Culminating 13 months living as a volunteer English teacher in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, I sat at the local beach staring with awe at a most vivid sunset. Not knowing what the next chapter of my life story read, I knew it was time to turn the page.
Throughout the rollercoaster ride of living here, my heart-fire had been rekindled by the undoing of deep old patterns that led to self-healing-- spiritually, mentally and physically. My refuge had become an acquired daily Yoga practice running in nature. I had survived the challenges of delving into my fear of the unknown. This entailed leaving my 7-year career as a California schoolteacher, moving to a country I knew little about, learning to adapt to a slower-paced and very unpredictable lifestyle and unfamiliar culture and spending an abundance of alone time with my inner critic, among other things.
With a path now unclear, I was down to the essentials—a suitcase, a yoga mat and a passion to share what I learned and support others in their self-healing and thriving. As I sat on the sand, I asked the universe for a sign, a compass to know what to do next. On cue, a stranger walked towards me, handed me a stuffed animal, said, “Este es para ti (This is for you),” and disappeared before I could respond. The random panda bear held a heart that read, “I love you.” I felt reassured that my heart, pulsating with my joy-inspiring passions, is my compass!
I realized what you love most enduringly in life serves a divine purpose to steer you on your path. Trusting yourself is key. As a young child, I aspired, “When I grow up, I want to be a teacher on the weekdays and a physical therapist on the weekends.” Now, as a Yoga and Retreat Facilitator, I feel aligned to that childhood calling, promoting mind-body-spirit wellness.
Today I’m honored to share with you the experiences, culture and land that inspired much clarity, simplicity and joy that continue to steer me through life’s journey. Immersing in the pure love evident in nature—from luscious rainforest trees to cleansing waters in rivers, waterfalls, ocean, and even your own purifying perspiration in the warm tropics—I trust you’ll bring home many treasures in your heart from our upcoming retreat in Costa Rica. I hope you’ll create the opportunity for yourself to join us in practicing just how to embrace pura vida (or pure life)-- as the Ticos (or Costa Ricans) say.
1. Boil water for your noodles.
2. Meanwhile, chop the kale. Massage the kale with the juice of the squeezed lemon and a moisturizing drizzle of olive oil. Set aside in your bowl.
3. Lightly sauté chopped garlic and onions in coconut oil. Measure amount to your taste preference. Add sliced sausage. (Set timer for 3 minutes for cooking. Make sure to flip the sausage.)
4. Meanwhile, chop the rest of your raw vegetables, and add to your bowl, except the broccoli. Put the broccoli aside.
5. Add the noodles to the boiling water and set timer for 9 minutes. At the remaining 5 minutes of cooking your noodles, add chopped broccoli to the noodles for light cooking--just enough to darken its green color yet maintain its crunch.
6. Add the sautéed sausage slices, garlic and onions to your bowl.
7. Strain the noodles and broccoli and add to your bowl.
8. Add spices, chopped herbs and tamari sauce to taste, and stir.
9. Happy your belly! :-) Buen provecho!
Follow Your Heart was the appropriate meeting place, a natural foods restaurant that embraces yogi living, for my lunch interview with Janette Ramirez, this month’s featured yogi.
Thrilled to celebrate the completion of her 200-hour yoga teaching certification, Janette radiated with passion for the practice as she reminisced when her yoga practice began in 2011, her first class with us at North Hollywood YMCA. Through the years, she discovered her favorite yoga pose, Warrior 2, became her progress meter on her yoga journey. “I remember you (Michelle) used to always correct me because I would over-arch my lower back. I was all over the place—physically and mentally.” Over time and much practice, she re-trained her spine to find its upright direction in Warrior 2 and steadied her focus in yoga on and off the mat. Similarly, she found grounding during major life transitions and awakened her desire to learn more about yoga and pursue teaching it.
With a dreamy smile, she described the moment when she knew she had fallen in love with yoga. In Costa Rica on our yoga retreat, practicing walking yoga in the warm rain, our group gathered in a circle at the beach, “It felt very peaceful,” Janette remembers, “Yoga makes me realize what I want from life. It got me by my feet and (rooted me) down (to earth). Yoga is my medicine. With yoga, I have a balanced life. If I have a balanced life, I’m healthy.”
A Collective Blog about Yoga Lifestyle & Inspiration
REviews of Root 2 Rise Yoga with Michelle chua:
Michelle truly lives out what she teaches. She is so much more than a yoga teacher - I learned this when I went on her exquisitely curated trip that she organized to Costa Rica this past June 2018...Hopefully like me, you'll be delighted by her effervescent love of movement, nature, and all people!
Michelle clearly stands out with her beautiful and bright energy. I love how her practice and teaching encompass body, mind and spirit. She not only teaches yoga but lives and exudes it.
Michelle not only teaches 'yoga', she embodies it fully with her heart and soul...
Michelle is by far one of the best instructors I've ever had, period. Patient, clear in her explanations and demos, and so encouraging...
My first yoga class was with Michelle years ago. You can have the best (yoga pose) sequence and not teach from your heart. With Michelle, I also feel her passion when I'm in her class. I can see she loves what she does, and she inspired me to want to teach yoga, too.
I'm so grateful to have met Michelle! Her kind energy opened up my interest in pursuing yoga and meditation. She is such an incredibly light and soul. She starts with grounding ourselves through mindfulness and breathing exercise. She brings the most authentic energy to the class by sharing the history and understanding behind poses, names, and techniques. I truly appreciate her work and impact on my well-being!
I’ve had dozens of instructors over the years, but Michelle is far and away the best yoga mentor I’ve ever practiced with. She epitomizes grace during these difficult times. Michelle has saved my sanity and my back while working from home, keeping me grounded with her sharing of yogic teachings and meditation techniques. Her repertoire of physical asanas is encyclopedic, and I’ve loved learning new poses and stretching my boundaries. Jump in, all. You’ve got this!
©2010 Root 2 Rise Yoga