3 life lessons I learned from practicing yoga

Hello lovely readers. Yesterday while I was practicing yoga I started thinking about how the practice has a positive impact on my life.

I have been practicing for almost a year now, and even though I am not the most agile  person, I have certainly improved my flexibility and strength, and most importantly learn valuable lessons that can be applied to everyday life. 

Proper breathing is incredibly helpful for self control 

During practice, when holding a difficult position it comes a moment when I feel I can’t take it anymore and feel the need to get out of it, in this precise moment I consciously decide to “breathe it” and this allows me to hold it longer. 

Breathing properly also helps to aleviate pain, reduce anxiety and even focus. 

Your body is amazing

When I started assisting to yoga lessons I was pretty sure my body had many limits and that I wouldn’t be able to achieve the difficult positions (from my point of view) like headstands or handstands. Although I have many more left to achieve I am now able to do headstands and other positions that seemed impossible at the beggining.

Patience and discipline will help you achieve the “unachieveable”

There have been moments during practice when I try many times to conquer a position without being successful. This hasn’t let me down, I will move on to something else and try again another time. 

This too can be applied in everyday life, do not give up, instead be patient and disciplined. 

What lessons have you learned from your yoga practice? 


Thoughts about kindness

Hi! I didn’t plan to write about kindness on my next post, but in the past days I had experienced or witnessed situations that made me thought about the importance of being kind.

The situations aren’t worth mentioning, but I believe we have become so busy searching for wealth, success, being beautiful and social media perfect that we forgot about being kind. 

 Since we seem to be in a rush to achieve this perfection I believe we constantly need to remind ourselves the importance of being kind. 

These are so many ways to practice kindness: smile, don’t be mean under any circumstance, help others when you have the chance, be fair, put yourself in other’s shoes. I promise your life will change for the best. 

Finally, make sure this acts of kindness are directed to everyone, mostly to unkind people or people that aren’t in the position of doing something for you in return. 


The meaning of 21 stories

Hi! It’s Time to introduce myself. My name is Irene, I live in Costa Rica, I’m married and have a daughter and a son. I am a psychologist and work full time in the Human Resources area.

That’s me:

I am 34 and my life has been wonderful so far, I’ve had beautiful experiences and also difficult times that made me grow and learn.

I feel I am currently in a great stage of life where I am becoming very self conscious, learning about self love and respect, letting go and also appreciating what life has given to me; because even the toughest experiences happen for a reason and help you become a better version of yourself.

Some of the reasons that led me to create a blog are: expressing myself which is liberating and therapeutic, use creativity, also interact with readers and hopefully write posts that are helpful and constructive for them. 

Finally, I would like to talk about the reason for naming my blog 21stories. I don’t know if everyone relates to a number through their life, well I do, mine is 21. I was born on January 21st, my daughter and mother July 21st, my father August 21st and my beloved grandma March 21st, I consider this a lovely coincidence. Also this number keeps appearing constantly in different situations; as I have a meaningful connection with #21 and would like to share some stories with you my blog became 21STORIES. 

I would love to hear if anyone has a similar connection with a number. If so please share your story in the comments section.


10 experiences you will love in Costa Rica

Hey fellow travelers! A great way to make the best of your trip is to take advice from locals. As a “Tica” or costarican, I would like to recommend 10 experiences that I am absolutely sure you will enjoy.

Let’s start with food:

  1. Gallo Pinto and a hot cup of coffee

I invite you to try costarican breakfast, not only will it delight you but also keep you full for the entire morning and provide the energy you need to follow my next recommendations.  Our typical breakfast consists of rice and beans or as we call it “gallo pinto”, eggs, sweet plantain, fresh cheese, and corn flour “tortillas”. You will find it in most hotels and restaurants in the country. Hot local coffee is the perfect complement.

  1. Beer and chifrijo

If you are a beer lover you shouldn’t leave our country before trying “chifrijo”, a combination of pork meat, rice, beans and “chimichurri”, a tomato based salad with lemon juice.  Most “ticos” enjoy this dish along with one of our signature beers: Imperial, Pilsen or Bavaria. This traditional dish is served in most bars in Costa Rica, some places that I would personally recommend if you want to try a delicious “chifrijo” are La Oveja Negra or La Casona de Laly in Escazú town.

