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Yoga, Surf & Adventure

April 26 - May 2nd

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Iboga Plant Medicine

Share your own thoughts and experiences at our Facebook page and explore more insights, artwork, and photography of treatment facilities and sessions!

October 25, 2013

By: Costa Rica Yoga Spa -- Iboga

Our Iboga research here at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa has proven to have remarkable effects on our guests. As we utilized the inter-connectivity of yoga, Iboga treatment, relaxation, spa treatments, and a plethora of potential activities such as surfing or zip-lines, we have created an innovative technique unlike any other in the world. This has allowed us to narrow in on maximizing the potential for one to achieve a complete and enlightened transformation. Our extensive research has shown the following:

  • 32 year old male from Wales, U.K. found himself 100% healed from severe anxiety in crowds - 1 treatment


  • 36 year old female from Boulder, Colorado has been 100% healed from alcoholism - 1 treatment


  • 23 year old female from Portland, Oregon has also been 100% healed but from methamphetamine and heroin addiction - 5 treatments


  • 53 year old female from Jupiter, Florida suffered from depression and was 100% healed - 1 treatment


  • 33 year old female from Toronto, Canada was tormented by black mold until treated. She became 100% healed - 1 treatment


The first Iboga retreat openings for Costa Rica Yoga Spa will start November 16th. Visit the Iboga Facebook page for photos or more information and make sure to "Like" our page!. The link is located above this post and please feel free to message us with any questions, comments, or concerns.


September 26, 2013

By: Louie

When I contacted Costa Rica Yoga Spa for an Iboga session it wasn’t because of an addiction or a deep depression, but a step forward on what is called plant work. Iboga is a medicinal root from a very special plant.  If it dissolves the mental patterns that enslave addicts, I wanted to see what it could do for me and the mental patterns that society has laid upon us! And at the same time work on a spiritual journey that started some time ago.

The yoga class before the session was a great way to get started, and the setup, with sage and music included a guided meditation that created an environment that made all fears fade. Darin and Shena are the best and you can tell just how much they love what they do here! My experience was amazing, and once you go from the physical to a deeper stage the night goes smooth into sunrise.  Going back to work the next day I had the most productive day I have had all year. I can’t wait to do it again.

Iboga Retreat

September 25, 2013

By: Tara

Deep sinking fighting to come up on top. Who have I become? I have so many questions as to whom I am.

I can only learn from within. Flying through time to realize I am only who I want to be . Iboga takes me to my childhood through a portal so indepth I can see far beyond my past . Ancestors reach out to me . Where did I loose myself?  where have I been for years? Fighting the game reaching for that one high . It's time to let go time, to trust and beleive in myself .

Iboga, I thank you, you have shown me the answer to my existence on this planet where time can take me.I am now prepared to move forward.

Iboga Retreat Experience

I work here at the Yoga Spa as a hostess, so I wanted to try Iboga to understand what our Iboga guests are experiencing to be able to better support them in their stay here.  Darin and Shena, and some others here believe very much in this plant, and I was skeptical, believing we are capable of overcoming anything with the simple power within ourselves. What I learned that this is exactly where Iboga took me- on an intensely unimaginable journey within myself that I learned so much from.  I came out of the experience feeling clarity and peace, like I have freed myself of so many unneccesary thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and untruths that I have carried with me for too long.  It is as though I have rewired negative thought patterns and I feel very confident to be myself and live the life I have always imagined.  If you are reading this because you have somehow discovered the possibility of using this extraordinary plant, I believe you will be so grateful if you go for it!

Highlight of The Yoga Paradigm Teacher Training

August 20, 2013
I feel that this was so meant to be for me, that not only everything in my life aligned perfectly so I could come to CR, but also during the time I have been here I feel like everyday that I wake up with a question in my mind, somehow I get an answer, whether is something someone says, or I hear it in a specific song or i might read it on one of the books we have. So I guess that one of my haha moments is watching that synchronicity. It has validated some of the things I already  know intuitively and it has allowed me to give more credit to myself and my intuition.
Physically the haha moment has been to realize that even when I have been practicing yoga for several years, my alignment was not right and I was hurting myself. Thanks to this training I have been able to re-learn the proper way to do each posture and in that way receive the full benefits of the practice.


200/500 Hour Yoga Teacher Training

July 19, 2013

By Michele Netto

When I was a child, I was a gymnast and dancer.  I loved the freedom of movement and meditation.  As I grew older, I missed the physical and mental centering that my earlier experiences with gymnastics and dance brought me.  Originally, that is what brought me to yoga.  I again found that space in both my body and mind.  I felt rejuvenated by my practice, but struggled disciplining myself to a daily sadhana.  Life became busy and I neglected my practice more and more.

Over the past two years, I have slowly returned to a more conscious practice and thought about doing a yoga teacher training.  But I had doubts. I’m not advanced enough. I’m not thin enough.  I don’t know enough about the philosophy or anatomy.  I thought of every reason under the sun not to do it, even though my heart wanted it. 

Once I found the Costa Rica Yoga Spa and The Yoga Paradigm, I knew I had found the program I needed and wanted.  It was a cold New England winter day when I sent in my application, dreaming of doing yoga in the gorgeous rancho. 

And then I arrived. 

It has been everything I have needed it to be and then some.   It is an incredibly supportive, educational, and comprehensive program.   I feel strong again.  I’m remembering what my body can do and how I can let go of the monkey mind and center myself through yoga – opening up channels to both root down and let go.  I have been supported and encouraged to reach my full potential. It’s been a beautiful process.

The program has also reminded me that we need others to sometimes shine a light on our truest selves.  The community here, including the staff at the Spa, our teachers Rebecca and Ashley, and my fellow teacher trainees, has helped me see myself better.   Whether it has been through physical assists, rich conversation or the consciously prepared meals, I have been blessed by my sangha.  The love given and received here is energy of the highest power.  It illuminates truth in the heart, mind and soul.

It is nearly impossible to define a singular highlight of my training because each day, each hour, brings new moments of joy and discovery.  When I leave, I know that each of these discoveries has served a unified purpose: to reveal my truth so that I may live my dharma.  There is no greater highlight than being given the time and space surrounded by the beauty of nature and each other to refine my highest truth.  For that I have infinite gratitude.


If you want to learn to control your thoughts, control your breath. 

Truth is one, the paths are many.  Everyone gets to the top of the mountain in his or her own way.  Once there, the view is the same.

Relationships renegotiate themselves all the time.

Holding on to anger is like holding a hot coal – you’re the only one getting hurt.

Slow down. See. Have a bigger vision. Take action. Create change.


High Lights of the Yoga Paradigm YTT

July 19, 2013

By: Marie-Joelle Gosselin

Even if I love yoga, I wasn't really thinking about doing a yoga teacher training few months ago. As I was having an amazing time at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa two months ago, I heard about the Yoga Paradigm Teacher training with Ashley and Rebecca and I immediately knew in my heart it was the next step for me to take. It was also a perfect opportunity for me to go back to the Yoga Spa , a very special place where the energy, the people and the land are so unique and awesome that it makes you feel at home as soon as you put your feet there.

