Panama Cambutal New Year's Eve yoga retreat 2016
Yoga Retreats

Sansara Scouting Trip For Happy New You!

One of the best experiences I’ve had so far this year has been to visit Sansara Yoga and Spa in Cambutal, Panama.

Ewa and I had spotted this gem some time ago when we decided to host our forth annual New Year’s Eve yoga retreat called Happy New you! In the spirit of discovering new locales and broadening our horizons, we decided to explore a new part of Central America.

Sansara Magic- Our Scouting Trip To Cambutal, Panama For Happy New You! Yoga Retreat- group photo

This retreat will offer similar tropical climate, similar fun, lighthearted and vibrant concept, but wait ’till you see the incredible place we have chosen!

We are so excited to share it with you. For this mini-scouting trip it we put together a group of six friends and ventured out for Panama City.

For the record, organizing a trip between as few as us was NOT EASY. Between logistics, flights,  timing preferences, lengths of stay…it really made us appreciate the idea of going on a yoga retreat where all the logistics are already taken care of for you.

Panama Cambutal New Year's Eve yoga retreat 2016

The vibes are high at Sansara. The staff is uber friendly, the owners Mike and Janel are super inspiring (with a  baby on the way!) and the chefs so talented.

Some of us arrived early in Panama City and spent some time in Casco Viejo, enjoying the beautiful historic part of the city, its alleyways and the stark contrast between old and the modern parts.

Sansara Magic- Our Scouting Trip To Cambutal, Panama For Happy New You! Yoga Retreat- Panama City

Past Panama City, the drive becomes lush, beautiful and green.

Sansara Magic- Our Scouting Trip To Cambutal, Panama For Happy New You! Yoga Retreat- road to cambutal

The first thing that hit me when I arrived in Cambutal at Sansara was just how beautiful the property was. Sansara emanates a mediterranean feel with little thatched roofs staked with adorned walls and stylish details everywhere.

Sansara Magic- Our Scouting Trip To Cambutal, Panama For Happy New You! Yoga Retreat- sansara pool

Upon arriving some of us had already decided to hop on a cruiser bike and explore the lush and serene countryside, whereas some of us barely had any time to drop off our bags before getting whisked away by Mike, the owner for a rad surf session with the locals.

Sansara Magic- Our Scouting Trip To Cambutal, Panama For Happy New You! Yoga Retreat- Ewa- Fania-riding cruiser bikes

Sansara Magic- Our Scouting Trip To Cambutal, Panama For Happy New You! Yoga Retreat

Group sunrise yoga was stupendous on the elegant moroccan inspired yoga deck, and the beach in the morning creates a surreal mirror-like effect that will leave you in complete awe.

Sansara Magic- Our Scouting Trip To Cambutal, Panama For Happy New You! Yoga Retreat- sansara beach

My favorite parts of the trips perhaps were the mornings. Getting together with friends in the cool morning breeze, sipping tea, chatting and laughing, airdropping photos, trying all sorts of chia-seed puddings, whole wheat waffles, poached eggs over rooted vegetables.

The other thing I loved was hanging by the pool and getting smoothies delivered and snacks while kicking it in the sun with our group.

Sansara Magic- Our Scouting Trip To Cambutal, Panama For Happy New You! Yoga Retreat- sansara


Sansara Magic- Our Scouting Trip To Cambutal, Panama For Happy New You! Yoga Retreat- pool side lounge

If the surf was incredible, the surf instructor Nick is even more. Ewa could not be happier about his through, two and a half hour session where he shared literally all his passion and knowledge. Ewa is now completely hooked on surfing! For the non surfers, stand-up paddle boarding and snorkeling were a great and more chill alternative.

Sansara Magic- Our Scouting Trip To Cambutal, Panama For Happy New You! Yoga Retreat- surf

And did I mention the rooms? And the beds????? Because Sansara is practically brand new, everything is in pristine shape. The beds are soft white clouds and the aromatherapy makes you feel like you’re in heaven upon entering the room.

