I hope you enjoyed your Spring Break pause. Many of you yogis were able to leave the up and down Chicago weather to much warmer and sunnier climates. Lucky! One of my favorite warm weather destinations is Costa Rica. I've been there many times and every time I return I try to take back a little more "Pura Vida" with me.
It means "pure/simple life".
The Costa Rican locals, called Ticos, say Pura Vida (poo-rah-bee-da) a lot like a greeting of hello or goodbye. But it is more than just a saying-it is a way of life in Costa Rica. Ticos embrace a very simple way of looking at life. Pura Vida to them means to live life from a deep sense of passion and gratitude.
I think I'm so drawn to Costa Rica and this Pura Vida life because it reminds me of the Niyamas (personal observances) in Patanjali's second limb of the 8-limb yogic path-specifically, the niyamas Saucha and Santosha.
Saucha is loosely translated as "cleanliness" but it doesn't mean make your bed every day (although I do, haha). Saucha relates very closely to Pura Vida. When you practice saucha, you eliminate the impurities around you-toxic people, your environment, harmful situations, etc. Saucha also invites you to cleanse and purify your body and minds by practicing yoga/mediation, eating healthy, speaking truthfully and from a place of love, and living more simply, etc. When you purify yourself from the heaviness & clutter of toxins and distractions, you gain clarity to meet each moment with integrity and you begin to feel lighter, more spacious, free/clear, & expansive.
Santosha means "contentment". This niyama tells you that when you are perfectly content with all that life gives you and open your heart in gratitude for what you do have, then you attain true happiness & joy. We get so caught up in our wants and desires that we begin to equate happiness with materialism or labels. Practicing santosha frees you from that unnecessary suffering and instead fills you with gratitude and joy for all life's blessings in this moment.
The beauty of all this is that you don't need a country, a saying, the sun, nor the beach, to live Pura Vida, Saucha, Santosha or any of the other niyamas. It all begins with YOU.
Cleanse your body, your speech, your thoughts. Fall in love with life. Your life. And be thankful for it.
April brings great new class additions and workshops! Check out Marcia and Amy's Inferno Hot Pilates classes, welcome back Anton Mackey to Shri, and sign your teens up for a Mindful workshop with Ellie Needelman!
~ Jenny Guzon-Bae,
Shri Yoga Instructor