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Essential Foods to Kick Off Your Cleanse

November 17, 2016
There ARE ways to cleanse that won’t cause your taste buds to retract into your tongue! No need to torture yourself with disastrous concoctions that yield odd consistencies, tastes that make you cringe, or strange smells. There are loads of yummy foods that you can easily incorporate into your daily diet to supercharge detoxification. The liver is a major organ that detoxifies the body and protects it from disease that can be caused by harmful substances. For this reason, many of the below items nourish, repair, and help your liver do what it does best. Here is a list of some of essential foods to cleanse your body. Find out how they work harmoniously with your body to boost your health and rid unwelcomed toxins! Greens, greens, and more greens! Our spectacular earth produces a green superteam to facilitate a smooth functioning body inside and out. The following greens, plus countless others, can be called upon to aid digestion, reduce inflammation, clean out the liver, reduce risk of cancer, alleviate bloating, and much more! The greens in our superteam include: artichoke, avocado, asparagus, broccoli, kale, green tea, and dill which are commonly jam packed with vitamins and antioxidants to nourish the body and target the liver so it may process more effectively. Citrus: Citrus fruits are very well known for containing a high level of vitamin C. We’ve all heard that vitamin C is good for us, but did you know that this vitamin has antiviral and anticancer properties and fights infections? Incorporating tangy options into your diet such as lemons, grapefruits, oranges, limes, mandarins, clementines, and tangerines add much needed vitamins and minerals that can help your body break down fats, remove waste, and flush out toxins. Replacing your usual drinks with a consistent flow of lemon water throughout the day provides instant detox results and tastes great! With the powers of vitamin C, vitamin B, and fiber, citrus is an excellent option to include into your diet if you wish to keep your cholesterol levels low, maintain a healthy blood pressure, and combat heart disease. Seeds and Nuts: Seeds and nuts can be consumed by the handful or sprinkled onto your favorite salads, yogurt, oatmeal, and any other creative food combination of your choice. Sunflower seeds, almonds, and flaxseeds are powerful sidekicks that cleanse the liver, provide fatty acids, and are loaded with antioxidants. Sunflower seeds are known for boosting heart health and regulating blood pressure. Almonds act as a cleaning crew and remove those pesky fatty deposits that can build up in the liver from processed foods and a not-so-clean diet. When needing a fiber, mineral, and vitamin upgrade, call upon flaxseeds for this job! Flaxseeds do incredible work through absorbing and dumping out harmful toxins found in food. Seeds and nuts take minimal effort to add to your diet, but pack quite a punch in overall benefits in added health to your body.   Potent and Powerful Must Haves: Beets - Ditching your coffee and upgrading to some beet juice is a sure way to boost your body in the morning. Beets make it onto our list because of their high level of antioxidants, fiber, and other nutritional content that aids the liver and other organs throughout the body. Beets can help further carry out the toxins out of the body that the liver has already flushed and have even been proven to heal liver damage. Eating beets raw or cooked is another great way to absorb the vital nutrients that they provide. Onion - This vegetable has more to offer its consumers besides tears and a strong smell. Onions have antibacterial properties, loads of antioxidants, antihistamine, and anti-inflammatory properties. These layered tear jerkers can help treat diabetes, heart disease, and reduce risk of cancer. With all of these qualities and more, they embody the phrase, “no pain, no gain!” Garlic - Last but not least is one of the most important superfoods for starting a detox! Garlic contains levels of vitamin C, antioxidants, and other nutrients that helps our body function better which in-turn allows the body cleanse itself through its natural process more easily. Adding garlic into your everyday diet reaps hefty benefits and is available in capsule supplements for those who are turned off by the reeking smell! By Sarah Blanks At Selva Armonia, we prepare gourmet, garden to table meals for our guests! The majority of ingredients are nutrient rich foods grown on our abundant permaculture farm. Book a room or yoga retreat with us and enjoy a delicious, vegetarian meal from our gardens!  
