A Moment with The Sanctuary at Two Rivers

A Moment with The Sanctuary at Two Rivers

Liz Lindh is a self-proclaimed “rebel.”

Only she doesn’t wear a leather jacket and ride a motorcycle; instead, she’s on a mission to create beauty where it didn’t exist before.

The yoga teacher, acupuncturist and Oriental medicine doctor has always been open to unconventional thought: In her mid-twenties, she became fascinated with alternative healing and began exploring everything from meditation to herbal medicine. That passion propelled her on a path to many varied, edifying experiences like working to heal and strengthen athletes, researching stroke patients, traveling as a private acupuncturist with a rock band and creating wellness programs for cancer patients through The Wellness Community.

All that led her to become director at The Sanctuary at Two Rivers, a boutique, eco-conscious yoga retreat destination in Costa Rica. There, she created Lakshmi Rising School for Yoga, where she offers Yoga Alliance-approved yoga teacher training certification programs.

Here, Lindh shares why bringing love into the world starts with getting to know ourselves:

Live The Process: How did you first discover yoga?

Liz Lindh: I’ve always been a bit of a rebel. Approaching life in a self-directed way and thinking independently is an integral part of who I am. Growing up, I was taught to be reliant on Western doctors and medications for healing. There was no concept of wellness or connection between lifestyle and health. This didn’t seem right to me, so I began seeking different perspectives.  

I found my way to my first yoga class from a community bulletin board at a food co-op in a small town north of Seattle. It was the mid 1990s. I would go once a week with two friends to a magical studio deep in the Pacific Northwest woods. Judy Kelley—wife of acclaimed artist and natural builder, SunRay Kelley—taught soulful classes on their property. The studio itself was a beautiful part of the experience. It was straight out of a fairytale, made from cob (an adobe-like material of mud, sand and straw) with organic curves, giant skylights and a spectacular wooden floor. From the very beginning, I knew I wanted to teach and share the peace and inner awareness that I was able to access through yoga. 

LTP: You have experience from a master’s degree in Oriental medicine to time spent working with stroke victims and as the private acupuncturist for a rock band. How have those varied focuses informed your interests and practices?

LL: During my late teens and early 20s, I was very fortunate to have discovered yoga, meditation, 5 Rhythms conscious dance, qi gong, acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathic medicine, Ayurveda and energy healing—all at about the same time and long before they were mainstream. I had an instant connection with each of these modalities. Pursuing these interests has shaped my life in fantastic and unconventional ways.

There are so many effective and wonderful healing techniques from functional medicine to prayer. Healing itself is such a mysterious thing. Sometimes the healthiest people get sick and never get better, and others maintain their existence on fast-food and cigarettes and appear to be doing just fine. It doesn’t seem fair and doesn’t make sense. The law of cause and effect isn’t always apparent. Studying yoga philosophy and the concept of karma has been helpful to me; I’ve learned that there are many things in this life experience that we are not meant to understand and that we are not able to cognitively process. This is why, in both conventional medicine and with integrative therapies, certain treatments work for certain individuals and not for others. Some of the best advice I ever received from a teacher is, “When the karma is done, the cure will come.” Sometimes the karma, or necessary action, is doing everything and anything; sometimes it is to simply surrender and trust.

As my interests have evolved and my expertise has deepened, what I am most fascinated by is understanding and harnessing the power of the mind, and also emphasizing the importance of proper nourishment. Nourishment meaning everything that we feed ourselves with: not just food, but also the air we breathe, water we drink, the thoughts we think, the beliefs we invest in, the rituals that give our lives meaning, the environments where we spend time, the media we expose ourselves to, our relationships, access to art and connection to nature.

LTP: What makes The Sanctuary at Two Rivers different from other retreats and yoga teacher training destinations?

LL: I entered the scene at The Sanctuary during the first season the center was open for business—February 2013. I have been here now for six years, cultivating the growth and guiding the evolution of this amazing project together with founders Perrey Reeves (activist, actress and inspiring woman) and Naganath (my partner).

The Sanctuary is unique and in a class of its own for several reasons: This is the perfect place for self-study, personal growth and connecting to nature. Everything about The Sanctuary supports that process from its conception. It was envisioned and brought to life by two passionate and gifted yogis as a place for people to come retreat, learn, practice, awaken, get inspired and, quite literally, “Live The Process.” Sacred intentions and purposeful design infuse each and every aspect of this mystical oasis. Everything we do here is 100% sustainable and eco-friendly from the plant-based, farm-to-table Gaia Gourmet cuisine to the solar-powered, tropical modern zen jungle lofts. 

We are nestled one kilometer up in the jungle, with flowing rivers as our northern and southern boundaries, the Pacific Ocean to the east and a mountain as our western border. One of my favorite rituals to share with our guests is an early morning starlit hike up the mountain to one of our yoga platforms, called “Skylab,” to watch the sunrise over the ocean.

LTP: Where in Costa Rica are you based and what is it like to live there?

LL: I live in a tropical dry forest jungle on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. This is one of the planet’s five Blue Zones, where studies have shown that people are most likely enjoy a high quality of life infused with purpose, connection and longevity. 

There is a rare innocence and undomesticated wildness here, both in the land and people. It is a place that does not have a long cultural history and nature is clearly the boss. We have two different types of monkeys (capuchin and howlers) who swing from colossal trees, countless colorful birds creating their own music, gorgeous beaches and no paved roads for miles.

It is absolutely incredible to live immersed in nature, in conversation with her cycles and rhythms. I have to admit that being so remote and living at a yoga retreat center has its own challenges and can be quite intense, but, more than that, it is a potent opportunity to create community and to connect with the amazing people from all over the world who come to have profound experiences here. We live totally off-the-grid, nourished by farm-to-table, organic, plant-based Gaia Gourmet cuisine and fresh natural spring water. (No exaggeration—some of the best food and water in the entire world).

LTP: What does happiness look like to you?

LL: Happiness is drinking fresh coconut water in the shade with my daughter.

LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more each day?

LL: “Living the process” means doing my best and keeping it real. We all have mundane tasks, obligations and chores that we would rather not have to focus on, but—when we can stay present and approach all parts of life with wakefulness, mindfulness and love—everything shifts. Life becomes a spiritual practice and an opportunity to create beauty where it didn’t exist before. Learning about who we are, what we are good at, where we are wounded or stuck and understanding what we have to share that will make the world a better place is all a part of that process.

Slow down, notice the now, savor this breath and make the most of the present moment.

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