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Pillars Series: Movement

November 5, 2018
Founded in 2006, Selva Armonia was built on 6 integral pillars: Community, Health, Permaculture, Spirituality, Sustainability, and Movement. Our Pillars Series explores each one a little more closely, bringing forth the beliefs of our community and center.  Bringing forth our expressions that make up the foundation of our harmonious jungle home. Plato once stated that

‘lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.’

This is why one of the fundamental pillars of Selva Armonia is Movement, because we believe that a conscious mind and body is the most appropriate vessel for your soul. With this comes longevity and functionality in your day to day life, and we can’t find a downside to that! Our personal favourite methodical exercise is Yoga: the perfect combination of grace, strength and endurance - it’s principles and practices have incredible health benefits when implemented intentionally into ones life. Our space is a sanctuary for those who choose to fill their lives with this life-changing practice.  It is why we see so many world-class leaders and their passionate students flock to our home in the jungle to experience movement at it’s finest. But it’s not the only reason why we feel a resonance with Movement everywhere we are on our grounds.  Our stunning hanging deck draws the desire to practice any kind of movement.  Whether it’s asanas, roundhouse kicks, the flow of sound waves, or the simple expansion of our rib cages when we breathe in and out, Selva Armonia makes space.  
And our space is infinite and ever-changing.  There are no limits to the types of movement that occur here.  And we owe that to our little spot here on Pacha Mama (mother earth) that provides new life and forms every day.  You could witness a leaf bug doing a dance to their own beat, or hear the sounds of cicadas calling out their love.  The earth is moving when we are sleeping, and life is changing around us at every moment.
We also make space for the movement of our minds.  Embracing a lifestyle that encourages growth and exploration.  We make time for finding deeper understanding of our many layers, peeling them away and discovering new depths.  Up in the mountains, our paradise gives us many reasons to take moments to explore within.  And of course, best of all, we practice and encourage the movement of our cheeks!  Smiles and laughter every day.

Come MOVE with us - whatever that might mean for you, we are here to support the Movement

- Co-written by Sophia and Natasha Pirani

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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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Living Yoga is Living Free

November 16, 2015
Living Yoga is Living Free. Unclench your jaw right now. Relax your shoulders right now. Shift your eyes from your computer screen to something of the natural world, even if it’s a plant in your office or a photo of nature, right now. Take three deep breaths into your belly…right now. Yoga is not something we need to wait to do later on a mat in a studio. You don’t have to have the perfect yoga clothes, a bendy body or Popeye forearms. Yoga is right now. It’s the way we feel. It’s the choice to be in a body that feels a little lighter than the moment before. Yoga isn’t about waiting for our bliss. It’s about realizing that bliss comes and goes. It’s about releasing the aversion to change. It’s about letting life flow through you, rather than resisting whatever it is that is actually happening. Resistance is futile. Acceptance is liberation. Relax. Breath into right now. Live your freedom. Live your yoga. Namaste, Heidi Michelle
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