By: Carolyn “Una” Viggiani


Santa Teresa, CR

Teacher: Nancy Goodfellow,

Anusara Inspired

“Yoga. Everyday at 9 am.”

I stare at the chalkboard sign on the gate, dreaming about stretching my legs after being in the car for too long. The drive from Nosara was made especially challenging by getting the rental car stuck in a river crossing, but I guess its par for the driving course in Costa Rica. After I find a place to rest, I am ready for a good stretch in a peaceful studio. I arrive the next morning and as I drive up the long driveway, I realize that I am at someone’s house. Casa Shri is located along the main road in the surfing town of Santa Teresa on the west coast of the Nicoya peninsula. A homey studio made more serene by its location on the beach allows me to hear the waves crashing as well as see a few surfers catching their morning waves.

A tall thin woman with a baby girl in her arms greets me and introduces herself as Nancy. She’s the owner of the house as well as the only yoga instructor. Her practice is inspired by Anusara Yoga and she is in the process of becoming a Certified Anusara teacher, a highly lengthy and difficult status to achieve in the yoga world. She starts class with sounds from the harmonium, an instrument similar to an organ or keyboard that has been made famous in India. Then Nancy gives a short talk introducing us to the tantric idea of dualism, reminding us that the definition of Yoga means “to unite”.

As we work our way into the asanas, Nancy cues my legs to engage and my heart to open. The practice is made easy by the energy in the open air room attached to her house. It is packed with a mixture of locals and tourists, English and Spanish speakers, experts as well as those who are only trying yoga for the first time today. I marvel at how she makes this one class work with all the variables, but she speaks clearly and inspires a challenging class that leaves my body feeling energized and my mind quiet. When I leave, we make friends and I am grateful for seeing her humble sign on the long and dusty road.

While staying in Santa Teresa, I go back to Casa Shri as often as I can to find Nancy there every morning at 9 am ready to practice with whomever shows up. I remember her talk about unity and what yoga is truly about. Perhaps its uniting the tourists and the locals, the English and the Spanish speakers, the beginners and the advanced. At its purest form, yoga seems to go beyond any two seemingly separate things and reminds me of the underlying interconnectedness of everything.

Nancy taught for many years at the Flor Blanca Resort in Costa Rica and plans to teach at the newly opened Pranamar in the spring. In the meantime, you can find her at Casa Shri on the main road in Santa Teresa every morning at 9 am.

Yoga style: Anusara – means “flowing with Grace and was founded by John Friend in 1997. Anusara yoga is a school of hatha yoga which unifies a life-affirming Tantric philosophy of intrinsic goodness with Universal Principles of Alignment.

Yoga definition: Asana – a posture or manner of sitting (as in the practice of yoga)

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