So many times in my life I have needed my faith to pull me out of some mess I’ve somehow gotten into. As my business partner Adam and I have faced the enormity of Blue Osa, a Costa Rica Yoga Retreat on the beach in the jungle on the Osa Peninsula, our faith in holding the vision for the project was called to task over and over again.
In the beginning, our lawyer stole $7000 from us. On the Christmas before we officially opened, we were confronted with the news that the Municipality was going to roll up to Blue Osa on January 2 with bulldozers and demolish all of our hard work. Two days before we officially opened, there was no water on the property and our pool was empty. The year after we opened, our water source was cut off just as the season began, and we had to find a new source. Our yoga practice became the glue that held and cultivated our faith daily, to overcome these obstacles.
How? In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali offers five qualities for those special people who are born enlightened or have achieved enlightenment – faith is at the top of the list. Later in the Sutras, Patanjali makes reference three times to surrendering to Ishwara, which often gets translated as God, only that is not correct. The direct translation is “the lord of your universe.”
Many years ago I was personally tested in my faith and ability to surrender when my femur collided with a boulder in the Himalayas. The accident took place at 8:00 in the morning. By 3 pm the realization began to set in that help may not arrive and I would be stuck up in the mountains for the night without any clothes, firewood, blankets, or warmth. I then realized that I might not make it through the night. When help finally did arrive, I was carried down the mountain in the middle of the night along pathways that were a meter wide with sheer drops down one side. When we finally made it to the ambulance and sped off to the hospital, we were then held up by a landslide for 12 hours.
Patanjali’s teaching of faith can mean many things, but the general idea is that the bigger your faith, the bigger your life will be. My faith brings me back to my yoga practice and it brings me back to what is important. On that mountain in the Himalayas, I had a choice. Be a victim, or return to faith.
In my yoga practice, I have cultivated a lot of faith – faith in myself, my teachers, the support of my friends and family, and the lord of my universe. From this faith has come a deep sense of calm that can weather any storm even those squalls when we were starting Blue Osa.
Yogi Aaron, author of “Autobiography of a Naked Yogi”, brings passion and adventure to his teaching. Inspired, he guides students to secret and far-flung locales, empowers them to realize their own limitless potential, and makes yoga relevant and accessible for the modern world. Since 2002 he has been traveling and leading retreats worldwide and currently serves as the yoga director at Blue Osa Yoga Retreat + Spa in Costa Rica. Follow Yogi Aaron on Facebook.