In 2016, we were the subjects of a documentary film called The Bodhi Wave. Toronto filmmaker Jazeen Hollings spent three months at Bodhi Surf + Yoga, looking for answers to the following questions: How is a small surf and yoga camp located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica inspiring its guests to fall more deeply in love with the greatest to the source of human life — nature? How is that love translating to behavior changes once guests go back home? How is a vacation experience inspiring guests to awaken their own purpose? Now, four years later, the documentary is finally finished and we are so excited for you to see it. This film goes beyond just being about Bodhi Surf + Yoga. It tells a story of a group of people who use their respective and collective passions to change the world; of doing business responsibly; of endless learning and a desire for constant improvement. And this August 28th, you can see it!
Watch The Bodhi Wave documentary
On August 28th, 2020 we will send a link to our network with a link to The Bodhi Wave and a password to access. It will be available to watch for a period of two weeks (August 28-September 6), after which it will be taken down. If you would like to see this documentary, make sure you are signed up for our newsletter no later than September 5th as it will be taken down on September 6th.
The Bodhi Wave: A background
In late 2015, Jazeen Hollings became intrigued by her parents’ noticeable behavior changes upon returning home from a one-week trip to Costa Rica in 2015. It was their 25th anniversary trip, and it was indeed an epic week — one full of laughs, stories, music, learning (by everyone), and a ton of meaningful connection.
She decided she wanted to investigate. What started out as an idea to just visit herself or even do a short internship evolved into the plan to do a documentary. It took about three months for Jazeen and her crew to film all of the necessary footage. They conducted countless hours of interviews of Bodhi Surf + Yoga co-founders, community members, and other stakeholders to get closer to the answer. Throughout their time here, they also got hours of “B-roll” of surfing, yoga, community service work, moments with guests, our beautiful community, and more.
When she left, she had her work cut out for her! There were multiple drafts in the intervening years, and in early 2020 the film reached the point of completion. It was one heck of a creative process, and one that we always felt so privileged to have had the opportunity to participate in.
Despite the challenges that the Covid pandemic is presenting to the circuit, Jazeen is still going to submit the documentary to various film festivals. While it must remain private until after that moment, we are extremely excited to share it with a select group of people.
9 prominent themes in The Bodhi Wave
Using Bodhi Surf + Yoga as a case study, there are several themes that weave their way throughout the documentary.
1. Going deep, beyond just the surface
It was a cool exercise to have a third party observer take a look at some of what we are trying to achieve (as well as what happens naturally, without plan or design). We have always valued education and immersion, and recognized early on that we had a unique opportunity to “go deep” with our guests, being that they were on vacation — open and receptive to new information.
2. Connection: To nature, community, self
This documentary explores the idea of connection: the connection between humans and nature; the importance of people to their communities; the awakening to one’s own self. Most modern humans live in a way that is more disconnected than at any other point in our history. The Bodhi Surf + Yoga experience — staying at a surf and yoga camp in a pristine, natural paradise and surfing the warm waters of the Southern Pacific zone of Costa Rica — is often a catalyst for a deep, newfound connection to the natural world. One pinnacle part of the Bodhi Surf + Yoga experience has been our connection with our community and the harmony which is palpable even to short term visitors here in Bahia Ballena. We have been able to share this experience with our guests, stories of our town — even with limited resources — coming together to overcome the challenges it is presented with. Guests have been inspired to go home and get involved in their own communities. Finally, something about the experience here also seems to have an effect of awakening one’s own inner thoughts, reflections, and workings — and often by extension, purpose.
3. Environmental stewardship
Having Bodhi Surf + Yoga be a company with environmental stewardship built into it was always the game plan. This documentary illuminates a bit of our own journey in this regard. We started out more “small-scale” — endeavoring to be environmental stewards ourselves through beach cleanups, responsible sourcing, etc. Yet through our experience watching our guests fall in love over and over again with nature, we were able to leverage this phenomena and empower our guests to be environmental stewards through our Ocean Guardian Program. The Bodhi Wave also discusses the topic of responsible consumption in detail: questioning exactly what it is we as humans need, buying with more intentionality, choosing experiences over things, etc. One awesome part of this film is that it highlights “citizen responsibility,” making a strong case that we can all play an important part in creating positive change.
