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Should I be concerned about Zika in Costa Rica?

March 10, 2017
Costa Rica is well known for its magnificent nature, epic waterfalls, exotic animals, paradise beaches, and much more! However, the word “Zika” buzzed all over various media outlets and the internet for months creating worry for travelers who wished to head to this remarkable country for a much needed vacation or extended stay. Coverage and panic over the virus seemed to spread like wildfire throughout the United States but all seemed pretty quiet and calm down here in Costa Rica! As a currently 8 month pregnant expat, who has lived here for over a year and half now, I was getting many questions from friends and potential visitors about the prevalence of the virus down here. Educating yourself on the facts of the virus along with ways that you can protect yourself often can help provide the answer if you are wondering if you should stay clear of Costa Rica because of the Zika virus. Before deciding to postpone your trip, it may help to look at the facts of the Zika virus.   1. This is Not a New Virus! Zika has been around for at least 70 years that we know of! This particular virus is a mosquito born virus that can be found in the Americas along with dengue, chikungunya, malaria, and yellow fever. It is uniquely different from other mosquito born viruses in that it can be transmitted sexually. If using the correct precautions to protect yourself from the virus as you would with other diseases that can also be transmitted this way, you can significantly reduce your risk and worry.   2. The Symptoms are Extremely Mild The symptoms of Zika can hardly compare to what goes around doing flu season in the North Americas! Most who contract this virus are not aware of it and do not fall ill. The most common symptom of this virus is, none! If any symptoms are displayed, they include a headache, slight fever, possible rash, and joint pain. These may only last for the duration of a few days to a week.   3. There is No Real Danger to the Average Traveler This virus poses no real threat or danger to a typical healthy traveler. Due to its zero to extremely mild side effects, travelers do not need to feel urged to change their plans. Individuals have traveled throughout the Americas for countless years while taking precautions to malaria, dengue, and chikungunya, which have also existed in these areas. The biggest danger that Zika poses is to pregnant women or those who wish to become pregnant. In this case, it is always urged to speak with a doctor, view CDC recommendations, and make your own decision on what you feel is best. (As a side note! I have been living in Costa Rica throughout the entire duration of my pregnancy since August  2016 and I am expecting a healthy baby in May!)   *How to Proactively Protect Yourself If you’re still nervous about traveling to Costa Rica or another area that has reported cases of Zika, (which is almost all of the Americas now) there are tons of ways that you can be proactive and drastically reduce your risk of getting the virus!
  • Bring EPA registered insect repellent
  • Cover exposed skin
  • Sleep in rooms with screens or windows
  • Use condoms as contraceptive protection
  • Hang a mosquito net over sleeping area if no screens available or if sleeping outside
  • Visit Costa Rica during dry seasons
    • Pacific: Early January - late April
    • Caribbean: Late September - early November
  Talk of the virus has seemed to have left the media in the more recent months and more travelers are taking the time to look at the facts and still enjoy short or lengthy vacations to these areas. Don’t allow media hype to cause you to miss out on a vacation, yoga retreat, or grand adventure to Costa Rica!  A part of being a smart traveler is doing your own research and taking all necessary precautions you see fit. Look at the facts and bring your repellent! Costa Rica is NOT a country you want to miss out on visiting! Pura Vida! By Sarah Blanks
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4 Things You’ll Experience at a Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica

