Costa Maya Yoga
by Barbara Eller (Nov. 2013)
This is how I begin each Monday morning and prepare for the week ahead. In my 60-plus years I have read of the virtues but never tried yoga. Last winter I met Simone, who had just moved to Mahahual and began offering yoga lessons. A friend and I decided to take the classes and what an unexpected wonderful life-changing experience.
First let me give you a little background on Simone before I tell you about my experience with yoga. Simone is from a town in southern Germany, Stuttgart. She has been practicing yoga for 20 years and had lived in Mexico 10 years prior to settling in Mahahual. For the last eight years she has been a Hatha Vinyasa Yoga Teacher. Simone is fond of saying, “I am living the dream of my life. Yoga gives me the opportunity to work anywhere in the world.
Her “office” is a palapa overlooking the blue waters of the Caribbean. Simone provides mats, cushions, pillows, etc., for a beautiful experience in a stress -free, quiet environment (except for the waves). Simone has a beautiful soft mesmerizing voice and often I hear her say, “Yoga is for everybody—young/old, weak/strong, tall/little. Bringing balance to your life, exploring yourself by breathing consistently, and practicing yoga postures have multiple benefits for body, mind, and spirit. The word yoga means 'union' or 'to yoke,' and, as we practice yoga, we find a yoke between mind-body-spirit. As we move from one yoga position to the next, we begin to feel all senses inside instead of outside."
I wanted to improve my breathing when diving (yes, everything I do relates to scuba diving) and yoga was recommended to me. Every day I am walking the beach or the malecon, lifting tanks, jumping off boats then climbing back onto them, snorkeling, and, of course, the routine duties around the house, so I thought this would be a piece of cake. I won’t lie to you, the first session was not easy even though Simone started us with the simple basics. And I loved hearing her say, “Just do what you can, the best you can. Do not do anything that hurts, do only what you can.” What a gentle and encouraging teacher! No matter what I did, I was praised and that made me try to stretch a little further. Some of the things we do during yoga are:
By the end of four months of yoga I was amazed at what I was able to do. I could move gracefully from one position into the next (ok, maybe not every position, but some of them). I could actually bend over and my hands touched the floor, my back did not hurt each morning when I got up, I had more energy and, at the same time, felt calmer. And, yes, my breathing was more relaxed when I was diving. When I got back to the States my doctor said he could see the improvement in my arthritis and overall health. I told you it was a life-changing experience.
Simone is continuing to expand her knowledge through studying. She is a Reiki Level 1 & 2 Practitioner and working on her Master Teacher, which she will receive next year. And the “dream of her life” is also growing. Her plan is to expand Costa Maya Yoga by building a yoga school in Mahahual and offering a variety of guest teachers, workshops, and teacher training. At present she offers a variety of workshops and retreats throughout the year including SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) yoga. SUP yoga is one I have yet to try—hey, life is an adventure and I like adventure.