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November 29, 2013

3 Things I Learned in Costa Rica. ~ Sarah Walsh

As a child, I was fortunate enough to experience the lush, geographic beauty of Costa Rica.

After recently conducting a Yoga Teacher Training there, I discovered a deeper admiration for this beautiful country. This admiration led to some important lessons and of course, a few great photographs along the way.

1. Learning to co-inhabit with other creatures

Living in New York City— a place congested with concrete and human crowding—it is easy to forget our co-existence with other species. It is a far cry from Costa Rica and living among the wild. During my stay in the jungle, I was immediately reminded of the fact that we share this earth with many other incredible creatures. I awoke to this idea daily with a 4:30 a.m. wake up call from the sound of a Howler Monkey’s boom and the echoes through the trees.

At first the primitive alarm clock annoyed me causing many grumpy mornings and scowls of my own. As the mornings passed however, my irritation lessened. I came to expect the good morning call, appreciate it and eventually respect it. Living among nature’s natural rhythms humbled me. After all, this was the monkey’s home first and I was just a mere visitor.

2. Acceptance of foreign traditions

During the Yoga Teacher Training some of the students were privy to an observation of the hatching of turtle eggs and their eventual migration from the land to the sea. During which, shocked and soon outraged, the students who witnessed the local people capturing and consuming some of the eggs.

Being a vegetarian I too was shocked. But after discussing the event among ourselves and with our hosts we realized that this act, aside from being an age-old tradition, was a necessary part of their diet and survival. We were
so consumed by our own beliefs that we failed to accept their way. Instead of trying to understand these indigenous people and their circumstances, we ignorantly prejudged their behaviors.

3. Let go of fear and surrender to the moment

On our day off, a group of students, including myself, partook on a zip line adventure. Because it was my first time on the wire, I packed my excitement and, unavoidably, my fear too. It wasn’t until the fifth cable that I was finally able to settle into the experience, eventually enjoying the journey and surrendered to it. To my surprise I found myself hanging from the cable in camel pose, upside down.

Once I let go of my fear I was truly able to breathe in Mother Nature’s beauty and witness every tree and valley of this beautiful place. I surrendered to the moment, gave way to my fear, and got a great view. How fitting a metaphor for all things that scare us.

Perhaps these lessons could have been learned in my homeland of New York City, but the removal of comfort, the contrast of life and the beauty of Costa Rica highlighted my epiphanies. Removing myself from routine helped to expand and broaden my perspective.

I was able to pinpoint my own insecurities and ignorance and then evolve both emotionally and spiritually by broadening my view and accepting the gifts of nature.

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Assistant Editor: Miciah Bennett /Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo provided by Sarah Walsh

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Sarah Walsh