Have you noticed more and more Yoga retreats happening in beautiful and tropical locations? Does Costa Rica pop up on your feed often, with various health-conscious travelers picking it as a top location to visit? Did your best friend rave about her recent trip to a healing center or a festival in this Latin country? Trust us, it’s not by chance!
There are a few very good reasons why Costa Rica is considered to be a top wellness location in the world. The Pura vida mentality of the locals, the beautiful nature with pristine beaches, gorgeous weather year-long… the list writes itself. If you already practice yoga, you might be familiar with its lifestyle and mindfulness principles, be it going back to one’s roots, connecting with nature, or seeking a peaceful equanimity within. Upon visiting this beautiful tropical country, it soon becomes clear that the natural and wholesome environment of Costa Rica aids in achieving that yogi state of mind.
However, we also have a few specific, personal reasons why we love Costa Rica and have made it the headquarters of Hari OM School of Yoga and Ayurveda. Would you like to know them? SHHH… here is our secret:
Living (or spending time) in Costa Rica feels like you have genuinely discovered a beautiful, secret paradise on Earth. Yes, although definitely not a secret anymore, as more and more people have heard about it, Costa Rica continues to maintain a feeling of pure, raw nature. Even if you visit a beach that is populated, the mood and the environment still makes you feel connected with roots. There are only a few huge resorts in the country, the beach restaurants are literally barefoot (where floor is sand and chairs are hammocks), and many roads are unpaved. The jungle feels so real and close, because even if you are sleeping in a hotel in the middle of a town (and all are small towns), you will still be awoken by bird song and can watch howler monkeys out your window. What does that have to do with yoga, you ask? Yoga philosophy teaches us to come back to roots, back to our nature, and most importantly, in order to tap into our spiritual side, come back to a simpler life. Busy streets, constant pressure to move and go, background noise, overwhelming options for shopping, enjoyment, eating and drinking, are all distractions that are very hard to overcome in daily life. In Costa Rica, it becomes so much easier to wake early, follow the sun and moon rhythms, and take time for daily yoga sadhana – yogic lifestyle practices. Just like yogic sages who still live in India, in the mountains of the Himalayas, in their own secret paradise on Earth, here we get to go back to a simpler life. In yoga we say, simple living – high thinking.
The amazing nature keeps blessing us with abundance of delicious, healthy produce, tropical fruits, fresh vegetables, and healing herbs, many of which are native to India as well and therefore traditionally used in Yogic and Ayurvedic cooking and medicine. We get to visit our weekly farmers markets, where local farmers are generously offering insight into permaculture and food preparation. In late spring, during mango season, these heavenly fruits are literally falling off the trees and rolling on the ground in abundance. We get to energize our bodies with foods filled with Prana (life force) and learn about Ayurveda through practical application. During our Yoga & Ayurveda trainings & retreats, we take our students to farmers markets and do at least one cooking class together.
The OM is in the air. Humming birds, sound of the waves crushing against the shore, the buzzing vibration of the insects, wind in the tree branches.. the sounds of nature are so incredible, calming and purifying. We take many of our yoga and meditation classes to our favorite studio in the world – the beach. Yes, to some it gets getting used to, but that is the point! We want to remove this disconnect from nature we have all grown accustomed to, and come back to basics, to our bodies, to the natural OM vibration of Mother Earth (pacha mama).
There are so many incredibly special factors that make Costa Rica the perfect backdrop for our Yoga & Ayurveda trainings and retreats. We appreciate them all and continue to explore new ways to integrate the yogic practice with a life of nature, mindfulness, and connection. Most importantly, we love sharing our love of Costa Rica with our students and bringing nature to them through their experiences with Hari OM.
Matea Zajec is a yoga and meditation teacher, an Ayurveda health coach, a Jyotishi astrologer, and a Reiki energy healer.
Among her many passions, yoga has been the most transformational. Matea pursued a degree in Eastern Religions and philosophy and has lived in an ashram for a few years, immersing herself in yoga philosophy. She is the founder of Hari OM Yoga & Wellness, a school of Yoga and Ayurveda, where she teaches yoga teacher trainings, workshops, and retreats and is dedicated to bringing yoga practice and teachings to as many people as possible.