Here I am, two months later, and I realize now that the decision I made that day was actually the best gift I could have give to myself. To describe this training in one word, I would say "Powerful". This experience is life-changing. It helped me to use my words and my presence as an inspirational tool to share the light I have inside of me and help others to ignite their own. It helped me to become not only a yoga teacher, but a Teacher with a capital T. More specifically, the breath work meditation and the Pranayama practices we did was a big highlight for me. It allowed me to experience and embrace the healing power of the breath and be grateful for this unlimited and most effective remedy that is always available to anyone. Finally, I would say that, on top of the wonderful location of this training that goes beyond all expectations (even beyond those you're going to have after reading this post), the duo Ashley and Rebecca definitely makes the Yoga Paradigm a unique and incredible experience. They put all their heart and wisdom in their teaching and they know how to enlight the sparkling and juicy side in everyone. The schedule is so well balanced and in tune with the group that the experience is a bliss from start to end. I'm so grateful. Namaste :)

A Clear Choice

July 4, 2013

By: Erik Snyder

Sometimes the path forward is clear. Other times we're not so lucky. So, when I awoke this morning to the beautiful arco iris outside my door I knew immediately there was one less decision I would have to make in the long string of decisions that determines one's path through the day.

This morning the first choice of the day was clear. Actually, more iridescent than clear. No doubt about it, we were going to surf the end of the rainbow at Ostional! True to light, of course, solid glassy surf awaited us in Osti.

Pura vida,



Do You Have The Discipline To Be A Free Spirit?

June 11, 2013

By: Justin Blackburn


Here at the idyllic Costa Rica Yoga Spa we are grateful to have an expansive variety of yoga retreats come through- everything from Kundalini Yoga with Sat Devbir Singh which will be from July 27th to August 3rd to a Yoga Adventure retreat with Sarah Plummer and Lisa Schlelein which will be from July 20th to July 26th as well as the highly anticipated yoga teacher training where yoga devotees will be receiving their 200/500 hour Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher training certificates. We also open our intuitive, verdant grounds to any fresh, exciting ground breaking experience we find awakening and inspiring. Last week’s 5 Rhythms workshop with Amber Ryan and Kate Shela here brought its own unique, awakened wide-eyed inspiration.

If you are unfamiliar with 5 Rhythms do yourself a favor, look it up and go get your groove on! 5 Rhythms is a movement meditation practice developed by Gabrielle Roth in the late 1970’s. Roth describes the practice as a soul journey, and says that by moving the body, releasing the heart, and freeing the mind, one can connect to the essence of the soul, the source of inspiration in which an individual has unlimited possibility and potential. Here at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa we so appreciated Amber and Kate, day and night, dancing forty or so guests into the source of their inspiration. As a result, we felt the unlimited potential of every single beautiful being who stayed and danced with us.

A beautiful new friend I met named Angela opened up about the retreat, “This retreat opened my heart immensely and helped me feel more connected to the people around me and to spirit! It took me back to my center and allowed me to shine!” And that shine definitely poured from every pore in her body as we hugged goodbye on the final day. It is so powerful to be able to witness the spirit and oneness that these retreats provide for the souls who embark on these great journeys. It is one of those things you cannot explain to someone until they experience it. For Jenna, another 5 Rhythms guest, coming to the retreat was much more of a calling than a choice; “I felt called to be here and I answered the call of my soul and now I feel more alive in every cell of my being!”

With all the strict tasks and routines we humans inflict upon ourselves and each other, it is so refreshing to see a mode of spirited jubilation that is all about just being yourself in whatever forms that manifests. Michael, a very sweet gentlemen who attended the retreat, put it perfectly:

 “The beautiful thing about Five Rhythms as a moving meditation practice is that we not only acknowledge the feelings that arise like you would in a sitting meditation practice but also embody them by giving them a shape, a repetition, a dance. So whatever you are processing, you are processing with your whole being.”

Wow! It feels like I have some dancing to do. What about you?

Love Forever,




Ibogaine Therapy Interview With Certified Iboga Facilitator Darin McBratney Continued...

June 10, 2013

By: Justin Blackburn


Justin – Tell us a little bit about what people can expect when they arrive?

Darin – Well I like to make sure everyone who comes here for Ibogaine Therapy is calm and grounded. I like to start everyone off with a colonics with a small microdose of Iboga. It helps the person relax. I take them right over to Divinity Spa where a registered nurse will provide a colonic for them. She definitely notices when a person is on Iboga and when one is not. She now kind of requires the person to be on Iboga when she gives them a colonic because the cleansing results are much better. I am also working on trademarking a new type of Yoga called Iboga Yoga which is all detoxing poses and twists. We are really trying bring out the blocks here. When my natural path doctor, Shena, arrives she will be helping me develop this new program as well.

Justin- So let us know a little more about your own experience with Ibogaine Therapy?

Darin – After taking my dosage up to 14 grams, which was all I needed, I purged and laid back down with my eye blind on. The next thing I know I entered on a spiritual journey. At first you definitely feel at peace. I do not want ever want to refer to this plant as a drug or as a hallucinogen because I don’t think it is either. I journeyed to another realm that’s not on this plane. I was flying through the universe, dimensional traveling through the universe. At the same time I am completely able to narrate the whole scene which is what is so completely cool about this. People can travel into these other realms and have conversations with other beings from these realms and I can hear their side of the conversation and they can narrate everything to me. So I went journeying which didn’t seem to last long, but at the same time you are not aware of time. There are a lot of different terms for how people feel while they are on Iboga and I do not really like the terms but you are very wobbly, you need help to the bathroom but at the same time you can also be reliving different parts of your childhood which are meant to give you lessons. There are also other visions which are all beneficial and cleansing for you if you can take it in. Also it is like a google search engine where every question you have will be answered. People take Ibogaine Therapy for two reasons: healing or spiritual. Either way you take it, every answer you need to anything you have ever wondered is right there. Iboga basically puts you in front of a mirror and shows you who you are while it also gives you your true purpose in life. So basically you are on this spiritual journey for three hours and your intellect is through the roof, all of your questions are being answered and some of it might not make sense to you but it is all for a reason. Iboga doesn’t waste any of your time at all.

Join us next time for more on this incredible medicine and all the infinite healing possibilities it helps us access.


Love Forever,

Justin Blackburn



Follow-Up With Our Guest and Dear Friend Ruth

June 9, 2013

By: Justin Blackburn


A couple weeks ago I posted a blog about The Costa Rica Yoga Spa’s dear friend Ruth. If you can remember, Ruth stayed with us at the Costa Rica Yoga for a whole month. Not only did Ruth come to enjoy Costa Rica Yoga Spa’s lovely facilities, she also came here with a mission: a goal in mind to generate well-being so she could be in tip top shape for an upcoming diving expedition she desired to embark upon. The last blog I wrote about Ruth was to discuss with her the intentions she set for her time here. Today’s blog is all about the results!!!


Justin – So Ruth straight to the point, did you meet your goals?

Ruth – Yes, I have achieved what I set out to do and definitely on the way to continue them by putting these good habits into place.


Now if you care to join me, say “Hip, Hip Hooray” and celebrate the wonderful manifestation this beautiful woman created in her life! For all of us who have goals, we know how satiated we feel in our souls when we successfully accomplish what we set out to do. From all of us at Costa Rica Yoga Spa – Congratulations Ruth!

From my perspective Ruth is an inspiration to all. I am also grateful to be able to witness someone work so diligently. No matter how many yoga classes we had a day- Ruth was there. Every pilates class- Ruth was there. Even the Five-Rhythms Sweat Your Prayers we host on Sundays in the Yoga Rancho- Ruth was there. Every workout with our personal trainer Kristen- Ruth was there. Ruth even helped out on the Finca! Yes, Ruth intentionally spent some of her time helping us by picking up rocks, helping build a sweat lodge, and working in the new greenhouse. How awesome is that when the guest takes her free time to help out the place where she is staying!? It was actions like that, going above and beyond, that led Ruth to realizing her goals.

But it wasn’t all hard work for Ruth, she took the appropriate time to rest and play by relaxing and taking full advantage of all the wonderful activities we offer at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa. During her time here, Ruth joined on a Miss Sky Canopy Tour, a night tour to Ostional Turtle Nesting Beach, Surf Lessons, a waterfall hike into the jungle, a Monkey Tour, a trip to San Juanillo’s magical beaches and much much more. The waterfall tour was Ruth’s favorite.


