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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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Our 2018 Retreat Schedule is Here!

September 8, 2017
In 2018 at Selva Armonia, there's a yoga retreat for everyone. Selva Armonia is more than just a yoga retreat center; it's a holistic living experience where visitors can wake up to the sounds of toucans and howler monkeys and rest easy to the relaxing hums of the jungle. Organic, farm-to-table meals are served fresh from food grown right on the property or local sources. Our elevated center is deep in the rainforest and overlooks the pristine beaches of South Pacific Costa Rica. Breathtaking sunsets, ocean breezes, and breakthrough yoga sessions is what you can expect to experience here with us. Enjoy the rustic elegance of the grounds with world class teachers, yogi peers, and others who are embracing the holistic lifestyle that we offer. Whether you’re looking to take a break, have some adventure, connect with your purpose, reconnect with yourself, or become a teacher, we have something for you! Here’s our 2018 lineup you won’t want to miss: Eat Stretch Nap Retreat in Costa Rica Do you classify yourself as a workaholic who could really use a break? Our Eat, Stretch, Nap Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica is the perfect opportunity for you to get away from the bustle of your daily life and focus on the care that YOU need! This retreat is for yoga, relaxation, friends, and fun. Enjoy fresh organic meals, beach excursions, going deeper into your yoga practice, and all that Costa Rica has to offer. There’s no better place than here to focus on all aspects of your health – your body, mind, and spirit will thank you. Yoga Caravan 2018 Retreat in Costa Rica Our Yoga Caravan Retreat is ideal for an adventurous soul who is looking to grow through their yoga practice. Let the Costa Rican jungle nurture and inspire you to connect deeper with yourself and those around you. Discover and explore hidden waterfalls, pristine beaches, and barely touched parts of the earth. This is your safe space to let go and truly reconnect with your surroundings! Manifest Winter Wellness Pilates Retreat in Costa Rica Winter have you feeling cold and stressed? Come loosen up those muscles, bronze your skin a bit, and strengthen your practice though intensive Pilates Mat class. This retreat pairs education and application through learning about different anatomical structures of the body and how to strengthen them through Pilates. Enjoy the incredible surroundings of the retreat center and spend your free afternoons untangling your built-up stress as lazily or adventurous as you please. Align to Shine: Jungle Discovery Retreat in Costa Rica Selva Armonia invites you to join Tracy Rhinehart in calling upon the strength of your yoga practice to elevate you towards living to your absolute fullest! This retreat is to awaken and motivate you to aligning yourself with your purpose. Come learn how to use your practice to create opportunity, vision, and move into the direction of living at your fullest! A Yoga Teacher Training Immersion in Costa Rica This year’s Yoga Teacher Training Immersion in Costa Rica will be far from an average teacher training retreat. In 2018, we are here to assist you in connecting with where your heart lies in the practice of yoga and will support you to teach from that space. We will accomplish this as a group through an immersion experience: meditation, philosophy, yoga practice, listening, reflecting, personal development, breathwork, holding space, and practice teaching. We believe this will be a highly transformative experience for all who are seeking to teach from an authentic place in the heart. Start the 2018 year off right and come join us for a relaxing, wild, holistic, transformative experience! We are ready to provide a supportive, safe, and dynamic space for learning, fun, and connecting. Journey with us to the jungle of Costa Rica and venture inwards to start improving all aspects of your life!
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Yoga Poses for Sleep, Energy, Digestion, and more!

