To the gentle crashing of the waves, smell of ylang ylang, sound of birds cheerfully chirping and lush green landscape we can only add small details. We have thus focused on enhancing your encounter with nature to inspire overall WELLNESS.
Discover the three unique spaces offered to those seeking a truly transformational experience captivating the natural energy pulsing around you. Our yoga deck, with a magnificent hardwood floor and a sustainable bamboo superstructure framing the ocean view, is large enough to accommodate groups of up to 30 people and is conditioned with cozy couches and a music system. The deck overlooks the ocean in the front and is surrounded by the jungle. Yogita is a small platform surrounded by dense green vegetation fronting a bubbling brook that is the perfect spot for meditation. In addition, if guests are interested there is the option to take yoga directly to the beach and participate in a class with sand between your toes as you watch the sun rise or set.
Finca welcomes yoga retreats and groups that want to take advantage of the facilities we offer. The unique settings offered to enhance your yoga practice are complemented by our amphitheater which offers the ideal ambiance for chats or theory during the day and intriguing night events.
If you are interested in bringing a yoga retreat to Finca, please contact us for our group planning info.
From packing your daily schedule to sitting at a computer desk for 8 hours a day to being barraged by cell phones, billboards and other stimulants – your body, mind and soul begin to live constantly in a state of elevated stimulation and stress. Diminishing the connection to your surroundings as well as your internal world of emotions, this heightened stress and lessened awareness of true necessities steals your ability to live and enjoy a fully conscious life.
Yoga offers much more than a simple exercise routine to sculpt and stretch your body. Every YOGA POSTURE has various physical and emotional benefits – Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I), for example, develops strength, concentration and stamina. The strength developed in your body flows over into your daily life, giving you strength and courage to make difficult decisions and challenge yourself. Also exploring positions in new ways and seeing how your edge today may be different than yesterday develops a curiosity and awareness of subtle changes that occur in your body and mood on a daily basis. Adding these tools to your anti-stress tool bag will stream into your daily life, if you allow it. Starting this practice while on vacation without the standard array of technological distractions will help you develop a habit that you can take home with you.
Hatha yoga, the physical yoga postures, was originally created to prepare the body for meditation. Today, even if you are not a ‘meditation person’, sitting in meditation for even 2 minutes at the end of a yoga class is a welcoming opportunity to truly take in the sounds and sensations of the jungle.
Yoga poses build muscle tone and flexibility in the physical body but they also have extensive benefits in the mental and emotional body. Below find a selection of nature inspired yoga positions that may be practiced anywhere to bring you back in touch with the jungle/sea atmosphere that you find at Finca Exotica. Tree Vrksasana
Tree pose is very grounding in a light way – you can imagine roots growing out of your feet as you play with your torso, imagining that your branches are blowing in the wind.
Vrksasana strengthens your feet, legs, buttocks, back, abdomen and shoulders; stretches your legs; stabilizes ankles, knees and hips; and relieves sciatica. Other less visible results include stimulation of the nervous system; development of concentration, balance and poise.
This pose should always be done after warming up your body. Below the basic instructions to follow:
Begin in Tadasana with arms by sides
Shift your weight into your left leg
Choose a focal point
Bring sole of right foot to inner calf or thigh of right leg (be careful not to put against knee and press)
Draw right knee to side in line with hips
Roll shoulder blades down
Lift arms and choose which arm position best suits what your body needs – T-position, directly over your head or prayer position in front of your heart.
Press up through the crown of your head.
To release – grab lifted foot and gently lower to the ground.
Repeat on the other side.
Half Moon Ardha Chandrasana
Following the moon phases is a great way to get yourself back in tune with natural rhythms. At Finca we celebrate the full moon with a party every month and this posture, which is an integral part of the Moon Salutation, is a great way to draw on the feminine energy radiating from the moon.
Ardha Chandrasana strengthens your feet, ankles, legs, buttocks, back, abdomen and shoulders; provides alternate stretching and strengthening of the entire body, toning and strengthening the legs, back and abdominal muscles; increases spinal flexibility and alignment; tones abdominal organs, stimulates digestion and peristalsis. Mental benefits include increasing coordination, balance, poise and development of focus and concentration.
Before attempting this pose warm up your side body with monkey stretch or gate (parighasana). Below the basic instructions to follow:
Begin in Tadasana with arms by sides
Raise arms overhead, palms facing each other.
