Katy Stahl, Devon Schmidt, and Brandy Erazo will be the leaders for Day Yoga Studio's 2015 Costa Rica Beach Retreat. Here are their answers to an interview conducted by the retreat organization.
What does it mean for you to "be something more" as part of your yoga practice, teaching, and your intentions for your retreat?
Katy: I'm not sure that I am something more but I do feel connected to something far beyond my limit thoughts in my mind. I feel the connection to the universe.
Devon: I am always trying to stay connected with my own inner wisdom in my personal practice and sometimes that means stepping out of my usual boundaries and comfort zones on and off my mat while facing new challenges Sometimes I find that being something more is as simple as letting go of things that aren't working. When I can explore this through my practice it helps me to come back to why I am a yoga teacher and I can better serve my students, my family and the community. In my teachings I enjoy weaving in spiritual principles while encouraging students to challenge themselves but to also be compassionate with themselves when it's needed. My intentions for this retreat are to have an amazing time sharing it with others who enjoy this practice of yoga in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Brandy: Yoga for me is my perspective on life. I would be lying if I said that asana wasn't still a major force in my practice, but I've come to realize how strongly this practice influences everything I do. While I do experience great joy in practicing on the mat, my practice off of the mat guides my perspective in life. It allows me to step back, re-group and navigate through all that is placed before me on this path! As a teacher I bring my truth forward to share with my students. Life, just like yoga, is a practice. With this truth illuminated, growth is able to occur. Whether we are learning to connect to our breath, move through a challenging posture, or release our bind to ego...we practice. My hope is to inspire each student to be all that is possible in this life!
Who has been your greatest influence and why?
Katy: My children! I hear and see my own words and actions in their words and actions. A constant reminder to always be loving first. Plus the grace children show in their ability to forgive is amazing.
Devon: So many people that have influenced me in positive ways and I don't think I can narrow it down to one. I am grateful to have trained with many wonderful national and local yoga teachers and am inspired by each and every one of them. In addition the people that I have contact with on a daily basis, my husband, kids, friends, the teachers and students at Day Yoga are the ones that inspire me the most because they remind me to live up to my fullest potential and to be of service to others.
Brandy: My greatest influence has been my husband. He has overcome great obstacles in his life and has helped me to find strength and grace within myself.
If there was a yoga pose or mediation practice that described you - what would it be and why?
Katy: Tree pose- If I'm rooted and grounded then sprinkled with light and fed with water I will grow. If not, I wilt.
Devon: Half Moon- I love the combination of strength, flexibility and balance that is required in that pose and I strive to incorporate these important qualities in every situation in my life!
Brandy: Natarajasana- This posture requires great openness, extraordinary balance and complete focus. It has been one of my favorites since I began teacher training in 2010. The asana itself is beautiful but broken down it reflects all of the aspects of my life: openness to accept challenges in life, balance between family and career, and focus to live life completely!
Other than yoga, meditation, nutrition - what are some of your passions?
Katy: Making sure unwanted pets have a home.
Devon: I enjoy hiking, biking, swimming, spending time with family & friends and trying anything new and fun!
Brandy: If I'm not practicing or teaching yoga, chances are I'm caring for our large family of seven! One of my other joys in life is baking; bread being my specialty! To me, the entire process is very meditative. Beginning with just a few simple ingredients and gradually creating something beautiful for the entire family! Gardening is another passion of mine that is both relaxing and rewarding!
What is on your "Costa Rica Bucket List?"
Katy: Don't have one. Going to let the flow of the week be my guide!!
Devon: On this retreat I plan to visit Arenal Volcano, swim in hot springs, spend time at the beach swimming and relaxing, hiking, go to the Cloud forest, eat amazing local food, and practice lots of yoga of course!
Brandy: Having just left Central America, I'm looking very forward to returning! I've certainly heard of the beauty and serenity that Costa Rica offers. If I were to create a to-do list it might look like this: listen to all that surrounds me, absorb the possibilities, reconnect with life, practice heightened awareness, and most definitely play with the monkeys! :)