Thursday, January 17, 2013

Healing Waters Yoga Retreat

The beauty of a yoga retreat is the fact that it takes you away from your daily home environment and you can completely immerse yourself in the experience, leaving all your cares and worries behind. Recently we organized a three-night yoga vacation for some of our yoga students from Atenas, Costa Rica.


Choosing a location for a yoga retreat in Costa Rica is always a challenge as there are so many beautiful locations offering different experiences. We have spectacular beaches surrounded by jungle, erupting and dormant volcanoes, majestic mountains, meandering rivers and many cascading waterfalls. For this particular yoga vacation, I chose the mountains in an area called Chirripo. Chirripo is the highest mountain in Costa Rica. A couple of kilometers from the base of Chirripo National Park laid Rio Chirripo Lodge, the lovely location of our Healing Waters Yoga Retreat.
The group went by bus through the central valley of Costa Rica, rolling over mountain passes and enjoying remarkable views. The drive took about 4 hours but it was worth the journey! On arrival we were in awe of the majestic scenery that serves as the back drop for Rio Chirripo Lodge. The crashing river below the hotel could be heard above all other sounds, even over the afternoon rain. The lodge owners, Frank and Orianna, greeted us with a welcome platter of fresh fruit, homemade juice and locally made cheese. After we settled into our rooms, we assembled for our first yoga class and opening ceremony. The yoga studio at Rio Chirripo Lodge is a surprise in itself, nestled among tall trees with the rugged mountains looming in the background and the sounds of the cascading river below; you sense the vibrant energy as you walk in the room. As an added bonus, a cozy fireplace took the chill out of the room as the cool evening air approached.

After the yoga class, the darkness settled as we headed to the common area of the lodge. Another inviting fireplace welcomed us and the aromas from the open kitchen got our digestive juices flowing. Shortly after, a wonderful, healthy meal was served.

The next morning we awoke to chirping birds and brilliant sunshine. After enjoying natural juices, tropical fruit and Costa Rican coffee, we met for our morning yoga session, followed by a fabulous breakfast. Then, we headed off to the nearby hot springs to immerse ourselves in pools of natural healing waters.

We continued with our yoga program during the retreat which included Hatha, Yin and restorative yoga classes. On our second morning of the yoga vacation, we headed up to the Cloud Bridge Reserve. Here we hiked along the meandering trails in pure virgin forests to spectacular waterfalls. Our afternoons were spent resting, reading, swimming and visiting.

During the Healing Waters Yoga Retreat we managed to fit in six yoga classes, two great hikes, and a trip to the hot springs. We swam in the pool, gazed at the stars from the hot tub, ate eight healthy meals and made some wonderful new friends.
Namaste ~ Leah

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