutes between intervals of their good morning celebration!
Stepping into the flow of the jungle
The good news is around here you tend to sleep with the natural rythyms and pulsations of life, stepping into the flow of the jungle! Another great reason to wake early is to head over to Shaka and begin my day there. I am extremely grateful and excited that they have asked me to continue on as a part-time volunteer. I will be helping out with guest relations, cooking with Cristelia and begin teaching regularly scheduled yoga classes there this week.
New roof for the Rancho
We will be practicing in the Rancho (which just had a new thatch roof put on it this week!) until the yoga platform construction is complete. I was amazed how quickly the roof was rebuilt and have been informed the yoga platform will be finished by the end of January. It will be nestled behind the existing structures, closer to the beach and under the jungle canopy. It is going to be so amazing, as if it isn’t already enough!
Launching the new website
The other really awesome news is that I am launching my new website solalunaretreats.com, where we will be offering yoga and surf Amazingness! An extension of Shaka, these retreats will include yoga classes, surf lessons and delicious, healthy cuisine. I am filled with delight to be a part of this expansion!
Free downloads, healthy recipes
I am also thrilled that this will keep me in Costa Rica on a more permanent basis…I have fallen hard for this place! Please stay connected and keep your eyes open for the new site. We will be up and running for 2013 and ready to start this new year off with a bang! I will be offering free downloads for tasty, healthy recipes and some get fit quick yoga routines, etc.
Have a good time, live a simple life
I think what has been most appealing about my experience at Shaka, besides the breathtaking beach and jungle landscape is the feeling that I am with family…a real collective..a bunch of great people who like to have a good time and live a simple life. What more could anyone ever ask for? Well, maybe some really good chocolate! Haven’t found that here yet! A sacrifice I am willing to make for paradise! Until next time…..
Surfed the back side! Whoot-whoot!
Hola, this is my third week at Shaka surf camp and today I caught my first “big” wave! It was one of the most exciting experiences I have ever had! I have been taking daily lessons with Mo’e the owner, and the guests here at Shaka for the past week. Daisy was the first guest to arrive after the Ocean Healing group departed, and we took our first lessons together.
5 rules of the water and the 5 universal principles of alignment
As a practiced yoga instructor and skilled snowboarder, this surfing thing is gonna be a breeze…no problema! Our first lesson with Mo’e was in the Rancho, where we discussed ocean safety and the 5 rules of the water. Distance, staggering, cover your head, never turn your back on the ocean and….hmmm…I forget the 5th? I immediately resonated with this philosophy, since I teach yoga with the 5 universal principles of alignment…gotta be similar right?
Loosen up! Slouch a little!
Next we practice positioning, alignment, paddling and popping up. Like a good yogi, I have the principles of alignment imbedded in my body, active feet, steady shins, thighs back and wide, tailbone scooping. Right away Mo’e corrects my rigidity and informs me that I need to loosen up….to slouch a little…huh? I always harp on my students about holding the integrity of the alignment….always…siempre! Now I am being asked to do just the opposite of what I have worked so hard on engraining….ok Mo’e you are the surf boss… I will do my best!
We then head down to the water, where Mo’e helps us catch our first waves by pushing us along and getting us started. Again, no bueno para me….I seem to be doing everything wrong….too stiff, wrong stance, not paddling enough, too far back on the board. The waves are pounding me, one after another and the entire time I am extremely irritated by this humbling experience. The good news is, that I am thinking about my beginner yoga students and how they feel coming to a yoga class for the first time….I’m guessing just as frustrated as I was in that moment.
Each morning Daisy and I would go down with Mo’e and practice in the whitewater. Daisy was great at popping up…I was a good paddler…if we could just combine our skills we could make one good surfer! We both gave it our all and day by day we got better. With skillful instruction and determination finally it was starting to sink in! I was able to stand and ride, but still needed to refine some technical difficulties. By about day 5, things were going pretty well!
Preparing for departure
Daisy was at the “tail end” of her journey and would soon be leaving Costa Rica having surfed some good waves. As she was heading out our new guest Frank arrived and the lessons continued. At this time, I was feeling pretty comfortable on the board and progressing nicely. Frank and I continued to follow Mo’e's lead and instruction…continually refining. Each day Mo’e would tell me to go further out and teach me a new skill to assist in my departure to the back side.
Today was the big day! I learned to turtle roll, how to appropriately time my decent into the deep water gracefully and how to ditch my board and swim under the swells if needed. We paddled out and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared shitless. I have the utmost respect for the power of the ocean…but also mad respect for great teachers…which are plentiful here at Shaka!
Back of the bus!
I made it! I was out there with the cool kids…back of the bus style! Everyone is hanging out on their boards, chit chatting and waiting for the right wave to come along. The view is spectacular, and quite a different experience from being in the white water….quiet..until the sets start rolling in! Another skill….picking the right wave…patience. As we wait, I try to remain calm, but know I have the ” deer in the headlights look in my eyes”. Finally, I get the heads up that this is my wave, with butterflies in my stomach and a send off from Mo’e, I successfully ride the first big wave of my life!
Mas para mi, por favor?!?
So freaking awesome! I couldn’t believe that a week before I could barely stand up and here I was riding this big wave, one with the ocean….totally in the moment! I decided today that I need more of that! I have fallen for Costa Rica in so many ways, the people, the land, the sunset….and now the surf. This day will be remembered and celebrated as the beginning of a new, exciting journey into the world of surfing….muchas gracias Shaka Costa Rica!
So I went down to check the waves this morning and found much more than I was looking for. As I came through the tall sloping coconut trees at the edge of the beach I noticed an unfamiliar creature waddling out of the water in my direction. As we approached each other I could see more clearly that the creature was black and white and had something red around its neck. Getting even closer I determined that what I was looking at was none other than a penguin! But how impossible? There are no penguins in Costa Rica. It is way too hot for a penguin around here.
I scratched my head and figured I’d wait a few seconds to wake up from this silly dream, but I could smell the sea breeze and feel my fingernails on my scalp. Was this really a penguin I was seeing? And what was with the red thing on its neck? It kept waddling closer and closer in my direction (I assumed it was in search of some cool shade) and I did not wake up. I I ran back to Shaka to get my camera and tell the others. Everyone was still asleep so I ran back to the beach to take advantage of this totally Nat Geo opportunity.
Luckily, the penguin was still there and hadn’t moved much. As I got closer I saw that it was very large, like the size of a grown man, and it had a surfboard under one of its ‘wings.’ Also, the red thing on its neck was a big floppy bowtie. WTF?
Turns out it was not a REAL penguin. It was Steve (!), our cheeky Canadian guest, sporting his penguin costume he brought down for Halloween. How could I forget?
Although Steve is not a real penguin, he did say he felt like one, sweating his feathers off in that suit. And he still made a great subject for a photo shoot, regardless of the fact that I will not be sending my pics in to National Geographic now.
In more serious news, we have a new volunteer here that is not me, which means I shall be moving on soon. I have been invited to stay and help with the upcoming OHG (Ocean Healing Group) camp but I will probably have to sleep in a hammock (something I do rather often anyways). It sounds like a cool opportunity but I also wouldn’t mind getting out to see a bit more of the country in my remaining two weeks here in Costa Rica. Hmm, what to do….Any suggestions for a surfer dude on a $300 budget?
Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to go see the waterfalls in Montezuma with our new guest Steve and Shaka family member, Jerry. Steve is a firefighter from Canada and Jerry is a yacht captain from Florida. Both pretty cool dudes. Jerry has been coming down to this area for years now so he has been more of a host than a guest since being here. He bought a clean ’91 Isuzu Trooper with 4wd so we have been able to mob around a bit like yesterday, to the waterfalls!
The sun was up and shining bright and early, perfect for a little field trip. We mobbed through fresh green landscape, up and down steep hills covered with fast-drying mud. Perfect conditions for a full on test drive of Jerry’s new Trooper.
This allowed me to put my 2 dollar “tico squeek” shoes to the test. (I have some nice 80 dollar Teva sandals my mom bought for me but I feel too touristy when I where them, sorry Mom). When I first visited the waterfalls in July there was much less water and it was much more brown. Now, after all the recent rain, the agua is falling at full force and looks clean enough to drink (not tested). There was a misWe dropped into Montezuma, a cute little fisher gone tourist town just on the other side of the peninsula from here, and went straight for the falls. The waterfalls are just a stones throw up a fresh little river that drains into the ocean at the entrance of town. The trail is pretty much just the river, which you follow up from the road about half a mile.ty gust that blew off the pool at the bottom of this 100 and something foot gusher.
Above this big ‘fall is a big pool and another 40 something foot waterfall. Both upper and lower pools have ledges and ropeswings to fulfill whatever thrill seeking needs you might bring with you. Yesterday, after the warm, rock hopping hike up the river, we just chilled at the foot of the falls, absorbing the cool mist sprinkling off the pool.
On our way back we stopped in Cobano so Jerry could get his new cell phone dialed in. We had lunch at a little ‘soda’ for lunch, picked up some cheap supplies at the big grocery store (beer was like twice as cheap there than here) and mobbed back to home base.