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Beyond Yoga

Mention wellness in Costa Rica and yoga readily comes to mind: practising poses on a wooden deck, surrounded by tropical plants or breathtaking views of the surrounding natural landscape. But beyond yoga, there is also much more than you likely ever dreamed in the way of diverse wellness experiences! Endless versions of paradise exist here for anyone seeking places and ways to decompress.

Pristine sites for cleansing and rejuvenating abound in this idyllic country. The most obvious example is water — the ultimate source of purification. Whether it’s the ocean, rivers, waterfalls or hot springs, Costa Rica may be one of the easiest places on earth to access and enjoy any or all of the above. And there are more than a few special spots in lesser-known locales, with or without water, where wellness energy emanates. The following are some of our favorites.

La Senda

Close to Tamarindo in Guanacaste, La Senda is home to the world’s largest cacti labyrinth. Its creation on this site is associated with a strong vortex of positive and negative detected on the property. 

The labyrinth design was inspired by sacred geometry that symbolizes the harmonious balance between masculine and feminine energy. 

Lake Coter

Located near La Fortuna in the Arenal Volcano vicinity, this small heart-shaped lake is surrounded by a magnificent forest, on land that belonged mostly to the Malekus indigenous people. The lake name Coter translates as love and peace in their native language.

Legend has it that for many centuries, groups of indigenous people from different cultures and countries of Central and South America came to Lake Coter in preparation for becoming shamans, traditionally described as men of medicine.

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Finca 6 Stone Spheres

More than 500 pre-Columbian stone spheres remain intact on one of Costa Rica’s most important archeological sites, Finca 6 in the southern coastal Osa Peninsula region. However, the purpose and indigenous cultural significance of the Diquís stone spheres remain shrouded in mystery. There are many theories, some related to astronomy and the alignment of the spheres being a means of scheduling agricultural cycles. The spheres are also believed to be sources of energy and wellness for those who visit and spend time in their midst.

Click this Howler article link to learn more.

From this sampling of some special Costa Rican corners where visitors can derive invigorating energy, we now shift our focus to activities that can recharge the body, spirit and mind. Below is a list of relaxing, if not healing, wellness experiences you can choose to enjoy in this heavenly land.

Cacao Ceremony

Just like many primitive tribes in other parts of the world, countless generations of indigenous people in Costa Rica have practiced sacred rituals for healing and alignment with the higher self. These ancestral traditions were inspired by elements of nature: plants, animals and sounds.

The historical significance of cacao as a medicinal plant for the Bribri and Cabecar tribes in Talamanca dates back centuries. The cacao ceremony is a subtle and profound ritual, performed by a shaman. He shares the drink of pure cacao with a group of people and guides them through the ceremony while singing and playing ancestral instruments.

The master plant of cacao has feminine energy, believed to expand the heart and allow for introspection. It is a meeting point for the awakening of our ancestral memory, to honor our lineage and thus open and expand the heart to connect with Mother Earth.  

Cacao ceremonies are intended to help participants forgive, release and understand from a loving and expanded heart through music.

In Costa Rica you can also find many other ancient holistic practices learned from different cultures that are well known around the world.

Meditation

Meditation is one of many other ancient holistic practices that have been adopted in Costa Rica and worldwide. Peace of mind and calmness can be gained through the relaxation, focus and awareness that meditation entails. It can be effective in helping people overcome or diminish the impact of conditions such as anxiety, depression and insomnia. 

Combine the benefits of meditation with immersion in a lush tropical jungle, and the intensity of your feeling of presence is truly out of this world. It’s how you experience Costa Rica with every cell of your body.

Mindfulness

Being fully present is another way to meditate. 

Deepak Chopra, a physician and advocate of alternative medicine, says “Mindfulness is a conscious, unattached, non-judgemental awareness that is useful to bring clarity to mind and more insight, intuition and creativity into one’s life”.

You don’t have to be a guru to observe and use all your senses to be present. However, specially trained experts can guide and teach you how to unlearn your obstacles to mindfulness and return to this simple, yet not easy or straightforward practice. Costa Rica’s exquisite scenery is definitely conducive to the practice of mindfulness.

Sound healing

This is a healing method that uses sound vibrations to calm your mind and body. Expect to feel relaxed after a session, with a deep sense of well-being.

Bells, kyeezees, tingshas, gongs, tuning forks, chimes, Tibetan bells and Himalayan singing bowls are some of the instruments that have been used by sound healers for hundreds of years. 

Just as the vibrations resonate at frequencies consistent with those of our body, the sounds of these ancestral instruments harmonize perfectly with the rainforest’s natural melody. Listen carefully to the cicadas and you’ll know what we mean.

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Breathwork

Breathing exercises are another means of bringing yourself to the present moment. This is an ideal practice for improving your mental, physical, and spiritual health. By regulating your breath, you can overcome heavy emotional and physical energy blocks that have interrupted the flow of your life force.

There are several subtypes of breathwork such as Pranayama, holotropic and rebirthing, which can help you with trauma and post-traumatic stress, anger issues, anxiety, depression and chronic pain. Each practice is different, depending on the kind of healing you seek.

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Silent retreats

To be in silence with your own thoughts can be challenging, yet extremely healing. Silent retreats provide a unique opportunity to start journeying inwards into the depths of our heart, mind, body and soul.

Silent retreats are offered at a few different venues in Costa Rica, ranging from a secluded beach setting to a remote mountain top far from the city.

In combination with guided meditations, satsang, yoga, delicious healthy foods and the splendor of nature around you, a silent retreat is a reward for yourself — trust us!

Non-violent communication 

Another path to improved wellbeing is through compassionate communication with others, and even more so with yourself. 

Non-Violent Communication (NVC) is described by its founder, psychologist Marshall Rosenberg, as “an integration of a spirituality, with concrete tools for manifesting this spirituality in our daily lives, in our relationships, and in our political activities.”

Learning about compassionate communication alongside Costa Ricans, perhaps surrounded by nature, can change the way you are connecting with your emotions and needs in life.

Tai chi and movement

Tai chi incorporates smooth, continuous, circular, slow and very harmonious physical movements guided by each breath. Practising tai chi can increase concentration and help balance the mind and body, stimulating the circulation of your energy. It is recommended by health specialists as an alternative therapy to optimize and reduce physical and physiological limitations.

Many seniors love tai chi. And for people of all ages, beginners or those with a regular tai chi routine — what better place than Costa Rica to practice the art of this movement form?

These are just some of the most transformative holistic wellness experiences you can find in this small piece of paradise, whether you are just visiting Costa Rica, enjoying an extended stay or living here year-round. Wherever you go and whatever you prefer, there are infinite possibilities for enhancing your health and well being.