This Is It

yogaMy name is Marian Paniagua. I was born and raised in the small coastal town of Brasilito, in the Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica. My family has lived there for generations, living from fishing and tourism activities.

It was with great effort that I was able to obtain a diploma as a nurse from the Universidad Latina de Costa Rica in San Jose, because I want to focus my life on healing and spiritual growth. The same motivation inspired me to explore yoga, which I have practiced for 9 years. I was initially drawn to the physical aspect of it, because I found it to be a better fit for me than sports. I was amazed how yoga could strengthen my body without running 5 kilometers each day. After some practice my mind got engaged, and I realized that it was not only my body that was becoming stronger and more flexible, but also my mind. Last, my spirit joined in practice, and I was happily able to connect mind, body and spirit each time. I realized that after each class I was feeling not only overall well-being, but I was also able to think more clearly, feel more love, and breath more easily.

I continued my practice as frequently as my budget and schedule allowed, until I realized that being a student was not enough. I feel the need to travel deeper into the yoga philosophy and practice, and to become and excellent and passionate teacher. I love yoga, and to love what one does is the perfect combination to do a good job. As quoted by Steve Jobs in 2005 at Stanford University, “…the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

I have had several yoga teachers over the years. They all have and share their personal magic. I have learned something positive and powerful from each one of them. However, like with everything else in life, some people touch your soul the deepest. One of them is my yoga teacher Kim Short, who among many other things I learned proper breathing.  It was difficult for me to execute some postures, and sometimes my legs trembled and became numbed, and my arms would get tired and give up. Thankfully Kim noticed and while walking by she whispered: “Marian, don’t forget to breathe”, and since then I have never stopped breathing.

Another source of inspiration is my instructor Gregory. His classes are intense from every angle; he always presents new challenges for my body, mind and spirit. He has the ability to take you a little bit further each class, and his mantra is “strong body and calmed mind”. Even during the most difficult poses and while feeling at the edge, I repeat his mantra in my mind, recover my breathing rhythm and the feeling of tiredness disappears.

I choose to take the yoga teacher certification at Anamaya Resort Retreat Center not only because I am Costa Rican but also because is located in Montezuma, one the most beautiful and magical places in the country. I know that I could be in direct contact with nature at all times, and nature is my refuge when I want to connect with my inner self. More importantly, I have received outstanding recommendations about Anamaya, about the training, the center, the nutrition provided, and the overall mental and physical experience.

As a yoga practitioner who knows firsthand the wonderful benefits that yoga provides, I enjoy sharing with others my experiences and positive changes that this practice has had in my life over the years. I always encourage those who have not practiced yoga to try it and experience change themselves. The main barrier that prevents many from practicing it is the language. Most teachers in my area speak only English, teach in English, and the locals do not attend their classes. I have met people with great potential as students but who cannot speak nor understand English. As a fully bilingual local, I know that I can contribute tremendously by reaching out to a long list of people that I have in mind and who have the potential to become great yoga practitioners. Every time I think about this possibility, it fills my heart with joy.

I wish that this message reach you. I know that soon or later, I will reach my goal of becoming a yoga teacher.

Thank you dearly for your time and consideration.



Marian Paniagua


2012 Yoga Scholarship Essay

By: Marian Paniagua Alvarez

If you liked this article and want them to win a free yoga teacher training, then make sure to vote for her by leaving a comment (scroll all the way to the bottom), and sharing this article on Facebook or Twitter. Each comment, Facebook, and Twitter share counts as one vote and you can do all three!

Are you interested in becoming a yoga teacher? Then visit our Yoga School Directory to find the right teacher training. Or, visit our Yoga Retreats page to explore beautiful yoga vacations from around the world.

Join the Conversation

  1. Geoff McCabe says:

    Marian, thanks for your inspiring essay. Good luck with the contest and hopefully we’ll see you at Anamaya one day.

  2. Emily Bronwyn Duncan says:

    I have known Marian Paniagua for many years while living in Costa Rica and she embodies all that is wonderful about this country, I can’t imagine a better candidate for this scholarship.

  3. Javier Francisco Vargas Morales says:

    Felicidades Marian! Continua alcanzando tus sueños sin limites. Mis mejores deseos.

  4. christy keil says:

    Hi chica!I’m so excited for you to do this. When I get back to Costa Rica you can be my yoga teacher. I love yoga as well! Good Luck with everything!

