what is RUNGa?
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 connect with these elements in themselves, so that we can initiate progress that is not only wholesome, but sustainable.
At RUNGA, we teach and practice the “tools in our toolkit” - encompassing everything from mobility, functional fitness and nutrition, to breath work, 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, and are shown mobility practices to release tension to decrease pain, improve flexibility, and increase aerobic fitness. These do-anywhere mobility short-cuts unlock the body from head to toe, and allow guests to tap into new athletic potential within just a few exercises.
Cold immersion has the power to dramatically improve health and wellbeing. Starting with cold showers every morning, an essential aspect of our protocol, the benefits begin at any temperature that makes you uncomfortable. Over three minutes in the cold is shown to reduce systemic inflammation, optimize hormone levels, improve sexual health, and increase fat burning.
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, which supports our brain’s ability to control our consciousness during times of stress. This lesson in resilience is one that our bodies can apply to our day to day lives. Guests are often surprised at how proper mindset and breathing techniques make the experience much less difficult than anticipated.
plant-rich, high-fat paleo food
We are committed to sourcing only organic produce, and serving all paleo, high-fat and plant-rich foods. Our coffee bar includes housemade almond milk, organic high-antioxidant coffee and a large selection of superfoods and supplements selected by our experts. We encourage intermittent fasting, with snacks such as sprouted nuts, nut butters and coconut yogurt available throughout the day.
Our vibrant all-organic, raw and sprouted lunches are prepared by Shanti Kitchen, a private-chef service based in Venice, CA. Dinners are family-style feasts prepared by a local 5-star chef, and are designed to be the main meal of the day. With dinner, we pair fully organic, keto-friendly wines selected by our friends at Dry Farm Wines. Dinners are always fully customizable to your dietary preferences.
kundalini yoga & mindfulness meditation
In Kundalini Yoga, 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 mindfulness, we come into the present practicing kindness towards ourselves.
Our focus on meditation gives guests the tools to see the forest through the trees. We believe that in order to live our healthiest lives, we need to be able to trust ourselves and the world around us, and have the intuition to listen to our hearts. Guests often leave feeling more at home in their bodies and more compassionate for themselves and others. They are reconnected with what’s important, and make more aligned decisions from this wise place.
We pride ourselves on our commitment to building a sustainable foundation. Our approach is based on the premise that additions will never be as effective as removing harmful habits or environmental detractors. Our foundational focus ensures that guests anchor new habits, which enables them to get the maximum benefits from the biohacks they choose to invest their time and energy in.
Chances are, you’re already biohacking! Morning sunlight, high-quality coffee and buying organic foods are just a few ways that we can improve our quality of life with minimal change to our daily routine. Ice baths, saunas and red-light therapy are other popular biohacking practices that we enjoy. We believe in the power of biohacking technologies, but help guests sift through the plethora of information out there and identify their own priorities.
aerobic conditioning and kettlebells
Our approach to fitness is premised on two objectives: optimizing metabolic health and extending physical longevity. We employ a series of aerobic training sessions that utilize targeted intensities and breath-control. These practices improve our cells’ oxygen uptake and makes us more efficient at burning fat for fuel. We believe workouts are the gas station, not the race track, and should be the most energizing hour of our day.
For optimizing mobility and core function, we use kettlebells with a focus on moving applicable weights with great form. Exercises such as the Goblet Squat, Swing, and the Get Up are amongst the most beneficial practices for optimizing mobility and core function while building durability in the hips and spine for a long, injury-free life.