Juan Pablo Barahona, Shamanic Yoga Instructor And Healer
Juan Pablo Barahona, the charismatic yoga instructor and healer, is offering a Holistic & Shamanic Yoga Teacher Training, January 3-27, 2017, in his home country of Costa Rica. This 200-hour Yoga Alliance Certified Program will be held in two locations: Finca Mia, an organic farm and retreat center along the banks of the Talari River, and at Posada Natura, a rainforest sanctuary in Quepos, along the Pacific Coast. SF Yoga Magazine caught up with Juan Pablo to hear more about his background and his dynamic offerings.
AS: You have a fascinating background, growing up in San Jose, Costa Rica, and then traveling all over the world studying different healing modalities. How were you first exposed to yoga?
JPB: My parents have been doing yoga since I remember. My mother went to India; she’s always been a traveler, and she was a student of Indra Devi, who used to come to Costa Rica. When I was 9 years old, though, my brother almost died from epilepsy. We traveled to many places around the world at that time, looking for healers and shamans. The doctors told him that he had one year of life, but we found a different way to get him back to his natural state, and he was healed.
AS: That must have been such a powerful, amazing experience. Can you talk about how it led you to a path of teaching?
JPB: I have been on the path to help myself and other people from a very young age. My brother motivated me to go deep. When I was 20 years old, I started studying at the Gaia Holistic Institute – I really knew I wanted to commit myself to helping humanity, to serve. I wanted to serve everybody, to find the truth in their heart, their connection to the spirit world. I studied for six years, learning different holistic therapies: yoga, Chinese medicine, the whole thing (laughing). I’m very obsessive; I get into something and I get into it full-on. And from there, I started teaching all over the place and leading yoga, doing healing. I’ve been working in healing now for 20 years.
AS: I’d love to hear more about your experience with shamanism.
JPB: When I was 25, I got very into shamanism and studied with shamans and healers in Mexico. There are a lot of Toltec, Mayan techniques in my work. It is very influenced by philosophies I’ve submerged myself in for my own transformation. I lived in a tantra ashram in India as well, and there are amazing points of unity between tantra, Toltec, Mayan, hatha yoga, and Ayurveda. The union. We are uniting. Instead of finding what separates us, it is finding what unites us. That is what we do in the training – we go really deep.
AS: Can you tell us more about the training?
JBP: Yes, we are learning to work with nature, to use the energy – the five elements of nature – to activate our chakras and to balance our organs. Learning to work in nature and to come to balance in nature, it is something that is used in shamanism – traditionally you submerge yourself in jungles and mountains for years. This training is easier for people to access; you will learn how to do yoga in nature. We go to waterfalls, we go to the ocean. It is very beautiful, and people go deep into their own world; there is no separation: you see yourself as a butterfly, a sunset, a cloud. Yoga is always done on the mat, so isolated. The real yoga was done in nature – there was no separation, there were no mats.
AS: Do students need experience to enroll in the training?
JPB: No – it’s not about going crazy with asana, it’s more about learning to activate the energy and transform the blockages inside you and transform your life. It’s more about how willing a student is to transform and have a change in their lives, to open their hearts. We have technical elements, alignment, but it’s more from the Pranic level. It’s not about how much you stretch or how good you are at a pose, but activating the energy and aligning the chakras.
Yoga is born from within, from our own transformation, meditation and inner silence. We will explore how yoga is expressed through us, how to find our inner guru. We need to stop putting the energy on the outside, looking for the perfect guru, but owning the power we have inside. When we’re coming from our hearts, everybody is going to be touched. These are the roots of yoga: it was born from inner energy. We’re letting nature blossom through us.
Click here to learn more about the Holistic & Shamanic Yoga Teacher Training Program coming up in January of 2017.
To learn more about the author visit www.ashleyshires.com.