February 16, 2017
It’s no surprise that Costa Rica is a top destination for those looking to fully immerse themselves into a yoga retreat. The jungle is green, lush, and buzzing with unfamiliar sounds day and night! The climate is incredibly diverse. By day, you may be sweating out built up toxins on the beach, but nighttime may have you bundled up and feeling cozy along a mountain ridge. The culture is vivacious, happy, and incredibly warm. It’s hard not to get sucked into the “pura vida” lifestyle here where people are kind to others and live in a more laid back manner. The health food nut will certainly lose themselves in the wide abundance of fruits and foods that are available to devour! Costa Rica is certainly ranked high up on the list of must-see destinations due to the tranquil, yet explorative environment it provides to those who chose to retreat here. What can one expect to do besides yoga when attending a retreat here? Here are 4 things you'll experience at a yoga retreat in Costa Rica: 1. Learn Yogis who step into a retreat setting in Costa Rica are in for a real treat and can expect to learn much more than solely yoga related information. Retreats are an immersive experience which can include a variety of different workshops in culinary arts, permaculture, herbal medicine, sound healing, holistic nutrition, and much more! Costa Rica’s uniqueness attracts master yoga teachers from all over the world and provides a truly exquisite experience for those who open themselves to it. Many retreat centers here have their own gardens or small farms where the food is brought fresh directly from the earth to the table. Costa Rica is filled with many opportunities to try different foods and learn how they can be used to nourish and heal your body. 2. Play Playing isn’t only for kids! Costa Rica has a way of unleashing one’s inner child to explore all the new sights, smells, and textures that cover the diverse country. Those who choose a yoga retreat in Costa Rica get to enjoy mother nature’s jungle playground. There’s no better way to wake up than taking a splash into crystal clear water at the peak of morning or sliding down a waterfall after an intense yoga practice. Dancing under the stars, playing with new poses, and rising with a newly awakened energy each morning brings out the natural playfulness that has been itching to be released! Two coastlines of beaches mean there are many private spots to explore here. Costa Rica offers an abundance of vibrant seashells, picture perfect sunsets, warm ocean waves, diverse wildlife, and much more for those ready to come and explore! 3. Unwind Costa Rica is the ultimate place to unwind! This top vacation spot harbors some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and is a great location for those looking to go off the grid. No wonder so many come here to simply unwind. Attending a yoga retreat in this magnificent country provides the perfect environment for one to detach, relax, and recalibrate. No alarm clock needed here! Wake up with the birds and the rest of the sleepy jungle with the first rays of sunlight fluttering through the trees. In downtime between yoga sessions, meals, and excursions, simply enjoy lazy moments in a hammock with a book or snag a nap surrounded by a refreshing, salted breeze. Stand speechless as the sun dips just below the horizon of the ocean and the vibrantly colored sky. Then, polish off the evening with the peaceful hum and chirps of the curious creatures of the night. Leave all responsibilities and worries at the airport gate, as there is no room for them here! 4.  Yoga Of course there will be yoga! You can count on this tropical setting to add dimension and excitement into your yoga practice. Retreats are a special space where individuals can connect, collaborate, try new techniques, and bring renewed focus and presence into their practice. Through a retreat, one is able to extend their practice beyond the mat by living fully immersed and absorbing every ounce that the retreat has to offer. As each day passes, Costa Rica’s incredible beauty draws each participant more into harmony with the nature that surrounds them. The only way to truly feel and know why so many are attracted here to practice is to come experience the magic for yourself! Does this type of retreat call to the core of your being? Join us for a retreat! Come live in a unique, immersive experience of yoga, workshops, healthy eating, learning, playing, and more.

Also See: Is a Yoga Teacher Training For You? and 3 Ways to Transform Your Yoga Practice

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3 Tips for Teaching Yoga Alongside your Day Job

February 1, 2017
Here are 3 Tips for Teaching Yoga Alongside Your Day Job! If you’ve completed a yoga teacher training, it’s safe to assume that you love yoga so much, you want to teach and inspire others with this karmic gift! Whether your goal is to quit your day job and become a full-time yoga instructor or start out part-time, teaching yoga alongside your current employment has benefits and is a great way to get into the grove of teaching. Yoga instructors are taking on a big role! Teaching yoga while maintaining your regular employment gives you the unique opportunity to further connect with your students, keep balance in your own life, and explore teaching without expectations. Here are three tips to consider while embarking on your teaching journey. 1 ~ Purely Enjoy what you Teach Not relying on teaching yoga for income can enhance the teaching experience for starting out teachers or even seasoned instructors. If teaching yoga is not your main source of income, the stress is relieved over whether you are landing unpaid vs. paid gigs starting out. The trials and tribulations of “making it work” can take the passion out of teaching for you and negatively affect the space held for your students. Being open to unpaid teaching positions can allow you to positively impact the community around you, increase your network, and lead to future paid teaching positions that are a right fit for you. Busy time of the year and no one showed up for your class? That’s OK! Teach anyways! Because you are in it to teach regardless of who is attending. When you are not reliant on the income made through teaching yoga and you can take it completely out of equation, your exciting yoga teaching journey is allowed to unfold on its own. You can eliminate any anxiety over how many students may show up to your class and simply enjoy what you are teaching with no financial strings attached. Don’t underestimate the impact of teaching for individuals and more intimate groups! 2 ~ Practice what you Preach Incorporating yoga teaching into your life serves as a constant reminder to practice what you preach. As a yoga instructor, you have the unique opportunity to inspire, enhance, and be a positive example in your students lives. Why not use this to further motivate you to keep up with your own disciplined lifestyle that you have committed to through your practice? The impacts that you have personally drawn out of yoga will continually flood your everyday life and could impact others as you teach. Practice makes perfect! Practice keeping your mind, body, and soul balanced and healthy. Apply what you teach in your own life through your own personal and professional obstacles. Practicing principles used in yoga to help balance your own life will further allow you to assist students as they are on their continual journey to balance their inner selves and outer circumstances. Yoga instructors assist in beautiful transformations of self and others by being energetically present and mindful on a daily basis. Nurture your body, mind, and soul with balance, honor, and presence. Honor your students by showing up physically and energetically during your sessions! 3 ~ Give Space When instructing yoga on top of your professional, personal, and other life commitments, you may be in touch with an idea of the stress and other challenges that your fellow students are bringing to the mat. This allows you to give that space for students to work through what they are shedding. Create the space for them to be, to come into alignment and allow their bodies intelligence to come to life. Through this process, people change their entire lives. By continually working on your own challenges and restoring your balance, you can uniquely understand your students needs. The space you create for your students to simply “be” can positively impact decisions, healing,  and their own process. Give space for students so that they can use this sacred practice to peel away the day’s worries or shed deeper issues that they have been struggling with. By Sarah Blanks   Apr. 16th 2017  - Apr. 22nd 2017

