More and more yogis and yoga teacher training students are setting their sights on Costa Rica. It is a Latin American country unlike any other, and it doesn't take long to see why; the dense jungle, abundant wildlife, beautiful beaches, and stunning sunsets all serve as the perfect backdrop for your Downward Dog.
But after calling Costa Rica home for seven years, I can attest that there's more to this country than pretty places alone.
What sets yoga teacher training in Costa Rica apart from any other destination? Three distinguishing characteristics make Costa Rica the perfect place to practice yoga.
Costa Rica has not had a standing army since 1948. Then president, José Figueres Ferrer, ushered in the change with these words: “It is time for Costa Rica to return to her traditional position of having more teachers than soldiers.” Police were deemed to be sufficient, and demilitarization brought not only a whole new Costa Rica, but an idea for a new world in America.
Because of this attitude of ahimsa (non-violence), you will always find Costa Ricans to be peaceful, caring, and fun in spirit.
Costa Rica has been rated one of the happiest places in the world. Why? There is a deep sense of santosha (contentment) that pervades Costa Rican life.
Costa Ricans express santosha through their attitude of "pura vida” (POO-rah VEE-dah). Contextually, it means full of life, purified life, going great, and this is living! It is used as a greeting, a farewell, and to express satisfaction.
Costa Ricans also use the phrase to express a philosophy of strong community, perseverance, good spirits, enjoying life slowly, and celebrating good fortune. It also means I am doing alright, I am doing perfect, and thank you.
The Hawaiian equivalent of pura vida is “aloha!” The yogic expression would be "namaste."
Prana, the essential life force yogis seek to understand and experience, is everywhere in Costa Rica.
The country is filled with jungles, active volcanoes, pristine secluded beaches, farm-to-table food, mangrove kayak adventures, world famous scuba diving, and almost year-round whale watching opportunities. Costa Rica is literally teeming with life and abundance.
Costa Rica also has some of the cleanest air in the world and is one of the few countries set to go 100 percent renewable energy by 2021. Not only can you immerse yourself in the country's beauty during your yoga teacher training, you can also feel good about doing it.
Costa Rica has countless adventures waiting and a full itinerary of yoga teacher training immersions ready for you to jump into. All you need to do is let the pura vida spirit take over!
Have you been to Costa Rica? Share your experiences and questions in the comments below!