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The Spiritual Side to Pilates: 3 Steps to Chakra Healing

December 24, 2017

How Pilates Can Help Your Chakras!

If you’re new to the topic or practice of pilates, here’s the quick rundown of where it came from and why it’s used. Pilates was created in the 1920’s and has been used by physical therapists to help patients recover from injuries. Pilates mainly works on core strength and has a more medical background. You may be aware of the benefits of Yoga and it’s ability to work with the chakras in the body for better functioning and healthier living. But what about pilates? We can use that too!

Here are some ways Pilates can help Chakras move in harmony if we’re feeling off balance by chronic stress or past traumas:
  1. Core strength
The seven main chakras stretch from the base of the spine to the top of the head (if you’re not aware of what chakras are or where they are, that’s ok. I would recommend exploring this a bit). Pilates poses and sequences work to strengthen our core and engage movement in these areas to stir up this energy and release blockages.
  1. Alignment of the spine
When meditating, sitting, or practicing yoga or pilates, alignment is an important factor. A part of healing and balancing chakras also focuses on alignment along the spine. Pilates is just another way to mindfully align your body to increase the healing potential of the exercises.
  1. Breathwork
Effective breathwork is a major component of pilates that can be used when working on chakra balance. Breathing exercises allow for the movement and direction of energy through the body. Concentrating in this area is another sure way to use your dedicated pilates practice time to effectively assist the harmonious chakra movement. Interested in Yoga, Pilates, healthy living, or spiritual practices? There’s no better place to explore all of this than being immersed in a Jungle Retreat in Costa Rica! Does waking up to the sun’s first morning rays high on a mountain surrounded by crisp, salty air, breezing in from the Pacific Ocean sound like a dream come true? Don’t hesitate to check out Selva Armonia’s 2018 Retreat Schedule and take much deserved time out for YOU! Book your retreat while there’s still space available...    By Sarah Blanks
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We’re looking for volunteers!

December 22, 2017
We are currently looking to fill the last two spots of our exciting volunteer program at Selva Armonia Eco-Lodge and Retreat Center! Selva Armonia, or “Harmonious Jungle," provides exceptional retreat space deep in the rainforest of Uvita, Costa Rica, overlooking the South Pacific Ocean. We are a true eco-lodge combining elegance with a rustic atmosphere in a breathtaking jungle setting. This space is used for world-class teachers, healers, yogis, facilitators and nature-enthusiasts to celebrate and share their gifts and teachings with others.   What will you be doing? Volunteer duties include, but are not limited to the following:
  • Assist with meal prep & clean-up in our wonderful open-air kitchen, overlooking the famous Whale’s Tale beach
  • Foraging herbs and leaves from our organic, permaculture farm and greenhouse
  • Assist staff with onsite events and retreats
  • Provide friendly customer service to all retreat guests
  • Maintain a healthy, positive working environment among staff
  What’s in it for you? An exciting work opportunity in the Costa Rican rainforest, isolated enough to deeply reconnect with nature and your inner self. It’s not only the perfect opportunity for personal growth but for a deeper understanding of permaculture, retreat centers, vegan cuisine, Costa Rican culture, alternative living, and healthy lifestyle choices. Volunteers will stay on site in our spacious, cozy camping space. A tent, air mattress, linens and towels will be provided. On working days, all meals are provided and on days off, you are welcome to use the kitchen facilities to prepare food and apply all your learnings! When do we need you? We would love you to come and support us during our retreat season, starting January 1, 2018. Schedule of available opportunities to be discussed once you apply!

APPLY HERE! 

 

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3 Quick Tips for a Consistent Meditation Practice