4. Business as service
One of our favorite quotes here at Bodhi Surf + Yoga was always this one from Rabindranath Tagore: “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” From the beginning, we (the founders) always knew we wanted to do business a little differently. In those early days, we looked to other responsible companies — for example those with the B Corp certification — as examples of how to use business as a tool to improve lives, community, industry, and even the world as a whole. The Bodhi Wave looks at this process, as well as some of the ideas and challenges we have grappled with over the years.
5. Passion in action
Without a doubt, Bodhi Surf + Yoga has been a passion project, an experiment in finding ways to both have an impact and make an income using the activities and topics we love. This is a definite theme of the film, and perhaps the most “feel good” aspect of it. People love a good love story; this one just so happens to be about harnessing passion and joy, sharing it with others, and utilizing passion as the fuel to change the world.
Of course, the film wouldn’t be complete without some solid time dedicated to the activities themselves! Our “raison d’etre,” why and how this whole thing started in the first place. On their surface, both surfing and yoga are physical activities that one can certainly get lost in. At further investigation (or if you’ve ever spent much time with a surfer or yogi), you realize that it’s a whole way of life; a mafia of sorts (once you’re in you’re in). It’s so much more than just the act of riding a wave; it’s a connection to nature, it’s the harnessing of pure, unbridled energy. It’s a tool for personal growth and a catalyst for positive change. There is a beautiful quote by one of the people who was interviewed for the film, Maia Dery from the Center for Surf Research: “Surfing is just a beautiful embodied metaphor.”
The same goes for yoga — it’s much more than the physical, asana practice. So much of the yoga philosophy is woven into Bodhi Surf + Yoga’s ethos, daily decision-making, and what we share with our guests through our yoga curriculum. As Bodhi Surf + Yoga co-founder, Pilar, states in the film: “Yoga brings presence into your life, it makes you feel more present. More right here, right now. And when you do, you start paying attention. And when you start paying attention, nature around you is beautiful enough, you don’t need more distractions.” This is certainly an important concept in both the film as well as the essence of our company.
8. “The little engine that could”
This duality — the cycle of triumphing over life’s obstacles — is the story of not just our small business, but most small businesses. Has it been a lot of work (blood, sweat, and tears)? Yes. But even more importantly, it’s been a lot of laughter, love, dancing, breakthroughs, bonds created, and unforgettable moments shared. From the beginning, the simplest concept that we all shared was to use this business to leave a mark; to make a positive impact on those we came into contact with, our community, our planet. We’ve always followed the wisdom in this quote by Arthur Ashe, and it’s done us well: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
9. Adapt, improvise, overcome
Looking back, there has been no moment in the history of Bodhi Surf + Yoga where things have gone easily, or even remotely “to plan.” What we have gotten good at doing is the following: adapt, improvise, overcome, (which has become our motto in 2020). Because yes, it is an interesting time for this film to be coming out. Not only is it Bodhi Surf + Yoga’s 10 year anniversary, we are also in the middle of a global pandemic that has all but brought the tourism industry to its knees. This highlights one of the most important of the storylines in The Bodhi Wave: hope and perseverance. That while there are always challenges (some of which truly feel insurmountable), we keep paddling out time and time again. Always enjoying those moments when it all lines up for that perfect, victorious ride.
Don’t miss the watch window!
Remember, we are only releasing this documentary to our newsletter list, and even still, it will be a private link with a password. So what are the exact release details so you can be ready? On August 28th, 2020 we will send a link to our network with the documentary link and password. It will be available to watch for a period of two weeks (August 28-September 6), after which it will be taken down so that it is still eligible for the film festival circuit. If you would like to see this documentary, make sure you are signed up for our newsletter no later than September 5th as it will be taken down on September 6th. We hope you will! We’re incredibly proud of the story it tells, and hope that it is widely viewed in this moment of collective pause and global reflection.