June 8, 2017
Yoga has become a very well known practice that can enhance countless aspects of life. Individuals in increasing numbers are engaging in the practice for various physical, spiritual, and overall health benefits. Can’t sleep? Low on energy? Lower back pain? There’s a yoga pose for that! We have compiled a list of yoga poses based on common ailments that many of us face on a daily basis. Whether you’re decompressing from a hard work week or gearing up for an intense workout, yoga can assist you through just about whatever you’re going through! Yoga Poses for a Restful Sleep Some of us hit the pillow and it’s lights out for a full night of sleep. Others may not be so lucky and a restful night of sleep may be harder to come by. Insomnia and sleep related issues are tied to numerous health problems that affect the body’s mental and physical state. Before you give up, try these poses for as little or as long as you like. You can even do them on your bed! Incorporating the following yoga poses into your pre-bedtime routine just may have you well on your way to getting the deep sleep you need. Janu Sirsasana   Thread the Needle Reclined Twist reclined twist yoga pose Yoga Poses for Energy Boost Are you guilty of skimping on the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night more often than not? The following yoga poses can help boost energy and ward off that 2PM daytime slump! Next time you’re feeling sleepy, skip the coffee and see if a combination of these poses can get you through the day. Arm pumps Stretch pose stretch pose yoga Back Platform pose back platform yoga pose   Yoga Poses for Stress Relief Chronic stress has been a growing complaint for many in our fast paced society. We have stress relief balls, aromatherapy scents, meditation techniques, and countless other methods centered around relieving stress. There should be no surprise that there are yoga poses for this as well! Many are inspired to begin practicing in order to gain a handle on the mountains of stress that they are facing each day. Chronic stress can lead to a wide array of illnesses and an overall reduced quality of life. Use these poses in a moment of crisis or avidly throughout your week to see how your stress levels can be reduced by this simple, yet effective practice! Child’s pose child pose yoga   Standing forward bend standing forward bend pose Legs up the wall pose yoga pose Yoga Poses for Better Digestion Overate? Ate something you shouldn’t have? Or is digestion an occasional or frequent struggle? Digestion is a process that our body goes through each day but is not without its flaws! Yoga is a great tool to use to aid your body’s natural digestive process. A few simple and easy poses can have your body well on its way to digestive success! Downward Facing Dog downward dog yoga pose Triangle Pose Extended Puppy Pose extended puppy yoga pose Yoga Poses for Effective Workout With limited time that many of us have in our schedule, when we do have the time to work out, we want to make it as effective as possible! Doing a sequence of poses before your workout can get your body warmed up and ready to get the most out of your session. If you’d like to make your workout even more effective, we recommend doing a little extra research into specific poses that aid specific cardio workouts or muscle groups. Reclined Twist Variation Dolphin Pose dolphin pose   Yoga Poses for Back Pain Sitting at a desk for long durations, sitting in a car, maintaining non-perfect posture, an active lifestyle, and other factors lead many to have chronic back pain. Back pain can be pretty miserable if the pain is not managed effectively. Many individuals have turned to yoga in order to help manage this pain and even cross over into a back pain free life! In addition to the below three poses, you can incorporate downward dog and child’s pose to aid in gently stretching your back muscles. Pigeon Pose pigeon pose yoga   Cat and Cow Pose     Upward Forward Bend These are just a few of MANY yoga poses that are beneficial for the areas listed above. These poses as well as countless others are beginner friendly and non-intimidating to those who may have never even tried. Yoga is free, there is nothing to lose, and so much to gain!
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Sweat Lodges: What You Should Know

April 29, 2017
Individuals in increasing numbers are seeking out sweat lodge experiences for various reasons. This comes as no surprise due to the physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits that a sweat lodge can offer! Sweat lodges are an ancient tradition that is found in many cultures all around the world. These traditions certainly vary from each geographical location, but there are common benefits and purposes shared by those who participate. Sweat lodge ceremonies in North America are typically associated with Native American cultures, but other cultural influences can be found as well. If you’re thinking of attending a sweat lodge, it’s important to do your research! Find out how they work, contemplate what you're hoping to accomplish through your experience, and learn about how you can benefit and stay safe!   How does it work? Sweat lodges are typically made from materials such as clay, stone, tree branches, or other natural materials. In some lodges, inorganic materials are incorporated in the structure. Stones are placed in the center of the lodge, water is poured over the stones, and a heavy steam is created which fills the air. Complete silence during ceremonies may be a part of the process, as to allow for participants to conduct work inwards. It is not uncommon for ceremonies to include chanting, drumming, or periods of meditation. Checking ahead of time to understand the atmosphere of a ceremony that you plan to attend will help you select the experience that you most desire. Sweat lodges typically last between 2-3 hours. Much longer than the mere 20-30 minute limit recommended for a sauna! The spiritual aspect of a sweat lodge is what sets it apart from the experience of a sauna. During the 2-3 sweat, there are typically breaks between rounds and water is provided. It is a good idea to completely familiarize yourself with the procedure of a sweat lodge that you plan to attend as they may vary depending on venue.   Why are people seeking this experience? The reasons for attending a sweat lodge ceremony vary greatly for each individual. Traditionally, Native American cultures engaged in ceremonies to show gratitude, facilitate healing, seek wisdom, and welcome visions. Participants enter into these experiences today for many of the same reasons and leave feeling cleansed and rejuvenated. Sweat lodges are said to bring spiritual purification, mental clarity, and a renewal of inner strength. Many may be seeking to experience an emotional release or have come to heal ailments of the body or of one’s soul. The atmosphere of a lodge allows one to learn about themselves and revive their inner strength. We highly recommend evaluating your purpose for attending a ceremony and select one that can best help you achieve this purpose!   What are some Health Benefits? Imagine you are a sponge filled with water. When squeezed, water, dirt, and other toxic materials are expelled and flushed out of the system! There are proven health benefits to sweating and the release of these toxins. Sweat is not the only thing being released from the body! Endorphins, that are typically present during heavy physical activity, are also released during a sweat lodge. The increased temperature in the body during the ceremony is said to help fight infections, ease muscle pain, and benefit the body in other ways.   Are Sweat Lodges Safe? Sweat lodges are safe. As long as the leader puts the safety of participants first at all times and ensures that the conditions are completely safe within the lodge as well. It is important to research a ceremony you wish to attend and their leader before attending. It is also crucial to check with your doctor to evaluate any pre-existing conditions that you may have before entering into this experience. ALWAYS ask for help if you’re in need!  Due to exposure to the heat, it’s vital to reach out if you are feeling dizzy or dehydrated. Don’t feel the need to push yourself. Listen to your body, take breaks, and consult with your leader for any needs you may have. More on the Sweat Lodge Experience!   By Sarah Blanks
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