Published on July 1st, 2015 | by Aisha Abdelhamid
How Yoga is Helping Save Sea Turtles in Costa Rica
As endangered sea turtles are returning home to the gorgeous Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica, a new initiative to support conservation efforts is in full bloom at the Blue Osa Yoga Retreat. Expanding its vision as an enlightened eco-resort, Blue Osa has recently joined in to protect and conserve the endangered sea turtles within its midst.
Like a welcoming hug encompassing the entire ecosystem of the retreat’s beautiful environment, this new focus on conservation seems truly complementary to Blue Osa Yoga Retreat’s holistic Ayurvedic approach to protecting the delicate balance of mind, body, and spirit.
The Blue Osa Yoga Retreat of Costa Rica
Located to the south of Puerto Jimenez on the Golfo Dulce, Blue Osa Yoga Retreat is recognized as one of Central America’s premier eco-resorts. Relying on its own resources, the resort generates as much renewable energy as it consumes. It is not dependent on the external power grid of Costa Rica to supply electricity, nor on the regional sewage systems for waste removal. And although the 12-room facility operates at a maximum capacity of 50 people including staff, Blue Osa uses only about the same amount of energy as a U.S. household of four.
Offering “The Best Yoga Studio in Costa Rica,” Blue Osa encourages its guests to enhance their visit by participating in both private and group yoga experiences. Blue Osa instructors are trained in the Hatha, as well as many other traditions. Blue Osa states, “All of our instructors are also knowledgeable in the Vinyasa, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Anusara, and Kundalini traditions. All sessions can include asana – poses, pranayama – breathing exercises, and guided meditation to create a more profound experience.”
Through the use of natural Costa Rica rainforest botanicals and various Ayurvedic healing modalities, Blue Osa Yoga Retreat offers a holistic approach to treating mind, body, and spirit. One of the world’s oldest whole-body healing systems, Ayurveda means “life-knowledge” in Sanskrit. Developed over five thousand years ago, Ayurvedic medicine is a system of traditional Hindu medicine with origins in the Vedic culture of India.
Blue Osa’s Rainforest Eco-spa Getaway Package sounds very enticing. Using local plant extractions whenever possible, Blue Osa states, “many of the spa ingredients for our treatments are sourced right here in the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.” Included in a personal one-week spa retreat are six one-hour eco-spa treatments from Blue Osa’s delightful Eco-Spa Menu, including Osa Deep Tissue Massage, Osa Tranquility Massage, Coffee/Coconut/Salt Scrubs, Botanical Facials, Aloe/Chocolate/Mud Wraps and more. Locally sourced aloe sounds more eco-conscious, but to be honest, I feel very sure I would enjoy it much better being wrapped in chocolate for an hour – that sounds awesome! (Lol, can I pay extra and get a Osa Tranquility Massage with that?)
Osa Conservation Efforts to Save Sea Turtles
Although the sea turtles are among the oldest inhabitants of the Earth, today there are only seven species of sea turtles in the world. All seven species are listed as endangered or threatened, due to dangers such as pollution in the ocean, poaching and other predators, habitat disturbance, and environmental degradation. In critical need of global protection, the Earth’s endangered sea turtles are very vulnerable to careless human activities, including human-induced global warming.
Collecting critical data and working tirelessly to support outreach, Osa Conservation has been protecting sea turtles in Costa Rica for over six years. The organization primarily works at the Piro Beach and Pejeperro Beach, both of which are considered to be critical nesting sites on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica.
Several species of nesting turtles visit the southern beaches of Osa. Lepidochelys olivacea, or “Olive Ridley,” and Green Sea Turtles known as Chelonia mydas, are the more common visitors, and occasionally they are joined by Dermochelys coriacea or Leatherback sea turtles, and Eretmochelys imbricata, or Hawksbill sea turtles.
The Osa Conservation program monitors the sea turtles’ nesting activity, predation rates, and the success rates of this incredible species’ baby hatchlings. According to Osa Conservation, “Our staff and volunteers gather important population and reproductive data, while helping deter and educate poachers who collect turtle eggs for consumption or sale.”
Blue Osa Joins Hands With Osa Conservation
With an instinctive ability to remember the beach of their birth, sea turtles return to that same beach when it is their turn to lay eggs. As if on a mission, sea turtles often travel thousands of miles of open ocean to return to that never-forgotten shore. Imprinted like a map on their brains by some miracle of creation, the home of their birth, seen only once as tiny, weak little hatchlings, guides them unerringly in their drive for reproduction to return and build their nests on that once-familiar shore.
Blue Osa’s decision to join hands with Osa Conservation will supply the program with critically needed resources including financial support and volunteers to help in conservation activities. Although Costa Rica has experienced a decline in sea turtle populations over several decades on the Osa peninsula, the recent conservation efforts are now witnessing sea turtle success.
However, as happens all over the world, yoga patrons and sea turtles are not the only visitors to the beaches of Costa Rica. Wild animals, dogs, and thoughtless human predators often disrupt the nests of the vulnerable sea turtles, resulting in predation rates of more than 75% of the annual sea turtle population.
Blue Osa Yoga Retreat guests are invited to join Osa Conservation’s night patrols to help protect the turtles’ habitat. Nightly patrols are made to monitor the female turtles as they make their journey along the dark shoreline. Scouring the beach in the early hours before the first light, conservation personnel and volunteers stake out the new nests and carefully move the eggs to the safety of a nearby hatchery.
Supporting the Sea Turtle Circle of Life
Creating a package that combines Blue Osa yoga with Costa Rica sea turtle conservation, retreat guests interact for the greater good of the local community. Helping to improve the entire ecosystem brings about renewal of mind, body, and spirit as they gain a finer appreciation for the miracle of life. Perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime event for many, imagine the breath-taking beauty of witnessing hundreds of baby hatchlings safely released on the moonlit shore to join the sea turtle circle of life.
Volunteer opportunities with the Osa Conservation sea turtle program are available all year-round, and the organization actively welcomes inquiries. They even offer a wonderful pdf file you can download for free on their website, called, The Sea Turtle Volunteer Guide.
As Osa Conservation points out, “After 130 million years of existence, the future of these magnificent creatures depends on us.”