All the stone work was done by Mike, the owner, as well as the wood work. Stone showers and big slabs of wood as bed frames make the look of the rooms dramatic, stylish and edgy.

Overall, we absolutely adored the vibrant, chill and healthy energy of Sansara and cannot wait to get back and share it with all of you.

We are about half-way booked up for the retreat. Contact us at to reserve your spot or book below.

Dec 28, 2016 – Jan 3, 2017, Sansara, Cambutal, Panama.




Sansara Magic- Our Scouting Trip To Cambutal, Panama For Happy New You! Yoga Retreat- dancing gods

Blog, Yoga Retreats

Boca Sombrero Accommodations

Boca Sombrero and its magnificent 20-acre property immediately lured Ewa and I with its lush jungle setting and tranquil vibe.

Here are the types of accommodation where you will be able to stay during the Blue Wave Yoga Retreat.

Boca Sombrero Accommodations

There are three bigger houses total and eight smaller bungalows. Note that the  pool that is in front of Casa Playa Sombrero will be accessible to everyone! Scroll below for rates and descriptions.


Thatched-Roof Tent Platforms

The eight thatched-roof tent platforms are especially designed for comfort in a tropical climate. The thatched roof will keep you dry and cool, while a transparent material along the roof-line lets in light. The platforms are outfitted with beautiful, screened Moroccan-style tents whose special fabric allows for ventilation. Each bungalow has a cozy porch for relaxing and a private, open-air shower adjacent. Shared bathroom facilities are nearby and conveniently located. This option is great for you if you’re on the adventure and wanting to save.






tent-platforms at night Boca Sombrero
The moroccan style tent from the inside at night. Super cute!

Casa Playa Sombrero

Casa Playa Sombrero  provides both ocean and lush mountain views. The upstairs room provides two netted, king-sized beds and a balcony with a spectacular view of the Golfo Dulce and has beautiful hardwood floor.  Downstairs has a cozy living space, bathroom and a detached kitchen equipped with professional appliances. Both the living area and kitchen open up to the spacious swimming pool, deck and lounge area. The pool has both deep and shallow areas – perfect for relaxing or swimming.

boca-sombrero Pool picture


Casa Rio Sombrero

Casa Rio Sombrero is custom-finished with fine hardwoods, an open floor plan and a beautiful thatched roof. Upstairs the house has two bedrooms containing king-sized, netted beds. Downstairs, there is a central, open kitchen designed for gathering at the bar. It is also equipped with modern appliances. There is a comfortable dining area and an artfully designed bathroom, detached from the main structure for privacy. The bathroom area includes a covered dipping pool – a refreshing escape from the midday sun.



Casa Troya

Casa Troya reflects the typical home design of the Osa Peninsula with its half-height walls and natural, local building materials. It has a fully equipped kitchen and bathroom downstairs and a loft partitioned into two bedrooms upstairs. The overall aesthetic of this home evokes a sense of movement as the lines of the structure resemble a wave, ship or an animal, depending on one’s perspective.



The Rest of The Property

The houses and tent platforms are just steps away from Playa Sombrero and then the fourth house on the property is the Casa Grande, a spacious home where we gather to enjoy meals. Here our professional kitchen crew prepares and serves delicious food in beautiful surroundings. Casa Grande also offers a comfortable and stylish lounge area for just hanging out and free-wifi is provided.

The yoga deck is a 9- by 13-yard hardwood platform built with bamboo and a thatched roof. It sits in front of the beach and comfortably accommodates 30 people.

Another favorite part of the property is the surf watching station, a little jungle chill area right in front of the beach from where you can take a break between surf sessions or just watch others shred the waves!

Boca Sombrero Yoga Deck Costa Rica jungle


*All rates apply to the whole week (7days)

The listed price for the retreat of $975 is for a shared thatched platform tent, so it would be you and one other person that you can either choose or we pair you up with.

“But If I want my own tent-you might ask?

Just add $475 to the  $975 for a total of $1450 to enjoy your own little yoga loft in complete privacy.


