Pura Vida!

By Ada Ketchie


It’s been a busy few months since we arrived to Costa Rica. Besides soaking up the sun, lots of learning has been had and exciting opportunities have emerged. Hopefully with this post we can finally catch you up on some of the experiences that have colored our days. 

The country motto here in Costa Rica is “Pura Vida”. While used in many ways, at its core it represents Costa Ricans’ collective priority on enjoying life and being happy. This relaxed, carefree, and optimistic undertone to the culture has been a welcome change of pace for us over the nearly two months since we arrived. I suspect it will continue to be a teacher for us along the way. 

So how have we been enjoying the spirit of Pura Vida so far? Well there have been the typical tropical undertakings, like buying sarongs and trying to surf (and in Nathan’s case this resulted in his first “souvenir” of the trip – 7 stitches and a sweet crescent shaped scar under his right eye – courtesy of his surfboard). And of course there’s drinking “pipa” (coconut water) straight from the coconut and savoring the insanely delicious flavors of fresh mango, pineapple and papaya. But the main theme so far as been yoga.

There is a somewhat generic but nonetheless truthful quote that says something like, “Refill your own cup so that you have more to pour into others.” Knowing that our ultimate intention was to give as freely as we could to people and initiatives seeking to make a positive impact in the world, we wanted to start our Northern Flicker journey by first filling up our own cups. Our shared love of yoga, and Costa Rica’s abundant and ever growing yoga and wellness culture seemed like the perfect place to top up.

As mentioned in our previous post Nathan has been busy filming and editing the iLa Yoga Retreats video (and it’s looking amazing if I do say so myself). In the meantime I went into the jungle to realize a long-held dream to become a yoga teacher. My training took place in a rather unique community called Pachamama which describes itself as an “experimental village, a spiritual commune, and a centre of transformation.” It is a place where most people who come are looking to deeply reflect upon and expand themselves, and where moments of delighted spirit and uplifting inspiration are welcomed along with moments of pain and confusion. It’s a very dynamic, intriguing place. The community seeks to live in harmony with nature (hello compost toilets and howler monkey’s for alarm clocks!) and follows both Osho and Red Road teachings that result in practices like daily silent meditation and the use of various ceremonies like sweat lodges and moon dances among others. As you can imagine this setting influenced my yoga training, making it a process far beyond learning poses and asanas. It led myself and my fellow yoga students on a journey of self-awakening in order to be as receptive and authentic a teacher as we could be. While there are countless details to say about this experience, in summation, I came away with a deeper commitment to the power and practice of yoga to help me release and clear the stresses and stagnancies of daily life so that I can show up more open to receive life and share of myself more fully. I also learned a completely new style of yoga to me, called Calligraphy Yoga. This interdisciplinary form, which mixes Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and Hatha yoga, enlivens spinal mobility from all angles and cultivates physical fluidity. In essence, it helps you feel good. All components of the training – from the yoga to the organic food to the immersion in nature to the vulnerable exploration of self with fellow seekers – resulted in my feeling a great sense of health, vitality, and faith to step out into the next, somewhat unknown, phases of our journey. For that I am very grateful. 

All the while Nathan embarked on his own teacher training in a technique called Pranassage, held at the Nosara Yoga Institute. While he could likely write an entire post on that alone, I can tell you from my observation, he was deeply moved by his experience and has a real natural knack for assisting others to access their own power for personal healing. Next time we’re in your area, I would recommend you book a session!

In Part 2, we’ll continue catching you up on all of the exciting opportunities and projects that have started to emerge here in lovely Costa Rica. See you then!