for the Senses
We spend a lot of time in our heads, thinking or planning or even worrying about what we haven’t done, need to do, should be doing etc! Thinking is an essential and valuable skill that we humans use to great effect. However, it can often be at the expense of our body, feelings, spirit or even soul – the thinking part takes over.
This retreat takes you on a journey to rediscover and to enjoy your natural senses – sight, sound, smell, taste and touch – and to explore integrating the wisdom that these have to offer into your daily routine. It can be surprising how much other information we can get coming through when we quiet the busy brain and tune back in to ourselves.
This week will be fun, creative, healing and re-energising!
Come on a Journey with Us!
Tula Vida horses live in a state of relaxed alertness, fully connected to their herd, free to play, rest and be fully themselves. They are very tuned in to their surroundings and each other, and they use these natural senses to create an enjoyable and peaceful life for themselves. Imagine if we lived like this.
Horses, as prey animals, are very present and respond to their environment in each moment (without getting stuck in the past or the future like we can, as this would be dangerous for them out in the wild – a lion could creep up behind them while they were busy wondering if it would rain tomorrow or not!). They use senses developed over their 56 million years of evolution to take in all the available information, take appropriate action, and then let it go (e.g. fear tells them there is danger, they will run until they feel safe, then they will release the stress so they can let it go).
Their tools are ones we can learn from and practice: staying present, noticing what our senses are telling us, not judging things as good or bad, using feelings as information, connecting with others through non-verbal communication, not over-thinking or worrying about what may happen – but rather being with whatever is actually happening and responding accordingly, using our senses as a guide.
The senses come alive in the vibrant greens of the Costa Rica rainforest, the flowing river, the toucans and monkeys in the trees, the warm sunshine and gentle breeze – so every day is a journey in delight and discovery for the senses, and tuning in becomes a joy and a practice.
We will support you in learning to find peace in the present moment (like a horse) using principles grounded in neuroscience and Heartmath Institute techniques, Mindful Movement, breathing and sensing exercises, energy-based interaction with the horses and other wellness and balance practices.
So not only will you learn tools on the art of being present with your senses and what they can offer you, you will experience how it feels to be connected in that state with your horse.
Join us and become part of the herd, feeling safe and accepted, allowing yourself to explore and enjoy your surroundings with all your 5 senses, as well as your mind!
Play in the lake, splash in the river and wander through the long grass taking in all the sights, sounds, smells and sensations of being truly immersed in the natural world.
Explore creating relationship and connection – with no words - with a sensitive being who is able to process and accept his emotions, release stress as it arises and get back into balance – a journey in discovery in and of itself.
Discover how much information your body and your emotions can hold for you, if only we stop to listen.
Let your unconscious speak to you in an Equine Facilitated Sand Play experience.
Learn tangible take-home tools to tap into your senses, release stress and take this feeling back into your own life.
Cherish and nourish your body with healthy food, gentle movement designed to get your energy flowing, beautiful natural surroundings, restorative wood-fire sauna and healing massage.
Feel your energy and sense of self expand as you allow yourself to go on a sensory journey and start listening to more of your own self.
Our mission is to provide a deeper connection with self, through horses, nature and experience.
Date: Arrival 3 September, Departure 10 September 2022
(ask us if you would like to extend your stay or go to the beach afterwards)
Limited to 10 Participants to ensure a personal experience for each of you.
We want to look after you during your stay so you don’t have to worry about any of the details or extra costs – it’s all included and arranged for you, so all you have to do is show up and enjoy a multi-sensory experience, with the following highlights:
6 nights in a charming local guesthouse
All meals – delicious homecooked, farm fresh meals or meals out in stunning lake view restaurants
All transport to and from activities
60-minute relaxing massage
Daily mindful movement on the peaceful yoga deck overlooking the river (see below for details)
Daily Tula Vida horse experiences – includes all facilitation, materials & equipment - lots of fun involved
Offsite play adventure either paddleboarding on Lake Arenal or horseback riding to a private waterfall – visit a 500 year-old Ceiba Tree (the inspiration for the Avatar movie) on your way
Visit and soak in beautiful, natural local hot springs
Wood-fire sauna next to a jungle river – enjoy hot and cold therapy as you heat your body in the sauna then splash into the cool, refreshing water
ALL INCLUSIVE PRICE is $2,995 (includes 13% service tax)
If you would like to guarantee a single room, $500 supplement
Excluded: flights, airport transfer, tips, alcohol & soda
No prior horse experience required.
covid-19 doubts - flexibility
As travel opens up (albeit slowly), we are happy to be offering our retreat schedule for 2022. As the world continues to find its new normal, we need ways to find balance and restoration more than ever. It is easy to escape from all the stresses of Covid and society in Costa Rica, where nature carries on blooming and the vibe remains peaceful and positive.
We appreciate that travel will continue to involve an element of uncertainty in 2022 and we do our level best to make the process as smooth and stress free as possible for you, while staying flexible on changes.
We invite you to sign up and give yourself something to look forward to, even if it is not 100% certain to go ahead. Any deposit or booking you make with us that you cannot attend due to a Covid-related situation will be transferable to another group or private retreat or, if no other dates work, refundable minus a small booking fee.