If you want to pamper yourself and stay in a house, the house rates are as follows (rates are the same for all three houses)

A)  $2,000 each for 2 people (You pay $975 + an added $1025)

B)  $1,350 each for 3 or more people (You pay $975 + $380)

Whether you choose to stay in the little bungalows or one of the houses, your Costa Rica jungle experience will fabulous, it’s guaranteed! 🙂

For more questions, contact

yoga retreat costa rica ewa valentina New Year's Ave Blue Osa Yoga studio Rama Dog Pet Cuddles
Blog, Yoga Retreats

A Typical Day on the Happy New You! Yoga Retreat

In the Blue Wave Yoga Retreat nothing is mandatory, and we want you to experience your vacation as you need it once you arrive at our splendid eco-resort Boca Sombrero.

Ewa and I’s  personalities are easygoing and fun, and so are our yoga retreats. You will enjoy complete freedom while always being included in activities and enjoying a friendly and warm atmosphere.


Here’s a Typical Day at Our Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica:


The sun rises early in Costa Rica and sets early, by 6pm, so it will feel as if the days take place earlier than usual. First thing in the morning you will probably hear the howler monkeys, and that’s all the alarm you’ll need 🙂 You can choose to ignore the monkeys and cozy up under the covers, or you may catch the sunrise for a swim on the beach, meditate, or enjoy tropical fruit with granola and yogurt for breakfast.

Howler monkey with a baby. Photo cred: Jonathan Hokklo
Howler monkey with a baby. Photo cred: Jonathan Hokklo

Sunrise Costa Rica morning


We will offer a total of  three classes to choose from daily. In the morning there will most likely be two at different times. One will be a flow taught by Ewa, and the other one will be alignment based yoga taught by Valentina. Both instructors will give hands on adjustments as the class takes place, and there will be meditation and breath work. You can attend both or for example choose to take a class and then surf, or sleep in and then take a class.



Enjoy a healthy, nourishing, lunch in good company.


Lunch Costa Rica Yoga Retreat


It’s you time. Surf, watch someone surf, chill, take a nap, swim in the pool, get a massage, work with our resident acupuncturist Koji, read a book on a hammock, mingle with old and new  friends, or walk on the the beach. Or enjoy one of the guided jungle hikes, waterfall rappel, zip line, go fishing, kayaking and more.




4pm or so

Depending on the day, you can enjoy another yoga session or workshop. The class can range from yin yoga to restorative, deep stretch, or a slow flow. Or you may decide you’ve had enough yoga for the day and choose another activity.


gentle yoga


Around sunset the energy will shift. Take one last dip in the ocean, gaze out in the horizon, or enjoy a smoothie or tropical cocktail while socializing before dinner. If you’re in the mood for a jungle bar experience, head on over to Martina’s!

Martina's jungle bar is one of a kind!
Martina’s jungle bar is one of a kind!




Dinner. There’s nothing better than a delicious meal cooked with love and enjoyed in good company.

Dinner at Blue Osa


Post dinner: hang out with people, enjoy a glass of wine, play a group game or cards, cozy in bed, read a book, build a bonfire, play music, listen to music being played, take the occasional restorative class or star gaze on the beach, repeat.


Just as in life, nothing in our retreat is fixed. We will adapt to what each day brings and the external elements, such as weather, tides, energy level, or anything we feel. 🙂

We look forward to enjoying many days like these with you!

Dani Kosmalski Yoga Santa Cruz
Blog, The Interview Series

Interview with Dani Kosmalski

When I moved to Santa Cruz,  I started taking yoga because I wanted to stretch after running. But then I started doing more and more yoga because…I fell in love with my beautiful, angelic, Polish-looking-but-Portuguese-speaking Brazilian instructor Daniela Kosmalski.  Her voice is so soothing and I  just couldn’t get enough of her classes. At the time I was going through a heartbreak and everything she said resonated with me so much, it really helped me heal.