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Kundalini Yoga: How you can tap into the unlimited potential of your spiritual energy

October 20, 2016
What if you could connect directly with your very own divine energy lying dormant inside of you through an ancient conscious yoga practice? Many seek practice in Kundalini yoga, also called the “yoga of awareness” due to it’s challenging workout and fulfilling integration of the body, mind, and soul. For starters, Kundalini yoga focuses on moving energy through the Chakra system from the root all the way up to the crown to ultimately achieve spiritual enlightenment. Various spiritual traditions teach seekers different methods of “awakening” the kundalini for spiritual growth. Kundalini yoga is one method that continues to gain popularity among the masses to awaken to their higher selves and bring further balance to their body, mind, and soul. We’ve highlighted the basic principals, history, benefits, differences of Kundalini yoga to help you get started in awakening the sleeping serpent within!
  • Basic Principles
“Kundalini” is the untapped energy that coils at the root chakra, which is located at the base of the spine. This sacred and divine energy is often described as a coiled serpent or sleeping Goddess waiting to be awakened. The purpose of Kundalini yoga practice is to tap into this sacred energy and open the gates to access its unlimited potential for spiritual growth and uplifting the soul. This unique yoga practice places a huge emphasis on combining breath, mudra, eye-focus, mantra chanting, body locks, meditation, and holding postures. Many end their practices feeling completely stimulated by the primal energy and vibrate with new found spiritual expansion. While combining these techniques, the goal is to move energy upwards and journey into the soul through this ancient and sacred practice.
  • History
Kundalini yoga has a long history of practice running for thousands of years. However, this practice was only introduced to the Western world from the East by Sikh leader, Yogi Bhajan. For centuries, the ancient teachings of Kundalini were kept hidden as the public were believed to not be prepared for the power of this knowledge. As a result, it was only taught among the Indian elite. Kundalini science remained a secret until Yogi Bhajan brought this life changing practice to the United States in 1969 with the hopes to help those who desperately wished to connect with their higher selves through a pure channel. He established the 3HO organization, which is an acronym for Happy, Healthy, Holy Organization. From there on, leaders, teachers, and fellow students have paved the way and made history in spreading the practice of Kundalini in the West. Today we have Yogi Bhajan to thank for firmly proclaiming that,  “It is everyone’s birthright to be healthy, happy, and holy, and the practice of Kundalini Yoga is the way to claim that birthright.”
  • Benefits
The benefits of Kundalini yoga encompass many of the benefits of other yoga practices. Continued practice brings harmony and balanced resonance to the body, mind, and soul. Yoga can lead to healthy circulation, increased sense of intuition, calmer mind, lessened anxiety, strong immune system and much more! In addition to the well known physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits, Kundalini yoga allows space for practitioners to incorporate their own personal meaning within their own practice. Yogis often experience feeling energetically light, clear minded, and an increased connection to their higher selves!
  • How is Kundalini Different?
There are some key factors that differentiate Kundalini yoga with Hatha yoga (interchangeable with the word Yoga). Kundalini yoga focuses on the internal energy rather than placing more direct attention on specific alignments within poses. In a Kundalini class one can expect to tune in through a wide variety of mantras that originate from the Gurmukhi language, instead of Hatha yoga’s use of mostly Sanskrit mantras. While practicing, yogis tap into their breath of fire as another method to energize and activate the mother energy which lies within. Common sequences in Kundalini yoga may be different at times but quite challenging. Meditation is also heavily incorporated into the Kundalini practice as a means to cultivate the movement of primal energy throughout the energy centers. It’s ancient belief that by uncoiling the snake, we are able to connect directly with the divine.
  • Where to start?
Selva Armonia, our retreat center located in the harmonious jungle of Costa Rica, is hosting an Inner Light Awareness Yoga Retreat in November for those who are ready to explore Kundalini on a deeper level. Starting a journey into Kundalini yoga could unlock the key to incorporating deeper levels of healing into your practice and unimaginable depths of consciousness into your life. Those who are wishing to explore this yoga practice on an intimate level may also be able to seek a Kundalini teacher in their local area or connect with one through a yoga studio. Kundalini yoga can be practiced alongside other yoga practices and may even add more depth and awareness to traditional practices of choice. One may also want to highly consider a yoga retreat that contains Kundalini practice to fully live, breathe, and absorb this powerful, ancient practice. Written by Sarah Blanks
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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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