May 10, 2010

meeting with silvia {an interview}

Four years ago I started practicing yoga in Costa Rica with a wonderful teacher, Silvia Monge. I got instantly addicted to her classes. She is an amazing person and a very dedicated teacher. I would like to share an interview with Silvia. Enjoy!

Tell me about your background?

When I was 7 years old I saw a ballerina dancer on television and that same day I asked my parents to enroll me in classes because I wanted to be a ballerina. They were very busy and did not take my insistence seriously until one night when I woke up crying and went to their bed and mumbled that one more day had passed without me dancing... so they had no other choice but to listen to me and take me to the National Dance Workshop. This is how modern dancing became my passion for many years of my life. I had a great teacher not because of his knowledge in technique but also because of his philosophy of the body and movement. I studied with many different dance groups and also majored in Psychology from the University of Costa Rica.
I became interested a great deal in therapeutic dance and other arts that interpret the body as something more than just a mechanical thing and that honor the relationship of mind, body and the emotions as a single truth.
In my country Costa Rica however, there were no schools or people that could teach any of these techniques at depth. My passion took me to reading and sharing with others to learn more.

Silvia in Avellanas. Costa Rica's Pacific Coast.

Who and what inspired you into practicing yoga?

I think it was my innate love to connect with my body and my inner self and the certainty that I developed since early age that the body is a metaphor of our emotions, our desires and thoughts and also a delicious gift of joy and pleasure to relate ourselves with everything.

For some years I lived in the outskirts of the city in a beautiful coastal location in the Pacific called Malpais. I started practicing Ashtanga Yoga and I there I found an interesting community with whom I practiced regularly and had so much fun just talking about yoga for hours. I think that this community inspired me very much.

Silvia in Avellanas. Costa Rica's Pacific Coast.

At the beginning, Ashtanga seemed to me as an aerobics class. I thought it was the American version of yoga made for gyms. I kept on going and thought that what I would do was apply what I had learned in Buddhist Zen and this is how Ashtanga started to reveal itself and taught me a great deal.

How long have you been practicing yoga?

I have been practicing Yoga for 9 years. I started when I was pregnant to my second daughter, Emma. I always joke that I started practicing thanks to my cravings because during class I could only think of crossing the street to a small Salvadorean kiosk to eat a “pupusa” with lots of hot peppers.

with Kenny Graham

Where is your favorite place to teach yoga?

I think you create the place when you enter each class but of course there are physical spaces that are nicer than others like the Shala in front of the sea where I started practicing. Once you start teaching your class, the inner self of each one present starts to mix with the others and something beautiful is created. I could say that my place is in the people and I love when people bring their intensities, their will powers and their worlds to each of my classes.

Silvia's latest workshop with colleague Vanessa Cavallini

I have the privilege of teaching Yoga at Jardin Kapoli. This time of year there are “Yigüirros”, the national bird of Costa Rica and also known as Turdus Grayi or American Robin nesting on the roof of the house and many birds tweeting all day on a tree called “carne asada” and the water of the stream runs providing us music for the Savasana. This is a magical garden in the middle of the city so I am blessed for having this.

What or who inspires you?

I have incredible teachers like Sianna Sherman, Noah Maze o Kenny Graham whom I see only a few times a year. I have friends who also share yoga with me and with whom I practice and work and they are all my inspiration.

I must say that my students inspire me as well and now that I think about it, more than anything else. I have learned more and more than just as one of my tantric teachers, Douglas Brooks says, the community of “Kula” who are the “guru”.

in capotasana with Sianna Sherman

Is there a place you would like to go live?

I am good where I am right now because it is the place that provides me with what I need at this moment; the school for my kids Santiago and Emma, my work and fortunately I have a house that I can just take off and leave the doors open even though I live in the city. I am very happy going bare foot and with my feet on the ground surrounded by nature, in the outdoors, the mountains and with green all over and a river close by. To me nature reminds me of who I am, it makes me be very happy.

Santiago & Emma

Any hobbies?

I like to dance tango. I like walking with my friends or going to the river. I have enjoyed swimming for a long time.

Silvia & Emma at home in Costa Rica

Your favorite food and drink?

I like foods infused with herbs and aromas like lemon grass or ginger o hot peppers. I like light food with ingredients that are not too prepared like Mediterranean or Thai. For example imagining that chocolate can be a good ingredient to go with eggs I find just fantastic.

In a county like mine fruit shakes are a marvel… so many fruits can be mixed creating so many flavors!

Your favorite motto?

"The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

with Kenny Graham

Your favorite virtue?

I appreciate virtues all for equal because each time someone shows me one I really find joy in it. I perhaps jump from one to another according to what I am living at the time or of what I need to learn or cultivate or what I may need to nurture on to teach me and my kids. These last weeks in my life I have been inspired by the Goddess Kali who has many virtues but the one that is resonating in me is that of being honest, being true and transparent. Kali reminds us of the virtue of being true and being what we are and not “beating around the bush”.

Silvia in Avellanas. Costa Rica's Pacific Coast.

Silvia teaches yoga on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays at Jardin Kapoli in Escazu. San Jose, Costa Rica. Don't miss out attending one of Silvia's classes next time you're in town.

Many thanks to Silvia for sharing a bit of your life and practice with us!!!

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