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3 Ways to Transform Your Yoga Practice

September 21, 2016
Yoga studios often serve as a sanctuary to those developing their practice and progress in personal growth. Nurturing the depth of the connection with one's inner-self is a key element while on the path to an improved body, mind, and spirit. Why not ditch the studio for a bit and give yourself the gift of the natural sanctuary of mother nature? Immersing yourself in a yoga practice retreat is about having an ingrained, life changing experience that carries on throughout all aspects of your life. What better place than Costa Rica - one of the most biodiverse countries in the entire world! Here are three ways a retreat in this beautiful country naturally alters one’s yoga practice:  

1.  Connect with yourself through the Source

While living in a world where the natural environment seems to be diminishing around us, it’s important to reconnect with our roots and ground ourselves! The average worker often becomes bogged down by a hectic schedule which means rushing from office to the studio to sneak in an evening yoga practice after work. When given the chance, nature effortlessly heals, rejuvenates, and restores our health. One often finds themselves through the natural world around them. There’s no better place than a yoga retreat center surrounded by abundant foliage that open the gates to deepening your connection. Being immersed in the exotic jungle of Costa Rica allows one to accelerate their practice in a pure space in comparison to the dense, concrete jungle of a city. Trading the harsh city noises, ‘natural sounding’ music track, and room full of mirrors for a vibrant, luscious, abundant jungle vibe will surely take your yoga practice to a whole new level.  

2.  Feed yourself from the Source

The experience of a yoga retreat is more than just the breathtaking sights, curious sounds, and unique feel of the jungle.  It’s also a new and exciting experience for your taste buds and a place where you can begin to reset your body, rid yourself of toxins, and learn more about what power foods you can incorporate into your diet. The fruits of Costa Rica are all quite unique and extremely fruitful in nutritional value. Guanabana, passion fruit, star fruit, papaya, and noni are a few of the abundant fruits native to Costa Rica that are excellent for maintaining a healthy body. Nutrition is an important component to mental, emotional, and spiritual health that can often be overlooked. The experience of a retreat allows you to finally stick to that health regimen that was often broken due to a fast paced lifestyle. Nothing feels better for your body and spirit than eating organically, straight from the source. Taking the time to nourish your body correctly facilitates your connection to your body and your inner self. Learning and incorporating these practices will leave you feeling lighter, more in-tune, and energized to enhance your practice.  

3.  Be One with the Source

In Costa Rica, nature takes it’s time. There is no rush in-and-out of a class, no distractions, no clock, and no time-limits. The sunrise steadily illuminates over mountain tops to scatter the first rays of sun onto your face as you start your day. A cool afternoon breeze sways the leaves on the tree branches that arch with you as you deepen into a pose. Vibrant flowers line yoga decks as the sweet hint of ylang ylang drifts through the salted air. Retreating to Costa Rica naturally slows down and automatically brings increased presence into one’s yoga practice. In the end, surrender into savasana with only the chirping sounds of the jungle, light touch of the wind, and the gentle colors of an evening sunset. There is no need for squeezing in scattered focused sessions. There is only time to invest in yourself and your practice, which will leave you feeling more centered physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. With this new centeredness and peace, the connection within expands and deepens.

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5 Fruits You Should Juice In Costa Rica

July 26, 2016

It's a Juicer's Paradise!

Here are the top 5 fruits you should juice in Costa Rica.

Avid juicers and smoothie-makers seem to be getting more creative and innovative by the day. A constant influx of creative new recipes, fancy presentations, and the overall health benefit motivates many to bust out the old blender and try it out themselves! Surrounded by a never ending variety of unique fruits to juice in Costa Rica, it’s easy to get excited when mango or soursop season is just around the corner! With such a grand and savory variety of choices, it can be easy to get lost in thought of what to mix up first. Below are some common fruits grown in the jungles of Costa Rica. They taste absolutely amazing and pack a hefty punch of nutritional value!  

1. Soursop (Guanabana)

Soursop, also known as Guanabana (and various other aliases), is a definite favorite here in Costa Rica. Guanabana is extremely rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. What many probably don’t know about this fruit is that it fights parasites, viruses, and cancer. This absolutely delicious superfruit can be enjoyed plain, blended in smoothies, mixed with other fruit favorites, or any other way found suitable! One can snack guilt free while reaping the enormous health benefits of this powerful fruit. retreat_selva-armonia_guanabana-july_2016-fruit_guanabana_costa_rica  

2. Starfruit (Carambola)

This precious item on the list actually does take the shape of a star when cut in half. This dangling fruit has a waxy outside, juicy inside, and mildly sweet taste. You can find locals and visitors buying up these fruits in the farmer’s market or collecting the ripe picks of the season from trees and off the ground. With a long list of nutritional benefits, you won’t see many of these go to waste! Starfruit uniquely helps prevent cancer, aids healthy skin, and helps to reduce inflammation. Adding this magical ingredient to your drinks will aid the digestive process, keep your heart happy, and boost your immune system.   retreat_selva-armonia_vegan-january_2016-starfruit  

3.  Noni

To really capture the nutritional essence of noni, it can be consumed in juice form, preferably unsweetened! Noni are rich in antioxidants, help prevent cancer, boost immune system operation, improve hair/skin health, and aid in digestive health. What makes noni unique is it’s ability to work as a natural painkiller to reduce discomfort from various physical ailments. Even more interestingly, this fruit can help fight and prevent fungal, bacterial, and viral infections, which are commonly experienced in a tropical climate. Noni also affects our serotonin and melatonin hormone levels to bring a better mood and more restful sleep! Is there anything this ripe, yellow, speckled ball doesn’t do?  See Noni and other fruits in our gardens. 12027597_1031382210246263_5489305035488429763_n  

