Open Yourself to Love: Anahata Heart Chakra (+VIDEO YOGA CLASS)

Anahata =  “unstruck” or “unhurt”.

How much can you open your heart to make everything a loving interaction? To see more and feel more love in everything you do and everyone you interact with. How much can you open your heart to love?

Before reading this article, I’d like you to connect to the heart. Just close your eyes, place both hands over the heart and take 10 deep belly breaths focussing the mind’s eye on the heart. Soften the heart area with each exhale and feel love, the love of all the things that are great in your life and all the people who nurture your heart. Feel the beat of the heart.

The anahata chakra is the fourth chakra of 7. It is right in the middle of the chakra line, with 3 above and 3 below. The heart chakra is located in the centre of the chest, in line with the height of the physical heart, it is the chakra that links the more physical chakras (root, sacral, solar plexus) to the more spiritual ones (throat, third eye, crown). When your heart chakra is open, you are flowing with love and compassion, you are quick to forgive, and you accept others and yourself. A closed heart chakra can give way to grief, anger, jealousy, fear of betrayal, and hatred toward yourself and others.

The colour is emerald green and the gemstones associated with the heart are emerald, malachite, jade, and rose quartz.

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One of the key elements that the heart chakra relates to is  being hurt. The way we deal with hurt and pain caused by others (family, friends, lovers, etc) is directly related to how open anahata chakra is. Those who react to hurt by lashing out, taking revenge, holding a grudge and spreading more negativity are generally those who need to balance anahata chakra. When we balance this chakra, we are able to let go easier, to respond to hatred with love and neutralise the energy. This no longer is an effort but a natural choice.

“Give up the stories of your past, so the universe can write a new one” – Marianne Williamson

If we want to receive more love we must first ask ourselves “have I got space in my heart?”, “what am I still holding on to?”, “why am I still holding on?”. After all, if our heart is full of old stories then there is no space for new ones. Ask these questions honestly to yourself, and expect anger to re-surface when you dredge up the past. The ego will remind you how bruised it was, and give you a bad feeling, expect this. Allow the anger and the ego to speak and know that through your anahata practice you can release the hurt that is manifesting negativity in your subconscious, finally! 

I really recommend trying something called the Ho’oponopono practice. This is a meditative practice of forgiveness.  An important element of letting go and creating space is forgiveness. Forgiveness of those who hurt you and of yourself for allowing the pain to reside. Keep practicing this method until you feel you truly have let go, and try using it at the end of your relaxation after heart opening asanas (below). 

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Once we’ve made space in our hearts for new love and positive energy, we can receive love by giving love: 

  • Smile at everyone you see daily, even if you don’t feel like smiling. It’s contagious.
  • Keep forgiving and moving on, making a consicous effort to let each little thing that irritates you go, using a mantra or the Ho’oponopono method
  • Give friends, family and colleagues positive affirmations and feedback, boost others and you will feel great!
  • Try to go one day a week without criticizing anyone or anything, including yourself. One day might seem like nothing, but just try it on for size 😉

‘The longest journey a man must take is the 18 inches between his head to his heart.’ – Mother Teresa

As you can see from this article, a lot of the journey towards opening anahata chakra is in training the mind. The mind is a powerful tool and often the arch enemy of the heart, overthinking, holding on and re-playing the memories of being hurt making it impossible to let go. Furthermore,  our mind is often louder than our heart, drowning out any loving intentions. So we must train the mind to love the heart and to refer to it for inspiration and decisions. When we link mind and heart is when we find the ‘sweet spot’ and open to more love and happiness. Make a commitment to try these exercises regularly and you will notice the connection between the mind and the heart becomes deeper. Practice and all is coming.

Now, in the words of Olivia Newton-John “let’s get physical”! If you’d like to do a heart opening breathing exercise before this practice, feel free to take the exercise I opened this article with, and extend it to a 3 minutes (use an egg timer). So when you’re ready to jump on the mat, this is an awesome heart opening sequence from Adriene:

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this article you might enjoy browsing the other chakra articles on my blog! Next week I’ll be writing about the throat chakra, your inner voice. Sending love, kindness and a SMILE to each and every one of you. Namaste 😍 😘 

 

 

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Opening Manipura Chakra: Your Personal Power Centre [+Video]

Manipura = lustrous gem

If you’re new to manipura chakra, get ready to unleash a whole world of amazing things into your life. This is arguably one of the most powerful chakras in the body, and the home of your personal power. Before you continue reading this article, start by making a positive affirmation to feed your 3rd chakra, repeat the following phrase in your mind as you smile inwardly: “I am able to achieve my full potential, I am worthy, I am motivated”. Yes, you are!

