I have to say, starting off the year in Costa Rica is highly recommended. I've recently returned from leading our first two international LUXE Cowgirl Yoga retreats with Equisol. My lucky family came along for the ride: equal parts tropical paradise, yoga bliss, and horse heaven, plus a sprinkling of adventurous moments out of an Indiana Jones movie. All the right ingredients for, as one retreater called it, a 'priceless piece of life adventure'. I know the effect of pura vida on my psyche will far outlast my tan.
Pura vida - what a perfect saying. It's Spanish for 'pure life', but the meaning goes beyond that simplified translation. Urban Dictionary defines it as: The law of the land in Costa Rica. The expression is used in many forms, from a greeting, to a synonym for "excellent." Ticos [Costa Ricans] follow this lifestyle and are some of the most wonderful people on earth. A synonym of "hakuna matata." Life is wonderful; enjoy it. How can you argue with that? A great lesson for some of us more, uh, uptight American Cowgirl Yoginis.
There was something liberating about letting go of our type A tendencies. Tico time is, shall we say, flexible. You have to be flexible in your body for the yoga and horses, and flexible in spirit about not necessarily being "on schedule" (ever). You have to trust that it will all work out. There's a saying that goes something like, why travel if you want everything to be like it is at home? If you embrace the adventure, it will forever change you. We swam in the most stunning infinity pool I have ever seen, a waterfall, the ocean and in a river with the horses (that's me on Choco Chip - could I look any happier?). We practiced yoga overlooking the ocean while being serenaded by howler monkeys. We joined up with Criollo horses, who showed us the beauty of Costa Rica from their backs; we rode over rivers, through the woods (well, jungle) and on beaches. We met monkeys at the SIBU Sanctuary and watched turtles nesting on the beach at sunset. We ate homemade tortillas and fresh cow's cheese at a local farm, and drank fresh fruit juice and local beer and Costa Rican coffee.
We had our Indiana Jones moments too. We sweat a lot and got sunburned. We had encounters with super-sized jungle bugs. We bounced along on steep, unpaved roads with potholes the size of craters. A machete was used for trail clearing. A cow fell off a cliff 5 feet from a horse and rider (we were probably the first users of #fallingcow). Did I mention sweating? All moments of discomfort that I would not trade, given the side-splitting laughter and priceless memories that came along with those moments.
Photos courtesy of me, Equisol, and
Cowgirl Yogini Nicole
I think pura vida, in the Cowgirl Yoga case, could also be translated as Yeehaw & Namaste.
Registration will be open soon for our January 2016 LUXE Cowgirl Yoga in Costa Rica, if you'd like your own personal slice of life adventure with us.
Right: my daughter shares the sunset with a turtle.
Labels: Costa Rica, Horses, nature, Travel, Yoga