Sitting in front of a roaring fire on a cold evening in South Minneapolis feels like an odd setting for writing about Costa Rica, but it’s been a surreal week, so why stop now?
Thursday marked day 5 of the Align Wellness Retreat in Nosara, Costa Rica. We began the day with Pilates, taught by Adrienne in the Yoga Sanctuary at the Harmony Hotel. Looking toward the jungle and letting the monkeys do the howling we all wished to do (sore as we were from hiking, surfing, and other entertainments), we found our way into newer and tougher positions, lighting up our cores with the inward-moving energy of prana.
Photo via Miss Sky Canopy Tour Facebook
After breakfast, I spent much of the day at the pool until it was time to grab Lori (another Minneapolitan) and Colleen (Lori’s dear friend from Seattle) for our ziplining adventure with Miss Sky, a locally run outfit staffed by eager 20-somethings. We took a boisterous ride—at one point, literally through a river—to the topmost portion of the afternoon tour and proceeded through a series of 13 separate ziplines (constituting the longest canopy tour in the world), with a couple of hikes between stations. Our guides deftly carried water jugs along with us, while others snuck up behind us on the lines to let us lay back and spin.
I admit to thinking of Adrienne as I flew through the air, hearing her voice in my head reminding me to engage my core, be tight and clean coming into and out of my rollover, and raise my nose and my toes at the same time as I performed teasers mid-air. When I found myself and my guide both dangling upside down in tightly coiled balls, spinning each other as fast as we could, I realized I just might have found that balance of strength and flexibility I was looking for.
That evening we had the second of our Prana Stretch sessions, this time by candlelight, followed by dinner at the Harmony and, for me, a quick solo walk to the beach to look at the stars.
Friday, day 6, began with a fusion Pilates and Yoga class taught in tandem by Adrienne and Randy. They discussed the outward energy of prana and helped us observe the different expressions of breath in yoga and Pilates and how they still shared the same intention. And then they worked our asses off!
We earned our breakfast, as well as the wandering that came after. I went into town to get cold non-alcoholic beer (only one bar served it) and scamper about enjoying one last day in a bikini—in one of the more bizarre moments of the trip, a woman I’d never met biked up to laughingly tell me she’d started a rumor that I was an American movie star! Her tale led to a few awkward encounters throughout the day. I just hoped I was an action star! Later, I took a field trip with Adrienne’s husband, Matthew, and stepson, Jack, to a local ferreteria (hardware store) to get Jack outfitted for his new adventure as a Central American farm-worker. A lot can change in a week!
Photo of me in aerial Vampire Pose (feet are directly toward the camera, head toward the jungle and dropped to the ground), courtesy Gayle Applebaum.
By the time we returned, I was ready for aerial yoga, taught by a local but held in the Harmony’s yoga sanctuary. Many in our group participated, including Lori, Randy, Jenni, Jack, Gayle, Colleen, and Jacqui, and we all impressed ourselves. There’s nothing quite like trusting your strength (and the hammock’s!) enough to grow a full quarter of an inch (the usual stretch gained in an our of aerial decompression).
With just enough time to get back into swimsuits, we made our way to the beach for our closing circle, where we all reflected on the intentions we’d set the first night and on our favorite moments of the trip. And then we acted like idiots and ran around in the surf, doing terrible cartwheels and headstands and leaping about happily (then running from a stingray!) After toweling off, it was into town for a deliciously salty dinner, many sappy but earnest toasts, and shots at the Gilded Iguana (fruity mocktails were created for me and Jenni, and we couldn’t have felt more festive!).
Most of us closed our time in Costa Rica with walks on the beach. Many got to see sea turtles, some went for a last quick swim, and I gained an escort so that I could walk another couple of hours, just staring at the stars and listening to the ocean.
More photos and our last day of travel tomorrow!