Justin- Were there any challenging aspects to the experience?

Ruth – Yeah, making the mental change but Kristen’s (the Costa Rica Yoga Spa personal trainer) advice really helped when she said “1,2,3 do it!” It is much easier to put things in motion here than to do it by myself.

Justin – Any last words about your Costa Rica Yoga Spa experience?

Ruth - I will miss the people and the food the most. Everyone treated me so kindly and invited me in as one of the family. I really love the family style supportive friendly atmosphere. I am also blessed to learn the skill of yoga and all the amicable other guests I met here too. Darin is really blessed to have gathered all these people from all over the world. It is great fruition that all these wonderful people have come together at the same place.


Ruth most definitely became part of the family and we are all going to miss her dearly but the inspiration she gave us all will live with us forever.





Interview With Certified Ibogaine Therapy Facilitator Darin McBratney (Continued)

June 3, 2013

By: Justin Blackburn


Justin – Please tell us about your first experience with Iboga?

Darin – My first experience was about six o’clock at night at sunset. Now you want to do Ibogaine Therapy in the evening because you are up all night. It lasts for about 23 hours.

Justin – Is Iboga really intense for 23 hours?

Darin – No, Iboga is really intense for three hours.

Justin – How much Iboga do you administer?

Darin – What I do in Ibogaine Therapy is I adminster 2 to 4 grams. 14 to 24 is a clinical dose. What I do is microdose 1 to 2 grams of Iboga at the beginning to make sure one does not have an allergic reaction to Iboga and they are comfortable. Then I take them up to 4 to 5 grams to let them experience the full feelings of the Iboga, to allow them to experience enlightenment, to let them experience feeling like God, to be bursting with the feeling of God and warmth radiating out of your body. That is the sensation you get. So I let that feeling set in and let people ride that feeling for a little bit.

Justin – So do you ever stop there? Do you ever give someone just the microdose?

Darin – oh yes, a lot. Ibogaine Therapy really helps with people who have anxiety or depression. My mother for example has anxiety and I give her a microdose and everyone around notices what a huge difference it does for her. It makes her much more calm and relaxed. 
And when it comes to the dosing I do everything through kinesiology so it takes all the guess work out. So far the accuracy has been 100 percent. Most people are anywhere from 14 to 26 grams. I only had to take 14 grams. I didn’t need anymore. I will not go over 26 grams.

Check back in the next few days for more on Ibogaine Therapy with Darin McBratney and what you can expect upon arrival and the first treatment. Thank you for joining us.




The Healing Laughter Of Comedy Night at the Yoga Spa

May 31, 2013

By: Justin Blackburn


One of the beauties of the Costa Rica Yoga Spa is never knowing what can happen, which was most definitely the case for Lisa of Amsterdamn. Who would have thought upon arriving for a delightful stay at a yoga spa that you might also have the chance to fulfill a lifelong dream of performing stand up comedy? This is what happened for Lisa!
Here at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa our goal is to create the best vacation ever for all of our unique guests, so we offer a variety of fun loving activities. Anything from flying though the skies on the Canopy Tour to observing the miracle of the Turtles Nesting at Ostional to chilling with the monkeys at the Sebu Sanctuary in Norsara, we are all about giving you the experience of a lifetime!

I ma glad to announce the newest addition to the adventure menu: A Comedy Night. Before I came to the beautiful Costa Rica Yoga Spa I performed stand up comedy around the US so the terrific people here at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa gave me a chance to perform in the Yoga Rancho. When Lisa of Amsterdam found out about this she became ecstatic with joy, explaining to me how she has always dreamed of performing stand up. And even though at first she was a little nervous, she quickly allowed to let go of doubts through the positive vibrations of the folks at the Yoga Spa. Lisa was hilarious and seemed at ease- a natural! Lisa puts it in her own words:

“It was awesome even though it was a little nerve racking to stand up in front of about 15 people I barely knew and try to make at least one of them laugh. I wasn't sure it would work out well but Justin really gave me a lot of confidence from his encouragement and brilliant advice. Once I got into it, I realized I was having heaps of fun and wished I tried doing this ages ago! If you feel you might be able to do it - you probably can! Coming here, I expected to find a place of peace, ground myself -- do some yoga and eat great food. Never thought I'd get the chance to perform standup!” 
As human beings in this world we can allow life to get pretty heavy sometimes but if we permit ourselves the healing powers of yoga or laughter (or laughter yoga!), there is no limit to the great mountains we can climb and the fascinating galaxy we can orbit. Lisa also felt that creating jokes from real-life experiences felt really therapeutic, granting her silly seeds of new perspectives. And when we are able see these new perspectives, we can create that new life we all desire. 
Even though she had to leave the Yoga Spa last week, I am asking all of you to look out for Lisa from Amsterdam because she is absolutely hilarious and now that she knows the power of her humor, she can inspire people in comedy clubs everywhere to take life a little less serious and have more fun laughing!
Take a visit to the Costa Rica Yoga Spa; you never know what dreams will be fulfilled here as we are whole heartedly dedicated to co-creating the greatest vacation of your life!

Love Forever,



La Cabeza de Agua

May 28, 2013

By: Justin Blackburn


Hola beautiful people! Today at Costa Rica Yoga Spa we are celebrating Cabeza Del Agua, or Head of Water, and what could be more appropriate than us celebrating it in the abundance of rain! Cabeza Del Agua commemorates the dawning of rainy season. Some people could look at the rainy season here in Nosara as a disappointing time that keeps you inside with fewer tourists coming to appreciate the beautiful land. But here at Costa Rica Yoga Spa we embrace the rain and allow it to expand our points of attraction. The universe is constantly showing us the stream of abundance everywhere but if we are stuck in our own little box hiding from the ‘rain’, it can be difficult to see clearly the limitless the flow of the universe. Here in Nosara during the rainy season all the Costa Rica Yoga Spa-iens and I give thanks to the Great Mother Earth and the abundance she provides for us all.

The rain also grants us with an abundance of introspection. Last night for example, at the delicious Rancho Tico there were notably fewer tourists while accustomed locals braved the downpour for delicious local food and drink with a smaller crowd. And there is nothing much more relaxing than resting in savasana in The Yoga Rancho after a full body-opening yoga class as the rain gently pitters upon the thatch roof.

Perhaps counterintuitive to sun-seeking vacationers, I suggest one coming to the Costa Rica Spa during the rainy season and dancing in the wealth of rain; feeling a soul satisfying tranquility to expand throughout your being as you gain a deeper understanding of this damp abundance.





A Brief History of Iboga

May 26, 2013

By: Justin Blackburn


Hola beautiful people! I hope you are feeling fully the divine nature that we are in every one of your cells. If you are, thank you! If you are not, maybe my this piece of my extensive interview with Certified Ibogaine Therapy Facilitator and Administrator Darren McBratney can help place those feelings into fruition.

Justin – Tell us the history of this plant?

