Feliz Ano Nuevo! The bombas exploded at midnight, lighting the night sky and filling the barrios with even more explosions than have been heard during the whole month of December. Nicaraguense set afire both fireworks that exploded individually and effigies of the old year — scarecrow men stuffed with firecrackers, newspapers, and messages of a happy new year. When the explosions quieted, the visiting began – house to house as neighbors visited neighbors and friends and families mingled. After 1 am, the crowds dispersed – either early to bed or out for late night fiestas celebrating until dawn broke the sky. Don’t ever let anyone tell you the Nicas don’t know how to party.
My 2013 in Nicaragua finds me working in a hotel mornings and teaching yoga afternoons and evenings. My new co-workers are all Nicaraguans. Although many speak English, all choose to default to Spanish language, which offers a great practice for my Spanish learning. I feel like I’ve graduated to Spanish Level Two as I clarify and practice my verb tenses. I’m getting a more refined vocabulary now as I learn synonyms. I’m enjoying slipping into a routine that allow me a steady income as well as flexibility to continue offering yoga classes.
Another change the New Year brings is an offering of Kundalini yoga. I’ve found this practice a powerful way to access a meditative state and an interesting exploration of the use of mantra. I’ve been practicing my mantra and meditation solo and noticed profound shifts in conciousness, but I missed the power and community of group Kundalini practices. This inspired me to begin offering Kundalini classes every week here in Granada. I had a small but interested group for my first class yesterday, and I’ve had some great conversations with people who are curious to learn more about the practice. I’m happy to be able to offer Kundalini yoga in both Spanish and English — and of course, Sanskrit, the language of yoga. Click here if you’d like to connect for a class!
I’m happy that I’ve also been able to offer regular Hatha yoga classes to locals and tourists alike. I enjoy the way that each student is able to embody the yoga, taking the teachings into their bodies and distilling exactly what they need from each class. One of my goals of moving to Central America was to refine my teaching and also to teach more. At the point I left Austin, I’d been teaching yoga for two years but was only able to offer two classes each week. Such is the trap of managing a yoga studio — the large business demanded more attention than the yoga I yearned to offer. I’m pleased with the way my teaching skills have blossomed. I feel that the challenge of teaching yoga in Spanish, o a veces, 2 languages in one class, has helped me develop stronger communication skills overall. Teaching a wide variety of students has allowed me to apply the different lineages and teachings of yoga to many different life situations. As one of my favorite teacher-trainers once told me, the real secret to sharing yoga is to get out of the way and let the yoga flow through. I feel lately that I’m standing in that flow of yoga and Spirit is working through me.
Another joy that I’ve found as the New Year begins is that my personal practice has solidified, taken root, and grown like a strong oak tree. My daily time for practice varies from 30 minutes to two hours, but I am blessed to be making time each day for an asana and a meditation practice. This practice has given me grace in my life to live with the blessed uncertainty that each moment brings and has informed my teachings with greater depth and understanding.
So I begin this New Year with gratitude in my heart, mind, and at my fingertips. I’ve met a bounty of interesting people over these last nine months in Central America, and I remain grateful that I followed the crazy impulse to move here. I feel that each day I am more a citizen of the world, a human being connecting to the flow of prana and Spirit. Each moment offering a myriad of opportunities to learn, awaken, and breathe in joy.