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Meet Neil! Neil is an acupuncturist, herbalist and healthy living advocate. Even during his surf and yoga holiday at Rise Up he helped some of our guest. But why? “It is my mission to educate, inspire and empower people, so that they can take control of your health and feel great!” Wow, that is exactly how we would like our guests to feel at Rise Up. It made us curios about Neil’s story, his job as an acupuncturist and his connection with Rise Up. 

Rise Up Returning Guest Neil

It is already Neil’s third time at Rise Up, not only because he loves to be surrounded by nature, to do yoga and to surf, but also because the energy at Rise Up resonates with his work.

1. Why did you become an acupuncturist and how does it connect with Rise Up?

“ Well, first of all I had great positive experiences myself and I was amazed by the remarkable healing qualities of acupuncture and herbal medicine and want to share the benefits of natural medicine with as many people as possible.” I have been in practice for more than 20 years and love my work more than ever! I have two offices in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. I work in two group practices, in Ithaca and Johnson City with a naturopath, chiropractor, craniosacral therapist and massage therapist who work together as a team. If you interested in acupuncture or you are looking for more information about Neil and the Integrative Medicine center, visit his website:

When I am in the amazing yoga studio, I think about Chinese medicine and strongly feel the energy of the primal elements there. The soothing wind, water, with the sound of surf from two sides, and a strong grounding connection with the earth. Everything is centered and in a harmonious balance.

 2. But how did you find out about Rise Up?

Five or six years ago, I went to a surf hostel in Montezuma (CR). The place was nice to stay and it is a cool town, but there was no real surf instruction. So I started looking online for other places to stay and Rise Up popped up. The contact I had with Rise Up was all by email and the website and I liked everything I read and saw and first came in the winter of 2104. I didn’t want to go to place that was like a frat house; I’m way too old for that! So having air-conditioning, comfortable accommodations, the option of private rooms, great healthy food, being able to surf and having yoga included every day was a big plus and Rise Up offers a great balance of quality and price.

  1. And, what do you think about the staff at Rise Up?

I like everyone who works here, because they are friendly and warm. They care about their work, they are very responsive and obviously love what they do. The staff hangs out with guests and there is no big separation. That gives a good feeling. I appreciate the way that the people who work at Rise Up all pitch in and help out in whatever ways are needed to make the guests comfortable and happy. Rise Up utilizes the skills and talents of the local people in all areas of the organization, which I think is great and the way it should be.

  1. What do you think about the surf around Rise Up?

The level of coaching has improved so much over the past few years. The first year I came here there was not a lot, but this year the surf lessons really stepped up. There is way more useful feedback and I am very impressed by the surf instructors. Callum and his team are doing a great job and the video analysis has been very helpful. But you know, surf is a sport and there are always good and bad days… Many people of my age are just looking back at those years they were still doing sports, when they were in their” glory days “ having a good time and now it is nostalgic. But I am very happy that I can still surf and I get a little better every time! It is harder to progress now, but Rise Up you can go surfing every day so that helps. It is so much fun!

  1. What do you think about the food at Rise Up?

The food is very good. It is healthy with interesting ingredients and presentation. Perfect for the rigors of daily surf and other activities.

  1. What do you think about the yoga at Rise Up?

Yoga is really good! I know yoga from back home and for many years, so I can compare with other places and I think you are doing a great job at Rise Up. The yoga teacher adapts to the needs of the group. For example, the first day after a long flight every one was tired and we had an easy class, but today was more vigorous because we had more energy and I have been working on my handstand! The yoga teacher (Sasha) gave me some helpful tips.

  1. What is your most memorable part of Rise Up?

One of the first years, we went to Nahualapa and it was a fun day and I got some really nice waves. That was great! Even though it was the first day of the week and I had not surfed for a while. This year after a morning surf we went to Rancho Tranquilo for some nice après surf beers together. It was a wonderful hanging out time with friends.

  1. What keeps you coming back? What do you think keep people coming back to Rise Up?

It is a lot of things, but most of all: it is a very welcoming place. From the moment you arrive you can feel the warm and cheerful atmosphere and a feeling of “fun and having a good time”. It is not pretentious or formal, but the opposite. The Rise Up Familia can always adjusts to the different personalities groups and accommodate all needs. They are interested in everyone having a good time. Overall it is the ‘vibe’, the warm energy of the place, which feels like a family that has me returning. I think everyone else picks up on the very chill, fun, welcoming and embracing vibe. The place has a wonderful celebratory feeling and of course, the location is just phenomenal, with access to a variety of surf breaks and gorgeous views.

  1. So is there anything you would like to give tips on or recommend us?

There is nothing I am holding back in this interview. The place is getting better and nicer every time. In particular the new building, which is just finished, is very comfortable. For some people having Wi-Fi and a hot shower might be very essential, but for me it is just part of the charm of this place. I also really appreciate the commitment of Rise Up to minimizing its’ Carbon Footprint and impact on the environment in so many ways and by giving back to the local community through donations to schools and other organization. And, besides the surf and yoga, I love the option of participating in all of the extra activities such as horseback riding. And I am looking forward to the sunrise volcano hike next year.

Thank you so much for the wonderful interview, Neil!

It was interesting to listen to you and we love to have you around. We are looking forward to seeing you again!



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Speciality Retreat
Join us for a speciality retreat in Costa Rica with Kirra Seale (professional long boarder) + Sarah Lee (renowned surfing photographer).

This is experience is about making memories, exploring nature, enjoying different kinds of people, and having fun. Spots are filling up quickly!
With Kirra Seale + Sarah Lee
July 24th - 31st
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