The following blog was posted by Meg Pearson on her site where she talks about coming to Hacienda del Sol and the experiences she had. Enjoy her story and how she learned how to dance with everyone watching…
Who says you should aim to dance like no one is watching? Isn’t it more freeing to do it whole heartedly when everyone IS watching?
I’ve just returned home from a week in the Costa Rican outback. Last June, I signed up for a nutrition and yoga focussed vacation with Meghan Telpner (nutritionista, cooking academy founder, & book author). It had been a long time coming, and a much needed escape from the Toronto cold (I hear we missed out on a week of slushy, snowy yuck to boot!). I lead a full life, chock a block full of activity, work, events, and social engagements, all of which require me to be (happily) “on” all the time. As this week away approached, I revelled in the luxury of solo travel, knowing that I could choose my own adventure while away; whether to engage in conversation, or not; join the group excursions, or not; be abundantly active, or not.
Five hours in the air and myself and three other Ontarian gals landed on Pura Vida soil (there were 28 of us total on the trip, arriving on our own time). Once through the departure gate, my heart skipped a beat when I saw Dino, our middle aged taxi driver, missing a few teeth, but beaming ear to ear, holding out a sign that read “Hacienda Del Sol”. Dino and his hand written welcome was inviting us to join him en route to the rustic sweet spot that we would call home for the next seven days.
We all piled into the SUV, and headed into the night; met by darker than dark roads, sightings of locals playing old arcade games street side, traffic stopping loose cattle, and potholes larger than that sinkhole on Finch Avenue last year, I swear. At one point, our little truck that could barrelled through a river, not skipping a beat, as we found ourselves travelling deeper and deeper into…nowhere. And two and half hours later, where we ended up was right in the middle of it. Perfection.
Now Hacienda is no posh spa in the woods, but rather a royally rustic rural camp in the jungle, complete with palm roof cabanas, outdoor showers, and you betcha, a lineup of al fresco colonic rooms. You see, this retreat centre focuses on cleansing; much of the clientele heads here for full-on detox juice cleanses, enemas included. Thankfully our holiday hosted a full menu of vegetarian fare, plus daily yoga provided my Toronto local Amber Joliat of Misfits studio fame, as well as daily nutrition workshops by none other than Meghan T herself, as well as her recently ringed hubby Josh Gitalis. We talked detox, UnDieting, and goal setting, all a part of the theme for the week, living a life of greatness.
So I enjoyed. Seven days of 8am yoga, 10am brunch, 11am food talks, and then free time galore. Hours spent hammock swaying in the sunlight, hiking to the nearby beaches (20 minutes each way for one, 40 minutes for the other, all uphill I swear), chilling in the Buddha hall with my personal yoga practice, clay baths, and massages.
The evening we arrived, I swore to spend two days in silence, and make it to the ocean each day for sunrise. Instead, I slept no less than ten hours a night, howler monkey scream fests and all, and managed to channel the zen-est me I could muster. And, with the fascinating, incredibly inspiring group that Meghan assembled for this trip, it was near impossible for me not to want to talk and talk to each and every one of the ladies (and two gents) that accompanied me in each asana, at each meal, and heck, even in the shower.
But although I didn’t adhere to my original regime, I did, for the first time in months, experience a complete separation from all the tension usually housed in my trapezius, and truly let myself disconnect. I spoke far fewer words each day, and spent much time reflecting, reading, and simply breathing.
And then on the final eve of our week together, after a delightfully satisfying dinner prepared by Hacienda co-owner Crystal Bruneau, we all gathered for a delicious slideshow presentation of the weeks happenings created my our hosts. Following the viewing, we had a sing along. Summer camp style. Followed by that? A dance party. Yes, 25 adult women, and 3 men, gathered together in the outdoor yoga space in the dark of night, dancing. We danced to everything from vintage Madonna and Lauren Hill, to Nancy Sinatra and Florence and the Machine. And then I let go.
I am not even sure how it all happened really, or even what song was playing. But I was inspired. All that week, I had spent time explaining that as a yoga teacher I plan to use my athletic styling, and strength to mold my classes, as flow-y dance-inspired vinyasa is just not my expertise. You know, white girl can’t dance. But that night in CR, I danced. A tribal rhythm, full body interpretive go-go dance that lead to my mala beads escaping from around my neck and flying across the floor during one crazed body pulsation. And I did it all inside the middle of a circle, surrounded by strangers, without inhibition, thought, or worry. All eyes on me. And I, so incredibly comfortable in my skin, let it all go. Full release. Full bliss. Full throttle.
The following morning I had a number of people comment on my “outburst”. There appeared to be an overwhelming appreciation for what they saw, my “release” seemed to have a positive effect. Most mentioned to me that they were shocked to see quiet, balanced me, act out in such a creative way. Ha. Quiet. Me. Who knew? Either way, I discovered this past week that I can be anything I want to be, and do anything I want to do, and I don’t have to have any fear. Only love. And that is what I learned after dancing when everyone was watching.