Mahila’s Pura Vida Costa Rica Retreat “I Am Mahila”

I am Mahila

The day before I left for the Mahila Partnership’s first annual  Costa Rica Retreat and Fundraiser, I was called into my boss’ office and informed that the company was having financial problems, and everyone would be forced in taking three weeks of unpaid furlough by the end of the year.    Defeated, I walked out of her office, but as I left, the most insane thought came to my mind: “Perhaps now I can take that month off to do that yoga teacher training I had been dreaming about!”

It was such a crazy thought, so insane, the idea of taking a full month of work in this rat race of a society, in economic times where people were getting laid off left and right.  But to me, it seemed as if the universe were testing me.  Just the week prior, I had been discussing this amazing, life changing teacher training with a friend, and I told her, “That’s a nice dream, but there’s no way I’d ever get three weeks off my life to make that happen.”  Almost immediately, the universe handed me three weeks of furlough…almost like it was daring me to see what I would do.

I spent my entire week in Costa Rica last year mulling over the idea.  I fretted and worried and dreamed and hoped and wept over the combined frustration and possibility.   Here was this amazing group of women dedicated to supporting the cause of women’s health and personal development worldwide, and each of them each of them supported me as I tentatively explained my idea.   This was an opportunity for me to take charge of my health, my future, my personal development…with the eventual goal of helping other women on their same path.

The central idea and worry that arose in my mind over and over was wondering if I had a right to ask this for myself.  Was I being selfish, in wanting this opportunity? What would I be taking away from my husband, my daughter, my work? I was, at the core, afraid. I brought my concerns about whether I should go to this training to Mahila’s founder Angela Devlin.  Angela asked a single question: “If your daughter came to you and asked whether she should do this, what would you tell her?”  Without hesitation, I answered, “Of course she should do this!” She kindly looked me in the eye and said “I think that’s your answer.  How can you tell your daughter what kind of woman you want her to be, if you can’t SHOW her what kind of woman you want her to be?”

That conversation, the inspiring relationships I developed and the entire Costa Rica trip were to catalyst for me fully committing and deciding to go forth with the training.   And while there were many more obstacles I had to overcome before I walked into the first day of my training, Mahila helped me overcome the first and biggest obstacle of all – myself.

Today, nearly one year later, I am a certified yoga teacher.  I reach many students each week, teaching them to find physical, emotional and mental healing through the practice of yoga and meditation and the qualities of self awareness, self responsibility, self-care.  I volunteer with young pregnant girls in crisis at an organization called The Alpha House, and I strive to help these girls gain self confidence, strength in their bodies and minds, personal responsibility for their health and life situation and the knowledge that they are cared for deeply.  I have learned this year that caring for yourself, feeding yourself daily what you need to heal and grow MUST be a central focus of your life, if you want to have the energy and life force to dedicate yourself to the care of others.

I return to Mahila’s Costa Rica retreat this year to not only refill my spirit with the powerful energy of the Pura Vida resort, but to inspire other women on the retreat. I hope to share my story, and teach that this retreat can be a life-changing experience, if you let it.  Decisions made and ideas generated in this time have an intense push behind them.  When faced with these powerful opportunities in your life, these chances to take hold of the reins of your life and shift the course you are taking, how will you respond? With fear? Or with a growing hope and excitement over the limitless possibilities that lay before you?


To learn more about the Mahila Partnership and its worldwide mission to address the most pressing health and hygiene needs of women and girls following disasters, visit

To learn more about the Mahila Partnership Annual Yoga and Meditation Retreat at Pura Vida Resort in Costa Rica, visit .

To learn more about the R&R Pura Vida Spa & Resort in Costa Rica, visit

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Phone: 813-310-0738

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