'Twas a beautiful, sunny morning in the middle of the jungle in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. My group and I stayed in a lovely villa where we awoke to the sounds of howler monkeys at 5am. By 6am, a group of white-faced capuchin monkeys would visit to look for food, to bathe in our swimming pool, and to run and flip around the house.
Each morning, our amazing chefs would cook a delicious breakfast for us before we spent the day going on various adventures. On Labor Day, we took a trip to Spa Holis, where I debuted my signature class, Pilates Angel Flow. This class includes aromatherapy, an ashtanga based vinyasa yoga flow, classical Pilates matwork, and meditation.
The class began with a dharma talk, where I shared a passage from Pema Chodron's book, "Start Where You Are." In the first chapter of her book, she says that we should be generous with our joy and that if an experience is pleasant and delightful for us that we should share it with others. I also discussed the importance of self-care and talked about how we should practice loving kindness and compassion toward ourselves and to others.
To add to my dharma talk theme of kindness, compassion, and self-care, I passed around a 4th chakra oil (heart chakra) containing bergamot and lavender. This oil is meant to nourish the heart and to promote balance of the spirit.
With the constant news of violence, discrimination, and political drama in our nation, this class and trip was a much needed time to relax and to connect with others in a positive way. Besides Pilates Angel Flow, our trip included ATV rides, a sailing excursion, spa treatments, and delicious meals provided by our chefs each day.
We also had surprise birthday celebrations for 2 people in our group which were very special. There was always laughter and tears as friends shared what was unique about each person and why they were loved. There was also an evening where we held a candlelit vigil to celebrate the life of a friend that had passed away the week before our trip. These celebrations were reminders to show and share the love that we have for each other on a daily basis.
Although our trip had many fun and special moments, we also faced some challenges. The hurricane season caused several flight cancellations before and at the end of our trip. It also rained everyday in Costa Rica so we had to cancel and reschedule some activities that we had planned. With a group of over 20 people, these scheduling changes were sometimes stressful to coordinate. However, our theme of love was constant and so we made the best of each day we spent together.
I'm grateful for my God brother who planned this trip, the staff at our villa for taking care of us, the staff at Spa Holis for allowing me to use their studio, and for all of the friends that were on this vacation. I look forward to more traveling and sharing my yoga, Pilates, and meditation practice with others.
Stay tuned for more Pilates Angel Flow classes!