RUNGA started as a digital detox and functional fitness retreat, born after founder Joe DiStefano left his hectic professional life and electronics behind, and spent a week in Costa Rica, off-the-grid. He practiced yoga and engaged in activites that brought him into his body and the present moment. This was what he needed to connect with himself again, and bring newfound focus and energy into his everyday life.
Six years later, RUNGA has become a guide to internal empowerment. We bring experts from a variety of disciplines that support our guests’ journeys to connect with the strength, resilience and passion that resides inside every one of us. Our mission is to provide the tools for guests to find this for themselves, so that we can initiate progress that is not ony wholesome, but sustainable.
At RUNGA, we create a distraction-free environment designed to empower our guests. We teach and practice the “tools in our toolkit” - encompassing everything from mobility, functional fitness and nutrition, to breathwork, meditation and cold immersion. We strongly believe that these elements form the foundation to ultimate and sustainable health (and even happiness, if we may).
mobility & breathwork
We focus on breath and mobility as the basis to building a sustainable foundation. The 23,000 inhales and exhales we cycle through each day comprise the majority of communication that we feed our nervous system. We first use breath to unlock the body’s held tension, which can override any chronic muscular patterning related to dysfunctional breathing.
Guests will learn how improper breathing is linked to stress and muscular tension throughout the entire body, and are shown mobility practices to release this tension to decrease pain, improve flexibility, and increase aerobic fitness. These do-anywhere mobility short cuts unlock the body from head to toe. For many, these tools will allow you to noticeably tap into new athletic potential within just a few exercises.
Starting with cold showers every morning, an essential aspect of our protocol, cold immersion has the power to dramatically improve health and wellbeing. Over three minutes in the cold has been shown to reduce systemic inflammation, optimize hormone levels, improve sexual health and fertility, and increase fat burning.
At RUNGA, we use ice baths as the ultimate test of our nervous system. The breathing techniques taught in mobility help us stay relaxed and present with our experience, and most guests find that it’s not as difficult as they originally anticipated. Furthermore, the cold supports our brain’s ability to control our consciousness during times of stress, a lesson in resilience that our bodies can then apply to our day to day lives.
plant-rich, high-fat paleo food
We are committed to sourcing only organic and fresh produce, and serving all paleo, high-fat and plant-rich foods. Our morning coffee bar includes housemade almond milk, organic high-antioxidant espresso and a large selection of superfoods and supplements chosen by our hosts.
Sprouted nuts, nut butters, coconut yoghurt, and smoothies are available throughout the day. Lunch is prepared by Shanti Kitchen, an all organic, raw and sprouted chef service based in Venice, CA. Dinners are prepared by a local, 5-star chef and are always fully customizable to dietary preferences, including vegan and ketogenic dieters.
kundalini yoga & vipassana meditation
In Kundalini Yoga classes, you’ll be connected with your breath and your spirit. This is an active style of meditation that incorporates breathwork, gentle movement and chanting which is often easier and more enjoyable for those who say they “can’t meditate” or “can’t sit still”. In the practice of Vipassana meditation, we come into the present practicing kindness towards ourselves. We hope that guests will leave feeling more at home in their bodies and more compassionate for themselves.
Our focus on meditation at RUNGA is to give guests the tools to see the forest through the trees. We believe that we can’t live our healthiest lives without having trust in ourselves and the world around us, and the intuition to listen to our gut. These are the tools that we use to get ourselves in touch with what’s important.
We pride ourselves on our commitment to building a foundation. Our approach is based on the premise that any addition will never be as effective as removing a detractor from the equation. By helping our guests build a sustainable foundation, we simultanously ensure that they get the most out of the “biohacks” that they invest their time and energy in.
We refer guests to our Four Quadrants of Biohacking - an essential step-by-step guide to maximizing rewards from everyday health and wellness practices. We are proud to partner with some of the most forward-thinking organizations and gadgets in this space, such as Joovv, Four Sigmatic, and Kion.
fitness & Kettlebells
Fitness classes at RUNGA are engineered to optimize our ability to manage oxygen and carbon dioxide efficiently. This helps guests build fitness, and reinforces the lessons learned in our mobility, kundalini yoga, cold immersion, and personal coaching programs.
Our method of kettlebell instruction is focused on understanding the greater athlete-kettlebell relationship. We also include kettlebell yoga - a slow and powerful series of exercises that simultaneously improves work capacity, mobility, and core strength.