Interlace fingers, index fingers stay long in steeple position.
Press down through soles of feet.
Elongate spine by dropping sacrum down and lengthening through crown of head and fingertips.
Extend torso up and over to the right.
Press hips to the left.
Keep weight even on both feet.
Keep hips and shoulders in one plane (prevent collapsing forward).
To release: press into both feet, lift torso back to center, release arms by sides.
Repeat on the other side.
Ocean going boats are strong and sturdy - explore how breathing in this position undulates your body as if riding waves.
Navasana strengthens your legs, buttocks, back, abdomen, chest and shoulders and aligns spinal column. It also provides an abundance of internal benefits such as strengthen lungs, decongest abdominal organs, decongest kidneys, help eliminate toxins, stimulates the nervous, circulatory, digestive, lymphatic, and endocrine systems. It energizes the mind, relieves stress, anxiety and mild depression.
To prepare for this pose you may warm up with cat and cow stretches and half locust. Below the basic instructions to follow:
Lie on belly with arms by sides, palms down, chin or forehead on the ground.
Bring legs hip distance apart.
Press down through pubic triangle.
Lengthen through toes, crown and fingertips.
Engage back body to lift torso, arms and legs off the ground.
Maintain chin neutral.
Elongate through crown and press down through sternum.
To release: keep torso long, lower torso, arms and legs to ground, turn head to one side and relax.
What is wellness? Maybe the better question is what does wellness mean to you? Is it happiness, health, a tranquil mind, stable self-esteem?
Well in fact it is all of these things balanced with the ability to distinguish between inputs (pleasurable or not) from your surroundings and your reaction to those inputs. All of these elements depend on how each individual reacts to stressful situations, how they interpret situations and how they choose to react on a daily basis to inevitable fluctuations in stimuli.
The more one learns to control his or her mind and reactions the more wellness will seep into day to day life. Focusing on the present and not dwelling on the past nor yearning for the future or desired objects brings a calmness and tranquility to life that each person has the power to choose for him or herself.
Wellness may be enhanced at Finca Exotica through yoga or massage. A one hour massage on our yoga deck overlooking the ocean is a great invitation to ease into a feeling of well-being. For more information about yoga classes and massage click here.
Natural Inspiration – getting in touch with the wisdom of nature - top
Many of the most well-known philosophers of last century got their inspiration from nature. So what’s the secret? Getting away from day-to-day distractions
It is so easy and even common to focus on what we do not have at this moment and what we want to have. In order to get out of this rut of thinking it is necessary to begin to appreciate what is right in front of us! Being immersed in nature is the perfect opportunity to begin to appreciate what surrounds us.
Have you ever been so engrossed in your internal dialogue that you failed to notice something amazing around you – a chickadee singing in the morning, a deer frolicking in the field, a bunny hopping around the flowers in the backyard? If we begin to truly engage our senses with our natural surroundings we begin to truly see what is there … and the ego – sense of self and isolation – begins to fade and the interconnectedness of everything becomes more vividly understood. This leads to a reevaluation of what is really important and an understanding of the principle ‘less is more’.
There are scientific studies showing that gardening, contact with nature and especially trees, and contact with other animals is therapeutic. Contact with nature soothes the soul in an abstract way that may be felt but not explained. As your mind and body relaxes and finds the serenity that follows, your energy levels and creativity increases and you may begin to feel the prana (life-force) flowing through your body in a way you have not noticed since you were a child.
Indian society often refers to the mind as the monkey mind. It is common today for people to have many things on their plate at once and thus find it very difficult to calm a mind that is constantly reviewing to-do lists, jumping from one thought to the next and all the while being distracted by the array of technological devices so prominent in hands and pockets today.
What may be less prominent is the knowledge and understanding that immersion in this lifestyle is also leading to extreme stress, chronic health issues, mental health problems and much more. Taking even 5-10 minutes a day to calm your mind and focus only on your breath can have multiplier effects in your life.
The word meditate has a certain tone of being something very formal that I need to be led through and only if I am a yogi. But really, what is meditation? If we break meditation down into its fundamental form, the overwhelming technical concept loses its exclusive tone. Meditation is simply a practice of calming the mind … whew – feel better?
