Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Yoga: Get Balanced

August 13, 2004

TAMARINDO, Guanacaste – It may seem redundantto take classes in relaxation after a laid-back day on thebeach in Tamarindo, but yoga sessions at the Cabinas ArcoIris outdoor dojo, a open-air covered activities area, couldbe the base for a lifestyle change.The instructor, Bathsheba Goveas, who arrived toTamarindo two months ago, was trained in her native countryof India, and began teaching in the west at a time whenyoga was becoming entrenched in alternative pop-culture.Pushing aside tendencies to regard yoga as exercise, shefocuses instead on instilling it with its original meaning.“We’re not in constant movement but we’re buildingstrength and flexibility by holding postures that are highlybeneficial to the body,” she said.Through those movements, Goveas said, yoga is asearch for inner peace that changes the world one person ata time – as Swami Vishnudevananda, the founder of theSivananada school in India, believed.Goveas studied Hata yoga at the Sivananda school,famous for its progression of movements (called asanas)that balance the directions the body bends – if the spinebends one way in the “Shoulder Stand,” it should bend theopposite way in the “Fish.”The movements are bound to control breathing, calledPranayama, throughout the exercise.“Everything in your life can be handled if you controlyour breath,” she said.Classes end with the burning of incense and “yogicrelaxation,” called Yoga Nidra.“The difference between this and taking a nap is thatyou are actively relaxing yourself,” she said. “You wake upfeeling energized and refreshed. Once you train your mindto relax your body you do it anywhere anytime.”Flexibility, improved health, and rapid progress are theside effects of a focus on breathing throughout the sessions.One of her students, Tanya Mansour, a massage therapistfrom California, looked as though she could teach the classafter only three weeks of participation.“I’m a hyper-active person,” Mansour said. “This taughtme to take deep breaths during the day, to relax. Normallystuff that would upset you, you let it go. It doesn’t affectyou. I’m convinced that I need it in every day life.”Classes cost $5 for 90-minute sessions, while privatelessons are $25. Class sizes have averaged six people.For more info, contact the Cabinas Arco Iris at 653-0330or see the Web site at www.hotelarcoiris.com.

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