Pete Guinosso on Transformation Through Yoga and his Retreat at Playa Viva in Mexico (March 13-19, 2022)

Written byIsobel Smith
Date

Ahead of his retreat at Playa Viva in March 2022, yogi teacher, Pete Guinosso gave us an insight into the path that led him to yoga and what budding yogis can expect for their practice when they attend.

Through a career in science and a long-term love of intense exercise, he brings a unique philosophy to teaching yoga which shows through in what he offers to each individual’s practice. As one of our founding properties, few destinations epitomise regeneration like Playa Viva, both in the ethos of the destination and in what it offers for those who stay there, so together with Pete’s sage teaching, the retreat offers unbounded opportunities to practice rejuvenation and kindness in many ways. The week will revolve around twice-daily sessions in the beachfront yoga shala, with unparalleled ocean views and submersion in nature and attendees are encouraged to take advantage of the best the resort has to offer during their stay, including the new luxurious treehouses to extend the regenerative benefits of their practice in. 

What does yoga mean to you?

I am reminded of a quote by Maya Angelou: ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ This quote has always been a huge inspiration to me. I graduated from my initial teacher training unsure if I wanted to teach. When I embarked on my journey to share my passion for yoga with students, I began to realize that I had been given an amazing opportunity to help people feel better and connect to their authentic selves. Yoga is a pathway of healing and reconnection, both physically and emotionally. It’s a way for us to learn how to love ourselves again. One of the first duties of love is learning how to listen or said another way learning how to feel again.

Can you share more about the journey that brought you to yoga?

I had a very active childhood. I grew up with three brothers, including my fraternal twin. We were all born within three years of each other and spent our time playing together in the woods, fishing, and riding bikes. In addition to the outdoors, I was involved in competitive sports like football, soccer, baseball, wrestling, cross-country running, and swimming.

I spent my twenties mountain biking, road bike riding, and snowboarding. I completed several half marathons, one full marathon, and rode countless century bike rides. As I started to move deeper into my thirties, I could feel the toll on my body from years of going full force.

The physical aspects of yoga first brought me to my mat. After decades of being a competitive athlete, I wanted to see if everything I had heard about yoga building strength and flexibility could be true for me. And so I went, propped my tight hips up on blocks and blankets, and practiced… a lot.

The physical changes happened right away. It took me almost a year to feel the deeper parts of the practice tugging at my spirit. I remember those first initial tugs as I started to sense the power of breath and meditation, and I found myself bringing my mind back to my practice more and more, even when I wasn’t at the studio. While I didn’t have words for it then, I was beginning to track mindfulness in my body and heal the wounds of not just the physical body the emotional body as well.

How does your unique philosophy show through in your teaching?

I am continually in awe of the beauty of this world and the human capacity to overcome our challenges and walk the path of healing. I am grateful that I get to be a guide and share this healing practice of yoga and meditation to help people walk the path of healing. As I track my own practice, I am inspired to share the challenges that I find when I get on the mat. Much of teaching is finding new ways to present this ancient practice so that it can be accessible to people. One of my great passions is running my Lighting the Path Teacher Training, and helping students grow into teachers. I love knowing that there is a legacy in teaching; that’s a beautiful motivator.

What does the retreat have in store for those who attend?

Some of you may remember Zihuatanejo as the promised land that Andy (Tim Robbins) dreamt of and finally escaped to in one of my favorite movies, The Shawshank Redemption. As Andy says; ‘It’s a little place on the Pacific Ocean. You know what the Mexicans say about the Pacific? They say it has no memory. That’s where I want to live the rest of my life. A warm place with no memory.’

‘A warm place with no memory’ is a nice description, but definitely an understatement especially when we consider that we all have been ‘locked-up’ for so long. ‘Zihua’ is a small piece of paradise in Mexico. It has a small town flavor and is a sleepy fishing town, nestled on the Pacific coast. It’s known for its near-perfect beaches and kind, light-hearted locals.

We will be staying at the beautiful Playa Viva, an eco luxury destination resort. All villas have a view of the mile-long beach located within the resort. We will have yoga twice a day and farm to table meals. In between yoga practice, you can spend your time laying by the pool, long walks on the beach, swimming in the Pacific, or checking out the turtle sanctuary. Other adventures are available upon request.

What advice would you give to those wanting to develop their practice?

Well first thing first, you don’t do yoga because you should do yoga, you do yoga because it feels good and you are a better person after you do it. Mary Oliver has a great quote; ‘You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees. for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.’ Find a yoga practice that ‘lets the soft animal of your body love what it loves’. There are so many yoga styles and teachers to choose from. Choose the one that inspires you and keeps you coming back for more.

How do you think the yoga shala and accommodation at Playa Viva will complement the retreat?

Playa Viva is a beautiful and sacred space. When we have a beautiful container, to hold space to do the inner work, we create an atmosphere that helps support our journey to reconnecting to ourselves in a meaningful way. There is an old saying; ‘We have to learn how to pause or nothing worthwhile will catch up to us’. Pausing in Playa Viva allows the sacred to catch up with us.

Can you share more about which parts of the retreat you’re looking forward to most?

The retreat to Playa Viva offers an amazing opportunity to reconnect back into the sweet yoga community. People have spent the last 2 years stuck in their homes with limited connections to the community outside their house. Shared experience is a powerful thing and when people are together in this way, connections can form really quickly. I like to start my retreats out with a sharing circle so that students can share what they hope to get out of the experience, and something unique about themselves. I find that this really helps to open people up to learning about each other, and sets the tone for having community as a big part of the retreat experience. I try to set up additional activities beyond yoga, like group hikes or dinners or day trips, that create opportunities for conversation and bonding. I am really looking forward to those shared moments of connecting to beauty and relaxing.

Join Pete at his International Yoga retreat 13-19 March 2022 at Playa Viva, Mexico to experience Pete’s teaching and the bliss of the resort for yourself. As well as an on-site tea turtle sanctuary and estuary, Playa Viva is now home to six new manta ray-inspired treehouses, all regeneratively designed and constructed, with mindful luxury a priority so you can make the most of your stay and of the retreat. Receive $300 in travel credit towards their booking by using code ‘TREE300‘ when booking the retreat through International Yoga here.

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