Yoga Caravan Retreat in Costa Rica

Apr. 30th 2017 - May 7th 2017

Healing Trauma Retreat in Costa Rica

Also See: Is a Yoga Teacher Training For You? and 3 Ways to Transform Your Yoga Practice

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Is a Yoga Teacher Training for you?

January 25, 2017
Yogi’s who have enrolled, are enrolling, or plan to enroll in a yoga teacher training course embark on this journey for various reasons. All are guaranteed unique experiences and to walk away with new perspectives on their practice. Yoga teacher training courses are often offered somewhere local to your home or in various retreat settings where a yogi can be fully immersed and give 100% of their attention to their teacher training. Yoga teacher training allows individuals to pass down a gift and embark on a soul journey. We asked three important questions that scratch the surface of the immeasurable impact that yoga teacher training has had on students worldwide today and historically:   Why enroll in a yoga teacher training? After dedicated yoga practice, some decide to further the depth of their practice and enroll in a yoga teacher training course. Avid yogis embark on this next crucial step for various reasons which include the desire to understand more than just the postures. Learning the history, philosophy, and heightened understanding allows students to experience yoga on a whole new level. Yoga teachers who have completed the training have reported that they did not realize the impact and incredible journey that becoming a teacher would take them on. Yoga instructor, Yaser Ebrahimi, who currently teaches in Northern Virginia commented on his experience: “When you understand something more, you feel it on a whole new level. You feel more grateful for it. Yoga became a less physical experience through incorporating the philosophical knowledge and other dynamics that teacher training has to offer. My practice became more spiritual/energetic. It became more than just warrior one or warrior two. Now I can get in the pose and truly feel it, surrender to it. Just when I felt I climbed this great mountain of yoga, I settle into another pose or a muscle movement and I feel I am at the bottom of the Himalayas. Yoga is a journey that has no upper limit, no ceiling, no sky. It’s simply timeless.”   Why is teaching yoga important? Those who decide to teach yoga are not only passing down information. Yoga is a karmic, energy gift that has been passed down from student to disciple from generation after generation. For countless centuries, there were no videos, books, cd’s, or magazines. There was no way for someone to capture this knowledge and print it into a form of media and send it to future generations. It only happened teacher to student. How many generations of teachers passed down this knowledge that aspiring students are learning at this very moment? Those who take on yoga teacher training are connecting themselves to the energy of a long line of teachers who have dutifully passed down this gift from countless generations and who have spread it globally. This line of teachers and students connects past, present, and individuals of the future. Today we can preserve this knowledge easily, but the gratitude and appreciation of these past commitments are honored through the continuance of teaching this practice. Those who enroll are keeping the flame going and are adding their own unique understanding, twists, feeling, and energy into the practice. Also see: 3 Ways to Transform Your Yoga Practice What impact does teaching yoga have on students? People will forget what you said, did, or what you do. However, people do not forget how you made them feel. Students who enter into class come from all walks of life and often carry heavy burdens. Some have come with stress, divorce, sick family members, financial problems, or are stuck in an eb of life. Everyone has something they are carrying. At the end of class, their lungs fill up and they sigh it out. Their face changes, they are glowing. They went from tense and anxious, to a moment of pure presence. A teacher is able to improve the day of one individual or perhaps provide a shifting experience that will last a lifetime. There is no way to truly measure how teachers have beautifully impacted the health, well-being, and transformation of students throughout history. Yoga instructor Yaser added, “Becoming a teacher has allowed me to teach from my own practice and hand that down. The energy is transferred to me, and then transferred onto the students that I teach. If I am able to help improve, deepen, or provide a new perspective to a student’s practice that they resonate with, I consider all of it an immeasurable success. I strive to make the practice of yoga more than just a practice, it’s a journey.” One important piece of life is to realize your gift, and give it away. If your calling is to carry the gift of yoga and actively continue this long line of energy, a yoga teacher training retreat may be the next right step for you!   By Sarah Blanks   Also see: 3 Ways to Transform Your Yoga Practice and Yoga Retreats at Selva Armonia
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