Yoga and Wellness Retreats
What Makes Costa Rica an Inspiration Destination
We’ll begin today’s practice in a comfortable seated position. Gently rest your hands on your knees with your palms facing up. Touch your index fingers to the tips of your thumbs. Imagine your spine is straight and tall like a palm tree as you roll your shoulders back and down like fronds giving in to gravity. In this sacred space among the ancient trees, find comfort in the clouds hanging in the tangled branches. Let the past and the future roll off like raindrops and the present fill your pool.
The practice of yoga is not supposed to be as much about our physical or geographic location as it is about places in our mind. Ideally, however, practicing somewhere that enkindles present mindfulness through the space itself — the energy, the scents, and the sounds — only helps us deepen our practice.
Many of us live in places where our yoga practice is more often than not indoors. We create spaces, or seek naturally inspired shalas, where we can reconnect with the present. For that hour and a half or so, we are there … or nowhere or anywhere that we want to be. If the “anywhere” part of your subconscious takes you by the sea, deep in a tropical forest, in a mystical cloudscape, or overlooking verdant valleys, and within earshot of waterfalls, rivers or animal symphonies, your anywhere is Costa Rica.
The selection of yoga and wellness retreats is extraordinary for such a small country that has so much more to offer tourists from all over the globe. Costa Rica’s reputation in that regard encompasses a vast gamut, from ayurveda, self-awareness, plant medicine, and sustainable living workshops to cleansing, healing guidance, energy balancing and reiki. Other retreats offer all manner of massage and spa treatments, and even cooking classes and nutrition counseling.
Any of these attractions could be taking place anywhere in Costa Rica at any given time, Nosara, Santa Teresa, Montezuma, the Osa Peninsula, the Central Valley, and the southern Caribbean coast are especially popular locales.
Retreats are commonly offered at boutique beach hotels, jungle-surrounded ecolodges, Bali-inspired villas and other types of Zen-infused accommodations. Resources and infrastructure are what enable these places to offer guests, on an individual or group basis, a comprehensive wellness experience. It requires the right spaces to practice yoga and meditation, satiate on healthy and organic cuisine, indulge in holistic treatments, embark on easily accessible nature and adventure tours, and at the end of the day slip into a deeply restful sleep in a cozy room.
According to Global Wellness Institute statistics, wellness travel is on the rise. In 2017, the wellness industry accounted for $3.7 trillion in world market revenue, with wellness tourism contributing $563 billion and $542 billion from the fitness and mind-body sector. Costa Rica has long been on the forefront of not only ecotourism but wellness trends.
The Institute of Costa Rican Tourism has documented a steady increase in wellness being a major motivator for booking trips to Costa Rica. It reports that in 2017, 36.4 percent of tourists were inspired to come here for wellness reasons. Costa Rica has ranked globally in the top 10 destinations for yoga and wellness travel according to BookRetreats.com, ACTIVE, BookYogaRetreats.com, Women’s Health and The Trend Setter.
Whether you practice yoga every day, wish you practiced more often, or have yet to show up to the mat, Costa Rica is host year-round to retreats catering to all experience levels, styles, wish lists, location preferences and budgets. Most yoga retreats in Costa Rica also offer far more than just yoga. An assortment of health and wellness add-ons may be available, and even combinations with activities like surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, nature hikes and adventure tours.
Yoga Travel Tree breaks down costs based on style of retreat, destination, classes included, transportation, accommodation style, meal options, group size, duration, and additional excursions and activities. A general price range for most retreats is between $500 and $3,000. Some high-end and/or exclusive retreats can be upward of $10,000.
Even without booking an actual retreat, though, you can still enjoy a wealth of yoga and wellness opportunities in Costa Rica. Any vacation here can be a wellness vacation.
Vertebrate by vertebrate, roll down onto your back in preparation for savasana. Let the salty ocean breeze blow over your toes, into your nose, and wisp through your hair. Feel the glow of the setting sun envelop your body like a light blanket and the vibration of the cicadas’ 5 p.m. salute. Let your breath come and go like the ebb and flow of the sea kissing the sand. Feel your body melt into the mat, the floor, and the earth. Be and let be.
Photo Credit: Jorge Russell