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This chakra is also known as the ‘solar plexus’ and is located in the area between the navel and the breast bone. It governs your self esteem, confidence, self-worth, belief and personal conviction. Activate this chakra to climb to new heights in your life and to make the impossible possible. If you suffer from indecisiveness, control issues, poor time management and low self-esteem then you will really benefit from working balancing your manipura chakra.

The colour associated with this chakra is yellow and the element is fire. So expect warmth and heat in the body when opening here. Health-wise, this chakra is intrinsically linked to your digestion and metabolism; as we light the fire in the belly known as Agni we accelerate digestion and the body becomes more efficient at processing food. So many benefits, so let’s get started, excited?!3

The following breathing exercise and asana practice will take just under 1 hour, if you allow 10 minutes for breathing and 10 minutes for your final savasana resting meditation.

To open the practice let’s start with an incredibly powerful pranayama breathing exercise that will light the fire of your 3rd chakra. It’s known as  kapalabhati, the breath of fire. Here’s a great explanation of the technique:

Using the above video to guide your breath of fire practice, try 3 rounds of kapalabhati,  taking 30 breaths in each set, resting in child’s pose between each set until you feel ready for the next. Then, once your inner fire is alight, follow the wonderful Adriene’s third chakra yoga balancing sequence, below. Get ready to feel empowered, strong and confident!

Before you start, say the following affirmations out loud with a smile on your face:

  • YES I can!”
  • “I am so able to do anything I want!” 
  • “I am confident and worthy!” 
  • “I love my practice and I am great at it!” 
  • “Yoga makes the impossible, possible!”

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about your chakras and how to play with opening them, please visit my blog and subscribe. Namaste ❤

 

Awaken Your Creativity Chakra: Svadhisthana

Svad: ‘to taste with pleasure’, to enjoy or take delight

Svadhisthana: the dwelling place of the soul

Located in the space just below the navel and above the pubic bone, the sacral chakra, svadhisthana, is strongly linked to our creativity and sensual pleasure. The element associated with this chakra is water and the colour is orange. Svadhisthana-Chakra

The energy of the sacral chakra is predominantly feminine, lunar and thus associated with the left side of the body. When we balance the second chakra we benefit from an increased sense of wellness, pleasure and joy. We become more creative and have a deeper ability to think outside the box. The negatives of an imbalance in this energy centre are emotional instability, reluctance to change, decreased libido and depression. It is important to engage this chakra regularly if you have a tendency towards becoming melancholy.

To feed the sacral chakra we need to engage in creative pursuits, allow our minds to wonder and indulge our creative whims.  Colouring books, doodling, pottery, crafts all contribute to balancing svadhisthana chakra. As does playing with water, with water being the element of the sacral chakra, taking a swim, paddling barefoot in the sea and taking a long bath will lead you to the perfect balance. Conversely rules, structure, dry conditions aggravate the second chakra.

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Working with the sacral chakra is pretty simple: the more creative we make our practice, the more we balance svadisthana. Our sacral chakra practice should be fluid like the water element that represents this energy centre. Fluid movement, breath and intention. Allow your creative take the lead here and move intuitively in the direction that your body leads you, this practice should be even more joyful than usual, indulging your senses and feeling instead of thinking. Practice to movement to make your asanas even more creative.

Start with an easy breathing exercise:

  • Lye on your back in supta baddha konasana (reclining bound angle pose), allow the knees to move down towards the earth and place the hands just above the public bone and below the navel, relax the shoulders and close the eyes.
  • Visualise running water, a continual flow. Be creative in your visualisation, perhaps you see a river, a waterfall, the ebbing waves at the beach, simply allow your mind to explore the scene that you create. Notice how water never stops flowing, continual movement, water fills any space that it is poured into.
  • Try to replicate this flow and filling capacity with your breath, feel the hands rising and falling above your sacral chakra and work towards one seamlessly linked flowing breath.Allow the breath to fill every part of your body and expand into your full respiratory capacity.
  • Add length to each inhale and exhale as you continue this exercise for 30 breaths.

