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Yoga in Costa Rica

With its natural wonders and focus on ecotourism, Costa Rica is a perfect place to experience beauty, adventure and health. The motto “Pura Vida,” means “pure life” and what better way to embrace this lifestyle than through wellness and yoga retreats. From the Caribbean to the Pacific Coast, there are limitless opportunities to balance mind, body and spirit. Yoga is about pampering your soul through breathing, meditation and stretching. Costa Rica’s idyllic setting is one of the best places to practice these physical and mental disciplines.

Today, many entrepreneurs have capitalized on the holistic lifestyle – from massage and yoga to ti-chi and palates. A benefit to this increased interest is that wellness programs are offered in most luxury hotels. Below is a list of some of Costa Rica’s leading yoga destinations.

Caribbean Coast
Throughout the Limon province are several yoga centers offering courses for all levels. Some of the coast’s best facilities are located near Cahuita National Park, four miles from Puerto Viejo village.

Seven day retreats can cost as much as $2,000 but include accommodations, meals, yoga courses, massage, canopy tours, horseback riding, transportation to/from San Jose and hiking excursions. These relaxing and healing programs feature two daily yoga classes – one at sunrise and one at sunset. Although there are various teaching methods, licensed instructors here focus on Vinjasa and Hatha Yoga, which is ideal for beginners and intermediate students. Most teachers in this area are certified with the Yoga Alliance Association and have over ten years of experience.

Set on a lush hillside, local retreat centers have private bungalows with individual yoga classes starting at $12 per hour. Meditation courses are free of charge, and individual massages, outside of package deals, run about $50.

The more popular centers include free tours to the Braulio Carillo National Park followed by a relaxing massage and a Jacuzzi soak. The beaches on the Caribbean side are also great for diving, snorkeling and fishing.

Jaco Beach
Located in the the Puntarenas province in Costa Rica, Jaco is the home to specialized yoga programs for students ranging from 18-35. No matter the skill level, the school provides students with the necessary tools to deepen a yoga practice. Some retreat centers also offer combined yoga packages with surfing, photography and Spanish. In addition to gaining knowledge of the local culture, students can increase flexibility, balance and strength needed for surfing.

Certified instructors offer a wide variety of approaches including Iyengar based Hatha Yoga, Power Yoga, Vinyasa Flow, and Anusara based classes. Courses take place at various settings including waterfalls, gardens and beaches. The leading yoga centers in Jaco also offer excursions for deep-sea fishing, sailing, river rafting, horseback riding, and canopying for no extra charge.

Nosara
As part of the Guanacaste province, Nosara has many luxury hotels and cabinas offering yoga. This area is considered one of the country’s leading areas to practice massage and yoga. Local centers here offer a combined experience of studying and practicing yoga. The schedules and curriculum allow for time on the beach and exploration of the surrounding jungles and wildlife preserve. One Nosara-based institute has several courses including a 200-hour training that teaches the fundamentals of what is common to all yoga styles. Here students gain familiarity with teaching a wide range of classes for varying fitness and experience levels, while gaining confidence in adapting teaching methodologies that make classes effective for students.

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