Ashtanga Yoga adventures in Sabalito retreat, Lake Arenal Costa Rica
Ginny Walters, Ashtanga Yoga teacher
I feel I am a twenty-something in a mid-fifties body. My dominant feeling in life is delight. "Life is for constant exploration in ourselves, relationships, food, and travel".
I found yoga in 1992 after the birth of my third child. After years of feeling constrained my yoga practice left me feeling released. I cried. With all the early busy years of starting a family I felt lost to myself. Yoga opened the door to feelings that I had suppressed. It started me on a journey to let go and finally I ended on the doorstep of joy!
By 1997 I decided to be part of Teacher Training with Bhumi, a Kripalu-trained instructor who had recently returned home to Cleveland. It was a study of myself in postures on the mat, that moved to a study of myself and my world all the time. The stillness of time became a part of her life. More joy was found in the little moments that before seemed annoying. Life began to flow more smoothly. If I let go... if not forced into doing... all seemed to flow. I found parking spots for one!
Waiting for the wind at the world class windsurf spot on Lake Arenal called Tico Wind near El Nidito, I practiced yoga. Other sailors joined me. Could this be possible to have both windsurfing and yoga be part of my daily life? Then in 1999, when hiking the trails of “Happy Valley” with a group of windsurfers, I had a thought... what if I built a house here. What if I called this home... and it had a big yoga floor? A feeling of excitement and hope and wonder all converged to say "Yes"! In two years the property was bought... and in another three years the home was built. It is a spot in the hills surrounded by nature that we now call home. Mark, my husband, also windsurfs and our three children are kite surfers. Samantha, the oldest, was the hostess for three years, running El Nidito as a Bed and Breakfast. Check out: ElNiditoguesthouse.com.
Ashtanga became a part of my life in 1998 when I took my first class with the "Grateful Dead" instructor Larry Schultz from San Francisco. In a ballroom on the third floor of a Bexley estate in Columbus, 70 people practiced. I found joy and challenges in the practice. Since then many great teachers have instructed me through this journey. Martha Marcom, co-owner of Yoga on High in Columbus, was my first teacher. Martha started on this path many years earlier and I saw the Ashtanga group in Columbus as healthy and strong because of her. David Swenson and Tim Miller began almost yearly visits for workshops and teacher trainings and I attended all that I could. In Cleveland I photocopied a page of the Primary Series and began a Primary Series Flow class at 5 PM on Saturdays at any studio that was receptive. A small group practiced for years with the "cheat sheets" and the Cleveland Ashtanga community was born. When Pattabhi Jois visited the states for the last time in 2005 I practiced with the Master.
Back in Costa Rica, the Pura Vida yoga spa near the San Jose airport seemed a great place to bring students of yoga. During the tour it became apparent to me and my husband Mark that the grounds could hold a doctors conference for CME credits. The first ever course for doctors who love yoga (possibly didn’t know it yet) was started in 2002. "Advances in Surgical Gynecology and Female Sexuality" was what they learned and received credit for, but yoga and the spa experience seemed to transform them. For four years I taught the beginner classes at the start of the day and the Ashtanga practice flowed in the afternoon. These hardworking doctors began to melt. The body workers and massage therapists commented on the tangible feeling of relaxation they felt in the doctor’s bodies after one week. The course continued in Sedona, Arizona for three more years until March of 2010.
To open our home and to share the experience of being on the edge of nature seemed the natural extension once the medical course moved from Costa Rica to Arizona. I open doors for students to meet the wonderful Ticos and Ticas of Costa Rica and I lead tours to see the natural wonders this land of "pura vida" (pure life) has to offer. Come and feel this oasis. We will practice yoga and you will feel even more. Your spine and mind will be receptive to the vibrations of earth’s life force. You will be renewed.
Samantha Walters will be the hostess with the mostest for our yoga week this spring. Since 2008 she has been the caretaker and baker for El Nidito Bed and Breakfast. When she isn't busy at the house she is active with kite surfing and mountain bike riding. She is a writer of poems and short stories. All year long she is property manager for the Happy Valley group on the ridge. This past season she tested her fluency in Spanish as a receptionist at The Ecolodge outside Nuevo Arenal.
19224 Frazier Drive
Rocky River, OH44116
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