Meet Zoe | School Yoga Institute Costa Rica 200Hh YTT Alumni | Featured Image

Zoe 2 – Costa Rica 200hr YTT

AKILAH ~ 200-HOUR COSTA RICA YTT STUDENT

Yoga teacher training (YTT) at School Yoga Institute (SYI) changed my life in the best way possible. I have been practicing yoga since I was in middle school. My mom’s friend used to take me to classes at our local studio, and I was fascinated with the asanas as well as the positive clarity and happiness I felt after leaving class. I found a consistent practice when I went to college. 

In December of my junior year of college, I got into a skiing accident and tore my ACL, MCL, and meniscus. I had just started seriously practicing yoga again and felt like my whole life was turned upside down. I had to self-isolate so that I could have surgery without contracting COVID and take classes remotely while being completely immobile for almost 2 months. Having to reteach myself how to walk and move my leg was a humbling experience that made me realize how fortunate it is to have a healthy body to move, love, and celebrate. 

After graduating college, I was looking for an experience to help me find perspective after being completely humbled by my injury. I was looking for a connection with like-minded individuals, and a life-changing experience. I began seeking opportunities that would give me this chance, and I stumbled across SYI’s yoga teacher training. I saw a friend who did a YTT at a different location and became intrigued by YTT. SYI’s training offered an experience focused on more than the asana poses and becoming a teacher. I talked to another person who did YTT at SYI and instantly craved the experience she described. 

Fast forward 6 months, and I am on a plane headed to Indigo Yoga Resort in Mal Pais, Costa Rica. Mal Pais is near the southernmost tip of Peninsula de Nicoya. Seeing the wildlife and smelling the fresh air only further confirmed that I had made the right choice for my yoga training experience. Mal Pais, and its neighboring town Santa Teresa, is a hidden jewel in Costa Rica. Its beaches are vast, people kind and loving, and food unique and rich.

I could not be happier with the experience I had while at Indigo with SYI. My instructors, Jed and Katie, were extremely kind, welcoming, and knowledgeable. I immediately connected with my roommate and felt so comfortable around her. I had heard the term ‘soul family’ mentioned before coming and wondered if I would find that. My soul family was sweet as sugar, and I feel so thankful to have had the opportunity to live, learn, and laugh with them. We immediately connected like a family and created memories that I will cherish for a lifetime.

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Trying to pick a favorite memory with them is impossible, as every moment was a special gift. Upon reflection, even my hardest moments greet me with joy and gratitude as to what they taught me. Some of my favorite parts of the training include: being vulnerable and feeling safe to share during meaningful spiritual lessons, taking ‘monkey breaks’ to observe the wildlife around our beautiful shala, laughing with friends as we taught each other poses during art of teaching, watching the sunset just steps away from Indigo, swimming in the pool during breaks, and staying up late talking with friends. I loved eating meals in community. We would sit and eat for over an hour at times, sharing stories, reflecting on the day, and laughing about what had happened. The food was amazing, which only made the experience even more special. 

Yoga training not only taught me so much about myself. It showed me the characteristics necessary to be an impactful yoga instructor. I feel prepared to step into this role upon graduation and begin sharing this practice with others. I feel confident in the asanas, as well as the necessary cues to guide my students through them. I want to interweave my own talents like singing into my practice, chanting mantra and other songs at the end of practices. It is important to keep this practice sacred as I begin teaching.

Now that I am back home, I am in the process of starting to teach yoga. I plan to teach some private classes to family/friends, and look forward to applying to studios in the area soon. I love being able to lead myself in my own practice, adding new poses here and there. I like looking back on my notes after meditating, remembering all the lessons and teachings.

Yoga is beyond a practice. It is a gift for those who take the time to go deep, learn, and grow. Whatever that gift looks like for you, enjoy it. We are so lucky to be able to experience this beautiful gift.