The internationally recognized Nosara Yoga Institute’s (NYI) facility is up for sale and its founders and 21 year residents, Don and Amba Stapleton, are moving to the mountains of Heredia. The first yoga program in Nosara, operating since 1994, NYI spawned an area now famous for yoga teacher training and retreats.
The 4.25 acre property, which includes the Stapleton’s current home, multiple yoga facilities, office and lushly landscaped gardens is offered for $5.25 million via Century 21 Real Estate. After a one year sabbatical, the Stapletons will continue teaching yoga but under the name Nosara Yoga Institute International. They will travel throughout the world to other yoga centers to offer workshops, retreats and also their yoga teacher training programs.
Voice of Guanacaste talked with Don and Amba about their long relationship with yoga and Nosara and why are they selling the NYI.
Voice of Guanacaste: Before we talk about the sale, can you look back over the Institute’s 21 years and reflect on your accomplishments?
Don: First off is the over 3,000 students who have graduated from our trainings. We have a five star rating on Yoga Alliance’s new rating system. The Institute has been a hub to draw people here. We were the first yoga in town. We know that our students add to the economy staying in hotels and eating in restaurants. Now Nosara is known for yoga and healthy living.
And Amba and I have done this together. We teach, as well as run the business, together. And we still like each other! The new generation has a dim view of relationships so we are pleased to be role models for how a deep love and relationship can work.
Amba: One accomplishment we are proud of is that, yes, we love Hatha yoga, but what we really love is students being in a safe learning environment where they accept and love themselves. We don’t have videos or clipboards with checks of what teacher trainees are doing wrong.
VOG: Why are you selling the Nosara Yoga Institute?
Amba: Don is a master at creating a positive learning environment and I want to get his teaching methods down. We are taking a one year sabbatical to write a book. The Stapleton Method is multi-dimensional. It combines the emotional, spiritual and creative along with the physical and the yoga postures.
Don: It takes 100% of our time to run the business, the school, maintain the facility and conduct trainings. We have 20 full time employees. We are ready to transition away from operating a full time yoga school on a daily basis.
Amba: At this stage, our priorities have shifted. We want to focus on teaching, traveling, doing our own yoga, taking classes. You can get too comfortable. We need to keep growing ourselves. I’ve never been to India, for example.
Don: Our dream is to have another school or yoga center purchase the facility. A new owner could hire our current employees. The infrastructure for a yoga school is in place. We’ve been impressed with the creativity of the yoga focused inquiries we’ve had so far.
After our full schedule of courses on the calendar through March, we will transition to Nosara Yoga Institute International. Starting in 2017, will be traveling to teach and have already committed to a 500 hour course in Santa Cruz, California, and another workshop in Japan.
VOG: What happened with the development of The Bodhi Tree resort?
Amba: A few years ago, our dream was to have lodging, food and a community space for our students. We partnered with our former student and businessman, Gary Edwards. We never would have entered into such a partnership with just anyone.
Don: Look, we love and respect Gary. He was a student of ours. We wanted a full space to focus on the yoga lifestyle. A 21st century place to express a 6,000 year old tradition.
Amba: But Gary saw the potential for a resort. That is not our passion. We don’t have anything against it at all. We were just not willing to compromise our vision for someone else’s.
Don: In some ways it helped remind us who we are. We are yoga educators and we had started to get away from our vision of offering personal development through yoga and teacher training. But we’re all fine neighbors. Our teachers work over there. We share parking. Our students stay there.
VOG: Do have any message for the Nosara community as you leave?
Amba: First of all, we will really miss our staff and their families. Some of our employees have worked with us for over 15 years. We are hopeful that a great new owner can take this place to the next level.
Don: I would like the community to give the new owners a chance. To welcome them with a kind heart and be understanding as they find their way. Any new owner will do better with community support. When Amba’s brother and parents came here in the 70’s there were no roads. They had to cross 28 rivers and drive on the beach to get here. But even with development, Nosara has been protected. Our beaches are still beautiful. It’s drawn really good people. There was the changing of the guard when we moved here in the 90’s. Now it’s time again for a new generation to come in.