She is the first instructor I ever took yoga seriously with, and she is the person who inspired me the most in my yoga journey. The thing about Daniela is that she is so incredibly humble. There is no ego with her, only transparency. No pretense or arrogance, only deep awareness and a sense of kindness that transpires from her body language, her words and her entire being. She is genuine, so knowledgeable, but still blushes when she teaches a class which is the most endearing thing ever.

It actually wasn’t easy to approach her in the beginning, I think because she is a little bit shy. So for a long time I never did. One time, I was really tired and I went to Dani’s class at 7:30pm. During shavasana I fell asleep hard. I woke up one hour after the class ended, in complete darkness. I couldn’t believe it. I had slept through everyone “oming” at end the class, getting up and putting their mats away and leaving! I was so embarrassed. You’re not supposed to sleep in Shavasana!!!!!! I was wondering what she would think of me. But then I realized Dani genuinely is not a judgmental person. Nothing seems to bother her in class. People coming late, phones ringing…she is unfazed, because she has found a place that is so far beyond those minuscule aspects of existence. She is more concerned about something that is far greater than those little details. That, right there, is true yoga.

Dani Kosmalski Yoga Santa Cruz
Dani practicing with her husband


Daniela Kosmalski


Sao Paulo, Brazil


 Yoga Instructor 

Favorite Book

hum…so many, but 2 came to my mind now: I am reading “If the Buddha had kids” and “The Heart of Yoga” by Desikachar

Favorite Movie

anything comedy/romantic or with a positive lesson

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

hahaha!!….maybe a Dolphin…whether it’s jumping with the waves or swimming freely through in the ocean, they live every day to the fullest!

What is your favorite spot in ​Santa Cruz?

The ocean, and I am very lucky to live couple blocks away.

Being from Brazil but having now lived in the U.S. since 2006, do you feel you belong to one culture more than the other?

Not at all….I love this diversity and I feel that I am a human being FOR the world doesn’t matter where I am living.

What are the challenges you find about living far from your home country?

Family: it’s always a challenge for me: I miss them EVERY second.I am grateful to go back to it every year or always have a member of my beautiful family here in the US.

 Tell me about a fond childhood memory

Beach morning weekends with my mom, dad, sister and brother.

Beach dinner weekends with cousins, ants, uncles.

Sand castles, ice cream, smiles, good food and lots of love….

 What or who inspires you the most in your yoga journey?

The path of Yoga inspires me, My Guru motivates me.

And to know how much I have to learn….and knowledge is infinite and enriching.

What has yoga taught you about life?

To live in the present moment, to be more focused and patient. I have also learned to watch myself (conditionings and patterns)… I’ve always been very critical and demanding with myself, and this beautiful practice showed me to deal with equilibrium all my imperfections and imbalances of life.

 What is the most challenging experience you’ve had in your yoga journey?

To teach in English…I studied by myself a lot: reading, watching videos, using many dictionary, asking few American friends to help me with vocalization….It s still not perfect but I am grateful that things happen naturally and gradually, like life should be huh? spontaneously and without charge…

Tell me about your personal practice. How often do you practice, for how long, where?​

I have a daily Yoga practice with my children and husband. Asanas and Pranayama 2-4 times a week and I practice Ashtanga Method when by myself where is available(beach, studio after my classes, in the living room, drop in a class)  – at this moment in my life it s not easy to wake up 5am to practice, so if I have a gap of schedules in between pick-ups at school, other mom duties, privates lessons, etc., I do it for sure. Meditation everyday!

 Here’s a piece of a quote I read from Daniela’s Facebook that I would like to share:

“The magic 40 minutes of total focus, concentration , trust and surrender to this practice that I teach, was a reminder that Yoga is not an experience, is not a journey, is not a thing that you do on your mat and forget when enter in your car, is not fad, it’s not  just asana. it is an attitude.”

Find more of Dani Kosmalski here

Or look at her teaching schedule to practice with her in Santa Cruz.

Dani Kosmalski Yoga Santa Cruz
Daniela meditating in Brazil
Costa Rica Blue Osa makes for a total girl boss
Blog, Life

Needing Less, Wanting More.