  5. Marian Paniagua says:

    Hola, thank you very much for the support, I am so excited about this. At first I did it just for the fun and the positive energy of it, and now more the ever I want to do this!! GRACIAS!!

  6. Cecilie Bodholdt says:

    Hey Marian! Of course you have my support – This is just you, yoga teacher!

  7. Cecilie Harboe says:

    You’ve Got my support too! :)

  8. Dina Smed says:

    YEAH I support you to 😛 good luck!

  9. Emma says:

    A joy of an essay to read, Marian. Thank you for sharing. Go achieve your dream, you will do great!

  10. Jamie Purcell says:

    You will be a great yoga teacher Marian!!

  11. Melissa Osborne says:

    I think Marian would make a wonderful and inspiring teacher. Best of luck!

  12. Sally says:

    Wonderful essay Marian. You’ve accomplished so much and why stop now? I wish you the best of luck.

  13. Gregory Casillas says:

    Marian, this is an excellent piece of writing and conveys your thoughts and convictions very well. I am honored to have inspired and challenged you in your daily practice. You are one of those students that instructors love to have, you challenge and inspire me just as much. The gift that you posses should be shared with as many others as possible. We talk about FREELY giving the gifts that we posses and being OPEN to the gifts of others. I can’t wait to be the student reciving your gift of instruction. Good Luck and I love you. Gregory

  14. vanessa says:

    Eres una persona de mucha inspiración, estoy segura que vas a lograr tu meta!

  15. Brian Blount says:

    This will be perfect for you darling!
    Best of luck – I love and miss you!
    Light & Love,

  16. David Cornelius says:

    Hey Marian,

    I can not think of a better person to be a Yoga Teacher. Marian is spiritual, passionate, smart, dedicated, hard working, and bilingual. She has not only the ability to change people’s lives with her positive attitude on life but also to also inspire us to reach new levels of personal growth. She would make a great Yoga instructor.

  17. Henrik Slot says:

    When reading Marian’s essay it was plain obvious to me that to Marian yoga is a matter of the heart. Marian is a dedicated and passionate young woman and I truly believe she will make a great yoga teacher that will challenge and inspire others in their yoga practice.

  18. kirsten bodholdt says:

    i wish you luck. you will be a great yoga-teacher.
    Love from Kirsten

  19. judd dunham says:

    I know you will be teaching soon. can’t wait

  20. dori thomsen says:

    It is truly in your nature to be a yoga guru. Keep shining your light. I pray that this or any scholarship lands in your hands. namaste

  21. Leslie says:

    Good luck Marian. I think you will make a terrific yoga instructor, so I hope you win this scholarship. Plus we can always use another yoga instructor and more classes in the neighborhood! YOGA EVERY DAY!

  22. spencer davey says:

    Marian – Somebody already said but it bears repeating, you are one of the most passionate people I’ve met. That’s a rare quality I think. Awesome essay. Good luck with the yoga!

  23. Radha Kunja says:

    Mariam, fantastic! Namaste!

    cariños and luck,


  24. Susan Contreras says:

    Hello Marian! I think you will be great at teaching yoga! You really deserve this scholarship. Best of luck!

  25. Marian says:

    Great Essay! I think you would make a fantastic Yoga Teacher! Good luck with the contest.

  26. Ri Lustman says:

    Good for you! God bless you and good luck!

  27. Clay says:

    Good luck to you Marian! You’ve got an unbelievably life inspiring spirit unlike anyone I’ve ever known. The essay was a pleasure to read but words are only a shade of what you have to offer.

  28. Rosie says:

    Marian… hope all is going well – good luck with your yoga – how great you are spreading your beauty throughout the world…

  29. Robin says:

    Marian is a powerful and inspiring woman. I had the good fortune of spending time with her when I was undergoing my own yoga teaching certification, and she impressed me even then with her commitment and enthusiam to her practice. I highly recommend her!

  30. Andrey Marchena says:

    I’m in!!! Great piece, I like the soul placed in your essay, I hope that you get the scholarship and start helping out the locals!!!!

  31. Gabriella says:

    You have an amazing energy, infectious happiness, and the unique ability to put those around you at ease. This is why you are a natural healer and will make an amazing instructor.

  32. tracy salerno says:

    Best of luck to you Marian, you would be so deserving of this scholarship!

