A few weeks ago I met Lauren Toolin here at Blue Osa. She was surveying the area while asking the utmost intricate questions about the surrounding space. “How many people can the dinner table accommodate?”, “Have you ever done any classes on the pool pavilion?” “What time does the sunrise?”
All this was Lauren’s meticulous way of organizing her upcoming yoga retreat. Set to take place from March 31st-April 7th, here at Blue Osa. I watched gingerly as she moved about from space to space, envisioning her goal, trying to make it palpable. One thing for certain is that Lauren is passionate about what she does. She emits a presence, an energy if you will, that suggests everything is done to her fullest extent. I called Lauren a few weeks after she left Blue Osa to talk a bit more about her upcoming retreat.
Having run sixteen retreats in a handful of different continents, Lauren is no stranger to the intricacies and subtleties that make up a good retreat. My goal was to extract some of that information, all while uncovering the details of her upcoming retreat here at Blue Osa.
The following are some of the excerpts from our conversation…
Yoga Retreat Spotlight: Bhakti & Shakti in Paradise with Lauren Toolin
Ben: So first tell me who this retreat is geared towards?
Lauren: Well, the retreat is ideal for those who are playfully serious about their practice. These are people who want a vacation but a vacation that’s geared towards learning about yoga and learning about oneself. I am welcoming individuals, couples, groups, beginners, practiced yogis, anyone who wants to learn and wants to enjoy themselves along the way.
Ben: And what do you want these people to get out of this retreat?
Lauren: A sense of renewal. I want people to be able to dip their toe into the lake of restoration and return back to their lives feeling refreshed. Community is also an integral part of my retreats. My past retreats have facilitated intercontinental friendships and that’s something that I will strive towards achieving in the future. Yoga is a communal practice and I really am an advocate of that.
Ben: Terrific. Why don’t you tell me a bit about your plan for the upcoming retreat. What’s your style going to be, what daily activities can guests expect, what kind of atmosphere are you trying to cultivate?
Lauren: Fun. I like to make my retreats fun. We will have two classes a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, the latter being more introspective and less rigorous. I also want to give guests some free time to do their own thing, to explore the wonderful environment of Blue Osa. Then after dinner, we will be continuing a tradition of mine and playing some smack down Charades.
Ben: And what is it about Blue Osa that you liked so much?
Lauren: I chose Blue Osa, I love Blue Osa, because it’s off the beaten track. It’s not your typical yoga resort destination. The atmosphere there is…breathtaking. The Costa Rican jungle, the ocean, it all pervades a sense of adventure, which I really fell in love with.
Ben: Okay Lauren, lastly, there might be some readers out there who are playing with the idea of starting their own yoga retreat one day. What advice can you offer to these people? I like that you made a point of visiting Blue Osa before holding the retreat, is that something you usually do?
Lauren: Yes, it’s important to get a feeling for the place beforehand. Not just the physical environment but the energy as well. There’s always the element of chance when you engage in these types of endeavours but you can be smart about it. So yes, it is something I try to do. Also, your role as the retreat leader is something you shouldn’t neglect. You have to be on 24/7 so it’s always wise to make sure you’re in the right head-space, that you’re competent, that you have the energy and willingness to perform such a demanding task.
Ben: Perfect, thank you, Lauren.
Lauren Toolin is – among many other things – a long time yoga teacher, a certified yoga therapist, a mentor, and a mom to two young adults. I could continue citing her accolades but this column has only permitted me so much space. Lauren will be holding what she has dubbed her Shakti & Bakti in Paradise Retreat, here at Blue Osa on March 31st.
So if you’re interested in furthering your yoga practice, in the tranquil environment that is Blue Osa, then look no further, Lauren Toolin has the retreat for you. Further of details of the event can be found on Lauren’s website by clicking here.
About the author:
Ben von Jagow is an avid traveler and aspiring writer from Ottawa, Canada. He studied Business at the University of Western Ontario and worked in the banking industry before leaving the country to wander. His frugality coupled with his passion for adventure has transformed him into a traveler who searches for diversion in the unorthodox. Before coming to Blue Osa, Ben played professional football in Spain. At Blue Osa he spends his free time being manhandled by the waves with a surfboard trailing somewhere close behind. Despite the ocean´s attempts to dissuade him, he can usually be spotted returning the next day with a smile on his face. To see more of Ben´s work, visit him at www.benviajando.wordpress.com.