What Happened in Costa Rica Stays in Costa Rica!

Okay, we’ll share! Two months after my open heart surgery and subsequent complications, my docs agreed that a week-long yoga retreat at sea level would help my healing, so Porter and I went to the Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort in Nosara, Costa Rica, with our Yoga Loft yoga teacher and forty students from our class. 

Here we are with nine-pound sandbags weighting our legs.

Our yoga shala (studio) was high up a hillside in the jungle with a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean. Porter and I counted 100 stair steps from our bungalow to the shala, so we got an excellent cardio workout as well. Here we all are resting after class. 

Our retreat was organized and led by our superb yoga teacher, Jeff Bailey, who with his wife Lori Kemmet owns Yoga Loft’s two locations in South Boulder and Gunbarrel. Jeff taught our two and sometimes three 90-minute classes a day, 7 a.m., noon, and 4:30 pm, in the style he created called Avita (which means “for a lifetime,” for all ages and body types, for movement, healing, stability, and peace). 

One of the best parts of the retreat was getting to know other students from our yoga classes better while dining in the open air at community tables. The food was fantastic–fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood, etc.–plenty of healthy options to suit every taste.  And yes, there was dessert and a bar! 

Between our yoga classes we had ample time to go to the beach, read by the pool, and meditate on our private patio in the jungle. 

We all went down to the beach to watch the sun sink below the sea’s horizon. It was a great place to reflect on the power of our yoga practice, individually and in community, for the greater good.

Amber adores Avita yoga. Here she naps for inner peace while practicing an asana of her own invention. We wish you many transformative experiences of your own, of body, mind and heart.


56 comments on “What Happened in Costa Rica Stays in Costa Rica!

  1. gail! i was just thinking about you today and was going to message you…and then this arrived. glad to see you both and in beautiful costa rica. thank you for posting this.

  2. Gail — you look FABULOUS!!! And, as always, you two are totally amazing!!!! Sounds like a wonderful place to be reinvigorated!!!

  3. So beautiful to see how you both are bringing good and strong health back to be the norm. I think there is a lot of power given when you leave the sick center, the place where you were weak and challenged, for a well center, the place where you body can be like the Gail of yore with life affirming practices. It is now almost one year since my shoulder surgery and I hit tennis balls for the first time, climbed a strenuous hill to see penguins, and did some yoga poses–that’s going from the journey of repair to strength. That is you.

  4. Such beautiful scenery and beautifully peaceful people. How wonderful to be by the sea sans winter bundling and more oxygen in the air! Love to you both.

  5. Wow, looking at your pictures is (almost) a recomedation for heart surgery–and certainly for yoga. We are very glad you are both well and happy. We have a big change coming up. Our house in Houston goes on the market in two weeks and we plan to move full time to La Jolla. You could come and watch the sun set over the ocean there.

  6. Wow Gail,
    What a sweet synopsis of our trip. Thank you for sharing this with your friends and most of all thank you and Porter for practicing Avita, joining us in Costa Rica and for being a rich part of our lives. Namaste,
    Jeff and Lori

    • Thank you, Jeff and Lori, and a deep bow of gratitude for making our Yoga Loft retreat in Costa Rica so beautiful and well orchestrated! What a blessing we have your outstanding yoga classes to come back to!

  7. PURA VIDA! What a momentous celebration of your vitality and joy, restoration and relaxation. I am thrilled for you both.

  8. Dear Gail,

    I am so glad to read this post of yours. I am (and remain) amazed at your strength and fortitude and stamina! I am so glad your are recovering (!) and that all is going well.


    • Jerrie, thanks, and those nine-pound weights on our feet up against the wall are so good for the lymphatic and circulatory systems, as well as stabilizing the sacrum. Hope all is fantastic with you!

  9. Gail,
    You and Porter have gone to heaven!! And you look wonderful, so
    I presume Costa Rica is working its healing wonders for you.
    Still missing you in Houston, dear friend!
    Love, Mary Jane

    • Tom and Rosemary, no doubt about it, the body knows how to heal, especially if we support it. Hope you both are well.

  10. Lori was telling me at my last dental appointment that she wasn’t sure you’d make it. Thrilled to hear you not only went, but how restorative it was for you both!

    • Jody, yes, whew, we didn’t know whether my tests would show I was okay to go until a couple of days before, so we feel really lucky! Love to you and Doak!

  11. So happy to see you up and stretching! That looks like a great respite for your heart and soul. I feel like I went on it too, for 5 minutes, which is FAB. Thank you!

    • Sue, glad you got to feel you were there for 5 minutes, and hope you get to be there much longer another time!

  12. So exciting to receive this in my inbox! Not only is Gail still alive she left the country, something must be going right. So happy to see your smiling faces and your feet up in the air. Much love.

  13. Wow, how beautiful and relaxing and restorative! What a lovely setting. I’m so happy for both of you and continue to be amazed at your progress — I’d never have guessed that 2 months after surgery you’d be in Costa Rica and so active!

    Lots of love,

    • Thank you, Andrea, I’d never have guessed it either! My cardiac surgeon’s nurse reminded me that my body is working incredibly hard now to heal, and won’t be back to normal for a year after surgery, so I’m trying not to overdo. It’s so great not to feel as horrible as I did the first two months, that I have to remember it’s a long game. I appreciate your love and concern so much, and hope you and Dana are doing well.
      Love to you both from Porter and me, Gail

    • Thank you, Ellie! I relied on my intuition, as you so wisely suggested, and it was a go once I got good results from the last-minute echo and chest x-ray. Hope all is fantastic with you and your family!

  14. I am so very happy you are healing well and you and Porter got away for a while. I bet the Yoga helped relax and rejuvenate your heart as well as your mind. Love to you both from rural North Texas!

    • Bryan, thanks so much, and yes, the yoga retreat in Costa Rica was a much needed break and heart/mind healing from all the running back and forth to doctor appointments, tests, cardiac rehab, etc.! Hope all is well with you and Cheryl, and much love to you both from Porter and me.

  15. Fun to read, Gail. And so glad you are healing, and getting stronger. And also, in the midst of the intense yoga disciplines and pampering Porter, that you are remaining ever-feisty!! Heal on! Yoga on! Gail on!

    • Thank you, Larry, I’m taking as my new mantra, your “Heal on! Heal on!” Hope all is fantastic and feisty with you!

  16. Just shows you–and me, and all of us–the healing power of love!!! And beauty. And perseverance, And living life to the fullest!! Way to go!!!!

    • Jane, you and Lloyd are paragons of the healing power of love, beauty, perseverance, and especially living life to the fullest. We’re so grateful for your friendship!

    • Thanks so much, Barbra, it really was restorative. I hope you’re staying warm this winter and having some fun R&R of your own!

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