Vidya introduces us to Sangha Lila, a small community in Costa Rica, where the most essential ingredient is nature!
Costa Rica. Almost always when Rob and I tell people where we live, they get starry-eyed and sigh.
Word has gotten out that this country is quite special: eternal spring weather, no army, high living standards, unimaginable natural diversity, stunning beaches, good surfing, volcanoes, enchanting waterfalls… Called the Switzerland of Central America, the surveys say that here live the happiest people on Earth.
The common greeting around here, Pura Vida! means ‘pure life’.
Twelve years ago, in Munich, we were at a crossroads to either move to Germany or Australia, but had a feeling we needed to wait another couple of months to meet Satyam Nadeen, who was coming to Munich, before deciding. As it turned out, he offered us a job to build and manage Pura Vida Spa, Costa Rica, the exact location of which was somewhat vague for us then. But we said yes and never looked back, although we sometimes marvel about how it all happened. Who told us to wait? What force whispered to us to stay in Munich a little longer and meet this guy Nadeen whom we knew nothing about? Intuition. Kismet. Fate. But we both heard the voice very clearly.
We ran Pura Vida Spa very successfully for seven years. In the beginning we spoke no Spanish. While running an in-house Mind-Body-Spirit program and hosting guest yoga groups, we continued to build and expand the resort, from 4 to 54 rooms, 5 yoga halls, restaurant, wellness center with a watsu pool, boutique, and more.
That was the biggest challenge: having construction work happening while simultaneously providing yoga classes, meditations and healing work in the wellness center. It was a balancing act on the scheduling ropes. We did the outrageously noisy steel cutting while we sent most of the guests on excursions, three times a week. Mostly it worked, but occasionally there were some glitches. When all construction work was completed, our karma with Pura Vida Spa seemed to be finished too.
We both felt it was time to move on to create our own dream of a small community of like-minded people who love meditation, healthy aging, conscious living, yoga, and a considerable amount of outdoor living in nature, and we have begun. The dream is manifesting into reality here and now: Sangha Lila, A Sanctuary. We believe that small communities are the path of the future and that living in one is a natural and essential way of living a full and meaningful life.
We are blessed by the abundance of unspoiled nature here, and have reserved seven and a half acres of orchards, rainforest, miles of trails and gardens as communal land; an endless playground. The property has two creeks and in the rainy season one large and two small waterfalls, and our emphasis is on permaculture.
The lowest section of this communal land is untouched rain forest with an incredible variety of birds and other wildlife like pumas, deer, wild boar, pisotes, coyotes, occasional white-faced monkeys, and some cool looking black weasels that hunt snakes. The locals tell us there are jaguars around, although we haven’t seen one yet!
The entire size of the land is 21 acres and is located on top of a ridge above San Jose, with breathtaking views of valleys, huge mountains and the ocean on two sides. It’s only 45 minutes to the up-market area of Escazu, an hour to the airport, and an hour and a half to the best beaches! Several National Parks are also reachable within an hour.
It is a deep feeling of awe and gratitude to be waking up every morning here in paradise. The land is beautiful beyond anything we could have imagined; the ever-changing views are truly spectacular. I wish I could just add all the bird and cicada sounds and the flower perfumes to this description.
First we cleared the land of aggressive grasses, which is a tedious process that continues. We planted thousands of fruit and ornamental trees, palms, bamboo, even a coffee plantation. Hundreds of multicolored bougainvilleas are slowly showing on ridges and slopes, transforming the landscape into a stunning tropical park. Some four year-old trees are already huge and in flower this year for the first time. We saw our first scarlet macaw perch on a tree we had planted specifically to attract these incredible prehistoric birds and feel a wee bit nutty to get so excited about all that!
Erik Dalton, a fabulous and famous body worker, is one of our community members. We built a house for him that we are now renting until we get our own home up and running, and until Erik and his wife are ready to move to Costa Rica. Rob has been overseeing the construction which took only 6 months from groundbreaking to finish.
In keeping with our community philosophy, the house has been designed to blend into the site (and not impose upon it), and takes advantage of the spectacular views to every side by being wrapped around a hill. The floor to ceiling glass panels allow the sky to come in.
A small retreat facility on top of the property with spectacular views is part of our vision for an Optimal Wellness Center. In future we see community members create together a healing sanctuary offering body work, cleansing weeks, acupuncture, yoga, meditation, nutritional counseling and Neurofeedback, a cutting-edge healing modality.
We have several house lots for sale, with unique views and a multitude of building possibilities and we would love to hear from interested friends!
Text and photos by Vidya for Osho News