So then the next logical question is HOW to meditate. First, let go of any expectations! Beginning to practice anything is exactly that – practice. There is no such thing as meditating perfectly; each individual has to seek what works. Hatha Yoga – the physical postures was introduced to prepare the body for meditation. It may be useful for you to first do yoga or some kind of intense exercise that will allow your body to settle into a seated position. However, it is not necessary.
First, come into a comfortable seated position – this may be half lotus but many people are not comfortable in this position so you can also try sitting over a cushion on your knees. Close your eyes. Begin to drop into your seat – releasing any control of your breath or muscles. Scan your physical body first and notice any sensations, dropping deeper into your seat. Then bring all of your focus and concentration onto the flow of your breath into and out of your body without trying to control it. Keep your concentration here. As other thoughts arise (trust me they will), simply step back from the thoughts and imagine that you are up on the bank of a river watching your thoughts flow by like a river with uninterested tone, noticing without judgment. Begin by sitting in meditation for a very short time – this may be between 3-5 minutes in the morning or perhaps after you afternoon workout. As you come out of meditation note the effects on your physical, mental and emotional body. The eventual goal of meditation as you deepen your practice is a balanced, serene and tranquil mind. So just give it a shot and start by calling it my five minute relaxation if the word meditation intimidates you.
Outside the Thinking Mind I find sustenance outside the thinking mind. As the thought stream quiets, awareness comes to focus on a single point, then moves – shooting through me like the light from distant stars. Focus follows energy, rides like a feather on the breath, flies to the source of ecstasy and life force. Focus carries me everywhere and nowhere, flowing like water in a fountain. Is it any wonder I return morning after morning, to the still point at the heart of motion?
There is often nothing sweeter than snuggling down into a hammock overlooking a stunning landscape and spending time relaxing, reading, pondering the art of life and sleeping. It can be in these moments that one has revelations about what is important in life and how to achieve it.
Since one of our main goals here is to inspire transformational thinking and encourage simple living, we invite you to plop down into one of many hammocks around Casa Grande or at the beach and browse our library. The library includes books on a variety of inspiring topics – medicinal plants, Natural Heath Care Guide for Tropical Living, art, architecture, permaculture, reiki, massage, yoga, etc.
Stress zaps you of all of your energy and motivation. So the natural remedy for stress is relaxation. We often think of relaxation as something we have to mark off in our agenda and MAKE time to do it. However, this is a serious misconception that may be taking away your opportunity to live a healthier more stress free life.
Two easy options to relax right now that only take 3 minutes each:
If you are at home or somewhere you can find a wall, lay down and walk your legs up the wall placing your entire leg from your butt to your feet flat against the wall. Relax your torso, neck and shoulders into the ground. Close your eyes and begin to notice your natural breath. An inversion such as this is great to do every day. It reverses the flow of blood, stimulates the movement of immune fluids that keep us healthy and allows us time to notice. Spend the next 2 minutes noticing the weight of your torso pressing into the floor, the breath flowing through your body and any sensations in your legs. After the 2 minutes is over get up very slowly for any potential dizziness.
Push back from your desk or work. Close your eyes. Begin to imagine a scene that relaxes you – maybe the crashing of waves on the beach, a trickling waterfall or a relaxing Sunday morning. Deepen your breath – this is your life force and altering it in any way will also alter your mood. Begin to draw the breath into your belly, inflating it like a balloon, and then up through your rib cage, allowing the rib cage to expand, and finally all the way up into your chest, allowing the chest to rise slightly. Then exhale slowly back down through these three parts of your body and squeeze your abdominal muscles at the bottom of the exhale to get all the old, stale air out and prepare your body to take in a longer deeper breath with the next inhale. This breath called ‘dirgha’ or three-part breath in yoga increases your oxygen level and calms your mind. Continue this breath for 3 full minutes even if your mind is getting distracted and citing the endless list of this on your to-do list.
Markus envisions Finca Exotica eco lodge as an inspirational center – a place where the facilities, natural surroundings and events enable visitors to engage with deeper layers of themselves and ponder the meaning of life. By introducing the holistic living tip of the day we hope to transport a piece of this inspiration so even from home guests and friends are reminded to take care of themselves – body, mind and soul! So here’s a little teaser to start you off:
Take 2 minutes right now to close your eyes and imagine yourself in the most relaxing place you have ever been. Take 5 full deep breaths with your eyes closed while reveling in the effect on your physical and emotional body.