Sharing the Gift of Transformation through Yoga: Melisa Cuetara and Silvina Cámara February 12 2016
Miami resident Melisa Cuetara was raised in Costa Rica and is Spanish by heritage. Ten years ago, she began to study and practice yoga; in 2010, she became a certified instructor. Her primary practice is Ashtanga inspired Vinyasa flow, featuring Power Yoga and Pilates. She is also a Reiki master and certified in Thai Yoga Body Work/Assisted Yoga. Four years ago, she began to do yoga retreats in beautiful international locations. Her most recent one was here in Costa Rica, returning to the country where she grew up to do a four day retreat "Connect With Nature" which included two yoga classes a day, meditation, silent walks and time for beach and sun.
Joining her in leading this retreat was Argentina born Silvina Cámara, who arrived in Miami, Florida in 1995 to pursue a singing career and record music for Disney World Studios. In 2001, after a life changing event, yoga became her greatest passion and new way of life. She became a power yoga instructor in 2007.
We recently had the opportunity to talk on their last morning, sitting beachfront at the Backyard Bar and Restaurant in Playa Hermosa, CR. Here are some excerpts from the conversation.
PVBG: How did you two meet?
Melisa: Actually, the way we met was after I had broken up with my ex boyfriend and was super heartbroken. I've always been healthy without going to doctors; my brother told me, "You are going to heal through this girl that's amazing. She's a yoga instructor and you girls will become best friends."
I went twice every day for nine months to cry and to do yoga. And I was healing. It was such a good transformation, and I let go with so much love. She was my inspiration to help others. I was doing real estate in Miami at that moment. I thought if yoga is a way to heal others I want to help others the way that I healed. So then I became a yoga instructor and we became friends.
PVBG: Silvina, your first passion was music and that led you to Miami...What genres do you prefer?
Silvina: Pop, rock, mantras. I do originals: I like to sing covers, that's how I started -- in a little band, I was singing covers.
PVBG: That's awesome. Do you watch the Voice and American Idol?
Silvina: Yes (smiling) Actually, I went to the Voice; Usher is one of my clients…He took me to the Voice because he is one of the judges there,
I was dying to sing that day.. I realized I want to do this again
When I opened my yoga studio I stopped singing professionally, I miss it so much. But now as part of our yoga retreats we are considering to add sound healing because I sing mantras and I like to work with the voice.
Melisa: She has a beautiful voice.
Silvina: And Melisa is great at Thai body work.
Melisa: Thai body work is a deep stretch, it's assisted yoga. I'm not a massage therapist. So that's what I usually do in my private sessions and when I work with athletes of the NBA, professional tennis and soccer players. That's what they really want, they don't want a yoga class. It's a very good healing practice because you heal through touch. It's very important to have touch. In Thailand, Bali and all these places the people don't go to doctors. They go to get Thai body work.
Our food arrives, typical Costa Rican breakfast of eggs and gallo pinto, along with toast and fresh local fruit. Silvina then gave thanks for the blessing of the food, nature, friendship, thanking the people who prepared the food, the farmers, the beautiful blessing of our meeting. She then says with emotion, "I love this place, I don't want to go!"
PVBG: Miami's a different world, verdad? You girls live in a different world in Miami.
Melisa: My life is very healthy in Miami. I live in front of the beach and I go to yoga on my bike. I try to make my life as organic as I can. I appreciate Costa Rica, I love it; I lived here most of my life, for me Costa Rica is normal. It's my background, my nature.
Silvina: When I was younger, I used to have a lot of ambiton, like I need to be doing stuff like this and that continuously., I recorded my first album when I was 17, but I was doing too much too fast. But then something happened and I'm really happy being able to chill without getting anxious now. I really feel like I don't need anything more than I have. I really like it here…
Melisa: The path is being able to enjoy everything and to have a balance. You can not go to extremes.
Silvina: We just live. People live like they are going to live forever.. We are lucky to be living the amount of years that we have lived…
Melisa: I don't feel my age, Silivina doesn't feel her age. …
Silvina: The moment you take life too seriously you get old. The way you feel inside is the way you look outside. The important thing is to keep playing. Keep singing, keep dancing… The things that create the anxiey and fear are the expectations… when people expect things to go a certain way; sometimes life has bigger things for us and we are just limiting ourselves. You know,, maybe your path is bigger, and you're not allowing it to manifest itself. You have to relax and then life happens. It comes to you.. You don't pursue it like crazy.
Melisa: When you make that silence with yourself is when you get all the answers. Because we are very used to listening to everyone and not to ourselves. You have to be okay to be alone and make time for yourself.
Silvina: And I'm afraid for the new generations, the kids are on the phones and ipads continuously.. We need the eye contact, the sharing of the energy, the hug, the human contact, cultivating relationships.
Melisa: That's why I loved growing up in Costa Rica, because we would say "let's go play in the mango tree and let's get jocotes." And even our snacks were healthy-- mango with limon and sal, or papaya. If we wanted something sweet, we would have papaya with leche condensada.
We depend on social media too much. You have to be aware of what are your weaknesses. I find even with myself I have to leave my phone, if not I will have it in my hand, and be constantly checking with facebook, instagram, my email..
Silvina: We need to surf more (laughing) Everybody should surf and do yoga.
We couldn't agree more!
To find out more about classes with Melisa or Silvina, or how you can sign up for their next yoga retreat, check out Melisa's website at www.MeliCuetara.com. Follow her on instagram @melicuetara and @aleggingaday.
Silvina can be reached through her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Silvina.Camara.Yoga. Follow her on instagram @silvina_yoga.
Thank you, girls, for an amazing visit together and fellowship. We hope to see you next time in Costa Rica or perhaps in Miami :)
All Photos provided by Melisa Cuetara, (Meli Yoga) and Kate Hanley of Pura Vida Board Gear
Kate is the owner of Pura Vida Board Gear, a surf brand that promotes surf and a quality, positive lifestyle. Currently living near Playa Jacó, Costa Rica. she enjoys connecting with the culture and diversity of the community. Connect with her on instagram @puravidaboardgear Find Pura Vida Board Gear on Facebook. Subscribe to email list here. Photo: Jorge A. Russell, Playa Jaco