Jenn & Josh KavanaghThe concept for Pura Vida Soul Institute Inc. was born in Costa Rica, while owners Jennifer and Joshua Kavanagh were on their honeymoon. After several years of living the dream of professional jobs that required commuting 3 hours each day and struggling to find any time to enjoy life they decided to take a month off to get married and regroup on life in general.

Days after their wedding, they sat nestled among the jungle in a room that looked over the ocean. The only distractions available were the cries of the howler monkeys, the incredible symphony of insects, and the occasional bat that were enter the room at night. Being unplugged for the first time in life and being completely immersed in nature resulted in a level of relaxation, connection, and energy that neither of them had really felt before. In speaking with many of the Costa Rican natives about their life values and the importance of recognizing and appreciating the small moments in life they began to question the value placed on the hectic lifestyle we see in many large cities in Canada and the United States.

As they sat outside in a hammock reflecting on their experience one evening, they made a commitment to bring the values, experience, and healing of Costa Rica back to Canada.

Pura Vida is a slang term that many of the Costa Ricans use as a greeting to one another but also as a way to celebrate the finer things in life. Whether it is watching a sunset, embracing a loved one, sharing a good laugh, drinking fine wine, or pausing for a moment of silence; all of those moments are described as ‘Pura Vida’ which literally translates to Pure Living. We couldn’t think of a finer description for the type of yoga studio and healing center we wanted to recreate here in Canada.

Upon returning from Costa Rica, the plan quickly began to unfold with the purchase of a 20-acre property in Severn Bridge. It took many months to find the right place with the right vibe, but our location in Severn Bridge offers the immersion in nature we were looking for. We also frequently see insects and animals that we swear have followed us from Costa Rica because they are so unique!

Upon purchasing the property, Jenn & Josh wanted to pour all of their love into the facility so they did all of the building and renovation work themselves, incorporating many of the natural elements from the outdoors. When you first enter the studio you will see a large wall of wood which was created after a terrible storm in July of 2013 that saw a downspout go through the property and take down many mature trees. To honour them, we brought the trees indoors so they could continue to protect and heal our clients.

Now, Pura Vida Soul Institute Inc. has become a community of teachers, healers, and community members that are committed to living a light-hearted, joyful, and healthy life that is balanced, connected to nature, and supportive of one another.