Carly Johnson Brawner of Frolic & Flow takes Onzie on her Costa Rican Wellness Retreat!


What was the name of your retreat in Costa Rica?
Sacred Self Care Retreat led by Carly Shankman Brown. It was at Om at Cashew Hill in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.
Describe for us the senses of the retreat, the sites, smells, and the feelings.
We woke up to Caribbean torrential downpours every morning and it was the most peaceful alarm clock you could ever imagine. The rain in the morning and the sun in the afternoon created a slightly earthy smell that reminded you that you were living within a thriving ecosystem. On top of that, the majority of the food we ate was grown on the property. Every day I walked by herbs, salad greens, pineapples, bananas, potatoes, and so many more fruits and vegetables that were incorporated in our meals.
OM Cashew Hill is on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica so the climate is very tropical. There was always a nice layer of humidity which means I always felt warm and everyone's skin looked dewy and glowed. The retreat center is such a tranquil space. It was private, had lush vegetation, a large yoga shala with ocean views, and a little pool to cool off in.
What are three pieces of advice you would give to someone going on their first yoga retreat?
Make sure you know or feel energetically connected to the person leading the retreat. I didn't know a single one of the other 17 women attending but I knew that I loved Carly Shanksman Brown (retreat leader) and that the other people who would be attracted to her vision would be amazing as well. I was right. Every single person was lovely, and I walked away with new connections and special friends.
  1. Keep an open mind to all the new people, experiences, beliefs, journeys, healing paths, and lifestyles you encounter. We had such a diverse group that ate, lived, loved, and saw the world differently. I came back with a notebook full of ideas, protocols, and healers I wanted to learn more about.
  1. Use your phone as little as possible! It's impossible to be present with a buzzing phone and I knew I needed to eliminate the distraction in order to soak up the week! I am on my phone a lot with my work and it was so nice to have a week break from technology and leave it on airplane mode all day. I used it to take pictures but didn't turn on the Wi-Fi until I was going to bed. I'd usually send a few texts to my husband telling him about the day and put it back on airplane mode until the next day.
As a nutritionist and health blogger what was special about this Costa Rican retreat when it came to the nutrition?
I didn't know a lot about the food we would be eating except that it was going to be vegetarian and came highly recommended by Carly Shankman Brown. We are on the same page with food choices and food standards, so I knew it would be delicious and nourishing.
I was blown away by the thoughtfulness, sourced ingredients, and care that went into each meal at Om at Cashew Hill. The chefs fully believe that food is medicine and made sure we were fueled with fresh, delicious, and creative dishes three times a day. They grow the majority of foods themselves and make fresh nut milks, flours, and breads daily. They really take pride in their culinary creations and took zero short cuts. The food was so delicious! It was all 100% vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free.
How did the Onzie outfit Las Lunas resonate with you?
I loved my Las Lunas Onzie outfit! The retreat dates took place leading up to the full moon so we had such bright skies and big moons each night - the outfit was perfect. The bra is one of my favorites and is super comfortable, strappy, and is super supportive. I wore it whenever I could.
What was your favorite part about the retreat?
This is such a hard question because I liked so many things about the retreat! My absolute favorite part was the vulnerable connections I made with the other women. Everyone had a different story, a different path or question, and we were all able to hold space for each other in whatever ways we needed. I also loved the clarity breath-work session, the food at the retreat center, touring an organic cocoa farm, and getting back into yoga after a hiatus from a back injury. It was a magical week in the jungle!