Then try this sacral chakra flow to open your creativity centre: 

If you’re a yoga teacher and you’re looking for a yoga sequence to teach that will help your students connect to and open their sacral chakra, here’s one that I used in my class:

  • Cat/Cow pose flowing seamlessly from cat to cow, breathing into the lower spine. Close the eyes and move fluidly perhaps rocking the hips from side to side and moving the shoulders to make this warm up flow a little more creative
  • Flow from ‘thread the needle’ pose to gate pose again using the breath to lead you. On your exhale you thread the needle and on your inhale you fluidly open the body into gate pose, expanding the breath and the body simultaneously
  • Push back into downward dog on an exhale and on your inhale roll forward into high plank really rounding your upper back as you roll forward. On your exhale bend the knees and push directly back into downward dog again. Continue this flow 10 times visualising a crashing wave and creating this shape with your body
  • Walk up to tadasana, mountain pose and exhale 5 times through the mouth, deep cleansing exhales from the base of the belly
  • Move into standing side bend inhaling to reach up and out of your fingertips, exhaling to deepen the bend. Take 5 breaths to move deeper then on an exhale roll the chest down and forward coming into ragdoll pose, pedalling the feet one by one. Repeat on the other side.
  • Move into Surya Namascar A, Sun Salutation sequence, flowing with the breath through 3 rounds
  • Move through the following flow, spending 3 breaths in each posture: high lunge  -> warrior II -> reverse warrior -> Trikonasana, move top arm around in circles like a wind mill-> pyramid pose, inhaling reaching the arms forward and exhaling to lower down deeper. Repeat this flow on the other side
  • Come onto your hands and knees, all fours and flow back between Cat/Cow 
  • Push back into balasana, childs pose for 10 breaths breathing into the base of the spine. Embrace the child-like creative energy and come back to your breath.
  • Lye on your back and draw the knees into the chest rocking the body left and right to massage the spine before moving into happy baby pose moving the hips and pelvis fluidly in whatever direction feels right for your body
  • Finish in savasana optional visualisation: water washing through the body and cleansing your creative chakra allowing for more joy, fresh ideas and inspiration

Thanks for reading! Be sure to subscribe to my blog to receive the next post on firing up manipura chakra, the energy centre of the whole body! Namaste 😘

Feel Grounded & Secure: Awakening Muladhara Chakra

Mūla = Root, Origin, Essence

Ādhāra = Basis, Foundation

Located at the base of the spine, the pelvic floor and the first three vertebrae The muladhara chakraor ‘root’ chakra represents our foundation. It is the first of seven chakras, and many believe it to be the most important, as balancing this chakra creates a secure foundation that allows us to work on the six that lie above it.

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Muladhara chakra is also known as mula bandha, the root lock. This is because of it’s position in the body and in relation to the other chakras. To explain how it works, I like to visualise that the body is like a funnel. Imagine water running through a funnel, as water enters from the top it simultaneously drains out of the bottom. However if you block the bottom then the funnel fills up and stays full. The funnel is your body, and the water is prana, the vital life force. Balancing muladhara chakra is like putting a plug in the base of your body, keeping energy in the trunk and preventing it from ‘leaking’ out.  This helps us to be more efficient and conserves prana for all the chakras. When we want to work on a particular chakra we call on that safely stored prana and use it to re-balance desired areas through pranayama and asana. 

As well as the energetic properties associated with muladhara chakra, it equally carries a number of emotional properties that take an affect on our mood and general wellbeing. The root chakra is linked to survival, as such it concerns the basic needs such as shelter, food, water, money. When your muladhara chakra is balanced, you will feel secure and safe. Often those who travel regularly will benefit from balancing this chakra as rewards with a feeling of grounding and belonging. It is advisable to do work on this chakra when faced with a big life change, be it in the body (e.g. menopause), in the family (death), in finances, or indeed in business. Working on this chakra will bring you back to your body and the earth and help you experience safety, security, and stillness.

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So how do we balance this chakra? Through pranayama and asana. As this is the lowermost chakra in the body, a lot of the physical practice uses the lower half of the body, opening the muscles that surround the root lock in order to strengthen. As such, we practice a lot of calf openers, hamstring stretches, and standing poses to help open the lower body and root attention downward. If you’ve ever heard the expression root to rise, this is where it comes from. In order to grow and blossom in anything in our lives, we must first strengthen our foundation and connect deeper to the earth and our surroundings. Muladhara chakra helps us to achieve exactly that.
Try this pranayama breathing exercise to start balancing your root chakra:
  • Start sitting in a comfortable cross legged position and feel the connection of both sit bones into the earth
  • Draw up through the spine and roll your shoulders up and back, place the palms flat on top of the knees
  • Breath freely in and out of the nose for 20 breaths, each time adding length to the inhale and the exhale
  • Then as you exhale draw up through the pelvic floor muscles, squeezing the entire perineal region—front, middle, and back—inward and upward. As you inhale, release completely. Continue this cycle for 20 breaths.

Once you’ve had a go at the breathing exercise, move through this grounding poses with Adriene all of which help to balance Muladhara chakra: 

If you’d like to try a slightly longer 1st chakra flow, here’s one that I taught in class, feel free to follow all the postures or select those that you feel like:

  • Sukahasana, interlace fingers palms push upwards, root to rise. Take 10 full breaths
  • Cat/Cow, move slowly, close the eyes and focus on the breath. 10 full breaths, initiatiing the movement from the base of the spine
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog), feel the ground through your palms, the earth supporting your posture. Walk the feet in so your heels connect to the earth, push deeply into the palms and open the hamstrings. 5 breaths
  • Uttanasana , 5 breaths rock the head ‘yes’ and ‘no’
  • Tadasanaclose your eyes and feel the earth beneath your feet, engage perineal muscles as you exhale. 5 breaths. Keeping your eyes closed start to stomp your feet on the ground, feel the earth beneath you and then come back to stillness
  • Utkatasana / chair pose, 3 breaths, then inhale into Divers Pose (like a static swan dive, keep your hands lifting toward the ceiling and take your chest down, come up onto the soles of your feet and balance, look forward), exhale back into chair pose. Repeat 4 times
  • Step back to High Lunge, as you exhale roll the upper body forward over your bent knee, reach the arms away from you and strengthen the back leg by grounding down through the heel,  inhale lift back up into crescent position. Repeat  4 times
  • Surya Namascar A then repeat the above on the other side
  • Goddess Pose, really engage your pelvic floor here and feel the root down through your feet, take 10 breaths
  • Prasarita Padottanasanadraw up through the kneecaps here to release the hamstrings. 20 breaths, each exhale takes you a little deeper into the ground, the head lengthens towards the floor
  • Vrkasana / tree pose, root to rise here really grounding through the standing foot and visualising roots travelling down into the earth and supporting you. Take 10 breaths on each side and turn the corners of the lips up into a smile
  • Malasanaengage the perineal muscles as you exhale. Take 10 breaths
  • Janu Sirasanatry to get the heel as close to the groin as possible, when it connects with this region it helps engage the root lock. Take 10 breaths on each side, each inhale turning the chest towards the sky, each exhale reaching deeper with the lifted arm
  • Supta Baddha Konasana, 10 breaths pulling up through the pelvic floor on each exhale and holding for 5 seconds at the end of the exhale before releasing and taking an inhale
  • Savasanaoptional mantra: “I am secure, I am grounded” 

If you enjoyed this blog post, why not check out my next one on the second chakra, svadhisthana,  the creative and sensual chakra. Namaste 🏻😍

Montezuma: Costa Rica’s Hidden Treasure

Montezuma is located on the most southern tip of Costa Rica’s western peninsula. It is my home for the month as I travel through my journey to become a yoga teacher at the beautiful Anamaya resort. As you can see from my last blog post it’s a long and colourful journey to get here. ‘Off the beaten’ track is somewhat of an understatement. IMG_4360Instead of roads there are dirt tracks, instead of cars there are quad bikes and instead of the aggression that seems to be so commonplace in the world, there is an authentic feeling of kindness and tranquility. As you journey towards the centre of town you are struck by scenes of raw beauty from all angles.IMG_4353IMG_4574Nature grows wild here. The locals respect the land as much as it’s inhabitants. “In Montezuma we are simply guests in the animals house, we play by their rules” explained Jeison, a local Costa Rican who lives on the beach with his 7 dogs. En route to the town you can visit a beautiful waterfall, Montezuma Falls, just 10 minutes walk inland, surrounded by lush rainforest.IMG_4953

IMG_4965At this time of year, rainy season, the waterfall runs fast and heavy making its way down to the beach to flood into the ocean. In true Costa Rican style there has been nothing added or taken away from this site of natural beauty. Nor are there people hassling you or trying to sell you anything. If you’re looking to switch off for a few hours, this is the place to sit. But you won’t be completely alone…IMG_4566Perhaps one of the most unique features of Montezuma, apart from it’s astonishingly beautiful scenery and wildlife, are the home made signs that are dotted around the town like art hanging on the walls of a house.  There’s almost one on every corner, each more charming than the last, each celebrating local trade, talent and of course pura vida. IMG_4991IMG_4338

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IMG_4374If you find yourself in the centre of Montezuma you will discover a beautifully hand painted map, unique and colourful, just like its surroundings. The town has a real island feel to it, completely cut from ‘main land’ civilisation. You’re never far from a familiar face and making friends is as easy as smiling and saying hello.IMG_4378IMG_4346Each building is dressed with colour and aged with wisdom and character. There is no such thing as a ‘bad place’ to stay here, with almost all the hostels and hotels being privately owned, each takes great pride in its individuality and unique style.IMG_5001IMG_5009The same applies for the town’s restaurants, of which the construction reflects the local culture: diverse, adapted and organic. Living off the land in every sense of the expression. Celebrating what they have, as opposed to what they don’t have. IMG_5006Art is an integral part of the ‘Montezuman’ energy. The streets are filled with artisan jewellers who display their work with pride, if you get friendly with them they will let you choose a crystal from their box and make it into a bespoke piece for you. The locals craftsmen also take to the town walls with unique messages that many people in this world could benefit from. IMG_4368IMG_4999IMG_4371This is a town that indulges all of the senses: sight, sound, touch, smell and of course, taste. You’re never far from a coconut tree, which means you’re never far from a fresh coconut water. Now this isn’t the kind of coconut water they dress up and sell for £4 at your local yoga studio, this is direct, from the source. For a mere dollar a friendly local will crack one open and pop a straw in. If you’re nice they’ll chop it up for you to eat the flesh when you’re done! IMG_4976Selling food from vehicles seems to be a ‘the done thing’ here. Usually these ‘pop-up’ grocery stores are flanked by a number of proud shopkeepers who invite you to try anything that catches your eye. Here the produce is from the land, not the laboratory, each one with a unique shape and colour, as nature intended.IMG_5016Capturing the charm and beauty of Montezuma in a blog post is somewhat like trying to convince a vegan to devour a t-bone steak on ‘world animal day’: impossible. This is a town that has an irresistible energy that draws people from all corners of the world. If you’re searching for the real pura vida, look no further.  IMG_4362IMG_4581

Voyage Voyage: San Jose to Montezuma

 

We set off from the capital city, San Jose, embarking on a 6 hour journey into the heart of the jungle on Costa Rica’s Eastern peninsula. San Jose is a great introduction to this beautiful country. But what seems to draw people here are the areas of untouched natural beauty, where we were heading.

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Leaving San Jose the roads were crawling with street sellers who wound between cars on busy motorways. Jacks of all trades, they sell everything from fresh coconut water to Peppa Pig stickers. If you catch their attention they put on quite a performance to push for a purchase. Unfortunately we couldn’t indulge them for too long as we had three other yogis to pick up from the airport.

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Arriving at San Jose International, we picked up Sophia, Hannah and Amy. Our group was growing and becoming more international by the day; one from Hawaii, one from Toronto, one from Vancouver, another from Pennsylvania and one from Christchurch! Everyone shared one common interest: yoga, and we couldn’t wait to share this next month’s journey together.

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Leaving San Jose, we pressed on to Puntarenas and our 5pm ferry to cross over to the eastern peninsula that is home to Montezuma and a whole lot of jungle. The more we experienced of the mainland of Costa Rica, the more we realised that this country is blessed with fantastic infrastructure and order for a place that is surrounded mainly by 3rd world countries.

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En route to Puntarenas our driver took a small detour to a well known fruit market slightly off the beaten track. He was excited to share some of the beautiful products that grow in his homeland with such eager travellers. As we climbed out of the car we were hit by a wall of heat, at least 8 degrees hotter than at the airport and thick humidity. Perhaps their winter isn’t so mild.

IMG_4234The market was full of the exotic fruits, each stand selling the exact same combinations and each seller more eager than the last to give us some tasters! Unusual tropical varieties, such as papaya and passion fruit, that you pay a premium for in Europe are the most common to grow here in Costa Rica. The market sellers were keen for us to try all of the fruits that we didn’t recognise, ‘mamon chino’ to ‘jocote’ and even ‘uchava’.

