The night I sent the email to the Yoga Trade opportunity in Andalusia, Spain I was barely able to sleep. I had just completed my first yoga teacher training in Bali just three months prior and had been looking for opportunities to teach and travel.
Suryalila is a yoga retreat centre in Andalusia, Southern Spain. Andalusia is also the setting of The Alchemist, my favorite book and personal bible and when I had chanced upon it one night while surfing the internet, I could barely contain my excitement. My heart murmured and told stories of Serendipity, Adventure and Personal Treasure, as my hero-Santiago’s heart had, as he dreamt of personal treasure in faraway Egypt and proceeded to pursue it. Well, Spain was my Egypt. Ever since I had worked for a spanish fashion brand five years ago and had the chance to travel and work here, I have always felt an undeniable connection to this land.
It took half a decade to return back to this beautiful country, my heart’s home, as my family and friends have always known. As with the first time I arrived in Spain five years ago, I embarked the journey with a wounded heart being just fresh from a breakup (we broke up on my way to the airport) and a lot of fear and hesitation. I had nearly backed out of this trip several times as I was afraid. I had been experiencing moments of panic attacks and anxiety over the last few months of being separated from my then-boyfriend as we tried valiantly to make our long-distance relationship work while I continued my yoga journey in Bali. I was terrified I’d experience it again especially on the two-day journey from Shanghai to Andalucia and also afraid I’d not be in the right mind to be so far away and so alone from my support network at such a time of turmoil. But my sister, my closest confidante and biggest cheerleader pushed me to go. “It’s your dream, you have to do it” she would remind me each time I tried to procrastinate booking tickets.
As I undertook the two-day trip, the fear that I had started the journey with begin to settle into excitement and joy at being able to live out a personal dream. I was going to Santiago’s homeland to pursue my own dreams of personal treasure! I would repeat that to myself each time I started to feel sad about my breakup and fear about what lay ahead. When I arrived, my heart felt calm and joyful. Andalusia and Suryalila was every bit as beautiful as I had imagined it to be and more. I felt at home almost immediately. Being here I have been able to combine my dream of coming to Andalusia with my passion, Yoga.
Each day I rise to the most serene and beautiful landscape of the vast Sierra Granada mountains. Fuelled with the most delicious organic vegetarian meals and being surrounded by positive, like-minded people interested in Yoga, wellness and spirituality, I have been able to shake off the weight of the downward spiral I had been struggling with over the last six months and culminating with my breakup and turn that around into a slow but sure upward spiral.
Each day I am here, I am learning so much by getting to drop into yoga classes by visiting teachers, meditation, raw food and bodywork classes, meeting dedicated yogis from around the world and most importantly through teaching my own classes. In between all that learning, I work with the wonderful team of international volunteers washing dishes, taking care of the guest’s needs, tidying the yoga hall and picking figs for our delicious home-made jams. We work six days a week for six hours a day and on my one day-off a week, I always look forward to taking an adventure in one of the fascinating historical “Pueblos Blanco” (white towns) around Andalucia. The structure of work, learning and play has really allowed me to regain balance and find solid footing once again.
Now that I’ve managed to stay on course and get stronger mentally and physically, my other dreams for the future that had been on hold have reignited. I am in the process of setting up a Yoga and surf retreat with my partner in West Bali in 2015 as well as start running Yoga and detox holidays at my sister’s brand new beach villa in Jimbaran. I am so grateful for the opportunity that Yoga Trade gave me at Suryalila.
Before I left, my sister and best friend had told me “You have to go, your luck is in Spain”.
I believe my luck was being able to come here all alone at a low point and utilize this amazing opportunity to regain faith and hope to power ahead towards my dreams of being an International yoga teacher and Warrior of Light. To spread health and happiness with the world by sharing my passion for Yoga and the lessons that it has taught me on how to let go and move on.
Beverly Sasagawa Palar is a international yoga teacher who loves dark chocolate, horses and chasing sunsets around the globe. Her dream is to inspire others to greater health and happiness through the tools of Yoga, Mindfulness and Nutrition. She is a a partner at Low Tide Yoga in Bali.