I am never the same person walking into a yoga studio as when I leave. Usually I am always rushing to get to class, arriving just in the nick of time to get my mat laid out, and frantically trying to breathe my way into calm, poised relaxation. After an hour or so of stretching, strengthening, measured breathing and soothing music, I walk out a calmer, happier, more focused person, with a lot less stress.
A yoga studio can be a magical place when designed well and filled with calm energy. The Yoga Shala (Sanskrit for “studio”) at Pranamar Oceanfront Villas & Yoga Retreat in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica has that tranquil magic. The beachfront Santa Teresa Costa Rica hotel specializes in yoga and yoga retreats, and the yoga space was carefully crafted to be a centerpiece.
The impressive Pranamar Yoga Shala rests on the white sand of Santa Teresa Beach, facing the bright blue Pacific Ocean past a fringe of palm trees. Hand-crafted from natural tropical woods from Costa Rica and certified sustainable Costa Rica bamboo, the yoga studio is open on three sides to verdant gardens, the beach and sea, and the beautiful swimming pool designed to flow like a river. Hardwood teak floors lend a smooth stability for yoga practitioners, and energy soars skyward with vaulted ceilings. No columns interrupt the flow of energy or get in the way of practicing yoga; comfortably fitting up to 40 persons at one time in a class.
“People experience a sense of peace here. There is positive good energy and a feeling of serenity,” remarked Nancy Goodfellow, resident yoga instructor and Pranamar co-owner.
Keeping with the Bali-Indonesian theme of Pranamar Villas, the Yoga Shala features 4,000-year-old antique wood Javanese doors that they imported from Indonesia. Pranamar’s oceanfront villas are decorated with imported, hand-crafted Indonesian furniture and other elegant touches.
It is easy to feel serene in Pranamar’s Yoga Shala. You gaze out at beautiful nature and the ocean while doing yoga, listening to the sound of waves and the swimming pool waterfall. Goodfellow said the studio is fully-equipped with all of the different yoga props – mats, blocks, straps, bolsters, blankets, eye pillows, and meditation cushions.
Pranamar is very busy with international yoga retreats and groups, mainly from January to May, which are all open to the public to join. They do offer daily morning yoga classes to hotel guests and the public, usually at 9:00 a.m.; depending on the season, there are also afternoon classes. Goodfellow teaches Tantric Hatha Yoga, a dynamic form of Vinyasa yoga that uses Tantric techniques of chanting, breathing exercises and meditation. Other types of yoga, such as Vinyasa Yoga or Yin Yoga, also are sometimes offered. Private and semi-private classes may be scheduled at any time.
Article by Shannon Farley