Darren – Thousands of years ago a Shaman from the pygmy village in Gabon, Africa killed a porcupine. His wife cooked it up and he felt all these healing effects from it. He went and tracked down where he killed it and found out it was eating this Iboga plant. This is where the legend starts. They began using for twelve year old boys as rites of passage. They used it in small doses to heighten their senses as they went out hunting. They also used it for healing purposes. Then it made its way into the Bitwi tribe which is 3 or 4 million strong in Gabon, Africa and they started using as rites of passage and for different rituals and what not. Even the president of Gabon is an advocate of Iboga. Its been in Gabon as well as different parts of Africa. It has to grow for four years to become potent. The use of Iboga is in the bark and the roots. I use the Iboga root bark. The traditional way is to take this bark and wrap it in honey and make little balls of it and then the Iboga is ingested then they have the ritual. I grind it down into a powder and mix it with ginger and water and honey. I always like the person to drink a little bit at first and if they can’t handle the bitter taste of it I place the Iboga in little gel capsules. First of all person must be checked out be checked out for medical reasons. They must have a good heart and a good liver. Because it does bring your heart beat up and it does flush toxins out of your liver which can corrupt the liver for a little bit. It is the Godfather of all plant medicine that I know of in my research. I have tried others like Illusaka which is a distant cousin of Iboga but nothing wants to cure you more than Iboga. It goes directly to areas in the body in need of healing. It is a neurotransmitter resetter. It resets you to before you had the problem, be it drug addiction or the ailment, arthritis, lupus, the list goes on and on for what Iboga actually does treat. I can’t think of an ailment in which Iboga would not benefit someone. I am still doing research for it. Other people are doing research for it. I work with Gita. I work with Maps, a group that does research out of Santa Cruz, California. I am gathering research for these two entities as well as myself. And as for my own experience I had a devastating case of Ciguatera and I took the Iboga plant for the first time right here at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa not knowing what to expect. I took it with a facilitator next to me and my experience was so profound which is why I do the treatments for it. My experience with Ibogaine Therapy was not just natural it was supernatural, with Iboga you might think you need to go to a Shaman or something but the plant itself is the Shaman. The Shaman is in the plant. What we do in here at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa with our Ibogaine Therapy retreats is we let the plant do its work. We are here to make the guest comfortable in everyway but we allow the plant to do its work because that is Iboga’s destiny I believe.

Stay tuned for more experiences from Certified Ibogaine Therapist Leader Darren McBratney from here at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa as well as other experiences from others as we learn the inner workings of this powerful master that we know as Iboga as well as the inner workings of ourselves.





A Special Guest Poetry Piece

May 24, 2013

By: Jeanie Bazela

The following poem was written and inspired by guest Jeanie Bazela's experience here at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa during her weeklong yoga retreat Experience the Magic with Jeannie Laslo Douglas. As you read, we invite you to share the experience she expresses through her delicate words.

New Moon Near Rio Montana (5.9.2013)

Namaste to begin the day
The howlers Howell waves and follow
And the birds competion song, rooster and gecco along
And a moo or two
As the night lightens and the sky brightens.
White flocks relocate
And we notice the living lands mandate,
To smile and meditate.
Coffee strong to move along,
To join this life in our own song 
--- ohm, ohm, ohm. 

Ohm Shanti Shanti.
Thank you, Jeanie, for sharing your beautiful experience with us!


The Iboga Experience: Hosted at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa

May 22, 2013

By: Justin Blackburn


We are blessed to be hosting Ibogaine Therapy Retreats at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa this September with our esteemed licensed Iboga retreat leader Darren McBratney. Sometimes hailed as the ‘stern father of plant medicine’ due to its blunt manner of giving one what they need rather than what they want, Iboga (also known as Ibogaine) has been used for centuries in West Central African cultures such as the Bwiti to take one much deeper into the mystery of life and answer any questions one might have within themselves.

Iboga shamans speak of using Iboga to go deeper, not farther. They believe their plant medicine journey is not just a passageway to the spirit realm, rather a complete journey into the infinite nature of the God soul within us: that which connects us all to our perfect divinity. Iboga is known as the most unique medicine on Planet Earth because of its ability to cleanse anyone of even the most deep-rooted habits, beliefs, and addictions. Although it is impossible to describe the Iboga experience in words, many people who have experienced it explain it as coming face-to-face with your Self in a state of whole-hearted honesty that allows one to release all blockages to living out their fullest, highest calling.

Iboga is also an incredible medicine to help with drug addiction. It hosts an incredible 93% success rate with treating heroin addicts. A large majority of serious addicts never relapse after just one Iboga treatment. Iboga achieves this by clearly calling upon and bringing up the ‘dark’ parts of oneself from which users are trying to hide with drug use. Iboga acts as a guide to show and cleanse us of the deep-rooted causes for our harmful patterns. Iboga has also been known to cure everything from Cancer to Diabetes to Post Tramuatic Stress Disorder and so much in between.

 In upcoming posts, we will explore our own Darin McBratney’s personal journey with Iboga in which he was cured of a disease after years of hopeless searching through western medicine. Stay tuned!






Spreading the Love: Living, Working and Sharing Our Personal Practice

May 18, 2013
By: Justin Blackburn

Living and working as a part of the Costa Rica Yoga Spa team provides a unique opportunity to practice awareness and consideration of our fellow human beings’ needs and feelings. Our family like atmosphere consisting of guests and staff alike requires everyone to tread lightly and act with consideration of the delicate balance of needs that are always present here. Because we genuinely care about one another’s personal, professional and spiritual needs, there exists a natural desire to keep the ship running smoothly for everyone. We live and work in close proximity and all of our work is closely inter-related so we notice when someone is having an off day, feeling overwhelmed or in need of some time away. Whether it is an act as simple as cleaning off the yoga mats after practice, returning a glass from our room to the kitchen, covering someone’s shift or letting someone know how much we truly appreciate them, we do everything we can to let each other know we are loved and cared for. This attitude of appreciate for the unique gifts that each member of the CRYS family brings to the table is what preserves and magnifies the magical retreat-style paradise of our beloved yoga center in Costa Rica.

One of the many wonderful things about exuding love and compassion is that we all want and needs it yet we all experience it, give it and receive it differently. Some people are very boisterous and ready to hug it out with anyone while others are more subdued; expressing loving behavior in quiet, action based ways. From the chefs’ daily manifestations of nurturing our physical bodies, to the permaculture team who show love to the land, to our hosts and hostesses who are on-call to make sure that every guest feels like a cherished part of our family, it is our mission to understand the beautiful, unique workings of every human being and do our best to create harmony on all levels. Resident yoga instructor and staff member Katherine sums it up well:

“I love to see the transition from when guests first arrive as strangers to when they leave as extensions of our family. This is what sets Costa Rica Yoga Spa apart from other prestigious yoga retreat centers around the world. We are smaller than many places, and we have limited resources with which we have to orchestrate what I would consider small miracles (at times). We have faith in each other and the guests see that, they can’t help but want to join in.”

We hope that you will come to experience our magical and miraculous home soon for a yoga retreat or a simply relaxing holiday in Costa Rica. If you haven’t checked out our events page recently, take a minute to see what’s happening: we are very excited to be hosting our first ever family yoga retreat from June 15- 21st. If you have a family and enjoy a healthy lifestyle of well-being, yoga and outdoor activities, this is perfect for you!





