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Finding Balance at Any Size at a Costa Rican Yoga Retreat

Finding Balance at Any Size at a Costa Rican Yoga Retreat

by Melissa Magsaysay

For Detroit-based entrepreneur Candice Simons, being a master multi-tasker comes with the territory of owning a national advertising company with offices in Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago and recently adding restaurant owner to her portfolio. There’s also her well read lifestyle blog, J’adore Detroit, which is centered around arts, entertainment, fashion, culture, travel and food and celebrates, publicizes, and forges connections between Detroit area residents and some of the city’s most innovative and inspiring creators: from non-profits and musicians, to artists and artisans, to chefs and creative new companies.

Despite her incredibly busy work life and relentless travel schedule, Simons prioritizes her physical and mental health. True to her stylish form, wellness often comes in the form of a gorgeous yoga retreat in Costa Rica like the recent adventure she took this month.

Simons has a natural curiosity for art, fashion and other cultures and during her week long stay in Nosara, Costa Rica, she discovered the beauty of the area plus got deeper insight into her own personal abilities with yoga.

Here, Simons shares the beauty of Nosara and the importance of self care and personal development regardless of size, shape or age.

Plus Size Designer Fashion Candice Simons Costa Rica

Q & A With Candice

What is it about Costa Rica that is especially appealing to you?

Costa Rica has a little something for everyone – adventure, romance, relaxation, the best beach vibes, nature, and the best culture. The people make this slice of heaven a sought-after vacay destination. The travel to Nosara from Liberia International Airport takes approximately 2.5 hours by shuttle – pro tip: there is a bar at the airport in case you want to pick up some libations for the drive to paradise. There is also a super fun puddle jumper plane that you can take between airports and gives you a sweeping and unobstructed view from the skies of the vast mountains and jungles of Costa Rica. Nosara is known for the pure, picturesque beaches, nature walks, and unspoiled land, yoga, wellness, and cute little beach town finds, and the good news is -- we found them all.

You've been to Costa Rica before, but was there anything profoundly new or inspiring you learned about this trip?

Last time I visited Costa, I was in Tamarindo (just north of Nosara) with six of my actual best friends since preschool (laughing all the way) and this time, I had the opportunity to go on a week-long excursion with 48 of my “best friends” I never knew I had through Citizen Yoga. I only knew a few of the people on the retreat; however, I can say that this was a very magical experience for groups and solo travelers. I met so many amazing “citizens” that I now consider lifelong friends. I can't wait until next year! But until then I've bottled up some zen'd out tropical vibes to carry me through the year.

How does yoga and a retreat like this help you mentally and physically?

Kacee Must, owner of Citizen Yoga, always encourages me to join the citizens and get out of my head, so that’s exactly what I did. Taking the time to reconnect with mind, body, and soul is vital to remain engaged and centered in my personal and professional goals. My busy lifestyle and responsibilities often muddy the waters and take me into burnout, so allowing myself to take these spiritual trips make me more self-aware and powerful. Personal development is something I have taken very seriously in my thirties, so studying human behavior and philosophy has helped me to understand the people in my life and myself on a deeper level.

Do you think there is a stigma that curvy women don't tend to go on an intensive retreat such as this?

I absolutely think there is a stigma. In yoga, there are men and women of all shapes and sizes. At the retreat, there were men and women of all shapes and sizes. Retreats are seen by some as an intimate way of deepening powers of concentration and insight. Everyone practices at their own level.

Best Costa Rica Discoveries?

We stayed at Lagarta Lodge, a boutique hotel at the very top of the mountain just outside of downtown Nosara. Being on a nature reserve and touting two infinity pools with sweeping views of the vast ocean and jungle, make sure you get some solid pool time in and take a hike across the four-mile nature reserve on the Lagarta property.

Must See/Do:

Pilsen and take out tacos from Rosi's
Pilsen and take out tacos from Rosi's

Buy a six pack of Pilsen (local Costa Rican beer) & takeout tacos from Rosi's in town - A great little spot where all the locals eat. Chill on Playa Guiones for the rest of the afternoon and watch the surfers come in for high tide around four o'clock.

Take a walk through downtown Guiones and grab some grub from Mario's Chinamito and then watch the sunset from anywhere you can grab a seat on the beach. It is breathtaking.

For margs & tacos, head to El Chivo on Playa Pelada (between Lagarta Lodge & town). Get the pollo taco and an XL tequila lemonade.

Grab lunch at the acclaimed La Negra. Super fresh EVERYTHING. Walk down to the beach and find the “taco guy” walking along the sand. Some of the best tacos I've ever had! Grab a juice and a popsicle from Juice Costa Rica. Pro tip: Coconut

Citizen Yoga group yoga session
Citizen Yoga group yoga session

Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort is truly special and has a variety of classes from vinyasa, spin, TRX, HIIT and meditation sound baths (which I absolutely love). Take a couple classes and then head to their poolside café and juice bar to swing the day away.

Go shopping in town! Make sure to stop at Love Nosara (cutest beach gear and kids outfits) Bazaar (custom made dresses). Rent a surfboard for $10. Take a stab at it or get a surf lesson from Coconut Harry's. I suggest Harry's because it's the most well-known in the area.

Citizen Yoga group yoga session
The scene in Nosara, Costa Rica

Walk along the beach until you run into La Luna. Sit on the couches, watch the waves and order a watermelon margarita (or two). If you love it as much as I did, you'll stay for lunch and maybe even dinner. This was by far the best spot I went to – the white teak and the sunset were everything. Walk along the beach until you run into La Luna. Sit on the couches, watch the waves and order a watermelon margarita (or two). If you love it as much as I did, you'll stay for lunch and maybe even dinner. This was by far the best spot I went to – the white teak and the sunset were everything.


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