Ayesha was born in Bombay, India, and moved to the United States at the age of 13. Her love for travel and adventure led her to Panama. Yoga has been part of her life for over 25 years. She received her yoga teacher training in 2010, in traditional Hatha yoga at the Parmath Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, India and has been teaching since. Her yoga classes are gentle, but invigorating and are designed specifically for beginner and intermediate students. Through breath, movement, and alignment, she works with the students to bring consciousness into their bodies, mind, and spirit.
Sean was born and raised in Galveston, Texas on the Gulf Coast. He spent his life he has living close to the ocean and feels a special connection with it. He has traveled extensively around the world and has lived in Chile, Colombia, and Panama. For the past seven years, he has been a SUP practitioner and instructor, leading tours around the waterways of Panama. He attended cooking school in New Orleans, Louisiana. Additionally, he is also a former beach lifeguard and an emergency medical technician.
Kelly Iannelli United States
May 2017, BookYogaRetreats
The yoga and the retreat center, ideal for a beach vacation but not close to other attractions.
So far from all the attractions and activities so we spent a lot of time on the road an average of 3 hours a day crammed into a pickup truck. My advice, give them some time to work out the kinks as they have only done the retreat a few times.
BookYoga Retreats website
I attended Sean and Ayesha's week-long SUP/yoga retreat in February 2017 and it was hands down my best vacation in recent memory. The tours, yoga practice, accommodations, staff and food were all so impressive, and I'm a picky eater. From the moment I got into Panama, I felt taken care of; I had transportation from the airport, a beautiful hotel in the city, and a city tour the next day with a great tour guide, Adolfo. The first couple of hours spent on their property, I felt years of tension melting from my body, helped immensely by an evening yoga session with Ayesha and a friend from down the street. The package I'd signed up for was advertised as providing vegetarian fare. Upon learning of my carnivorous ways, Sean and the marvelous Kleyberlin made sure to take good care of me. The food was delicious, and clearly prepared with a lot of attention to detail. Fresh fruit every morning, and the mandarin lime pie was...well, there are no words. Istmo is right down the street from one of the most remarkable beaches I have ever been to; soft black and white sand, warm water, bioluminescent waves at night, and the black sand sparkles under a flashlight at night. So cool! I could go on and on about what a great time I had. Highly recommend checking out Istmo for the whole week, but at least come by and experience the remarkable hospitality Sean and Ayesha are offering.
From outside the hotel looks average but once you take a look inside, the rooms are very good, comfortable, and clean. Customer service is good. I recommend this hotel! Do take advantage of the yoga classes.
Cristiane Machado Florida, USA
Istmo is a magical find in Panama. About 2 hours from Panama City and away from the noise and crazy of the gorgeous and yet busy city, I found a picturesque and Beautiful hidden gem in San Carlos at Playa Grande. Istmo is owned by the Sweet Ayesha and talented Shawn, who is also the chef. From negotiating our stay, to directions to get there and arranging transportation, Istmo was the best choice for one of my Retreats. All of my retreaters were completely satisfied with accommodations and beauty of space.
The cabanas were quite adorable and well located (not easy access for wheelchair keep that in mind). Actually, the beds were the most comfortable I have slept in and natural sounds a lullaby to sleep to. The Beach has somewhat easy access (asphalt gets eroded by rains) and one of most beautiful black (with diamonds in it, I swear) beach I have never been too and completely "empty" and private. They also offer SUP and the ocean is quite easy to practice it. The sunset is breathtaking and so is the sunrise.
Also, Shawn and Ayesha know the area well and suggested great outings. The Food was quite exquisite and prepared with love. An explosion of delicious flavors prepared by Shawn himself who prides to have a "cajun" New Orleans kick to it. The servers and staff were delightful and super friendly. Even the dogs, Luna, Mia and Sunny were a pleasure to be around (they get locked in case guests don't really are for their presence). The yoga room is encrusted among gorgeous trees making our practices a full retreat by itself. If I could, I would give it 10 stars. I will definitely come back!
Miranda Hale Panama
Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat Facebook page
Beautiful, tranquil surroundings only begin to describe this retreat. The hosts, the experience, the food, and accommodations exceeds your expectations!
A traveler Panama
It is a very friendly place, perfect to disconnect and relaxing. Yoga class is great and is placed near a lot of wonderful places waiting to be discovered. Owners are incredibly nice people. The place is dog-friendly too.
Annet Olyhoek Netherlands
Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat Facebook page
This is a beautiful place with lovely hosts. If you like nature, quietness, good food and a beautiful beach nearby (just seven minutes by walking) stay here! The host also provides very comfortable yoga classes! The accommodation, bungalows, beds, terrace, view, it is all amazing!
Paula B. Spain
Istmo is an amazing place full of good vibes, beautiful, clean, and surrounded by nature. Yoga classes are great and also an ideal place for practice. It has a beautiful garden too. Food, is delicious and the owners are nice.
Diane Rouxel France
Beautiful place and nice people. I really liked the decoration of the room. The beach is really enjoyable! Food is good and dogs are friendly. Definitely going back for yoga, stand up paddle, and beach.
a traveler Panama
I led a weekend Qigong Retreat at Istmo Yoga and Adventure Retreat Center in San Carlos, Panama. The experience with the owners, Ayesha and Sean, was extremely positive from beginning to end. Although I dealt with Ayesha mainly through Skype and e-mail, I was immediately impressed by her warmth and willingness to troubleshoot any problems that arose. Her help started with setting up a Facebook page to advertise the retreat, continued with suggestions on prices, and advertising. Over the weeks leading up to the retreat, Ayesha continued to gently offer suggestions in a timely manner.
Being only an hour and 30 minutes from Panama City, Istmo is conveniently located both for people living in Panama and those flying in from abroad, making it an ideal location for retreats. The center has modern cabins which can accommodate about 20 participants as well as the retreat leader.
The area for classes is a screened-in room surrounded by greenery and well supplied with yoga mats, chairs, blocks, and four ceiling fans.
I asked for vegetarian meals for the participants, but the option of fish and seafood is also available. The meals are cooked by Sean and are served buffet style at a long wooden table where the participants and group leader can get to know each other and share experiences. I was impressed by the fact that Sean so easily adapted to the gluten and sugar free requirements of a couple of the participants. What's more, the most frequently repeated word during the meals was “delicious”.
For a small, reasonably priced retreat center at a tropical beach, I can't recommend Istmo enough. Sean and Ayesha offer a professional experience with a personal touch.
Room Tip: All cabins have a great view and a hammock on the porch.
Mohsin A. United States
We had a wonderful stay with Sean and Ayesha, the owners and hosts of this charming lodge. The accommodations are clean and comfortable, with gorgeous trees and plants on the property. A lovely beach is five minutes walk, and access to the Pan-Am is easy - a really convenient location for Pacific beach access, or to head to El Valle, or the interior of Panama. Service was courteous and very helpful. They provided excellent suggestions about our Panama vacation, and arranged surfing lessons, as well as our next hotel reservation. Food was delicious, locally sourced, and healthy. Dinner every evening was a special treat, great food, tasteful ambience, and wonderful conversations! I already look forward to staying here on my next Panama trip.
Skye W. Panama
It's a peaceful setting tucked away in the jungle yet a few minutes walk away to one of the most beautiful beaches. The food was delicious and the atmosphere very calm. Added bonus was the yoga studio! Surrounded by the jungle and hard wood floors. I loved it!
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