I had the pleasure of visiting Tamarindo, Costa Rica over the past couple of weeks. This was my first time to Costa Rica, and definitely not the last! Tamarindo is on the pacific side of this small country along the Nicola Peninsula. Sun, Surf, Sand and Smiles were everywhere. Pura Vida is alive and well!
On all of my travels, I always try to keep up my yoga practice. And here in lies the story of Ser Om Shanti Yoga Studio, run by Mariel Marmorato. I travelled with my sisters on this trip, all of us yogis, and we got the chance to share the essence of Pura Vida through yoga. Not only did she challenge us to keep our practice going while on holidays, but she also helped us continue our Spanish by teaching her classes in both Spanish and English. I took the opportunity to meet with Mariel to talk about life, the studio and yoga here in Costa Rica. Here is my conversation with the lovely, centered and talented Mariel, a former mathematics teacher now full time yoga instructor and studio owner of Ser Om Shanti Yoga Studio.
Me: What brought you to Tamarindo?
Mariel: I am from Buenos Aires, Argentina, a big city, and was teaching mathematics. I wanted to go to a place where people like to smile more intensely, and are connected with nature. We put a map in front of us and where the map was more ‘shiny’ we would go to the shiniest spot. It was either Tamarindo or Playa De Coco. The first bus stopped at Tamarindo and we stopped. I’ve been here 12 years.
Me: How do you make the jump from teaching mathematics for to teaching yoga?
Mariel: I taught mathematics for 18 years. For some, Mathematics and Yoga might not go together. But, for me, it is about teaching. I had been teaching math to those with emotional problems. Many teenagers with low self-esteem have difficulty with math. And once I was able to teach these people a concept and they ‘got it’, I felt an intense feeling of satisfaction. I learned how much I loved teaching. And, so seeing the results from my students in yoga gives me the same feeling. It is of great internal value to me. As teachers, we need to go beyond the ego. The teacher is not the center of the class. Its about the students. I have new students every class and I learn each student’s name and use their name throughout the class for personalized teaching. A personal connection is important.
Jill: What is the meaning of the name of your studio? Ser Om Shanti Yoga
Mariel: ‘SER’ in Spanish means TO BE . Of course, OM is the universal mantra and SHANTI means peace. For me, the essence of happiness is Inner Peace. Yoga helps to re-find the person that you truly are. When you go deeply into your silence, you can find that sense. Ser Om Shanti is a space that invites you to the search for your own self and to learn to be. It’s a personal evolution to be free from duties, blocks, ties, and fears. Students are motivated towards the journey within, free and healing, to discover their true essence.
Jill: Spanish and English combination was lovely and flowing. It made the class very unique, I felt like I was learning Spanish while in yoga class.
Mariel: I teach in both languages because I can express myself better in Spanish and yet provide proper direction to English speakers in their language. It is not enough to just show the pose, I want to have people listen in their own mother language as they can get out of their mind and into their body.
Jill: Inhalo – Exhalo – Why is the breathe so important?
Mariel: Breathing is the bridge between your mind and your body. Getting in touch with your inhalations and exhalations is important. It allows you to focus on your body and your breath and the quality of your breathing to confirm how you are feeling in that moment. Flowing with your breathing lets you go deeper. Inhaling is not just about inhaling air, but about inhaling Prana – life energy. And exhaling can help to release the tension and relaxation.
Jill: Would you recommend that people on holidays stick with their yoga practice?
Mariel: Definitely. I love working with people at all levels. No matter what level you are at, it is important to keep up your practice. Tourists can come for one or two classes or more. We accommodate everyone. Vacation time is a great opportunity to start something different. And for those wanting some individualized attention, I also do private sessions, for families, for couples, for injuries, and even for weddings! When you start yoga, you practice yoga everywhere.
Jill: The studio offers a great variety of classes.
Mariel: Yes. Pilates, Restorative, Vinyasa Flow, Hatha, Therapeutic Yoga. We offer a variety of classes to meet a variety of interests and needs.
Jill: In closing, do you have any final words to offer to someone considering coming to Tamarindo who want to experience your class?
Mariel: Yoga is a path to find who you truly are. …We work to develop our maximum potential, to find inner peace and to spread peace to others. By living with peace, love, compassion and contentment you can create inner peace around you and this spreads to all.
If you are travelling to Tamarindo, please don’t hesitate to check out Mariel’s fabulous studio. For more information on Mariel and the Ser Om Shanti Yoga in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, find them at www.seryogastudio.com