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A Yogi's Breath- A Retreat Design in Costa Rica

Jowa is a passionate yogi originally from Virginia Beach, Virgina, who started yoga when she was 18. She originally started yoga because she was attracted to the clothing and as she states, "I wanted a new outfit."

However, her yoga journey deepened after she had her first child. She wanted to have the same peace she saw her yoga teachers emulate. Then Jowa attended a Yoga Teacher Training and actually "listened" to her teacher and "let my body do the work and my mind was able to fall into her breath". She then realized that teaching yoga was what she wanted to do in her life. That was 12 years ago and now she believes that her yoga journey gets little deeper for her everyday.

As her journey deepened she searched for accountability partners. She started a 30 day online yoga challenge which resulted in a large online community of women interested in the practice. Through this a gathering of yogi's all across the country she decided to create the Brown Girl Yoga Tribe.

I met Jowa soon afterward when I started my Yoga Teacher Training. I found her very passionate and dedicated to her practice. She also had this amazing group of enthusiastic, talented yogis, and wellness teachers. I joined to engage more and connect with like minded individuals.

Jowa says the yoga has impacted her family and friends. Yoga is such a part of her life that influences her everyday through her morning practice. Her morning practice provides her a period of awareness before she starts her day. For Jowa, yoga is not just about stretching it is about about staying in connection with the breath, so one can consciously make better choices and decisions in life.

Recently, I saw on her Instagram page the beautiful yoga studio and retreat space she created in Costa Rica. I interviewed her about the space and how her yoga practice influenced the design:

Me: How did you get to Costa Rica?

Jowa: "I always dreamed of traveling. I love places with trees. As soon as my son was old enough to be able to tell me things, we came here. We have been here for six years now. It is so easy to get into the harmony of nature here."

Me: "Tell me about your yoga studio design. It is simply beautiful and so very Zen and open."

Jowa: "With My house it just exaggerates nature. My house is very open. The yoga studio is on the second floor. The whole front of the studio is open. You can see the surrounding trees and volcanoes. I felt it was really it was important to harness (nature) in the (yoga) practice. Because that's easy to get lost in it. I rather get lost in something beautiful and mesmorizing. Being in harmony and studying nature allows you to have a deeper connection with the divine. it is much more peaceful than looking at a screen or looking at a wall. It allows for you to go deeper in your soul and get lost in that.

Nature was a big factor in the studio design and having bold colors. Main wall color is a deep teal. That color screams tranquility for me. It reminds me of the water element. it Is a work in progress. I am working to get as many plants into the space to incorporate the feeling of nature. Plants are such a deep thing for me see them where ever I go. It is our duty we give to them and they give to us. It is a relationship. I wanted to give that energy to the space and healing."

Me: How is that design influencing your practice? Have you noticed anything about your practice as it relates to the space.

Jowa: "Oh yeah most definitely. I think it goes back to intention. Having a sacred space dedicated to practicing yoga opens up to spirit. The space is about finding connection and spirit. It helps me connect with my breath faster."

The studio is home to a monthly women's retreat that attracts women all over the country and around the world. It is definitely on my list to attend within the next year or so.

So here's a tip from Jowa's feel good design- create a space for exercise or relaxation that is influenced by your passion and the surroundings you are inspired by. Bring in plants and other natural elements. Don't be afraid to bring in something bold and unexpected (the teal wall) and last but not least be able to breathe and connect with your understanding of spirit.

For more information about Jowa you can find her at

All photos in this blog article provided courtesy of Iowa and The Brown Girl Yoga Tribe..


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