09/ 11/ 16
A few months ago, I indulged in a week-long yoga retreat in Costa Rica with my soul sista, Kristen. We traveled to Nosara, a small, lush beach town on the Pacific Coast known for being a Blue Zone — a place where statistically, people live past 100 years-old at 10 times the average rate. After spending a week on the island, it was easy to see why. From its abundance of antioxidant-rich superfoods to its focus on holistic well-being, conscious living is an all-encompassing lifestyle in Costa Rica.
A smoothie from Harmony Hotel
We stayed at Blue Spirit Costa Rica, a gorgeous, eco-friendly resort that hosts spiritual retreats from teachers all over the world. At orientation, the owner of Blue Spirit informed us that Costa Rica is the largest country without an army, and that surplus money is put towards education end environmental preservation instead. He also introduced us to the resort’s remarkable array of bodyworkers, shamans, and energetic healers — a sight I’ll never forget. Each therapist seemed to radiate with otherworldly knowledge as they described their services of craniosacral balancing, Reiki healing, and coffee cup readings.
The lounge area at Blue Spirit Costa Rica
The week drifted by slowly, a luxurious change of pace from how I’m hardwired to operate. I found myself pretty tired from two yoga classes a day, and eagerly took to an agenda of lounging in the sun, sipping on coconuts, and stuffing my face with delicious, vegetarian fare.
But my time in Costa Rica was a lot more than R&R. It was a week of emotional awakening, self-love, and rejuvination. Each day we were offered a journal prompt, like “If you were a color, what color would you be?” or “Describe yourself as a child.” Some sparked comical memories from my childhood (ie. pooping my pants at summer camp), and others gave me insight into why I am the way I am (ie. how tiger parenting has shaped my perception of success, for better or for worse).
My absolute favorite yoga class of the retreat was our workshop on the 7 chakras, the spiritual energy centers in your body. One of our teachers, Susannah, led us through a yoga class that ruminated on each chakra, which represent different aspects of your life. For example, the root chakra, located at your tailbone, represents basic survival matters like money, housing, and food, while the crown chakra, located at the top of your head, represents your connection to spirituality. One by one, she asked us to bring up all the insecurities and doubts surrounding that chakra — and then she asked us to clear them away.
I’ve never explored myself to that extent before. Each deep, dark thought that I’m too fearful to express, each sliver of guilt that I’ve harbored, and each crevice of my identity — everything was put on the table. Everything was given permission to be. Everything was let go.
That class closed with a shamanic smudging by our other teacher, Lindsay. Those who wanted to be purified took turns kneeling before her, eyes closed. Ribbons of sage smoke drifted through the air while she worked on cleansing the energy of each person. Yogis trickled out quietly, respecting the heavy reflection that took place in this sacred space. That evening cast the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen, shades of purple and orange streaked across the coastal horizon.
A bright, full moon emblazoned the sky on our last night in Costa Rica. Our closing ceremony involved receiving the altar offerings we had donated at the retreat’s start, burning paper scrawled with things we needed to let go of, and howling at that big, beautiful moon.
That night, I realized that there’s something powerful about 30 diverse, cool-as-hell females coming together to realize themselves to their fullest potentials. It was a culmination of sharing deep revelations with these women, gratitude for a week of self-care, and the energy of the full moon that reminded me that I (and we all, men included!) possess a divine feminine energy. And this energy — more powerful than the effect of what we look like, what we accomplish in our careers, or materials we possess in our lifetime — illuminates and connects us all.
A comical, but true, snippet from my travel journal: