One of the hallmarks of Costa Rica is nature. Indeed the Costa Rican government has set aside 26 percent of its land for conservation to meet its commitments to protect biodiversity. Costa Rica's territory is merely 0.03% of the earth's surface, but it is considered to be a country with more diversity than many other areas in the world. This country is home to about 4% of the species on Earth. And many of the people who live in Costa Rica are directly connected to nature through occupations that range from fishing to eco-tourism to agriculture.
You too will quickly see and experience this connection to nature. As humans we are part of nature and the natural flow of things. Unfortunately, many urban environments, computer technology and stress-filled occupations can temporarily separate us from our own natural state of being. When this happens we get tired, sick, irritable.
Your Vajra Sol Yoga retreat will bring you back into nature. Literally you are surrounded by clean air, flowing ocean waves, large oxygen rich trees and animals. In the natural world prana (or energy) always flows effortlessly and directly to places it is needed most. When we get stressed out our energy does NOT flow properly. So when you come and connect to the natural environment, you heal. Your feet sink into the soft sand and you make a direct connection to the energy of the earth. All of our participants know how they feel rejuvenated, alive after just a few days. In fact, many are reluctant to leave.
One of the first reactions many visitors have when coming to Costa Rica is that events move more slowly than they do in say the United States, Canada or Europe. It can take a few days for visitors to 'slow down'. The year round warm temperatures and the history and culture of Costa Rica have created a certain harmony that is not fast. Here we use the term 'pura vida'. While the literal translation is Pure Life, what the phrase means is: everything is great, don't worry, be happy, slow down, relax.
As yogi's we know the profound power of relaxation. Of taking time to calm our busy mind and emotions and be present. But we can forget this deep connection to the present moment when we step out of yoga class. Here, in Costa Rica, you have the opportunity to connect with a culture that is the epitome of slowing down to enjoy the riches of every moment, every day. It is a gift. And if you allow yourself to realize the magic and peace that come with slowing down you will be extremely happy with yourself and your experiences.
This does not mean there is nothing to do or that you will be bored. Exactly the opposite! There are innumerable activities here. The key is for you to completely enjoy everything you engage in.
Naturally one reason to come to our retreats is to enhance and deepen your yoga practice. That will definitely happen with our outstanding instructors and beautiful location. You also get a rare opportunity to immediately apply the teachings from asana into other areas. There is a variety of fun and physical activities - long beach walks, swimming, surfing and stand up paddling - where you can take the experiences and the physical benefits you get ON the mat into new environments. This yogic 'cross training' provides an opportunity to grow and learn about your body in ways that are not possible in a standard yoga studio environment.
Pratyahara or the retraction of senses is one of the important limbs of Pantanjali's eight limbed Yoga sutras. The term pratyahara implies the withdrawal of our senses from attachment to external objects. It can then be seen as the practice of non-attachment to sensory distractions as we constantly return to the path of self realization and achieve internal peace. It means our senses stop living off the many things that stimulate us; the senses no longer depend on these stimulants and are not fed by them. By learning how to systematically withdrawal our senses we can be more in touch with our energy, enter into deep meditation and ultimately become very alive.
There is another aspect of yoga which is the ancient science of Tantra. Tantra has many different interpretations and teachings. One that is quite amazing is that every sensory experience can be part of awakening to life. So, just like the opposite practice of Pratyahara, using all of our senses with consciousness can be very liberating. On a Vajra Sol yoga retreat you have opportunities to taste and experience both of these gateways to awareness and self understanding.
Our environment is ideal for peace, tranquility and meditation. It is the place to 'get away from it all.' At the same time you will find that your senses can come alive again. Your ears will hear new sounds of the jungle, the ocean waves, even your own breathing will have a new sound. Your eyes will have a feast of beautiful images from stunning flowers to gorgeous sunsets. You will notice new smells from the rich forest and salt water. New fruits like the delicious guanabana will delight your palate. And the textures of plants, the sand and the water will surprise.
We invite you to come to Vajra Sol without any expectations; but with an open mind and heart that will enable you to truly experience the retreat, and your life, in a healthy, glowing and vibrant manner. This is yoga. This is Vajra Sol.