Transformation At The Costa Rica Yoga Spa

May 17, 2013
By: Justin Blackburn

Nestled on a high mountain peak after miles upon miles of dirt roads hidden from view by lush jungle growth, Costa Rica Yoga Spa guests find themselves a world away from any remnant of chaos. Upon arrival the luscious beauty, flowering abundance, tranquility and positive energy contained on this land begin to saturate one’s whole being. 
Some come to dedicate their energy to the Yoga Spa’s diverse array of yoga instructors who guide them deeper daily into their mind, body, and spirit. Some come to surf off of the many nearby Pacific facing beaches. From the consistent, inviting waves of Playa Guiones where beginner to advanced surfers hit the waves daily; to the wickedly foreboding challenge that is right off shore from the black sands of Ostional. Some come to deepen their personal practice through a yoga teacher training just like The Yoga Paradigm 200/500 Hour Teacher Training Program coming up from June 29th to July 20th. Some come for a family retreat in Costa Rica to really discover the pleasantries of family bonding in such a heavenly environment. Others come to relax, feet in the sky, smile on their face, eyes gazing gently to the sea, waiting for the deliciously nutritious meals that our homegrown Costa Rican chefs have to serve up. Yes, people come to the Costa Rica Yoga Spa for many different reasons and to name them all would never do everyone’s’ intentions justice. 
This week, I sat down with our month-long guest and friend Ruth on the way to the beach, to find out about what brought her here. Since before she even arrived boarded her flight from Sydney, Austrailia, Ruth made it clear that she was coming for a personal transformation. Wow, that feels good just to write - to go somewhere with the intention to truly transform. That is something only a brave, courageous soul who has a heart-strong will would even begin to contemplate.
“My mining project got shelved so I decided to take a year off to do what I wanted for myself. So I Googled ‘wellness ad health” and Costa Rica Yoga Spa came up in the Central American Region. I read the Trip Advisers Reviews and they were excellent.” 
Another amazing thing about Ruth is she had never done yoga before. To want transformation is brave but to use an avenue such as yoga without ever trying it before is total downright warrior pose in my book. Ruth informed me that the yoga is definitely helping her in reaching her goals and she is noticing a difference everyday, “I am not a pretzel like some people, but this morning I went straight out from cobra to downward dog without going to my knees.” Ruth’s statement encompasses the wonder of the transformation process: noticing the little changes that add up to the full transformation of mind, body, and spirit. 
Not only this conversation, but many with Ruth have brought a smile to my face. Any time anyone is answering the call of their heart I can’t help but feeling moved and inspired. Ruth, you are an inspiration to me. Thank you. And the way you let me know how your stress levels have dropped significantly in the 2 weeks you’ve been here, I can’t help but feel you are also an inspiration to yourself!
Ruth is here for a month, so we will check back in with her soon to continue to see the process flow. Thank you all.




Early Morning Beach Blitz At The Costa Rica Yoga Spa

May 14, 2013
By: Justin Blackburn

Hola beautiful! I truly hope you are feeling the blessing of your beating heart just as we are here at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa. Today has already been such a wonderful adventure and I am smiling from the inside out... and it is only 10:30am!

This morning bright and early at 6:30 the taxi came and all the guests and staff piled off together to enjoy a morning beach trip that included a TRX workout led by Kristin and surf lessons at Playa Guiones with Tony as YY taught the invaluable lesson of giving a top-notch surf report. Due to last night’s dinner table consensus surrounding this week’s signature Surf, Sun and Yoga theme, the Beach Blitz became a collective AM excursion for everyone here. With no yoga or surf retreat groups checked-in at the moment, we have re-instated our popular community yoga classes led by our in-house and local instructors. After yesterday’s blissfully restorative yin yoga with Lisa followed in the evening by vigorous flow yoga with Katherine, there was no better way to stretch and greet the day today than by going to Mother Nature’s pure liquid gift of regeneration. Riding through Guiones viewing the plentiful flora growing abundantly fresh and green from every inch of this gorgeous Costa Rican land is enough to make any human being want to return to the delicate arms of Mother Earth.

Around 7am we arrived at the harmonious presence that is Playa Guiones. Everyone emerged from the taxis wide-eyed and open-armed ready to experience whatever our hearts desired. Some took off toward the swells surfboards in hand and took straight to riding the waves. Some leaped into the mouth of the ocean to allow the healing wisdom of old ancient being to saturate our beings. Others walked lightly down the beach to enjoy the relaxing pace of one gentle foot in front of the other. While another group of ladies took off to get some cross-training fitness instruction from Kristin, I went a little ways down the road to check out the local Organic Farmers Market where the locals sell an array of their homegrown and homemade goodies for all the guests and people of Nosara to enjoy. More than a marketplace, the market is a meeting place of the minds, bodies and spirits that create the soul of our beloved Nosara. I experienced some veggie pies, some homemade bread, and coconut water from a straw straight inside the coconut. What a gift it was to see all the smiling people sharing their creations and what they grew. 
After nibbling around the Organic Farmers Market I went back to Playa Guiones to get my feet in the water. Soon the taxi ushered us all back to the Costa Rica Yoga Spa where our blessed chef Nieves was making her famous banana pancakes. Yum!

Love and Blessings,


Mother's Day Yoga Love

May 12, 2013

By: Justin Blackburn

Today is a special day where all around the world we dedicate ourselves to remembering and giving the utmost appreciation (even more than usual) to our mothers. The mother carries life into existence so every time one gives appreciation to any form of life they are ultimately giving appreciation to the beautiful mother. When we go straight to the source of all life, we inherently go to the mother life-bearing and nurturing energy. How beautiful is that?

If you care to join me, please take a moment to breathe life deeply in, and give appreciation to your mother. We can allow life to get pretty confusing and parent relationships can summon up a lot of that confusion, even anger. But if we take time each day to appreciate the blessings in our lives and the mothers behind each one of us, I guarantee extra soul bursts of happiness will continue to pop up for you all day. Thank you mothers.

Last week at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa we were blessed by some beautiful mother-daughter pairs. One of which Anne, was joined by her beautiful daughter Linda. During our time together, I took some time to interview them to get some insight into their relationship and what brought them here together. When I approached them for the interview they were relaxing by the pool after dinner discussing how unnecessarily complicated we as society have made things for ourselves over the years. “What a great mother daughter conversation to walk into.” I said as they chuckled a bit. “So Anne, what made you come on the Costa Rica yoga spa retreat?” 
“Well,” Anne replied smiling a gracious motherly smile. “to be honest Linda just asked me to come and I accepted immediately. Linda and I live far apart so we don’t get to spend much time together so the moment she asked I was thrilled to obliged her. My daughter, yoga, and a retreat in Costa Rica- what could be better than that?”
“Wow, that is so sweet? How has the week been?”
“It has been a magical, fabulous wonderful week of quality time with my daughter. Plus this place is gorgeous, Jeanne’s classes have been amazing. I have felt nothing but bliss here the whole time.” Then Anne started singing “Zippety Do Da” as three fireflies flew around her. It was a pretty amazing moment if I can so myself. 
“Yes, I agree.” Said Linda. “It has been perfect. This place has definitely exceeded our expectations.” Linda smiled at her mother. “My only regret is freaking out when that firefly flew into my shirt. I wish I would have just let him do his thing.” The mother and daughter shared a special, intimate laugh together only mother and daughter can share. I joined in with my own chuckle, thinking about the numerous guests who arrive here fighting with the bugs and by the time they depart, have made peace with them.
“Do you feel like the Yoga has brought you closer together?” I asked.
“Yes, I taught Linda yoga had a young age and it has continuously brought us together. Yoga brings you closer to yourself which can bring you closer to the ones you love especially if you are on the same path. Also Linda just completed her yoga teacher training course and I couldn’t be more proud of her.”
“Oh sweet Linda, congratulations! Do you think you'll lead a retreat here soon?”
“I'd love to, but one step at a time.” Linda replied.
“Well if you do you know I will be the first one to sign up!” Anne spoke purely from the beauty of her motherly heart.






The Blessing We Receive From The People We Meet

May 11, 2013

By: Justin Blackburn

Here at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa we are very blessed by the consistent coming and going of an array of wonderful and inspirational guests. Each person possesses a heart, a love, a unique personality, and a passionate fireside story only they could tell. Sometimes the interactions with these people come to a close upon their departure but if you can hold closely in your heart the blessings that each of these people bestow upon you, you realize they are never far away. You realize the love and appreciation you share with them only deepens with time and opens your heart even wider.

