My 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.
2012 Yoga Scholarship Essay
By: Marian Paniagua Alvarez
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