By Karuna Ashley

Living longer. Smiling more. Two reasons why I practice in the Blue Zone.

I admit it. Sometimes I slip out of living in the moment. Sometimes I look forward, imagining how much my practice could open up as time goes by, offering me even greater joy and bigger breakthroughs. The thing is, the longer I practice, the more I want to practice.  And the more I want to practice, the longer I want to live, so I can keep it up. I am fascinated by the Blue Zones—those few locations on Earth identified as having more people over the age of 100 than anywhere else.

The Blue Spirit Retreat, on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula, where I lead a Kundalini Yoga retreat once a year, is located in one of these Blue Zones. The minute you set foot on the ground there, breathe the salty, jungly air, and feel the tropical sun on your skin, you know you’re being nurtured by a force that doesn’t exist everywhere.

Costa Rica spends only 15 percent of what America does on health care, yet its people seem to live longer, apparently healthier lives than people in any other country on Earth. Nicoya in particular boasts the lowest cancer rates in the country. What are they doing right? What energies exist there that nurture so many strong, long lives?  According to, the official site related to Dan Buettner’s book on the topic, some of the mysteries have been revealed. Here are a few things we can learn about longevity from the Nicoyans:

1.             Have a plan de vida. Nicoyans always nurture their plan de vida, or reason to live, which encourages them to contribute to their community.

2.             Drink hard water. High amounts of calcium and magnesium, essential for bone and muscle strength, abound in Nicoya’s water. By drinking and cooking with this water, people get their daily intake of calcium throughout their entire lives.

3.             Focus on your family and friends. Having good relationships with family members and maintaining a strong social network contributes greatly to a centenarian’s sense of purpose and well-being.

4.             Work hard. Nicoyan centenarians maintain a strong work ethic, which keeps them active and healthy while contributing to their sense of purpose.

5.             Plan your meals. Nicoyans eat fresh, locally grown food, with their biggest meal in the morning and their smallest meal at night.

6.              Get some sun. Nicoyans enjoy healthy doses of daily sun, enriching their bodies with Vitamin D. Getting at least 15 minutes every day can decrease the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease.

The Blue Spirit Retreat was founded  by Stephan Rechtschaffen, a nationally recognized physician who lectures on health, wellness, nutrition, longevity and time. The environment invites the spirit to relax and the body to revitalize, recharging the cells with the mixture of pure mountain air, and negative ions from the ocean.

The food at Blue Spirit is both conscious and 4-star, nurturing the body and spirit as it provides true pleasure. In addition to being located in the land of long life, all of the elements of Blue Spirit reinforce Yogi Bhajan’s recommendations of hydrotherapy, yoga technology, and diet as the support for a happy life.

May I tempt you to slip out of living in the moment, and think about joining us in Costa Rica from November  17th-24th?

 Click here for tickets to join Karuna in Costa Rica!


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