Hi, my name is Lucy and I have recently moved to beautiful Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. I heard all about Avani’s yoga center AmaSer, so I decided to come along to one of her Yin & Restore classes on a Tuesday afternoon. The class started just before the sun was beginning to set and the afternoon was turning to dusk. Here are five things I learnt about yoga!
I would not exactly class myself as a Yogi. I was a little nervous before going to class. What if I obviously stuck out as a rookie, what if I could not hold a posture? Avani made me feel welcome as soon as I entered the class. She begun by explaining the purpose of the class and demonstrated every pose by including a number of variations to make sure you were comfortable and could really connect with how you held your body – without hurting yourself! It was easy to follow and made me feel like I was being cared for, rather than judged.
I have gone to a few yoga classes in sweaty gyms in London before, and inevitably followed along a few YouTube sessions locked in my flat as the pandemic raged on outside. Although a myriad of ‘wellness’ apps have given me some idea of how to meditate and listen to your breathing, nothing really compares to tuning out of rushing thoughts as you watch the sunset over the Caribbean sea and the jungle which surrounds the shala. Closing your eyes and listening to the sounds of the forest around you made me feel like I really was in one of those apps. Only I could feel the heat of the setting sun for real!
I struggle to keep those aforementioned ‘rushing thoughts’ in check a lot of the time. I found this to be even harder to contain in the chaos of the pandemic. The yoga class helped me to become more centred in the present. Avani talked us through how to do that with all the surrounding noises, our emotions, and sensations we were feeling as we practiced. On top of this, it truly was an hour where you did not have room to consider anything else.
All I wanted was to absorb the beauty of my surroundings and how relaxed I felt. This awareness of the beauty in the present is something I have been trying to carry on since.
One of my favourite part of the class was when I could settle down into ‘caterpillar pose’. Avani described this as letting our bodies feel gentle and turn inward. I have never thought about the ability of my spine to communicate emotions before. This is something new I love to think about!
The last part of the class was about restoration. This means tuning into a pose as comfortable as possible, using props like blankets, blocks, and bolsters. Although I managed to just avoid sleeping in class, you bet I staggered off to bed to have one of the deepest sleeps I’ve had for a very, very long time.