Today’s heart expanding guest who touched a lot of souls during her two week stay at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa is a hilariously, interesting, no holds bar, personality flaring woman named Carol. Carol’s humor and love for the art of storytelling made every person here laugh. Now I am not talking about a chuckle; the kind of laugh Carol sparks is a knee-slapping belly laugh that makes you come up for oxygen as if you have been submerged underwater. Whether a wild story from her 33 years as a flight attended or one of her many Carol-isms that range from the wise: “You always think life is greener on the other side of the fence but you never think about the septic tank that is about to explode over there and all the maintenance work you are going to have to put in,” to the cryptic: “I go to sleep when I go to sleep.” Needless to say everyone loves Carol and deeply appreciates all that she shares.

Not only is Carol an inspiration through her words but through her actions as well. She is always the first to help whoever she could and never minded doing the little things like taking a plate to the sink or coming by and giving you a sweet back rub. Another way I was inspired by this lovely woman was during our trip to the waterfall. Carol caught a bit of a bug and had been under the weather for a couple of days but that did not stop her from being the first out of all the people on the trip to summit the waterfall. Her fearless footsteps inspired me to climb the waterfall even though at first I was a bit reluctant. Upon joining her at the top, I looked down so grateful for Carol, so grateful for the beauty of this world, and so grateful of my choice to take the climb.

After all this inspiration Carol granted us, I decided to ask Carol what her time at the yoga spa did for her: “Wow, well I just loved it. The yoga was amazing, my breathing is much fuller, my lungs feel more open, and I have much more energy. The massage from Lisa, the acupuncture from Javier, and the medicine man were phenomenal and I know will have a lasting impact on my well-being. You know they say there is an energy about this place but I also think there is an energy about these people here.”

I followed by asking Carol what makes her such an amazing person to which she humbly replied:

 “Well, you know life is an experience. Every day you can greet the sunshine and appreciate this wonderful world we live in, so I say why not? I feel blessed to be able to do that. Cause each of us wake up in the morning with things we think we need to do; but I feel like all we need is that one goal every day: to do for ourselves to make our life count.”

Thanks for reminding us how much our lives count, Carol. We will miss you very much and you will always be welcomed here with open arms and warm smiles!






A Costa Rica Yoga Spa Perspective

May 9, 2013

By: Justin Blackburn

As the taxi arrives on this lovely, luxurious Thursday Costa Rica Yoga Spa morning, Tony the surf instructor spiritedly yells “All aboard,” and the joyous guests pile in the car ready for a beach adventure.  Some are going to take surf lessons to learn the external art of riding the cosmic waves while others are going to simply enjoy the essence of one of the most beautiful beaches Planet Earth has to offer.

But this morning after a fabulously thought provoking yoga class with yoga retreat leader Jeannie Laslo Douglas, I decided to stay behind, to breathe deep into life, and mediate on a Costa Rica Yoga Spa perspective.  In life we tend to become transfixed by the hustle and bustle, by the do’s and don’ts, by the should haves and could haves, by other peoples’ needs and wants. So much so that we forget about ourselves and allow our true selves to be pulled apart by the engulfing rat race always running right at our doorstep.  We start to think that we are these confused, depressed people with no possible way to ever fulfill our deepest dreams but in actuality we are incredibly beautiful and powerful beings who can accomplish anything our hearts desire. Yet somewhere along the line we forgot to take time for peaceful reflection due to the chaotic speed of life.

And this is where the practice of Yoga comes so powerfully into play.  It is in the delicate mixture of the poses and the breath where we learn to remain poised and balanced no matter what position the world has to offer us. It is the constant reminder of our true selves! Balance of breath, body and mind is so much easier when we remain at peace and in control; aware of our true nature as we dissolve any negativity that the outside world is unconsciously throwing in our direction.

It is here at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa where the scenery dramatically changes into the aliveness of a tropical jungle land which leads our inner world into a possible new paradigm of different thoughts; thoughts that are rich and deeply drenched in the aliveness of life.  Yes of course the family-like staff and all the different adventures we offer make for an exciting environment for a yoga and surf retreat or vacation.  But when we take the time for self-reflection and meditation, we also reel in the ancient wisdom of this healing land and take our-Selves so much deeper.

Thank you.  I love and appreciate you.






The Animals' Song

May 8, 2013

By: Justin Blackburn

One of the many extraordinary blessings of coming to the Costa Rica Yoga Spa is the tremendous aliveness of the Costa Rican land and the valuable lessons the land itself has to offer us if we listen.  This morning during yoga retreat leader Jeannie Lasslo Douglas’s yoga class the aliveness of the land was in full circle.  Monkeys were calling out to join life’s precious dance, birds were singing from the soul of the earth, the wind was gently purring, and even the moo’s of the cows were uniquely powerful.  As the yoga class was coming to a close and we were awakening from being guided deep within through yoga nidra, Jeannie mentioned her gratitude to all the animals that joined us with their voices and how we could offer our voice back to them.  Jeannie suggested we all “Om” a response.  The fifteen or so of us took a deep breath and called out from the natural, ancient vibration deep within.   We were centered, balanced, and together as one expression exclaiming our eternal appreciation for life and all the wonders of experience.

As we rolled up our mats smiling humbly and put our blankets and blocks up, we noticed something unique to this day:  a cow from the beloved pasture below had passed away.  A herd of cattle were gathered around the body as if to be paying their final respects to the precious life this cow experienced.  Then one by one they calmly walked away as if they were leaving ceremonial farewell.

A humble devotional feeling for all of life possessed my being.  A newfound respect filled my inner terrain.  I took my own personal moment to appreciate the life of the cow and then like the rest of the cows I went on my way.

Gentle appreciation is the way of yoga. Even for our guests who may initially be drawn here for the “Yoga and Spa in Costa Rica” experience, we come together on this land to be reminded of how to truly appreciate the journey. We learn that whatever happens we can breathe into it, lean on loved ones and appreciate every moment that we have here.

Thank you Yoga.  Thank you cows.  Thank you.




Mother and Daughter Bond Over Yoga

May 6, 2013

By: Justin Blackburn

After last night’s powerful but refreshing downpour as everyone was preparing for bed, the sun now shines ever so welcoming as the breeze blows through the vibrant green leaves.

We are so blessed to have Jeannie Laslo Douglas from Oregon here this week leading a yoga retreat group of 6 women. Not only does Jeanie’s loving yoga guidance through her gentle Hatha style classes inspire students on the mat, the dynamics of this group is unique and inspirational in itself. With Mother’s Day coming up, Jeannie’s mother Mary, a beginning yogi, showed her love and support by agreeing to take part in this magical yoga retreat in Costa Rica with her daughter.

I took some time over lunch to interview the lovely lady duo on their hesitations, experiences and revelations on teaching and learning yoga from loved ones. Feel free to set your heart stations to feel good Mother-Daughter love and take a listen.



Sunday's Little Miracles

May 5, 2013

By: Justin Blackburn

Hola beautiful people! It is another gorgeous day here at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa! It is just before noon as I lightly gaze out over the vibrant, green, fertile land that is Costa Rica.  The magnificence of the sun radiates off every atom of existence as the gentle breeze relaxes it all into beauty. After a gentle Hatha yoga class at 7am taught by retreat leader Jeannie Haslo, the Sunday energy crept in to magnify the already tranquil pace of life around the grounds: guests and staff alike curl up with books in hammocks or dip in the crystalline pool as if to say, “Let there be rest!”

The recent weeks have seen the first of many much needed and long-awaited rain showers. Friday night’s sky opened up and showered upon us a boisterous rainfall worlds away from what many may consider to be a Friday evening’s pleasure, but the inhabitants of the CRYS grounds (humans, plants and animals alike) beg to differ. After a full night’s sleep under the moist, warm blanket of all-night showers, guests emerged refreshed, and flowers and bugs alike budded from their temporary hiding spots within the earth.

