BOCAS YOGA, BOCAS DEL TORO, PANAMA

ABOUT THE BOCAS YOGA FOUNDATION

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Namaste. The Bocas Yoga Foundation started out of a need to be part of a yoga community in Bocas del Toro, Panama. Living for 8 years in Tucson, Arizona, before moving here, I thrived in the supportive yoga community there. Deciding to move to Isla Colón, Bocas Del Toro, I had no idea how dependent I was on the yoga community in Tucson and found myself longing for that type of connection with others who are on a similar path. Having no support system like that here in Bocas, I decided to start a yoga community in Bocas Del Toro. Although yoga is about the individual, emphasizing personal practice, the need to create a healthy community in which you chose to belong - seemed even more important here in Bocas,

In Bocas Del Toro it's all too easy to get caught up in the natural beauty and idle atmosphere to become indolent, lethargic, and perhaps have one too many cocktails with pretty umbrellas in them. I'm all for occasional lazy days reading in the breeze, or relaxing on a boat, but as a day-after-day lifestyle there seems to be something missing -that something deeper awaits on us all, and that is simply self-realization. Sometimes getting wrapped up in the natural beauty of Bocas, we forget to look inward and see the unique inner goodness that resides within each and everyone of us. Without acknowledging our inner goodness, it's easy to loose touch with it and flounder, even though we live in a Caribbean paradise.

A regular yoga practice is the roadmap to getting in touch with oneself and it's my dream to help others become aware of the tools available to them, through yoga, to find the true, unsullied beauty that resides within each individual. If people want to come to Bocas Yoga to get toned and fit in order to look great in a bikini, well, they can find that here too! But, they will undoubtedly find that a regular asana practice brings strength and flexibility to not just their bodies, but to every part of their lives.

My initial Yoga Teacher Training took place at the Providence Institute, in Tucson. The course that I studied prepared me to teach hatha yoga and covered a vast field of yogic philosophy while emphasizing asana principles and teaching techniques. I enjoyed study of classical yogic texts including the "Yoga Sutras" of Patanjali and the "Bhagavad Gita", along with Sanskrit terminology, focusing on integrating the study of these ancient texts into everyday life. The curriculum included the history, theory and practice of yoga, pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation, professional skills, subtle body anatomy and Ayurvedic principles as they apply to yoga practices.

Along with philosophy and subtle body anatomy, my training had an in-depth study of physical anatomy and physiology, covering functions of skeletal, neuromuscular, lymphatic, circulatory, respiratory, and major organ systems. The relationship of asana practice with the principles of biomechanics, kinesiology, and the anatomy and physiology of breath was also explored.

In the Fall of 2007, I extended my study of yoga, by spending five weeks in India, a month of which was spent living in Rishikesh in the foothills of the Himalayas on the banks of the sacred Ganges River. India is a life-changing experience! During the month of February, 2009, I was in Northern Thailand where I went to study Anusara Yoga, completing the Anusara Immersions 1 & 2 courses. I plan on continuing my education in yoga - it's a lifelong process. In addition to this foundation, I have successfully completed 108 Hours of Anusara Yoga Immersions, as well as 72 hours of Anusara Yoga Teacher Training. I am on the path to eventually achieving Anusara-Inspired status. Anusara Yoga, which is grounded in a Tantric philosophy of intrinsic goodness, is a heart-opening path that I love to share with others. I live on a small, remote Caribbean island off the coast of Panama, so I travel in order to maintain my trainings with my teachers, BJ Galvan, John Friend, Jaye Martin, Kelly Haas, Katherine Wilder, & Michele Baker. It is with deep gratitude that I humbly honor my teachers. I started my Anusara path at world-renowned Yoga Oasis in Tucson, Arizona under the guidance of Certified Anusara Yoga teacher, James MacAdam, the studio being owned by Darren Rhodes. In addition to my initial training, I have successfully completed 108 hours of Anusara Yoga Immersions & 72 hours of Anusara Yoga Teacher Training and considers myself an ongoing student. Everyday the art of the experience grows. It has had the honor to study 28 hours under John Friend in Anusara Yoga in additon to 33 hours under John Friend combined with Desi Springer's Sridaiva Yoga of which I am acontinuing student of. Bowspring alignment of Sridaiva is a revolutionary new system that our understand of continues to expand upon.

When regularly practicing yoga, it's only natural to become a more content, compassionate person. This spills over into how we relate to others. Smiles are contagious, whether the people we are directing our smiles towards practice yoga or not, they are sure to smile back. It's my sincere belief that yoga can make Bocas Del Toro an even more beautiful place to be. So, please join me at Bocas Yoga and let's grow the community....

Laura Kay, Founder & Director of Bocas Yoga

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