I have actually lived in Costa Rica long enough to remember a time before the country was such a sought after destination for yoga. While relatively new to Costa Rica, yoga is far from a new practice. In fact, the beginnings of yoga were developed in Northern India over 5,000 years ago. The word yoga was first mentioned in the oldest sacred texts, the Rig Veda. Yoga was slowly refined and developed by the Brahmans and Rishis (mystic seers) who documented their practices and beliefs in the Upanishads, a huge work containing over 200 scriptures. The Upanishads took the idea of ritual sacrifice from the Vedas and internalized it, teaching the sacrifice of the ego through self-knowledge, action (karma yoga) and wisdom (jnana yoga).
More recent centuries brought the introduction of tantra yoga, which introduced radical techniques to cleanse the body and mind to break the knots that bind us to our physical existence. The exploration of these physical-spiritual connections and body centered practices led to the creation of what we primarily think of as modern yoga in the West: hatha yoga, which contains the steps and stages towards obtaining Samadhi or enlightenment.
In recent years, Costa Rica has become a globally celebrated destination for modern yoga as an ideal location to combine the practice with nature. More and more scientific research has been released lately that validates what many of us know from personal experience: that spending time in nature is healing. Get lost in nature and you will find yourself, as the saying goes.
Within Costa Rica, no other destination can compete with the Osa peninsula, the most biodiverse and naturally pristine region, in providing the ideal space to combine the healing powers of nature and yoga. Conservation and business go hand in hand on the Osa, by being home to some of the best and largest wilderness lodges in the entire country.
These lodges not only provide ideal spaces for yoga in nature. They also reinvest those tourists dollars back into the private conservation and stewardship of vast tracts of otherwise vulnerable rainforest, creating buﬀer zones around the borders of the national park and natural corridors which serve to connect otherwise isolated sections of forest.
Take the tiny town of Carate for example. This literal end of the road was once home to a large number of gold panners and even commercial gold mining operations. Now, the panning and mining practices have been eliminated and replaced with destinations like Luna Lodge.
Perched on the top of the Luna Lodge reserve, with a commanding view of the Pacific Ocean, rainforest, and wildlife, sits the Osa Wellness Center. Yoga, Tai Chi, Nia, Reiki, massage therapy, aromatherapy, forest bathing, visualization quests, and sound healing retreats share this space. They also have full moon and cacao ceremonies.
At the cape of the peninsula, we have Ojo del Mar ecolodge and retreat center. This reforested beachfront sanctuary does an excellent job of combining the perfect jungle meets ocean space for yoga with healthy cuisine served at a large communal table.
The style reflects local flavors as well as the owner’s extensive travels in the Mediterranean, Asia, India, Africa and Mexico.
Another beachfront yoga retreat, Boca Sombrero, combines yoga and nature with surfing. The beautifully manicured grounds of the retreat sit right in front of their very own surf break.
Blue Osa Retreat, another beachfront yoga oasis, is located halfway between the hub town of Puerto Jimenez and the cape, Cabo Matapalo. With their long stretch of wild, pristine coastline, Blue Osa not only provides a breathtaking space for yoga, but also hosts many teach training retreats, even oﬀering free classes to the local community in order to create teaching opportunities for new instructors.
Final mention goes to Iguana Lodge. Few locals have done more for the local community than the owners of this oceanfront yoga retreat, on the aptly named beach of Playa Preciosa (precious beach). Rather than deny locals access to the beach, the facility strikes the perfect balance.
One portion of the property is devoted to private yoga retreats, while Perla de Osa, an open-air bar & restaurant oﬀers a volleyball court, showers, and bathrooms…not to mention top notch food and drink.
Choose from some of the best yoga retreats in all of Costa Rica and top it all off with a day on the Golfo Dulce with Planet Dolphin.