 A tranquil moment spent on the suspension bridge behind the Yoga Rancho creates space to notice trees of all sorts growing from Mother Earth’s loving heart; all bearing nutrients in the form of seeds or fruits to pass onto creatures great and small. Perfect mirrors of the important aspects of samastitihi or tadasana (mountain) pose: strong and centered with roots always digging deeper. A single white cattle egret soars through the sky and lands beside a long eared, fit white cow who rests comfortably on the land.

Awwww, another Sunday’s sun rises and falls over the vast Pacific and I can smell the wafting aroma of Xinia and Mati’s dinner preparations. A gracious humbleness opens my little heart even wider. I take a deep breath from my stomach to feel full of that life-giving prana energy (which is a lot more natural now that I have been doing so much yoga!) and give thanks for the beautiful experience that is everyday here at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa.




Take the Leap!

May 1, 2013

Take the Leap!


Iboga: A Key of Rebirth Into Conscious Living

April 13, 2013

By: Anonymous

In life we are given two of the most valuable resources: time and energy.  What we choose to do with these resources relates back to our purpose, satisfaction, happiness, and fulfillment.  We are all capable of giving life to everything that we do, if we so choose.

How often do we take the opportunity to actively participate in our life as it is, rather than how we think it should be?  How many opportunities do we have that give birth to deeper aspects of ourselves? How often do we allow the opportunities in this lifetime to facilitate a rebirth of ourselves?

That’s just what I have experienced. After my arrival in the peaceful town of Nosara at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa, it was as though I was given my life back with greater, lasting clarity than I’ve ever felt. This place is majestic, it radiates love and healing- it was truly inspiring to experience the extraordinary synergy contained at this place and from this land that led me to a state of inner peace.  Within the first few hours I began feeling refreshed. Looking back, I realize just how much baggage I had brought down there with me – and I am not referring to my luggage.

At times, all of us hit those low places in life where it feels like nothing is clear; where we think we have a picture of our current projectory, yet continue on- unsatisfied and unfulfilled.  I was feeling hopeless, disempowered, impatient, and disconnected. There was a heaviness within me. It was difficult to feel happy, hard to feel love, hard to feel a lot of things. I attributed these feelings to tragic loss, rigorous secondary education, seeing those I love unhappy with current states of health, career, and financial stress. I thought that my burdens were piling up, one after the other, and my only hope was to keep trudging through until I got to some vague place that somehow seemed manageable.

All of this changed for me, faster than I believed possible.  Within one week at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa and two Iboga treatments later, I felt as if I had come out on other side – reborn.  The plant medicine of Iboga allowed me to journey within myself, which enabled me to participate in my own psychotherapy.  This was an empowering experience that assisted me in regaining hope and vitality.  Iboga helped me identify just how much I had been compensating for the stressful life I was living, and helped restore balance to each affected energy system through recognition and removal of obstacles.

This plant medicine was directive and supportive. Iboga knew what was weighing on my heart and soul.  This psychotropic experience enabled me to lay down the baggage I carried with me; including the pack of cigarettes. Yes, after 10 years of smoking, I quit smoking with not so much as a single craving.

It felt like a detoxification process of my mind, body, and spirit.  It was as though the plant went through my entire body and cleansed every cell. It was like it reset me so I could process my life in a better and more health-filled way. It was a mirror to my soul which ushered unmistakable clarity into my life. It inspired me toward self-discipline, self-love, and self-respect followed by the importance of sharing it with others.  Most importantly this plant supported me in becoming the best version of myself to date with the intention of living by example in a soulful manner.

 I realized how caught up in these trivial stresses I was; constantly worrying and rushing to finish or hurrying to relax. I was always somewhere else dealing with these thousand things it felt like I was doing, never present in the moment. I saw that I was living my life out of habit. In this experience, Nature showed me her wisdom and in that I discovered how to be present in my life – no longer separated from my experience.  Through the wisdom of this plant medicine I was reminded to trust in my own wisdom, focus on the beautiful lessons within challenging events, and work to maximize serendipitous opportunity in life.

Using nature as a blueprint, I am inspired to live a more balanced, sustainable life - a life where I live within the integrity of my truth without the distractions of a lifetime of thoughts that were never mine to begin with. Met by shining faces and kind hearts, I experienced the fullness of life around the spa. Just as important as the actual experience was the integration process of being in this place. The coordination of care was essential and critical to the shifts within me. This included: prepping with colonics, massage, practicing yoga, eating clean food prepared with care, heartfelt discussions or just by being in nature. This experience allowed me to become open to lasting changes instead of being held back by physical, structural imbalance.

These were my first steps toward regaining consciousness of myself, balance in my life, and health with the help of natural medicine. I have been brought back- inspired with insights on how to live in the present and experience life in peace without expectations.

This experience was critical in regaining the clarity of thought, feeling, and communication necessary for wellness in all aspects of my life.

With love, respect, & appreciation.



Root down to Rise up

April 11, 2013

By: Lucy St. John


Arriving here at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa, my heart sighs a breath of relief and I immediately feel welcomed by a visionary community. Looking out from the yoga rancho at the top of the hill, my feet seep deep into the Earth and I feel the energy of all the people who have built its foundations. The Yoga Teacher Training in this magical place is the full embodiment of "Root down to Rise up.” Just as my yoga practice starts with an intention, the intention of the forward thinking individuals who created the spa is evident in every aspect of life here. Eating the organic food that is grown on their farm, walking the spacious and well-thought out grounds, and being surrounded by the type of people who live, work and visit here is like standing tall with my community in an effortless Tadasana. I feel blessed to be here at a time when the roots of these actions and intentions have come to fruition. Teachers Ashley and Rebecca both have deep roots in their own traditions and yet their professional union raises their individual gifts to a new plateau and ultimately, this makes us all rise! To me, the people who end up here hold the same pure intention: to wholeheartedly provide and support strong roots for each other for an inspiring and self-sustaining life. I am so grateful to everyone single soul I've met at the Yoga Teacher Training and Spa. Each one has contributed to creating, maintaining and inspiring me to have a firm foundation in which to stand taller and stronger; not only in my practice but also in the purpose of my life. Sat Nam.


Be Easy Breezy and Stress Free

By: Robert

April 9 , 2013

The Costa Rica Yoga Spa is the perfect medium for joining the philosophy and practice of Yoga in an environment nothing short of paradise. Ashley Ludman and Rebecca Kovacs provide instructional Yoga training of the highest quality which has exceeded all expectations. The owners of the Costa Rica Yoga Spa created a healthy and comfortable environment. This easy breezy stress free environment allows oneself to absorb the entire Pura Vida experience.  The personal attention one receives during the yoga asana practice assists the individual into proper alignment. Proper alignment allows for a DEEPER experience! It is from this deeper experience of practicing the asanas that one becomes more in line with the spiritual practice of the yoga philosophy.

 Instructors and co-directors of The Yoga Paradigm 200 hour YTT Ashley and Rebecca offer an exceptional Teacher Training program. Their combined knowledge creates a synergistic effect that enhances the information being presented to the students. I have since utilized the Philosophy and practice of Yoga being presented by the instructors in a highly integrative way: yoga has become my design for living. Yoga has improved my life to that of a spectacular degree as it can for you (if it hasn’t already). I am extremely grateful to have had the privilege to receive instruction from two amazing Yoga instructors in one of the most beautiful places on earth!  The Costa Rica Yoga Spa and The Yoga Paradigm joined forces to create an out of this world Yoga experience.  This is definitely a bucket list experience. Yoga has saved my life. I will pay it forward by passing it on to others.

