Nosara Retreat Testimonial, November 2015 | Lauren Finizio

Lauren Finizio, Beauty Director at Hearst Digital Media

Choices are so often solidified by circumstance- I knew when I first met my friend and SoulCycle instructor Mantas (and many of his friends shortly after) that there was something special about the SurfYogaBeer community. Over the course of the summer, conversations with Mantas kept coming back to the November retreat to Costa Rica. With limited vacation time, I knew there was little to no shot to make the trip happen. But as the conversations continued and the wanderlust inside me continued to grow, my hope to make it to Nosara, and experience SYB in the flesh, held strong. Like clockwork, in August, I took a new job and my awesome boss gave me the OK to take the trip. Its always interesting how things like this happen, and I knew this was just the beginning of the adventure we were about to embark on.

Beauty continuously radiated in Nosara. From the black sand to the golden sunsets, this place really was unbelievable. Like a picture perfect companion to the surroundings, my amazing 6 Shore Road swimwear made me feel effortlessly chic and like a true surfer babe as we explored town and took to the water. And in between beach breaks each day, the local ingredients of Nosara were beautifully intertwined in the mouthwatering healthy meals made morning, noon, and night by our resident chef Eddie Larios of Salud NYC. From a simple hybrid lemon/lime/orange fruit concoction to the most amazing breakfast tacos on the planet, Nosara's finest was incorporated in such a way that each meal brought something brand new and totally delicious. 

From the moment we woke up (most often to the sound of Mantas' choice of music approaching our room) we were challenged everyday by our incredible leaders both mentally and physically. Limits were pushed each morning during beach workouts led by the amazing trainers Nerijus Bagdonas (of Train P3 in NYC) and Kristen Calabria. And rounding out each night, my favorite yoga instructor in the entire city, Erin Ward, led a practice that expanded our mental boundaries, opening our thoughts to self reflection, and shifting our perspectives. Goal coaching by my friend and leader Kingsley Delacato, exercised our minds and helped to bring focus and intention that will last far beyond Costa Rica. I also owe Reda (our SYB Mom and Mantas' actual mom) a shoutout for her spectacular restorative yoga teachings (Reda, can you move to NYC already?!) The foundation for my Acro Yoga practice was also laid on the trip thanks to the especially patient David Haws. I loved moving into the challenging (yet beyond rewarding) poses so much, that even as we were at the airport waiting for our flight back to NYC you could find me and the SYB crew making new friends and playing with acro yoga until final boarding call. 

Meaningful and what I know will be long lasting friendships were both made and solidified through SYB in the jungles of Nosara, and for this I am the most grateful. The love I have for this crew is strong and it still makes my heart feel incredibly full, even back in the fast paced normalcy of NYC. Through the beauty of others, I learned and remembered so much about myself, and was reminded how special these unique and powerful connections can truly be.

In closing, SYB brought the reaffirmation that each day we have the choice of who we want to show up as. It is clear that the people around you have made an impact when despite being sore, tired, or maybe having one too many delicious homemade cocktails the night before, you arrive present and ready to embark on yet another day surrounded by those who bring so much fire to your being- mind, body, and soul. My mom has always said "you are stronger than you think, smarter than you imagine, and braver than you believe". And that is exactly the feeling that has shined within me since I left the magical place that is Nosara and the extraordinary family that is SurfYogaBeer