Teaching and Learning in Costa Rica

In the beginning part of 2014 and after completing my yoga teacher training in Costa Rica, I continued traveling into Panama and then back into Costa Rica where I worked at a hostel and taught yoga classes in the morning. Although it was a lot of work to be doing both, the experience was priceless and crazy amounts of fun, to be able to meet tons of different people and connect with them not only in a friendlyIMG_7396 way but also to offer the service of the morning classes. That’s the thing about teaching in this kind of environment, as travelers are on the move every day, balance is something that can be harder to grasp as your body, mind and spirit are going through constant changes of environment, and as people flowed through the hostel, I was overjoyed at the amount of faces who would show up early in the morning to honor their bodies and minds.

As the classes were mixed level, this was an excellent opportunity to hone skills catering to each student, cultivating more awareness to the needs of the students and be inspired to think of new and innovative ways to teach certain asanas and pranayama, translating my own skills into ways that can be accessed by everyone. Many of the students were beginners, and a lot had never done yoga before. This too helped to make me hyper aware of the detail I would use in classes while still giving students space to find their own versions of asanas. Where Virabhadrasana II may come right away to others, to some this is just gibberish. At the ends of most classes on our open air deck in the humid air of Costa Rica, my heart was filled with gratitude as many students shared how surprised they were at how much they liked the class, or how glad they were to get up and come try it out.

The unexpectedness of the turnouts in the morning was also exciting. Some days there would be a group that would barely fit on the deck, some days a group of 3 big guys, and some days no one at all. This variability in the classes kept it fresh and new, and where a no show could be deemed as a let down, it gave it time to work on my own practice, or stroll down to the beach in the cooler morning hours. We were lucky to be in this environment, where all the structures, including the kitchen, were essentially outside and surrounded by the lush jungle, with the beach only a few minutes walk away. We also had a killer restaurant that cooked up dishes using the freshest ingredients. I would often spend the time between classes in the morning and my shifts at the hostel at night to study, prepare lessons and research questions I had maybe thought of during the days class. As for the compensation, I started doing the classes by donation, and afterwards charged $5 dollars a person, a very reasonable rate that worked for travelers’ IMG_7313budgets and for me. As much as I loved it, next time I go to teach abroad I would rather just focus on yoga, as I found it a little bit taxing to try to do both. Nevertheless, a truly amazing experience. Thank you to everyone who came out to a class, and of course all the people at The Flutterby House, this experience taught me more than I could have imagined and holds a special place in my heart!

Jessie is a wandering earthling from Canada, passionate about life, music, dance and travel who loves to explore while giving back, sharing love and smiles. For stories, recipes, yoga and inspiration, check out her blog http://moonroots.wordpress.com

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