We are looking forward to welcoming you onto a retreat soon.
What They Say
“As a non-horse person, it was so impactful to interact with these beautiful animals. Having a horse listen and feel your energy and respond is an experience I can't even explain in words. Awesome!”
Recover, Restore and Renew
In these reflective experiences, you will join our extraordinary horses in their home - the vibrant green fields, rivers and rainforest near the Arenal volcano in Costa Rica – and experience becoming part of the herd, tuned in to your own senses, safe and free to be yourself, connected to the great wisdom of Mother Earth for healing, balance and growth.
Let the horses show and teach you how to just “be” rather than doing or thinking. Take a dive into your own consciousness through the transformative modality of Equine Facilitated Sand Play Therapy and find healing at the deepest levels. Allow yourself to play in the bubbling, carefree streams. Cherish and nourish your body with healthy food, gentle movement designed to get your energy flowing, beautiful natural surroundings and healing massage. Feel held and supported by the natural world.
About Your Facilitators
Sally Nilsson is an expert facilitator, certified executive coach, experienced mentor and certified advanced instructor in Eponaquest Equine Facilitated Learning and Equine Facilitated Sand Play Therapy.
In 2019, Sally co-founded Tula Vida together with her partner Eric Kolesar to offer transformational experiences with the talented Tula Vida horse herd. Read more about Sally and the Tula Vida Team.
Eric Kolesar is a certified instructor in Eponaquest Equine Faciliated Learning and Equine Facilitated Sand Play Therapy, a 500 hour certified yoga instructor and expert in a multitude of energy modalities.
In 2019, Eric co-founded Tula Vida together with his partner Sally Nilsson to offer transformational experiences with the talented Tula Vida horse herd. Read more about Eric and the Tula Vida Team.
These Special Horses will:
Magnify the parts of you that are hidden inside, the tender and true parts. Through their innate horse communication skills and non-judgemental presence, they show us humans what is buried in our unconscious, beyond the mind chatter and busy brain: the non-verbal part, the intuition, the senses – our true authentic selves.
Sense and respond to subtle changes in our body language and energy. As highly sensitive animals, horses provide immediate, powerful and visual feedback on our presence in that moment so we get to practice and modulate how we want to come across, and how to find true internal peace and balance of the nervous system (self and co-regulation).
Welcome you as part of the herd. Horses are wired for connection and will actively work with you to allow your real and best self to be seen and accepted without words.
What They Say
“It helped me to truly understand the way of things in nature and how that can help us.”
Stay in the stunning local area
This part of Costa Rica is surrounded by lush pastures and rainforest overlooking the Arenal Volcano and Lake, Costa Rica, about an hour from Liberia airport (LIR).
You will have clean and comfortable accommodation run by friendly hosts in the small village of Sabalito, around the corner from Tula Vida and the horses.
This natural and tranquil experience has plenty of Pura Vida (the locally used expression for pretty much everything good, which translates as Pure Life!)
ENJOY DAILY Mindful Movement
We take a holistic approach in all our retreats, supporting mind, body and soul to feel nourished and restored. The pace of modern life, as well as the challenges of living through the pandemic, can be hard on our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
You will enjoy daily Mindful Movement with Eric Kolesar to rebalance your whole being and give you take-away tools manage life stress and live more mindfully – the essential ingredients in adapting to change and uncertainty, as well as keeping your own energy topped up.
“I feel more grounded and connected to myself, through mindful movement and interaction with the horses.” Angela, Therapist
What is Mindful Movement?
Eric started his movement expertise in martial arts, going on to become a 500 hour certified yoga instructor and energy practitioner. Through his lens as a life coach and equine facilitated learning facilitator, and hearing about intimidating experiences some people have had with “yoga”, Eric has combined the neuroscience, flow of energy, physical benefits of movement and natural rhythms to create what he calls “Mindful Movement”, a powerful and gentle blend of stretches and movements designed to calm and rebalance your body so the energy can flow freely again.
Imagine standing in a lush green space, birds singing in the background, horses grazing in the distance. Tune in to the rhythm of nature and breathe out. Let the tension melt away and experience feeling part of something whole. Start mindfully and gently moving with the rest of the group, in ways designed to get the energy flowing again through your whole body. You feel balanced, relaxed, alive.
“The mindful movement with Eric was by far the best yoga experience I have encountered as it was a spiritual and soul replenishing moving meditation not just a work out.” Jennifer, Real Estate Agent Owner
Additional Activities and Excursions
As well as sharing horse and Sand Play experiences and exploring the natural world with your horse, you will have the opportunity to see some of the local area and eat out at some local restaurants. Tula Vida is located next to the stunning Lake Arenal in the shadow of the Arenal volcano.
You will have the opportunity to either go paddleboarding with Eric on Lake Arenal itself, or go horseriding with Sally and our friend and expert naturalist guide, Enrique Molina, to a private waterfall near the Arenal volcano. Stand in the shadow of a giant 500 year old Ceiba Tree, the inspiration behind the Avatar movie and finish the day at paradise natural hot springs where you can soak your body and relax in the warm, healing waters.