Teaching Yoga in Nicaragua
Georgina (or Geo as I've always called her) has been a good friend and complete inspiration to me for some years now. We grew up together in New Zealand but our friendship took some time to blossom due to the fact that we were one year apart in school which, as you'll probably relate, feels like a lifetime when you're a kid. Fastforward 20 years and here we are leading seemingly similar paths that couldn't be more unique. On her way to Nicaragua, Geo stopped by for two nights to recalibrate after a month in India.
She grew up in a house just down the road from me and went to my primary and middle school but she was in my older brother's year. One whole year older than me. It was taboo to venture out of your school year to make friends and plus, she didn't even notice me. She was the surfer chick that hung out with all of the boys and had the impossibly tanned legs. She did have this one friend, Tara, who talked to me once or twice but if you know Tara, you know she'll strike up a conversation with almost anyone.
It wasn't until we both hit University and were in the same course that our friendship began. We probably didn't even chat in class but by then there was no rule against talking to older students and I was running in the same circles as her off campus. So I'm not sure when it began but the ice had been broken and we became fast friends.
Geo took off on all sorts of adventures after that. We must've only had six months of classes and partying together before she moved abroad with her best friend. She'd been working in radio and took to the golden shores of Australia to make it big. That lasted a few years while I was finishing up my study and then she returned to the motherland to do a Marketing stint at a snow field. I'd also spent a winter snowboarding but I was working at a supermarket so it was slightly less glamorous.
Not long after, she got the super yacht bug and made her way to Europe as many Kiwi's do, to work on a yacht as a stewardess. For those that don't know, this is a popular way to earn great money while traveling the globe on a yacht. She did this for several years, over which time I was probably still studying and then venturing into some traveling of my own, and it wasn't until I saw she had done her Yoga Teacher training in India that we started chatting again. And as if she wasn't enough of an inspiration to me already, now she became my idol. Because quickly after that, she also got her instructor's license for free diving and she basically solidified herself as one of the most exciting people I knew.
She was always very generous with her advice on whether or not I should do the yachts (she voted no because she didn't think I was suited to such tight quarters and she's probably right) and where I should do my teacher training if ever I wanted to. I thought it was a bit far-fetched at the time because my idea of yoga teacher's was heavily influenced by what I saw on Instagram and because I hadn't mastered the handstand (and still haven't btw) I thought there was no way. But I continued to watch Geo as she picked up a dream job as a Yoga teacher on one of the best Yacht's in the business and she took off from New Zealand once again.
By this stage I had already traveled South America, moved to San Francisco, moved home from San Francisco, moved to Orange County, and was home for the summer visiting family. Not long after that though, I lost my job, moved in with my boyfriend in Malibu, got married in under two months, and started nannying. I was in a pretty vulnerable spot having made so many dramatic changes and I needed to focus on something. So I reached out to Geo who happened to be docked in the US in Florida and she encouraged me not to go onto the yacht's but to pursue my teacher training instead.
So I hummed and hah'd and eventually signed up last minute to a course that was starting the following month. I had never taken a class from the mentor so it was risky business. I looked Mia up online and was a little worried because all I could find were video's of her doing yoga with her dog (who I have since met and fallen in love with and totally get why she does yoga with them because they kinda don't let you do yoga without them.) I was nervous but excited and thankfully the month of waiting was full of fun adventures to distract me because Geo surprised me with a brief stop-over in Seattle while I was up there visiting my husband's family.
She jumped in the car with me and my friend Charlotte who was visiting from New Zealand and we took off on an epic set of adventures. From the ferry boats in Seattle to the Twilight town of Forks and beyond to Portland where we spent the day practicing yoga and the night dancing it up in a gay club, lounging around in a fancy hotel, and eating our way through restaurant recommendations. It was a short trip but one filled with some of my fondest memories. There's something about Geo that just warms your soul, which is why I think she has begun such a great Yoga teacher.
And I don't say teacher lightly either. Because I believe that anyone can be an instructor if they're armed with the right knowledge, but to be a teacher takes so much more. She has so much to give each of her students, holding a space for them to dive deeper into their practice and come closer to their own truth.
Since that encounter, she has returned to her teacher's in India two more times, continuing her study and gaining another 300 hours of qualification. She specializes in Ashtanga and Hatha styles and also teaches a thoughtful Vinyasa blend. She stopped by on her way to teach in a Nicaraguan Jungle Retreat for three months and we had a blissful three days of cringe-worthy Los Angeles yoga adventures.
With a hike through the Santa Monica Mountains up the Malibu Creek State Park, a Vinyasa class with my mentor, Mia Togo, at YogaWorks on Main Street, green juices at Ollo in Malibu and smoothies at Sunlife we were a true yoga cliche. But I loved it, and I was sad to see her go.
So if you're ever looking for a charismatic teacher, Geo is your girl. She'll be blessing the East coast of Australia with her presence soon, but until then if you want some surf and yoga amongst the sloths in Central America, you can find her at Rise Up.