Now, let’s move to our next experience which is having adventures in Paradise. It doesn’t matter if you are highly courageous or slightly shy; everyone has a chance for adventure here in Costa Rica.

  1. Ziplining

I recommend zip lining in the rainforest; you will have the chance to watch the treetops from above as you ride the line which is an amazing experience. My first canopy tour experience was in Paraiso de Volcanes and I will definitely recommend this place, also depending on your location Turubari or Monteverde Sky Aerial Tram & Zipline are great.

  1. White water rafting and surf

If you are looking for something more extreme you can take a white water rafting tour on the Pacuare River or take surf lessons in Jaco, Santa Teresa or Malpais. Another popular adventure for the adrenaline lovers is Sky Diving near the beach; I haven’t personally tried it but I have friends that have enjoyed it greatly.

My next recommendations are a great way to get in contact with nature. Costa Rica is well known for its natural wealth. Despite being a small country it contains about 6% of the world’s biodiversity.

  1. Cloud Forest

How about breathing some clean air? Hiking in the mountains surrounded by nature and breathing fresh air are a must, two beautiful places where you can have this experience are Monteverde Cloud Forest and Los Quetzales National Park in San Gerardo de Dota.

  1. Waterfalls

For lovely and refreshing views I would also recommend you to visit the beautiful waterfalls in La Paz Waterfall Gardens or Toro Amarillo.

Since most of us have some level of stress in our lives, my next suggestion will help you leave stress behind while enjoying the pleasures of life.

  1. Hot Springs

How about a natural SPA?  Thanks to the Arenal Volcano’s geothermal activity there are numerous natural hot springs in La Fortuna area. My personal favorite is Tabacon where you can relax on your own or with your partner; if you are travelling with kids I will definitely recommend Baldi Hot Springs as it also features attractions such as slides and a children’s pool.

If you like meeting people while having a great time, and who knows, maybe creating long lasting friendships, please follow my next recommendations.

  1. “La Carreta de Carpechepe”

“La Carreta” is a nightlife Hop On – Hop Off tour in San José, the capital of Costa Rica.  The bus stops at some of the most popular bars in the area, there is aso a bar inside the bus. A guide is in charge of informing and cheering up the group on board.

  1. Learn some Spanish

Costaricans love their country and their culture and we will be glad if you learn something about us while visiting.

A phrase that most identifies us is ‘Pura Vida’, for English speakers it sounds something like poorah veedah. Literally it translates as “Pure Life” but the meaning is more than that, we use it to say hi, goodbye, thank you and also to say everything is cool or great.

Also the word “Ticos” (Teec – ohs) for men and “Ticas” (Teec – has) for women is the slang word for costaricans. Now we can form a phrase:

“Ticos” are “Pura Vida”!

Last but not least, my final recommendation is visiting the beach, which is a must for all visitors.

  1. Beautiful Beaches

Costa Rica has many beautiful beaches both on the Pacific Coast and the Caribbean.

My suggestions are Playa Flamingo, Playa Carrillo, Conchal, Santa Teresa and Mal País on the Pacific Coast. You’ll find amazing views and a variety of hotels here; weather in this area is dry and temperatures are high.

Also on the Pacific Coast, a beach famous for its exotic beauty is Manuel Antonio, it is located in a National Park and it’s surrounded by trees so you will find plenty of shadow. Also the weather is less dry.

View this post on Instagram

#manuelantonio #costarica #beach #sand #sea #sky #blueskies

A post shared by Designed By Monkeys (@designed_by_monkeys) on

Finally, although the weather is very humid on the Caribbean, the beaches in this area are spectacular, my favorites are Manzanillo and Punta Uva; these beaches are also surrounded by vegetation, the water is clear and the sand is white.

I hope my recommendations will inspire you to pack your bags and visit Costa Rica. As planning a trip is part of the fun, look for more recommendations from locals, and search pictures with hashtags such as #costarica, #puravida, #ticos; you will find much more inspiration.

Although must places are safe, don’t walk alone late at night, do not carry a lot of cash with you and always ask hotel owners for recommendations on safety.

Finally, always follow the rules, recycle, and buy local products to leave a positive impact on the places you visit.