If you are lucky, Artem will be one of the first people you meet when you arrive at Dreamsea Surf Camp of Costa Rica. 


Known as the resident Yoga guru to anyone familiar with Dreamsea, Artem will be dressed much the same as the other folks around camp, sporting the ubiquitous board shorts (T-shirt optional). As you watch his bright blonde head bob around camp, playing with the cats and distributing hugs, you might notice that Artem’s presence stands out. I found myself noticing him almost immediately. He seems to have a glow about him.

Since Dreamsea Costa Rica attracts people from all over the world, a common question asked by and to everyone at camp is, “So, where are you from?” When you ask Artem this question he will look directly into your eyes with his piercing blue ones and reply, “From my mother.” He will usually get a laugh or a confused look when he answers in this way, but, when you think about it, he is speaking the truth for us all. Another question I asked Artem soon after meeting him was how long he had been living at Dreamsea. While I was later told by some that he has been teaching yoga at Dreamsea for almost two years, he explained to me that he is here right now and that all of existence is right now.

These are the kinds of answers you can expect from Artem. He cuts through the small talk and gets right at the heart of the truth. While he is a staple of the Dreamsea Costa Rica community and a constant, bright presence around camp, Artem can seem to be a little difficult to “get to know” in the conventional sense of the phrase. This is because Artem exists in a reality wherein “getting to know” a person means more than simply knowing to what country they belong, how old they are, or all the places they have been. This way of looking at the world is partly influenced by his yoga practice, which he shares with volunteers and guests at Dreamsea Costa Rica.

According to Artem, Yoga is a way of fostering love and connection between the individual and the energy of the universe, with other people and beings in between.


 This is why he describes the yoga practice sessions he leads at 7:00 in the morning a time of “sharing” yoga rather than “teaching” yoga. He says his practice simply began with an “aoomm” and then he began the practice of flowing with the universe. Through this, he came to Dreamsea where friends appeared – beginner yogis as well as others – who have practiced “yogic breathing”. Yoga sessions at Dreamsea are usually conducted in a circle with all yogis facing one another on the yoga platform. By 7:00 am, the sun is up and a gentle, cool breeze is drifting through the leaves of the trees. The lowing of the cattle on the nearby farms echoes through the forest, and sometimes our friendly white-headed capuchin neighbors pass by through the canopy. Artem likes to end the session with everyone sitting cross legged, palms touching the neighbors to each side of the circle; a never-ending ring of healing energy.

What do you like about Costa Rica and Dreamsea?” I asked him one evening while we were waiting for the start of another delicious dinner. “I like that the climate is always warm here. You can always wear shorts and being warm saves your energy for adventures!” He likes everything about Costa Rica, especially Guanacaste, because of the beaches. An avid surfer and beach lover, he has been to over ten beaches with Dreamsea alone, and he was able to list them for me: Playa Tamarindo, Langosta, Avellanas, Minas, Negras, Conchal, Flamingo, Potrero, Matapalo, Danta, and of course his personal favorite, Playa Grande. Surfing, for him is a way of connecting the the flow of energy in the world, and I have frequently witnessed him sitting on a surfboard in the swells, dancing with his arms as though he is becoming one with the waves.

Artem is also a lover of waterfalls and enjoys the regular excursion that the camp takes to Rincón de la Vieja, a national park in Guanacaste with hot springs, waterfalls, and mud baths. He loves everything about Costa Rica and he means everything he says. He loves, “exploring the universe from Costa Rica; existence from Costa Rica.

"At Dreamsea, we are living how we are supposed to live." - Artem Khmara


Continuing to chronicle his symbiotic bond with Dreamsea Costa Rica, Artem explains  – “No walls, fresh air, exposure to nature, the sounds of nature, the smells of nature, living minimally, stars, laughter of friends, sounds of chewing fruits and foods, sounds of conversation, the sound of the shower, the sound of the grasshoppers, shaking leaves, watching the mangos grow from green to yellow across time…all the universe is present here. I connect to everything. It’s hard to describe, but there is something here for everyone to connect to.

You can almost always expect Artem to give you an answer that diverges from the usual small talk that we are all used to- the usual “Hello, how are you?” and, “I’m well.” It may seem as though he is a bit difficult to understand. By spending time with him, however, I’ve learned that, to Artem, what truly matters is a person’s way of existing-not his or her country, body, or language. “What body you have doesn’t matter. Sharing energy in certain ways so that you are putting love into the universe, so that sharing love becomes a way of being. That is what matters. Everything in life is a mystery, but people who are able to live in love are able to exist in infinity,” he says.

There is a quote from the American poet, Maya Angelou that goes, “You are only free when you realize you belong no place- you belong everyplace- no place at all.” I am reminded of this quote whenever I speak with Artem. He is constantly reminding those graced with his presence of both the impermanence of everything and the importance of appreciating every moment; of fully existing in every moment.

To spend time with Artem at Dreamsea is to witness a person who embodies the paradox that Maya Angelou describes. In other words, a person who exists in infinity, a person who is free.

BLOG CREDITS


THE WORDS: This feature was written by the talented and multifaceted Molly McCahan, who is from New Hampshire, is an environmentalist, outdoor enthusiast, and is currently exploring Central America with her sentiments at the forefront. You can follow her incredible journey via her personal WEBSITE or her INSTAGRAM.

THE VISUALS: The photos in this feature were taken by both Kolja Schulze-Rohr & Liliana Barnett.

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It's About The People.