Several years ago, I decided to host a yoga retreat in Puerto Vallarta, which has been my second home for over 20 years. Retreats normally have a theme around which to base activities and experiences. As I reflected on what I love about Puerto Vallarta and wished to share with my retreat friends, my theme emerged. Daily life in Mexico is a veritable feast for the senses! Every day, the experiences of one’s sense of taste, smell, hearing, touch and sight remind us to live in the moment and be grateful for what is being presented to us. Most of us that spend time here in the Bay find that we spend lots of time outside, engaged in and walking through our neighborhoods more so than maybe we do north of the border. Let’s explore some examples.
One of everyone’s favorite aspects of visiting or living in Mexico is of course the delectable food which delights our sense of taste. Eating out is a hobby here in the Bay! From street food to upscale restaurants to beachside fare to family-owned off-the-beaten-path gems, there is something for everyone and not enough time to explore them all! Not only is the food incredible, but there is also an indescribable feeling of contentment when eating delicious street food from a cart on the corner after watching the cook prepare your taco before your eyes.
Now, and I’m being honest here, the next sense can be a positive or negative experience, and that being the smells we come across in our daily rounds. Maybe the garbage truck has not picked up yet, or someone didn’t pick up after their dog, or the smell of sewage that sometimes makes it way upward. Let those smells be a reminder that you have boots on the ground, you’re engaged in your life, you’re a part of your community, all parts of it! Because around the next corner, you get a whiff of arrachera on the grill or smell the salty air off of the ocean and everything else is forgotten.
Ah, the sounds of Mexico! Where to start? The soaring trumpets of the mariachi band. The neighbor’s banda music blaring louder than you wish.The sound of the waves settling you to sleep each night. The buses roaring down the street full of people going home from work.Happy children playing futbol in the street. The catchy tune played by the propane delivery truck coming through your neighborhood. The horn the plant guy with his wheelbarrow full of various flowers honks when he is near your house. The tremendous thunder that vibrates your heart during the summer rain storms. Embracing these various sounds and allowing them be a part of your experience, that is the magic of enjoying daily life
Noticing the textures of Puerto Vallarta require one to pay attention because this sense of touch, of feeling, is subtle. It is the cool ocean breeze blowing on your face and the feel of the soft sand between your toes as you stroll along the beach. How about the icy coldness on your fingers as you pick up that bottle of Corona? If you arrive to thePVR airport during the warmer months, it’s that whoosh of warm, humid air that hits you as you deplane. Or the way your feet need to feel the varying contours when walking on cobblestones
And finally, the sights of our beautiful bay. Year after year, how exciting it is to see a mama humpback whale and her baby playing in the ocean. Or experiencing the cultural magic of the peregrinaciones a la Virgen deGuadalupe in early December. The tropical climate of this paradise affords so many gorgeous plants and flowers that complement the quaint architecture. Did I mention the art that adds dimension and color to our physical world? Street murals, outdoor sculptures, and art galleries, you can spend days looking. And most importantly, taking the time to see the lovely people around you, most of whom are happy to smile and say “buenos días”.
Hopefully, you can see that living in Mexico encourages a presence and an engagement to fully take in all that life here has to offer. It was a perfect theme for my yoga retreat, since one of the tenets of yoga is the practice of living in the present moment. By paying attention to everything my senses are experiencing, I know I am not going to miss any part of this wonderful Mexican life