Since the 90s, Costa Rica has experienced a growing interest in yoga, a discipline of Indian origin, which is defined as the art and science of mental discipline that can help you to broaden your mind.
The experts in the field say that yoga seeks to reach the integration of the individual soul (jiva – atman ) with God (Brahman) or your deity (avatar).
This reunion is called samadhi, through which you can get to liberation (moksha).
In the country there are already hundreds of people that have found in yoga for not only interior and mental peace, but also a way to exercise, burn calories and improve their quality of life.
More than 3,000 people attended the last weekend´s Sixth National Yoga Festival, held at the National Cultural Centre (Cenac ) in downtown San Jose.
Compare that to the first festival seven years ago, where only a little over 1,000 people attended.
Data provided by Edgar Ortiz, member of the Costa Rican Association of Professional Yoga (Asoyoga ) , shows that the country has more than 30 centers specializing in this discipline and over 60 instructors accredited to this group.
However, this specialist estimated that there are double the number of studies and instructors offering private and group classes throughout the country, although not all are certified, he claims.
And although no specific data exists, Ortiz assumed that there are more than a dozen hotels in Costa Rica catering to those seeking an experience which connects mind and body. Most of these hotels are located in Guanacaste and Puntarenas: Tamarindo, Nosara and Santa Teresa.
Experiences and Services
These hotels welcome foreign groups or individuals, who travel to the country, attracted by its natural beauty, its pacifist tradition and high quality yoga instructors, said the teacher Gitanjali , an Italian who came the country for the same reasons over 20 years ago.
Gitanjali (her first name is Loredana Placidi) opened her studio in Playa Langosta , Guanacaste, four years ago and on average receives between 20 and 25 foreigners.
She explained that visitors find in our country a combination of inner peace through yoga, although there are those who combine their stay with a strong dose of excitement in surfing, horseback riding or other adventure sports.
Those visitors pay between $100 and $120 for 10 class sessions . This cost does not include airfare or lodging.
Krama Yoga Center is a specialized studio located in Escazu Guachipelín .
Opened eight years ago and faced with increasing numbers of customers, is now located on a site of over 1,100 square meters to house dozens of practitioners of this discipline.
Esteban Salazar, co-owner along with Juanka Sanchez – both instructors, have said that yoga has many benefits, not only physical but also mental.
Some of these are: strengthens muscles and bones, slows down the aging process, increases vital energy, provides flexibility and balance, oxygenated and clean bodies , benefits our cardiovascular , endocrine , digestive and respiratory system, opens the energy channels and balance chakras (revolving centers of energy that receive, control and distribute vital energy).
Other benefits mentioned by those who practice this discipline are stress reduction , promotion to concentration, reasoning ability and uplifting. Also, they say, yoga brings inner harmony, helps you sleep better, reduces the tendency to react with anger or sadness and it allows you to be more sensitive to the pain of others.
Since about a month Anita Hindelang imparts Yoga Sculpt classes in VIDA Fitness Studio, another studio in Escazú. It is a discipline that combines yoga with cardio and resistance work . She was certified in Colorado, United States , and related that here in the county her discipline has been very well accepted not only by people looking for relaxation or meditation techniques but because this practice shapes the body, improve fitness and elasticity all while strengthening muscles.
Salazar, meanwhile, noted also that this range of services in the country is well regarded locally but also by tourists from North America who value the geographic proximity, air connections and the good name of the country.
All respondents emphasized the need for those who practice this discipline, ascertained that schools and instructors are accredited and have the appropriate conditions.
(Originally posted by The Costa Rica News)