  33. Carolina Alegría says:

    Amiga Buenas Vibras ! Lo conseguiras

  34. Katie Martin says:

    Marian, an amazingly beautiful soul, a prime candidate for this scholarship! Her passion for yoga and spritual growth will lead her into becoming a super inspirational yoga teacher!!!

  35. debbie warboys says:

    Marian has a beautiful spirit, not just in my opinion but very many as you can see from all of these comments. I have never had the chance to practise yoga with her but look forward to doing so when I get the opportunity to see her again. Good luck chica!

  36. Ana Benavides Smith says:

    I know that by choosing Marian as a Yoga instructor you are not going to be dissapointed, she love what she do. I known her for so many years we went to high school together and ever since she never want to stop achieving her goals.

    Marian has a great personality and alot of energy, people like her deserve winning plus that will be a wonderful wish for her to come true. She has many great qualities and many people will be so happy to be her student. Thank you very much, Ana.

  37. Henrik Bodholdt says:

    hey, The greatest woman, the best friend, I wish you the best of luck with your yoga pursuit, I know you have all it takes


  38. Liz Hall says:

    Good luck, Marian! I wish you the best and hope you are doing well!

  39. Mindy says:

    Hi Marian! I’m so proud of you. I know you will be a great yoga instructor! :) You are talented in so many ways and work hard at everything you do. Good Luck Friend!
    love you lots!!

  40. harry larson says:

    your passion and commitment shines brightly, through your words. i know you will inspire so many as you walk the path of a teacher and healer.
    thank you so much.

  41. Maitena says:

    It’d be a dream for me to be your Yoga student Marian, I would love it in English, in Spanish or in Hula-hula: It is a huge pity that I live so far from you. Love, Maitena.

  42. jorge carmona says:


    Gracias por inspirarnos con con que realmente usted ama hacer!

    “Si crees que puedes hacerlo tienes razón. Si crees que no puedes hacerlo, igual tienes razón”. Henry Ford

  43. Christi Bettinsoli says:

    Fantastic essay Marian! I hope you get the opportunity to take the teacher training class, extend your yoga experience and share your passion with others.

  44. café del manglar says:

    En el Cafe del Manglar estamos seguros que usted va a ser la ganadora!

    Desde ya muchas felicidades…

  45. Angela Alfieri from Inhale Exhale says:

    I met Marian recently only a month ago while giving a yoga workshop in Huacas, Costa Rica (Guanacaste) at a studio called Soul y Paz. I met Marian on the first day of the workshop and could see her passion for being a teacher right away. She is a natural. Between the depth that she has and willingness to go deeper, she possess a quality to naturally connect with people from the heart. The best part of Marian is that she loves life and takes life head on. During the workshop she shared all that she was and more not only with me but with the group that we had which was super special. We had very powerful healers in our class and truly Marian was definitely one of them. I highly recommend Marian for this scholarship as it would not only benefit her but would also benefit many in her path. I have only had an opportunity to be with her four days, but I’de love more if I could. Guess I will have to wait until next year ;).

  46. Lars Thunø says:

    Hi Marian

    Fantastic essay. You have all the right qualifications and all the right motivations. I am completely confident that you will be an exellent yoga trainer.
    I look forward to be yoga trained by you myself.
    Please let me know how you are getting along.


    Lars T

  47. Janine says:

    Great job Marian! I wish all the best of luck to you in your endeavors:)

  48. sue says:

    Existen pocas personas con tanta energia positiva y mente clara, por esta razon Marian es excelente candidata!

  49. sofia says:

    would love to recive yoga classes from you!!!

  50. Carina says:

    Beautiful essay! You’ll be a fabulous teacher. Many Blessings.

  51. Andrea says:

    Marian! This is wonderful!! How inspiring. I love yoga, and I think you would be a fantastic instructor. Get certified so I can take another long vacation- this time focused on yoga ;D Montezuma is BEAUTIFUL, and perfect for you! Good luck!

  52. P Siegner says:

    Marian, You inspire me to try yoga.

  53. Emma Hynes says:

    Marian, I am from the states but I am bilingual as well and I did my teacher training in Costa Rica. I lived and taught yoga in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. I now live here and am hoping to teach the latina community in Wisconsin. Bilingual teachers are so needed and necessary. I wish you the best!

    – Emma H. (Andrea’s friend)

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