For the next four weeks I am embarking on a journey into the jungle along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and I will be chronicling that journey here. As I prepare to leave, I want to reflect on all of the steps I have taken to get to this point.

My first yoga class was a yoga video (on VHS!) I borrowed from the local library when I was in either elementary or middle school. I fell in love with the meditation portion and would often use those techniques when my anxiety ran high. I practiced some in high school, but it was not until college that I fell in love with the practice, taking a class with yoga and dance master, Dana Lawton.

Dana’s class was magical. From the smell of incense as you entered to the silence of the room as you left, it was a much-needed hiatus from the stress of college. I thank God for that.

As years have passed, I have taken yoga from many incredible teachers. Most recently, I practice with my good friend and wonderful teacher MaryAnn Douvikas at 6am Tues-Fri, though there are many mornings I miss due to late nights of studying.

Though this teacher training will require a great deal of work, I find myself most looking forward to this journey as a time to just be present in my body. Dancing and yoga have fallen by the wayside as I work tirelessly to comlete grad school while working two jobs, and I am so excited to get back into a regular movement practice. Once again, yoga will be (as it has always been) a much-needed hiatus from stress.

For those who are wondering what exactly I will be doing, I’ll be at Anamaya Resort where their focus is on body, mind, and spirit. Anamaya is located in the jungle on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica in the small town of Montezuma. I’ll be there for four weeks doing a 200-hr yoga teacher training. While there, I will also be doing a teacher traing for Kidding Around Yoga (yoga for kids), so I’ll leave with two certificates! These trainings are also counting as an Immersion Course I have self-designed with Professor Jim Lawrence at Pacific School of Religion, so I will be studying three elements of immersion: 1) immersion into Costa Rica’s history, politics, and culture; immersion into the philosophy and practice of yoga; and immersion into an international community. Several of my posts here will include reflections on these three topics, as well as how I see this practice informing my ministry.

Rev. Sheryl Peterson

There is much I have to be grateful for as I begin this journey. I am thankful for the support of my teachers, parents, friends, and community. I am thankful for Orinda Community Church and the way people have rallied to cover my position while I am gone. But mostly, I have been feeling a whole lot of gratitude for my birth mom, Rev. Sheryl E.L. Peterson. I carry her spirit with me everywhere I go, but especially on this trip because it would not be possible had it not been for leftover money from her Life Insurance. Her passing has literally given birth to so many opportunities, this included. Having died on Easter Monday, my mom has taught me and continues to teach me about how there is life after death and this is but one example.

I thank God for her, and for all of you, and all the love in my life, and I look forward to sharing this journey with you.



(the photo at the top of this post is of the yoga deck at Anamaya and can be found, along with many other photos, here.)


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