Yoga and Sustainable Travel

Oct 3, 2019 | Ecotourism, Flying, Yoga

Yoga and Sustainable Travel

Oct 3, 2019 | Ecotourism, Flying, Yoga

Here at Costa Dulce Surf and Yoga Retreat, we understand the desire to travel. Seeing new places, getting to know a different culture, and trying exotic foods are some of the joys that inspire us to explore the world! Yet, we also realize that traveling and the tourism industry, in general, are not the most environmentally-friendly.

We are mindful of the fact that tourism is responsible for nearly 10% of the global carbon footprint, according to a study by the journal Nature Climate Change looking at data from 2009-2013.

At Costa Dulce, we also value supporting the local Nicaraguan community that largely depends on revenues from tourism, and so we don’t necessarily want to ask people to stop traveling. The New York Times further supports that sustainable travel means contributing to the local community by supporting local businesses — whether it’s buying locally-made goods or eating at local restaurants instead of large chains.

But we also feel that as yogis we have a responsibility to travel more mindfully and minimize our environmental impact wherever we go.

You might be wondering, what does practicing yoga have to do with traveling sustainably?

Nicaragua yoga retreat at Costa Dulce Surf and Yoga Retreat.
Smiling in part due to clean consciousnesses.


The Link Between Yoga and Sustainable Travel

Yoga is more than a sweat-inducing workout or a form of meditation. The aim of yoga is to come into a state of Samadhi or union. In this state, we feel fully connected to our true nature as well as with what is around us. Through the practice of yoga, we come to sense that we are all interconnected — humans, animals, plants, the planet, and whatever created all of those things.

Plus, the practice of yoga is not just stretching on a piece of rubber (hopefully sustainably sourced rubber), but it has its roots in our day-to-day lives!

According to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, one of the foremost yogic texts that was compiled before the 5th century, ethical practices called the Yamas and Niyamas are the foundation of yoga. The first Yama, or self-regulating behavior, is ahimsa or non-violence. This includes refraining from hurting ourselves and others through thoughts, words, or actions, but it also includes minimizing damage to our environment.

Non-greed (aparigraha) and contentment (santosha) are two more of the Yamas and Niyamas that help remind us to take care of our earth. When we practice enjoying what we have instead of always seeking to have more, we automatically decrease our impact!

Abstaining more often from the impulse to consume excessively allows us to help slow the depletion of our planet’s natural beauty as well as its precious resources. Whether it’s thinking twice about whether we really need that new pair of jeans or even to take some seashells home that might provide a home for a creature, when we bring the practice of yoga into our lives we become more aware of the possible effects of our daily actions.

So while doing yoga asana on the mat is great, practicing yoga in our lives is even better as it helps us show up as better people for others and for our planet. Deborah Adele gives more guidance on how to deepen our yoga practice and live our yoga in her book The Yamas and Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice.

Two models of this connection between yoga and environmental awareness are the environmentalist Céline Cousteau (the granddaughter of French conservationist Jacques Cousteau) and the high-earning tennis player Novak Djokovic.

Céline Cousteau shares that she constantly feels like she’s working on multiple projects at a time, which leaves very little time for self-care, but she makes sure that she dedicates a couple of hours a week to practicing yoga. She advises: “I think it’s crucial to take time for yourself; maybe that’s yoga, a walk, or weeding the garden. If you regenerate, you’re going to come back better, for the people you serve.” Céline is an example of how yoga and other ways of re-connecting with ourselves ultimately help us contribute more to the world.

Another example of how a committed yoga practice naturally makes us want to give back is the environmentally-conscious tennis player and yogi Novak Djokovic. Djokovic says he uses yoga and meditation to raise his consciousness to not only help his competitive edge, but to better allow him to love himself, the people around him, and the planet. He is one of the highest-earning athletes on the planet with 15 Grand Slam titles to his name, yet his yoga practice inspires him to give back to others and the planet. He follows a plant-based diet and founded a charity that gives educational grants to young children from his homeland of Serbia.


What Do We Do Now?

From the yogic viewpoint, we can see that travel has a negative environmental impact and then we can take conscious actions, both large and small, to decrease our footprint.

For air travel, we can make our trips as long as possible and consolidate frequent smaller trips into one large trip to reduce the total distance traveled and the total number of flights we take each year. At Costa Dulce, we help you offset the carbon footprint of your flight by planting three trees in our protected nature reserve for each night of your stay!

For daily travel, we can ride-share and plan in advance to consolidate our errand runs into one trip instead of making several separate trips to and from home.

In our daily lives, we can say “no” to plastic straws and bring reusable containers with us to minimize the use of single-use plastics that deplete our resources and harm our health as well as our oceans and marine life.

At home or abroad, we can also skip attractions that could harm wildlife, like zoos, tiger petting, or elephant rides.

