YOGA BERRIES IN PARADISE
|Andy is the owner operator of the tour outfitter Everyday Adventures. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org|
They arrive in small groups, between 8 and 20+, cheerful and bursting with excitement of being out of the frigid northern climes. Dominated by women, these flexible aficionados of the new age of yoga are followers of various practices such as . . .
Vinyasa, Hatha and Restoratve. I’ve yet to see the Tantric yoga retreat. I think Sting leads it and they always go to Ibiza. Anyway, as the master of the obvious, I have seen various patterns repeat themselves over a two decade timespan that had its birth place on the hallowed soil of Tierra De Milagros.
When I came to the Osa working as the first guide for Lapa Rios in ’93, I heard about the hippy farm below on the beach. Naked gardening, marijuana use, fire dancing and variants of pagan ritual were the highlights of the LR gossip. Naturally, I ventured down to see what I was missing. And though I was initially viewed with some mistrust, my clownish demeanor eventually won their hearts until I was finally passed the joint. The point is that it was not until I witnessed firsthand the art, culinary wizardry, body awareness, sex and spontaneity of the retreat participants, that I could fully appreciate any reason to join these abbreviated cults in the rainforest. I mean these people were loons! Often geniuses too, but many seriously misguided inhabitants of the right coast of the USA. I’m not saying everyone was from the eastern seaboard but certainly the majority was. And I get that now. The stress of making it inrainforestretreatthat dog-eat-dog competition would wash away in the gardens or kitchens or beaches of the Osa, and some inner primal nutcase would emerge, venting off the vestiges of civilization and tearing off of clothes of the local beneficiaries. Straight or gay, these retreats released inhibitions and revealed behaviors of eye-raising, jaw-dropping performances. I marveled at how the classes wouldremain composed during happy baby when the night before at a bonfire, they were crawling over one another like sea turtles bursting from the nest! I’m sure the lululemons couldn’t contain all the sand freeing itself from sensitive areas and a yoga deck might resemble a collection of broken hour glasses doing downward dog.
I’m a supporter of tourism that doesn’t exploit natural resources or local populace. In no way does the seasonal yoga influx do so. In fact, I appreciate their strength and aptitude when climbing or rappelling on my tours and they tend to have a great sense of humor. Or, are so stunned by being out of the confines of the city they don’t get my sense of humor. Regardless, when I had a men’s, hot naked gay yoga retreat on my tree climb years ago, I was warning the client I was belaying down to, “use your hands and feet to protect yourself and watch out for wood coming up behind you.” The ensuing pornographic comments made me realize the unintended innuendo and I have since modified the phrasing.
Regardless of the morning Sadhana during the week, it all comes to a boil on Friday nights at Martina’s. After the last vegan Quinoa Kale salad is eaten with their seaweed chips and organic Spirulina juice it’s time to head to the farmers market to shop among the artisans’ tables of wares. Maybe even catch a buzz with some top shelf margaritas and get a sweat on dancing to DJ Machetes mix. Groups of fit women twirl in circles dedicated to the lodge where they are staying. Not often do the groups blend together. Roving bands of surfers will gyrate into the circles and, depending on the reception, stay and hook up or try their luck with another group.
The man-bun crew makes its appearance and the tension rises. On particularly raucous nights, table dances are performed and dancing atop the 18″ wide bar happens. The occasional slip and fall is hopefully avoided but not always and bodily damage has occurred in the past.
Many of the groups depart the following Saturday with furtive kisses at the Sansa checkout, social network sharing at the Nature Air counter, lingering hangovers washed away with fresh coconut water.
As the planes land and a new group of flexible yogis disembark, they are looked upon by the exiting participants with a hint of jealousy. On more than one occasion has the departing group shouted to a love-smitten lass, on the back of her lover’s motorcycle, whether or not she was going to board the plane.
The answer, as often as not is: “Nah I’ma stay!”