Pura Vida | A Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica

There have been several times I’ve cried on a plane. Most have been when I was leaving a person, or people, that I wouldn’t see for awhile. Two of the times have been leaving Costa Rica. I sat next to a woman on the plane who told me that she and her husband had spent several years living in Texas; she was a dentist, had closed her practice, and they were looking to start fresh. They looked at different cities in California, and even briefly considered living on a boat. She told me she had read about Costa Rica, and thought it might be the perfect fit. They decided to take a vacation to see if she was right — and have lived there ever since.

I cried hearing her story– as silently as possible, because it’s awkward to bawl your eyes out in front of strangers sitting uncomfortably close to you — because I understood. I knew what she felt, coming to a foreign place and experiencing the peacefulness, the beauty, and the kindness of strangers. I understood the overwhelming feeling of a place instantaneously feeling like it’s where you’re supposed to be.

In traveling to almost 20 countries and over 30 states, I’ve only felt this way in one place. Choosing to leave that feeling behind is something I can’t explain in a way other than it feels like losing a part of yourself. While I know that I haven’t actually lost that part of me; the carefree part – the ‘doesn’t need a schedule or new clothes or the perfect house or to accomplish 32479 things a day to feel fulfilled’, part – it feels out of reach. What I’ve realized, though, is that it doesn’t have to. The daily races against the clock, deadlines, things that don’t fulfill me – I don’t have to do them. I choose to.

Since returning to Texas, I’ve made a point to pay close attention to my conscious choices. I felt physically better than I had in months, in one week in Costa Rica: eating a clean diet, practicing yoga twice a day, and walking on the beach.

While I technically could attend two yoga classes a day back home, I (usually) choose to sleep in and miss the morning class, but have committed to practicing every evening. There isn’t a beach close by, but I’ve started to work a lunch-time walk into my daily routine, which also allows me to explore new places in Austin, including some healthy eating spots. I’m working towards my personal career goals, reading inspirational books, and spending extra time outside in the sun. I’m lucky enough to be marrying someone who supports my dream of one day living in Costa Rica, even though he hasn’t been there yet, himself. I’m making choices that the part of me I ‘left behind’ would be proud of.

The point of this rant, is that we all have choices, and going on this trip was one of the best I’ve ever made. I hope that this post serves as a reminder for someone, as we go into a holiday week full of pressures to set a beautiful table, cook delicious food, and cater to others, to choose to take time for yourself, as well.

Thank you to Jillian and Yvonne at Invoke Studio for leading such a peaceful week of practice, to the owners and staff at Encantada for hosting us and treating us like family, and to the group of like-minded yogis who reminded me every day during this trip, that there is so much good in the world – you just have to surround yourself with it.

Resort: Encantada Ocean Cottages
Planning/Host: Invoke Studio (Indianapolis)

Encantada Ocean Cottages Review | I attended a yoga retreat at Encantada in early November, and my experience was better than I could’ve imagined. On our last evening, I shared with our group that often we work ideas of what an experience will be like up in our heads, and end up finding ourselves disappointed, but this trip, and our stay at Encantada was a hundred times even better than what I’d imagined. The resort is so beautiful and peaceful – truly an escape from reality, while still allowing you to be on strong wifi if you choose 😉 Located directly on the beach, the setting is intimate, and we had the private pool, gardens, and beach to ourselves. (This would be a perfect honeymoon spot). The bedrooms were sparkling clean, the AC worked very well, and the beds were extremely comfortable. We had delicious, healthy meals prepared for us every day, using fresh ingredients and were able to try several different local dishes. The resort provided access to excursions including a scenic hike to a waterfall + clay bath, horseback riding on the beach, massages, a day trip to Manuel Antonio, chakra bowls, surfing lessons, and more. The owners are onsite often, and able to help with anything you need. The staff speaks both English and Spanish, and are the most kind-hearted, hospitable people. Don’t forget to ask Daniel to make you his famous Spicy Margarita! 

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