December 7, 2017
What do you do when your meditation practice resembles a dusty book that’s been on the shelf that you won’t put away because you keep promising yourself that you’re still going to read it… soon? We get it, life happens. New work, old work, piling stress, noisy kids, crazy holidays, travel, and whatever else you’ve committed yourself to has shoved your once glimmering meditation practice to the backburner. Or maybe you haven’t even really tried meditation, but you’re positive that you’re too busy for it right now, but you will start one day when life calms down a bit. If you’re waiting for life to “calm down” to start, that likely will not happen! If you really want to rekindle your relationship with meditation, you are going to need to jam one more thing into that packed schedule of yours! The good news? You can start with TWO minutes! Really… you only need TWO minutes per day to get your meditation practice on track. Can you spare two minutes per day for a life altering practice? Here are a few quick tips to help get your two-minute practice off to a good start: 1. Start with the TWO minutes Start small and increase the time you spend little by little as it works for you. No need to be ambitious and start with 10 minutes if you think this may be a stretch. This will prevent you from feeling frustrated if you’re getting back on track after a long hiatus or just starting out. 2. Stick to roughly the same time and setting If you’re feeling fresh right after you wake up, go ahead and take your two-minutes at the very start of your day. If this time of the morning may put you right back to sleep, a quick session before you leave the home just may do it for you. Scheduling your meditation time around the same time and setting will help you develop a routine around your practice, thus increasing the likelihood that you will adopt it as a part of your daily life. 3. Hang in there for the long haul It’s ok if you don’t have 10 minutes per day to commit to your meditation practice. The consistency of a few minutes every day is much more beneficial than 10 minutes once a week. This journey will take time and consistency. Setting realistic goals for yourself that you’ll be able to stick to will increase your success in incorporating meditation into your daily schedule and reaping the benefits of your dedication! Good luck and happy meditating! Here's a list of some great, free Meditation Apps!   By Sarah Blanks  
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Yoga or Pilates? The REAL difference.

November 17, 2017
Yoga and Pilates offer many of the same incredible health benefits. It’s no surprise increasing numbers are using these practices to reap the benefits that each of them offer. Both increase flexibility, strengthen muscles, improve posture, prevent/heal injuries, and reduce stress. From an outsider perspective, Yoga and Pilates may seem quite alike, which can create a bit of confusion. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or someone wishing to add something new to your regimen, you’ll want to evaluate which practice best suits your needs and goals. Perhaps you’ll find a mix of both that can be just the right fit for you! What are the real differences between the two highly beneficial practices? Here’s the breakdown: The quick history: Yoga is a holistic and philosophical approach to fitness that also incorporates spirit into its practice. Yoga was created in India approximately 5,000 years ago. However, the practice of Yoga has just hatched into the western world over 100 years ago. Still fairly new! Pilates was created in 1920 and used by physical therapists for patients who are recovering from injuries. This practice helps the body recover and protects it from future injuries. It’s safe to say Pilates was created more from a medical perspective.   Core Principles: As we mentioned, Yoga is all about balance. Which make it no surprise that core principles here cover proper exercise, breathing, meditation, relaxation, and diet. Yoga focuses on balance in ALL areas. Mind, body, and spirit. Pilates focuses on concentration, control, centering, precision, flow, and breath. Both practices encourage better health, but Pilates has more of a narrow focus and does not include an extensive holistic approach as Yoga. CORE strength is the name of the Pilates game!   Class differences: If you currently practice Yoga, you may already have a good idea on what to expect when entering a class. Yoga classes truly vary on a person-to-person basis or the individual instructor in a class setting. Teachers and individuals can be flexible with routines and customize them to their liking. Since Yoga also places emphasis on mind and spirit, meditation or chanting is often incorporated into class time. If you’re new to Pilates, you can expect a Pilates class to be a bit more structured and straight forward than a Yoga class. These classes are also quite active and centered around using deep abs and pelvic floor for the sequences. Participants will certainly be feeling the abdominal burn after one session!   Workout: As we mentioned, Yoga is a tool to bring balance. This exercise works out all muscles equally to create balance and harmony in the body. Although stretching and relaxation are core elements of the practice, don’t mistake it for the easier of the two, Yoga can be very challenging as well! Pilates is all about strengthening the core. A wide range of muscle groups are used naturally in the practice as a support to core movements. Those who practice Pilates can expect postures and sequences to be focused on aligning the spine and and building abdominal strength.   So what will it be? If you’re looking to focus on spirituality, manage stress, increase flexibility, strength, cardio, and go the whole nine yards, Yoga may be the right fit for you! If flat abs, a strong back, and athletic performance are on your radar, give Pilates a go. Since Yoga and Pilates compliment each other well, try a mix of both to suit your unique needs! Thinking on taking your Yoga or Pilates practice to the next level? There’s no better place to receive world-class instruction and experience than fully immersing yourself into a retreat! Join our ------ retreat in the wild jungle of Costa Rica to embark on a truly unforgettable experience!   By Sarah Blanks
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