Overbooking my schedule since returning to California has left me tired and overwhelmed.  I can never turn down an opportunity, so now I never stop –I leave the house at 8am and come back at 10pm. What have I done to myself?!

It’s in these moments that I appeal to my yoga values. Yoga, in its non dogmatic form is the only philosophy whose moral codes I was able to identify with and slowly make my own.


Costa Rica aparigraha Blue OSa Beach Jess
Back on the beaches of Blue Osa where my life was much more relaxed. Photo credit: Jess Brown at



Aparigraha=Non grasping. Not wanting more. It is the fifth Yama (code of self-restraint) of the Yoga Sūtras, which shapes the Raja Yoga tradition. Aparigraha is my biggest challenge and at the same time my pillar of streght. It gives me mental sanity to know that there is something out there acknowledging  my attachments and giving me some sort of guidance. Aparigraha is a call against greediness, against selfish material attachment.

I always wish for more work, more fun, more sun, more yoga, more running, more free time, more food, more travel, more clothes. It’s hugely important to know that we have enough. There is no universal gauge of “enough” though; we have to create it ourselves by setting boundaries and accepting what we already have.

Especially for those of us who are obsessive in their personality, overachievers or workaholics, non-grasping is a challenging daily practice. Because we always want more, for better of or worse. And we can’t let go of the thought that if did have more, if we did teach that extra class, if we had gone to that extra dinner, or we had worked that extra shift we would be better off. And then we start to reminisce bitterly on how we totally missed out. We get FOMO=Fear of Missing Out. The truth is, we did just the right amount. There’s an unshakable sense of peace that comes from no longer directing your energy into wanting more.

 It’s Hard to Say No

Scaling down actually takes just as much effort if not more. It’s a commitment in and of itself. I often find myself thinking “I can’t afford not to make that extra cash”. Well now I know that the extra sleep, a log run and a smile on my face are worth the extra $50 I lost by not working those extra hours.

As my friend Alison once said, “Do push yourself, but don’t push yourself over the edge of a cliff”

Sometimes I feel like we are  expected to be busy and stressed, because it means we are being productive and successful. I hear this conversation all the time at yoga studios: “How have you been?” “Busy. Stressed. I’ve got a lot going on. I can’t sleep. It’s crazy. My fill-in-the-blank are so tight (sigh)”. Hardly do you ever hear: “Good, I’m working,I am well rested, relaxed, and enjoying myself between engagement and having fun”. I want to be the person that gives that answer.

Less is More

I want to back away from this madness. I’d rather have less money, less stress and more time. It sounds lazy doesn’t it? It goes against all values of a consumer driven society. And the Catholic guilt ridden tradition that I’m all too familiar with. You want to work less? Sacrilege! Deadly sin! Shame on you for your slothy behavior.

But I don’t want to be so busy that I forget to answer friend’s emails. I don’t want to be overworked to the point where I see double on the computer screen.  There is value to slowing down, to not produce all the time. So much is happening internally into our bodies at rest. While the benefits aren’t visible to the eye and don’t bank cash, calm moments allow us to recharge energetically, absorb information and regenerate muscle tissue.

After trying both the “less” and the “more” lifestyles, I have absolutely no doubt that I will pursue less rather than more.


For more info on Jess Brown’s work and expeditions check her out at:

Jessica L. Brown

Wilderwomen Expeditions and Coaching

Adventure Coach | Photographer | Videographer

p: (206) 769-9657





Evening Fluctuations



Experience has taught me to watch for red flags in people’s behavior to figure out what to expect from them. That way I know  how to protect myself from their actions. If said actions seem psychotic, unreliable, or worrisome I can then make a quick judgment call to run in the opposite direction to prevent harm.


Yoga on the other hand teaches me not to judge, to be open and receptive to all kinds of behaviors, approaches and personality, step back, observe and let things unfold at their own pace.


I am still very much unsure which is the best approach. The fist one is more practical but denies opportunities whether the second one is more inspiring but leaves more chances to get hurt.