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5 Tips for the Beginner Yogi

January 5, 2018
Yes, yoga has incredible health benefits for mind, body, and spirit. We know that. Maybe your social media feed has been screaming at you to get on a mat and overloading you with yoga poses, yoga pants, yoga towels, yoga, yoga, yoga! Perhaps your friends are all into it, your mom is into it, and even your grandma is stuck in child’s pose. But what if you’re just not that into it? You’re not alone! If yoga is something you truly feel can benefit you physically, emotionally, and spiritually, don’t let a little internal resistance hinder what could be an epic journey on the pursuit of your yoga practice. Here are a few tips to finally “get into yoga.”  
  1. Have an accountability buddy!
This is a must and number one on my list. Having that friend or family member yoga buddy who calls you in the morning to ensure you get to class can make a world of a difference. I know… it’s cold, you didn’t sleep well last night, you have more work to do. You’re accountability buddy is there to see you through those excuses and get you onto that mat!
  1. Consistency is key
There’s no need to go buy an unlimited package and make a goal to practice five days a week and then dub yourself a failure when you only make it to two. Does anyone remember SMART goals? Start out with what you CAN do, and be consistent. If you can't hit a class as many times a week as you'd like, at least get some stretching in each day for a few minutes to turn sporadic practice into a solid habit.
  1. Go at a time that fits your energy levels
If you’re not a morning person, for peet’s sake, don’t go in the mornings. You don’t need to torture yourself to begin practicing yoga. However, if you think a morning practice, against your usual norm may benefit you, then go for it. Do yourself a favor and pick a time that fits your energy levels. Most studios offer classes at various times of the day.
  1. Find a class or style that fits you
I initially abandoned yoga, shortly after trying, because I wasn't in the right class for me. Try a few different classes and see what you like. If you’d like to linger in some poses and stretch out some muscles you haven’t used in a long time, don’t opt for the class where the instructor is almost flying through the sequences. Yoga classes are not a one-size-fits-all matter. Realizing there are different types and paces of yoga that fit individual needs can reduce some frustrations you may have surrounding it.
  1. Evaluate why it's a challenge to "get into yoga"
If you aren't interested in it, then that's OK! But if you genuinely think yoga can positively impact your life but have a hard time consistently practicing, take the time to figure out what part you're struggling with. If it feels too hard, try a beginner level class. If it hurts, research poses that can help certain parts of your body. Reduce whatever obstacles you're facing so you can make a smoother transition while practicing yoga. Now grab your accountability buddy and get on that mat! Oh! And if the cold is the main cause of your lack of motivation… why not book yourself a yoga retreat in Costa Rica? What better way to kick start your practice than in the sunshine above the salty sea?

See our Yoga Retreats in Costa Rica!

  By Sarah Blanks
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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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