The Heart of The Matter:
Yoga and Writing Retreat in Costa Rica

April 3-10, 2018

We all have a story we need to tell, and often that story is stuck somewhere in the recesses of our minds, hearts and bodies. This unforgettable yoga and writing retreat experience set in the exquisite Guanacaste region of Costa Rica will take participants from chaotic to grounded, from wild ideas to deliberate storytelling. Working hand in hand with the workshop-style Yoga portion of the retreat, the Writing sessions will use the body’s 7 energy centers called chakras to explore the way we see and interact within the world, and the way we see ourselves and others. We begin with yoga practice, a tool to support getting from big musings to small thoughts, from grand themes to specific details, and to probe WHO we are, and WHY we write.

By integrating the practices of yoga asana, pranayama and mindfulness using each of the 7 chakras as a guide, participants will explore writing in a way that draws inspiration from the whole of who you are, not merely the mind. Where might writing come from – if not only from the brain? Might it come from the belly? Or from the heart? What IS your story? Where and why is it hiding? How can we get that story out of our bodies and onto the page? How does it feel and change our experience of life when it’s out there?

This workshop is appropriate for writers and yoga students of all levels, physical ability and cultural backgrounds. Upon completion, participants will experience feeling physically anchored, lucid in thought, creatively inspired, and empowered to draw on your body’s resources to source compelling personal narrative prose. Participants will leave with several completed writing exercises, a new facility of craft and a solid first draft of a personal narrative piece ready for revision and possible future publication (if you so choose). Most importantly, participants will leave with a renewed sense of self, and a confidence in writing that will remain with you far beyond this retreat.

Hacienda Pinilla

Located in Guanacaste, Hacienda Pinilla ( is a 4500 acre exclusive, beachfront, ranch estate. Participants will enjoy accommodations that include full use of the Beach club, Spa, Fitness centre, JW Marriott, 18 hole golf course, tennis courts, horse stables, white sand beaches, 18 miles of running, hiking, and mountain bike trails, 24/7 security within a gated community. Hacienda Pinilla is also located 20 minutes by car from local Tamarindo beach town, which has great restaurants, nightlife, shopping and other tourist attractions. JetBlue flies direct from JFK to Liberia airport, an 80-minute drive to Hacienda Pinilla.

Sample Daily Schedule

07:30am – 09:00am – Yoga & Mindfulness
09:00am – 10:30am – Breakfast
10:30am – 12:30pm – Writing Session 1
12:30pm – 02:00pm – Lunch
02:00pm – 04:30pm – Free time & optional daily excursions
04:30pm – 05:30pm – Optional Yoga & Mindfulness
05:30pm – 07:00pm – Dinner
07:00pm – 09:00pm – Writing Session 2


Early bird prices valid until December 31, 2017

Twin Double Room – $2260 – Total early bird rate

($2460 – after December 31)


Single Queen Bed – $2420 – Total early bird rate

($2620 – after December 31)


Couple King Bed – $2200 – Total early bird rate

($2400 – after December 31)


*Prices include all of the above, all meals, 1-2 daily Yoga workshops, 1-2 daily Writing sessions, roundtrip airport transfers, and all transport during retreat for local excursions.

Francesca Kaplan Grossman

Francesca is a writer, writing teacher and manuscript editor based in Boston. She teaches writing workshops for all levels around the globe (and online!). Her expertise is in both personal narrative as well as teaching methods. She relies heavily on teaching how to give effective and useful feedback, and is devoted to helping all writers (and writing teachers) improve.

Francesca graduated from Stanford University with a BA and MA in Education and from Harvard University with a Doctorate in Educational Leadership, with a focus on writing education and feedback for improvement. Francesca’s own work includes contributions to The New York Times Motherlode blog, Brain, Child Magazine, Word Riot, Drunken Boat Literary Magazine, xojane, Ed Week/Teacher among others.

Francesca lives in Newton, MA with her husband and two children. She is currently working on her first novel, DON’T LET GO. Learn more about Francesca at

Crystal McCreary

Crystal curates transformative wellness retreats that marry the yoga and mindfulness traditions. As a yoga teacher, educator and a performing artist, Crystal is passionate about supporting self-expression, wellbeing, and agency in her students, believing that establishing comfort in the body creates the capacity for vitality and creativity to flow freely.

She is registered with Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT-500 and RCYT and leads Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher trainings. Crystal also facilitates professional development workshops and speaks nationally about the impact of yoga and mindfulness on the health and wellbeing outcomes of children, adolescents and adults. She provides personal counsel for clients, designs and consults on yoga and mindfulness curriculum for education programs, and teaches privately and in public classes in New York City.

Crystal is a graduate of Stanford University and The American Conservatory Theater’s Master of Fine Arts program in Acting. She aims to build and strengthen community by starting with a deeper exploration of our individual, complex human selves. She shares this journey on her blog, Diary of a Yoga Gurl. Learn more about Crystal at


Vivid Riley

Vivid is a Chinese American based in Costa Rica. She is certified through Yoga Alliance at the RYT200 level with a specialty RCYT for Children’s Yoga and RPYT for Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga. She is also co-founder of OmAge Yoga and Costa Rica Yoga Vacations ( With over 800 hours of yoga teaching experience, Vivid would like to continue to promote her yoga retreat projects in beautiful Costa Rica to yoga enthusiasts around the world, as well as work with leading yoga teachers to create amazing Yoga vacations for seekers seeking something with an experiential difference!

$500 Deposit to reserve your space today!


Need assistance? Contact Crystal here.