Interested in continuing to explore the connection between yoga and environmental consciousness? Check out our upcoming 200-Hour Transformational Yoga Teacher Trainings to deepen your connection to yourself, to others, and to the planet in order to make a positive change in the world.

See monkeys on our wildlife tour in Collado reserve, Costa Dulce, NicaraguaSee monkeys on our wildlife tour in Collado reserve, Costa Dulce, Nicaragua
See monkeys on our wildlife tour in the Collado reserve, Costa Dulce, Nicaragua


Content intended only for the use of costadulcebeach.com

Penned by Althea Jean, Guest Writer (edited by Monica Munguia)

4. To be present

The most rewarding and probably hardest skill to master: the act of presence. We can be so caught up by fear of the future or regret of the past, that we can no longer find a connection at the moment. Connecting your mind and body in the present moment through breathing will make you more present in your daily life, in your job, and when connecting with your loved ones.

The beautiful, natural scenery of a getaway yoga retreat will contribute to that presence and stimulate you to let go of all that is not here and to focus solely on yourself in the here and now.


5. To train your mind

A big part of our reality finds its origin in the quality of our minds and thoughts. Although you can’t prevent certain thoughts from entering the mind, yoga and meditation will provide you with the right tools to reframe your mind and reality in a positive way.

New cultures, new people, new teachings, will open and strengthen your mind from day-to-day. Opening your body and mind simultaneously will inevitably open your hearts as well and new ways of living will become apparent.


6. To overcome your fear of change

Trying new things can be challenging, given the fact that growing and learning often implies making mistakes first. The first classes you’ll teach, you’ll probably be happy they are over and nobody got injured or hurt. It’s only after some time that we can really get to enjoy the art teaching itself.

Being confronted with our fears -and therefore the self-rejection that is most scary- helps us to overcome them and to become more compassionate towards ourselves. Trying new things and embracing the change is a great way to look at and grow into your life experiences.

Flying into a new and exotic country solo definitely can be scary as well! But no great growth was ever achieved without fear first. Embrace the feeling, as you embrace the process itself. You won’t regret it!

7. To be you – authentically

Being alone, in a new environment, doing yoga, will confront you with yourselves and the things that are holding you back to becoming the best and most happy version of yourself.

Learn what holds you back and discover a new definition of freedom. Freedom that is not about moving freely physically, but about entering a new state of mind.

When you travel into a whole new environment like Costa Rica or Nicaragua, you’ll discover that you don’t have to pretend anything for anyone, since you know no-one. In our daily lives, we are used to having certain roles (at work, partner, parent, son/daughter,…), that it is hard to find our authentic personality behind it. Yoga will get you there, finding and accepting who you are, to share it authentically with the world.


8. To experience the impact of positive people

Could it be that you have toxic, negative people in your life without knowing it? People that choose a YTT are people that want to work on themselves, to be better and more connected. As soon as you know how liberating it feels to connect to the right people, you will no longer get your energy stolen by negative ‘energy-consuming’ people.

Especially during an intensive Yoga Teacher Training, you’ll be sharing deeply with others get to experience the bubble of positivity that other, like-minded -like – energy – people bring. Besides, the cross-cultural vibe of the YTT, will give you a new in-depth understanding of your own culture, habits, and thoughts and support your personal path of growth even more.


9. Make an impact on the planet

A big part of the yoga journey – which is definitely not only about the physical- is about the spiritual part and moreover our connection with others and the world as a whole in our ‘dharma’ or calling. It is about discovering our strengths and developing/using them to create a greater impact on the whole.

Given our current understanding of global warming and environmental change, you might not find it logical to see a long-distance flight as making a positive impact. Luckily, there are YTT’s – such as the Costa Dulce Yoga Teacher Training- that allow you to offset your footprint and contribute to reforesting and preservation projects by your visit. Win-Win, since both you and your surroundings will flourish by your visit.


10. To switch career

Yoga is an excellent way to work and make money while doing the thing you love most (either full- or part-time).

If you’re looking to make a career switch, but you’re not sure in what direction … The YTT will give you the confidence and tools to embrace any change. Or do you have a traveling soul? Then traveling opens up endless opportunities to work and live abroad while making a positive change in the lives of others.

In-between jobs and not sure where to go? A YTT abroad is the excellent getaway from your daily work worries into yourself and your true path/ journey. It can be an excellent start of a long journey, not only discovering more about yourself but about the world as well.

Please share with us your thoughts, experiences, or questions with/ about (immersive) Yoga Teacher Training! Or haven’t done training yet? Discover the unique, small-group YTT at Costa Dulce (max. 10 participants). We would love to hear from you!



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Why do yoga teacher training if you don’t want to teach?


Written by Ann Schreppers





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