Be Well,



This Week at the Yoga Spa

By: Darin McBratney

April 8, 2013

 This week at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa has been another incredible time for us all. We started off with our permaculture meeting that got everyone on board for the upcoming rainy season. We have new designs and have implemented everything we talked about. Instant manifestation. We’ve had outstanding community yoga classes from Yin Yoga with Lisa to flow classes with Marck whose background is diverse in methodologies ranging from Bikram, ashtanga to his own classic flow which is just downright challenging and super fun. We have had Kung-Fu and acupuncture with Javier to Thai massage with other guests.

The weeks’ Sun, Surf and Yoga Retreat has seen perfect waves in Playa Guiones and San Jaunillo to Ostional and even a little bit of Marbella in there. Lauren, our new nutritionist from Nova Scotia, has been making sure that our bodies are nourished and taste buds happy with delicious recipes all locally and organically sourced. We have started our seasonal garden with the building of a new starter greenhouse and have planted every seed. The crew is busy putting in planters around the hotel filled with herbs and veggies. The chefs are excited to share the new garden with us.

There has been plenty of live music featuring some real quality musicians who are joining the Nosara community for shows after their performances at the Envision Festival. The Guilded Iguana, Cafe De Paris, The Fish Bar and Almost Paradise provide the perfect setting for these unique and talented musicans. We are also in the works of planning our very own new music festival here at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa and have plans of building a new amphitheatre, which will provide us with an epic musical experience… dancing included.

We recently had a stellar "bridge party" to celebrate our new suspension bridge- engineered and built by Chris Atcheson from Czech Republic. The bridge is the gateway to our new villas for which we are currently planning and breaking ground. We are also working on our new sweat lodge, which will be ready by June 1st for the Five Rythyms retreat with Amber Ryan.

All in all, there is a lot of excitement in the air! Last night we were glad to host a fantastic demonstration of Biodanza, which originated in Chile and blends a variety of exercises, dancing techniques and body-moving music from all over the world.  We had a killer surf session at Punta India where Tony and I were the only ones out surfing with the Olive Ridley turtles. Oh and the we had the naturopathic doctor and her boyfriend from Portland here on an iboga retreat that included colonics, juicing, organic raw food, massage, yoga, iboga yoga, acupuncture, swimming in the ocean and going to La Luna for dinner. Perfect indeed and thanks for the hat Ross! I had an awesome time with these guys and I have a feeling they will be back for more and then some.

This coming year the wellness center will be that much closer to being finished and we are right on track. We are welcoming the vibrant green and humid cloud cover of the rainy season in and saying goodbye to the dry brown foliage. Shifting gears with open arms. Bottom line: an amazing week which will only be topped by the upcoming one as it is action packed with horseback riding, kayaking, stand-up paddle, lot's of yoga, canyoning, canopy tours, magical mystery tours and a river party with bbq and beach time. Please come join us!

Darin McBratney



Nicoya Peninsula: A Blue Zone

March 11, 2013

By: Katherine Kipps

Have you ever wondered what practices can help you live a fuller, longer, healthier life? Have you ever wondered why people from some parts of the world tend to live longer than others? These were two of the questions that Dan Buettner has dedicated the last 9 years of his life to uncovering. Diving into his research with the aid of a group of scientists and sponsors, they soon discovered that five special regions of the globe were home to more Centarians (people who live to the age of 100) than anywhere else. Those regions were: Ikaria Greece, Okinawa Japan, Loma Linda California, Sardinia Italy and (you guessed it…) The Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. 

The aim of his research wasn't merely to identify and quantify these places for their long-living inhabitants, rather to delve into the real secrets and daily practices that set them apart from the rest of the world. And the results are more intriguing than any diet or exercise regime you've ever encountered. In fact, the secret has less to do with diet or exercise and more to do with the social and physical environment in which people live. Backed by scientific research, Buettner concluded that the following nine powerful practices are the backbone of what keeps the inhabitants of the Blue Zones going longer and stronger… and smiling all the way…

1. Keep Moving: This doesn't mean pumping iron and running marathons or aiming for that cover-model frame. Instead, keep moving as a part of your natural rhythm. Walking instead of driving, doing things by hand instead of depending on machines. 
Here at the yoga spa, one learns quickly that if you want something done, you've got to do it yourself. And not only that, but you've probably got to get creative and hands-y in doing so. 

2. Find purpose, and pursue it with passion: So often we get lost in our daily routines to the point that our only purpose is that routine! We get stuck as we drift further and further from any kind of passion or inspiration. Known by Nicoyans as a plan de vida, everyday here is dedicated to maintaining an environment that calls everyone to rediscover and pursue his or her passion while feeling that what they do matters. We at the Yoga Spa experience it again and again: if we get too comfortable or ‘stuck’, the land or the locals (or both) find a way to nudge us along, back to that place of passion and appreciation. 

3. Slow Down: Work less, rest and take vacations. “Tico time” or “Jungle Time” are some endearing terms for the pace of life in our beautiful home. Why rush? Why stress? This philosophy is deeply engrained into life here. The general feeling of isolation from the rest of the world may be partially responsible, or it could have something to do with the midday sun that beckons anyone still working to find a hammock and cool down, it may also be thanks to the dirt roads that literally keep the pace of life slower than elsewhere. No matter what the reason behind it, we are glad to operate on Tico/Jungle time any day.

4. Stop Eating when you’re 80% full: Ok, this one may seem harder at first glance because as those of you who have experienced the culinary treasures of our chefs already know. But the truth is, that is what naturally happens when we fill our plates with mostly fresh greens and veggies complemented by flavorful and healthy cooked dishes. The traditional dish of Costa Rica, el casado, traditionally consists of a base of maize and beans, one of the best nutritional combinations for longevity the world has ever known. 

5. Dine on plants: Eat more veggies and less meat and processed foods. One of the first things our guests notice about the Yoga Spa that sets us apart is our attention to this rule. In fact, even finding processed foods and meat in our kitchen can be a challenge. Every meal is a spread of local, freshly harvested, organic plant goodness. Buen Provecho!

6. Drink red wine: Do it consistently but in moderation. Many of our guests enjoy a glass of red wine with dinner. Call it an indulgence or a health-wise habit; we’ll cheers to that!

7. Join a group: Create a healthy social network. Around here it is common to get visits from neighbors, just stopping by to say hello, share stories from the day and bond over a good laugh. A good social network goes beyond a social life here, it translates to one’s survival, as no phone book or Google search can lead you to a decent carpenter, mechanic or nanny. These 

8. Feed your soul: Engage in spiritual activities. Many who join us up here on the Yoga Spa Mountain would agree that simply settling into this potent and powerful land is a spiritual experience within itself. Locals and foreigners alike agree on the deeply felt healing properties contained on this land. And to take it one step further, we have created the Costa Rica Yoga Spa to magnify this energy. 

9. Love your tribe: Make family a high priority. We at the Yoga Spa learn from our neighbors, the Nicoyans, to put family first. It is tradition here that many generations live under the same roof; learning and growing from one another. Although our sense of family is a little less traditional, we make it a priority to be more than staff to our guests as we are constantly learning and mutually evolving through our interactions. By prioritizing this tribe-consciousness, we feel more at ease and open to experiencing the present moment to the fullest. 

**We would like to thank Dan Buettner and his extraordinary book “Blue Zones.” as well as National Geographic for  the facts and framework for this piece.**

Words and images flow at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa!
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Costa Rica
29°C / 84.2°F
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ENE – 70° at 28kph
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Words and images flow at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa!
Words and images flow at the Costa Rica Yoga Spa!
Nosara, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
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