 4.  Passion Fruit (Maracuya)

Passion fruit fills many roles as an immune booster, mood enhancer, nervous system relaxer, cancer fighter, colon cleanser, and much more! This zestful ball of goodness also contributes to vision, blood pressure, digestive, and overall immune health. It is quite easy to round up all of those tasty seeds and make them into juice or add them to smoothies and salads. The incredible benefits paired with the ease of consumption of this fruit make it a must have on this list and in your diet! 10401958_914501125267706_4419149965006052670_n  

5.  Guava

Last on our list, but most certainly not least, Guava, a seedy, nutritious, powerhouse fruit! Guava contains many of the same health benefits of the fruits listed above. What makes guava extra special and essential for our diet is the positive impact it has on the circulation of blood to the brain, healthy skin complexion, and boost in metabolism for weight loss. At the end of a long, hard day, an ice cold cup of guava juice will be sure to relax your muscles and help release stress and tension. retreat_selva-armonia_fruit-juice-july_2016-guava_costa_rica For any ailment one can experience here in Costa Rica or anywhere in the world, there seems to be an army of superfruits to help prevent or provide a solution! If you ever find yourself coming to Costa Rica for a vacation, yoga retreat, or lifestyle change, be sure to check out these heavenly fruits and reap the health benefits first-hand for yourself! Written by Sarah Elena
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Why Sleeping in Nature is Better than your Bed

June 30, 2016
Car horns, sirens, noisy neighbors, and other disturbances that interrupt our sleep can dramatically affect the quality of rest we get per night. Poor quality sleep affects our mood, mental health, physical health, and other crucial aspects of our life. Due to Costa Rica’s close proximity to the equator, the sun rises and sets roughly at the same time all year round. Sleeping in nature in Costa Rica is the perfect environment for retreating back to the basics and enjoying healthy, tranquil rest. Many who travel to Costa Rica for yoga retreats, relaxation, and adventures in nature are seeking to pursue a healthier way of living. More are opting for comfortable outdoor sleeping arrangements immersed in nature as a way to balance their bodies and gain a more recuperative, restful night of sleep. Here are 3 surprising benefits to snoozing in a sleepless jungle:

1. Wake Up to Playful Sounds 

Imagine a morning where your body wakes up with the first morning rays of the sun, breathing in crisp air, feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and energized for the day’s activities. Croaking toucans, howling monkeys, fluttering blue morpho butterflies, and fresh morning dew coat the abundant foliage of the Costa Rican jungle. Wake up and experience the liveliness and excitement of the morning with the animals of Costa Rica. With a restful night of sleep immersed in the sounds of nature, you can be sure to get the most out of your day!

2. Body Balance

Abnormal wake-up times, which range from all hours of the day depending on work, school, and personal schedules, create major body imbalance. Natural light helps our system release the correct amount of melatonin at the end of the day when we are ready to sleep. Spending more time sleeping outdoors in a short amount of time resets our body’s circadian rhythm, provides us with ample amounts of natural light, and helps us balance our bodies’ natural rhythms.

3. Mood Booster

Along with exercise, yoga, and healthy eating, snoozing outside also contributes to better moods and a reduction in stress. This back-to-the-basics way of sleeping can also assist in the treatment of insomnia, depression, mood disorders, and contribute to overall better mental and physical health. Partaking in the Pura Vida outdoor lifestyle that Costa Rica has to offer allows mother nature to soothe and regulate our bodies so we are better equipped to nurture other important parts of our lives! Trade the high pitched sirens and alarms for the natural low hum of the Costa Rican jungle. Enjoy sleep the way nature intended! You have nothing to lose besides the noise and you can finally gain the peace and balance that your body craves. The time between 5:00AM and 6:00AM seems to be the most magical! Post by Sarah Elena yoga_costa-rica-nature_sleeping-in-nature2-june_2016
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Delicioso Plantain Ceviche Recipe

December 22, 2015

A Costa Rican Ceviche Recipe from the kitchen at Selva Armonia

Ceviche is mad popular in Costa Rica! It's sold everyday in the streets and even on the beaches. It's usually made with raw fish, but this recipe uses plantain, which is still a very common dish in Costa Rica. I suspect the Ticas on the beach make it better than I do, but it's still a delicious dish to enjoy!
  • 1 large plantain
  • 1 large red onion
  • 5 limes or limones mandarina (as they are known here. They're a sort of cross between a lime, lemon and an orange).
  • 1 large red chili pepper
  • Around a quarter of a bunch of cilantro. Use the stalks, too, as they have loads of flavor.
  • A good amount of salt & pepper to taste.
Dice the plantain into cubes, put it in hot water on the stove to boil for around eight minutes. While that's cooking, dice the red onion, red pepper and chop the cilantro. Throw them in a bowl and squeeze the juice of 5 limes over them, add salt and pepper. Once the plantain is cooked, throw that into the bowl and stir, then leave it to marinade. A few hours of marinading is good, but overnight is better. It's delicious when served with rice and beans or yucca flat bread. Today I just ate it with a nice salad. Buen Provecho!
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