Inspired by the natural beauty of Costa Rica’s coastal South Pacific, wellness and yoga in Ojochal have been growing for some time. Running one of the best known yoga studios in the Costa Ballena is Kim Faddah—a cornerstone personality in Ojochal and the surrounding communities. Many practitioners have come through her yoga and wellness center Paraiso, located on the stunning cliffside Perezoso Road, where the Talamanca Mountains meet the Pacific Ocean.
Kim and her husband Kais originally came to vacation in Costa Rica almost ten years ago. They instantly fell in love with the idea of living here. They have been living full time in Ojochal for six and a half years, moving over from Seattle with their two kids when they were teens. She says that, as a family, they were ready to get out of the rat race living in the north western United States.
A home of their dreams
Although they had a beautiful home and practice in Seattle, Kim and Kais knew that they wanted to offer something different to their family. They found a wonderful opportunity to buy property and to build a home in the south pacific region of the country, in the international rainforest village of Ojochal. Here, Kim says, they have found the home of their dreams.
“It’s just been paradise,” says Kim. “I get to teach yoga in one of the most beautiful places in the world. I was all about creating wellness and health [back in the States]. Not that it’s not possible there, but when you are able to limit the amount of stress in your life like we have since moving here, that’s when we finally felt things come to fruition for us.”
When Kim started her yoga practice 24 years ago, she recalls a simplicity of experience, where virtually every practice was done indoors, with music. “There is no trend of hot yoga,” she says. “It’s always hot yoga out here. We’re all outdoors in a beautiful setting, with sounds that are better than music.”
“We have the advantage of this beautiful environment and humidity. Nature is our music, with the birds and all of the other beautiful sounds.”
Osa Tropical Properties’ agent, Marcia Oro, has been a student of Kim’s for nearly five years, who has been teaching Iyengar yoga for over 20 years. She recognizes that Kim and Kais have been a big help to her, with Kim allowing her to work on and maintain her strength and flexibility, and Kais performing adjustments. He offers therapeutic and chiropractic bodywork.
“They have been a great help,” says Marcia, who goes to Kim’s Paraiso studio three times a week. She also visit’s Kais regularly after yoga sessions, or at his office in Bahia Ballena, just south of Uvita.
For Kim, it’s been wonderful to be living and working outdoors and in nature. She feels that she has been rejuvenating her body in ways that even she didn’t expect. She believes that rejuvenation comes naturally in this fertile region of Costa Rica.
“I shop at our outdoor market every Wednesday. I was never the best fruits and vegetable eater in the States. I lived in the North West where it’s cold and everything is imported. Everything I choose to eat here is grown within a small distance and it’s always fresh. The food alone is amazing.”
But health and wellness are not the only things on Kim’s regular schedule—she also loves the social element of living in the Costa Ballena.
“That’s one thing that I love about Costa Rica: we get to meet so many different people. New tourists who come, or people who come to live here for just part of the year, as well as those who live here full time. It’s a real blessing for me to have students who entrust me and who are willing to open up and explore ways to stay healthy, while improving and challenging themselves.”
“I also love the social element of living here. There’s so much less pressure here. The things that I’m doing, like meeting with friends and just enjoying other people’s company—it’s all done by choice and never out of obligation. I love that aspect about being here and how well that’s accepted.”
Feeling good is a big part of Kim’s enjoyment of living in Ojochal, where there are so many practitioners of various different modalities. “There’s acupuncture, reflexology, and even wonderful medical doctors. All of that is at my fingertips in the jungle, which people are shocked by.”
“I love that I feel younger living in Costa Rica six years after moving here than I did ten years ago,” says Kim, who is truly radiant in her positivity and her glowing skin.
Kim also does a fair amount of volunteer work alongside a small group of women in the Ojochal area. Together, they started a food bank called the Family Support Center of Ojochal. “It’s just a way for all of us to give back to those who may need help,” she says, “whether it be from illness, loss of job or natural disasters, where certain families experience flooding because they live in low-lying areas.”
“We know that when we all work together, we can help one another. The amount of community that exists here is something inspiring that I love participating in. It fills my soul—another thing that helps rejuvenate me.”
Through her and her husband’s Paraiso Wellness and Yoga Center, Kim says that it’s been a wonderful opportunity to share health and wellness with others in her beloved Costa Ballena community. She says that for those who are looking to change their life, “Costa Rica is definitely a good place to do it.”