Take a Vacation, It's Good for you!

Most companies offer paid vacation, yet we don't use all of the time that we are given. Some people don't use any of their vacation time at all! Why is this? Is it because taking time off can make it more stressful when you are coming back to work? Is it because you feel guilty for using your time off by doing something that you actually enjoy? Is it because you just feel too swamped to miss work? Contrary to how you feel RIGHT now, taking some time off could actually be beneficial to your work productivity. 

Here are 5 reasons why taking a vacation is good for your health:

  1.  It Reduces Stress: Chronic stress can be destructive to your mind, body and soul. Getting away from your hectic daily routine can give your stress a break and clear your mind.
  2. It Helps with Heart Health: Studies have shown that even missing one year's vacation was associated with a higher risk of heart disease. So, taking an annual vacation can be a link to a decrease in heart disease.
  3. Vacations Make You Happier: Neuro-scientists have found that brain structure can be altered by chronic exposure to stress hormones. Studies have shown that people who do not take regular vacations were three times more likely to be depressed and anxious.
  4. Vacations Make you More Productive: Another study by the Boston Consulting Group found that professionals who were required to take time off were significantly more productive overall than those who spent more time working. BCG studies also showed that individuals were happier after returning from vacation would resulted in more creativity.
  5. Better Sleep: While on vacation, people usually average an hour or more of quality sleep. This is the perfect time to catch up on sleep that has been lost from many restless and disrupted sleeps.

Going on a vacation seems like it is a large commitment, but the best investment you can make is the investment you have in yourself. The anxieties about booking a vacation is short, the after vacation affects will last long.

The Pura Vida Retreat is the best place for you to go to re-charge, clear your mind, body and soul and return home a better, happier you!

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Retreat Goer Shares Experience with The New York Times

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Every year we go on the Pure Vida retreat, we meet amazingly talented individuals from around the globe. 2013 was the year we met rock star editor, Karen Schneider, who shared her Pure Vida Retreat experience with the New York Times. Check it out!

A Warrior Learns a Different Pose

It’s important to understand that my husband, Peter, refuses to take baths. He does shower, yes, but he finds baths unmanly, just like soccer — or any other sport that does not require players to crash into one another like angry apes and beat their chests.

For years he coached our son, Cade, in football, shouting at his boys to “Hit them low, take them down.” He watches soccer only because our daughter, Raye, plays. She has what her coaches call “grit.” This makes Peter proud.

Before every game we remind her about excessive body play.

“Keep your arms in,” Peter warns as I nod approvingly. Then he whispers, “Go kick some butt.” He holds up his palm. She throws a punch, good and hard, thumb out so it doesn’t break, just as he taught her. Then they beat their chests and grunt.

So my expectations were low when, on a cold Minneapolis day last winter, I dialed Peter’s number at his office to make an unusual request.

“Hey,” I said. “What’s up?”

“Nothing. Just working.”

“O.K. I just called to say hi.”

“Hi.”

“Hi,” I said. “So do you feel like going to Costa Rica on a yoga retreat?”

And I held my breath.

I felt as if I had been holding my breath for more than 20 years, since I got my first job in New York and soon after learned that, at 56, my mother had Alzheimer’s disease. I moved back home to help care for her and began telecommuting from Minneapolis.

Next, I met and married Peter. Then came Peter’s alcoholism. And two infants. And my father’s cancer. And tensing up every time the phone rang.

After two decades of illness and death, of car pool lanes and hockey rinks, of figuring out dinner and what to do while my taciturn husband learned how to live without a drink, after giving up running because it hurt my knees and sugar because it made me sick and traveling because it made me insane trying to convince myself I would not die while away, here I was again, holding my breath.

“Do I want to go on a yoga retreat?” he repeated. “Not really. But I’ll go if it’s important to you.”

So we went, neophytes both, because we had become strangers in marriage, because our therapist told us we needed to say “yes” to life more, and because on the cusp of turning 50, I needed to remember how to breathe.

On our first night, our group gathered for a ceremony that involved sitting cross-legged on cushions and holding stones in our hands. Our teachers lit candles and told us to close our eyes.

I peeked at Peter. I was supposed to be envisioning the blue in my body, but instead I was thinking: “Please don’t let them ask us to join hands. Or chant.”

The next day Peter did his first downward dog. There were cats and cows and instructions on breathing: “In through the nose, out through the nose.”

Later we took a group surfing lesson. I was dreading it. I am terrified of sharks and scared of waves. But I wanted to say yes to life, so I found myself lying on a rental board on the beach that scratched my arms with an instructor named Ricardo telling us to “pop up.”

Twenty minutes later, we walked into the water. “Remember to shuffle,” Ricardo told us. “To avoid the stingrays.”

One by one Ricardo brought the others into the ocean — shuffling, shuffling. One by one they popped up, wiped out and disappeared before reappearing and heading back to shore.

Then it was my turn. Ricardo held my board. My heart raced. “Relax your shoulders,” he said. Like everyone else, he told me to breathe. “Trust me,” he said as he let me go. “You’re not going to die out here.”

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Have you gone on the retreat with us? Tell us about your experience and we will share it on our blog!

 

Welcome to Nosara: My Experience

Nosara is a village and a district on Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula with a population of approximately 6,000 people. It's known as a yoga center. It's a town where everyone knows you by name. A town where time is not measured by a clock, but merely by the sunrise and sunset overlooking the magical jungle. A town where you can enjoy your purest life.

February 2010 was the first time I traveled to Nosara with my sister. I admit, prior to traveling to Costa Rica I was quite nervous and hesitant; it was so far away from Minnesota - what if something bad happens? Is it safe? I've never even heard of Nosara! Traveling out of the country always makes me anxious, but all of my hesitations were gone from the minute I landed in Nosara.

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When I first arrived, I was greeted with fresh coconut water and a group of smiling faces - beautiful faces at that. Everyone was so beautiful, so kind and so genuinely excited for our arrival. My sister and I spent our days waking up and taking a yoga or pilates class in the jungle taught by Adrienne Fitzmaurice - I remember at one point looking up and seeing tiny monkeys swinging from the trees; every view was breathtaking.

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The afternoons were spent surfing with the guys at Nosara Tico Surf School, zip lining, horseback riding on the beach, boogie boarding, biking, swimming or catching some rays. Right before sunset we would meet back for some Restorative Yoga or Prana Stretching (my favorite) before heading to the beach and watching the sun go down with a glass of wine.

 

At night we'd dance under the stars or go out to (with all of our new friends met on the retreat) at all of the unique restaurants found in the jungle and on the beach (Shout-out to La Luna!). We would then go to sleep, only wake up to another day of paradise.

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This year, the retreat will offer a range of classes including Yoga, Pilates, TRX, Restorative, Cycling and more! We will have the entire Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort for our private retreat and I simply cannot wait to meet everyone.

Namaste my friends!

Lizzy

      Lizzy is a Pura Vida Retreat 'goer' since 2010,                     located in Minneapolis. 

    Lizzy is a Pura Vida Retreat 'goer' since 2010,                     located in Minneapolis.