This past June, I had the honor to actualize my dream of creating a space where diverse individuals could come together to let go of their separate conditionings—as we all have—and simply play and be. The physical location I chose for this is where I learned how to reconnect with my own inner freedom while living there years ago and where a childlike innocence still pervades a culture that deeply values harmony—having no military and living with respect for Mother Earth: Costa Rica. In my eyes, travel is about opening your perspective and cross-cultural sharing of our loves, values and gifts to bridge gaps in our understanding as humans who together inhabit one home—this planet. While this past month completed the fifth consecutive year of our Costa Rica Yoga Retreat, I’m inspired and invigorated like it’s the first.
The itinerary that’s evolved through the years included group gatherings of all sorts: horseback riding to magnificent waterfalls, practicing Hike + Yoga at waterfalls and the beach, zip lining over the rainforest, mingling through silly and more reflective games and activities, sharing meals both home-cooked and restaurant-hopping to connect with locals, walking on safari at the national park and much more. After rural village eco-living in the mountains the first two nights, we landed at our second home for the week in Manuel Antonio beach town, where our traveling tribe unleashed more independence to live like a local choosing activities for their free time, like riding a bus to the local Farmer’s Market, lounging and dancing at the beach with Costa Rican locals, taking a surf lesson, parasailing in pairs, or rafting down the local river. As nature in the tropical jungle showered heavy rains intermittently, we learned to adapt to whatever circumstance arose and literally go with the flow of life, pure life, or as Costa Ricans call it, pura vida. That is the essence of freedom, living in a state of inner calm no matter the situation.
And, as we learned to live together as different personalities under one roof for a week and as global adventurers visiting another culture’s home, we practiced peeling layers from the illusion that we are separate from each other. Sharing the massive heart of Source or Divine Intelligence or Higher Consciousness (or whatever you like to call it), we all celebrated joyfully to witness our tribe members’ marriage proposal at the waterfalls and our group’s escalating boldness while braving one longer and higher zip line after another. Tears blessed the earth as we connected, soul-to-soul, sharing our memories and wishes for each other on our last night in Costa Rica. What’s truly amazing to realize is that the freedom and love we filled our cups with in one week overflows into the next chapter of our daily life journey, whether seeking happiness abroad or sitting in our cars driving to work and choosing happiness within. Every moment we are breathing, we have a choice to free ourselves to live in the present and see the beauty of our interconnectedness, that gifts us the free will and responsibility to live in joy and spread love.
Retreat or not, remember you always have a choice to be free.
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.
Check out our upcoming retreats here!
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