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Hundreds of coconuts were lined up in rows. They happily cracked these open for us to drink the water, certainly beats buying it in a bottle! This seems to be a theme throughout Costa Rica, as everywhere you look you can get a fresh coconut for $1! When we arrived at Puntarenas we had about an hour’s wait before the ferry arrived. It was hot and humid and we were all hungry for something to fill our stomachs, however our driver had warned us off the chicken skewers which were the only thing on offer…

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The port was colourful and fun, a fusion of floridian and Caribbean vibes. Just like at the airport the people here were all smiling and open to conversation. The atmosphere was convivial and young Costa Ricans were playing and laughing, they learn the joys of Pura Vida early.

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An hour later we set off on the car ferry towards Paquera. Surrounded by a mixture of locals, tourists and even a paparazzi who was posted here to look for celebrities seeking a recluse. The excitement in our group was palpable, we were half way there.

On the hour and a half journey across to Paquera the sun was setting, and we could see that the landscape on this peninsula represented nature in its purest form; rugged jungle without a building in site. Accompanying us on the journey were two pods of dolphins jumping through the waves, locals barely batted their eyelids whilst the tourists cheered in awe! The further from Puntarenas we sailed, the closer to nature we became, soaking in the atmosphere we prepared for our arrival.

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By the time we arrived at Paquera it was pitch black, the only light around was from darting cars and motorbikes. The contrast between this side of the country and the other was distinct. The order was gone and chaos sat mischievously in its place. Street sellers cracking coconuts milled around moving cars and busses, shouting to their friends in their local dialect. Wild cats begged for scraps and the sound of the wildlife hummed loudly in the background. Fortunately we quickly located Johanne, our driver from Anamaya, who quickly whisked us into the car and locked the doors. Travelling with lots of cash here is not recommended.

This car journey starkly juxtaposed the first. The roads leading to Montezuma instead of smooth were now littered with potholes, the terrain was mountainous and steep and around every corner were a set of glowing eyes; creatures peering out from the jungle to see who has come to visit. “Now you are in their home, the jungle, you have to live by their rules” remarked Johanne in a humorous tone. Half way to Montezuma I had my first ‘snake siting’. Sprawled across the road was a 6 foot grey and red creature that had seemingly been cut in half by a passing vehicle. Remarking the fear that had plastered itself across my face, Johanne explained that snakes mainly stick to the rice fields, and don’t bother the beach or costal areas. This was comforting, somewhat.

As we drove out of Cobano I heard Johanne say ‘Say goodbye to civilisation’. Looking at him to ask why, the sharp jolting motion of the car answered my question. Down we dove onto a dirt track road, as bumpy as a black run mogul field,  that led us directly into the deep green depths of this natural paradise. I vaguely made out the faded paint of a battered road sign, reading Montezuma 6km. This was really it. Goodbye roads, goodbye reality, goodbye civilisation. It was time to dive into the heart of the jungle and a journey of discovery and reflection, and I couldn’t be more ready.

 

Costa Rica: Arriving In Paradise

This month I’m travelling to beautiful Costa Rica, to pursue my passion for yoga. I’m so excited to share my journey and become a yoga teacher! 
After a ten hour flight across the Atlantic, we hit land! The lush, green, mountainous land of Costa Rica.  There’s very little sign of life on the approach to the country’s capital city, San Jose.
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Being so used to travelling around Europe, I forgot the excitement of arriving somewhere which is completely foreign. To me even the clouds seemed exotic. As we started our descent I could see Pura Vida written on some of the rooftops of local villages. This translates to Pure Life, the motto of Costa Rica and the ethos that the locals live by.
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Coming from Gatwick, San Jose airport seems like a dream. Here it seems people greet strangers with a smile by default. Nature lovers, yogis and travellers alike pour into this beautiful country through this main airport, and it doesn’t go unnoticed when you look around the arrivals hall. As I waited for my bus, an open top jeep rolled up, out jumped a shaggy looking surfer, barefoot, wearing his boardshorts and a wide smile, It doesn’t get more Pura Vida than that!

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The taxis here are bright orange, with each driver after the next hustling for a ride holding up home-made signs reading ‘Best price in Costa Rica’. But there’s no aggression or hassle, here people respect your space.
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My first night in Costa Rica was spent in the Adventure Inn, an overnight bolt-hole to rest my head until my onward journey to Montezuma the following day. But I soon discovered that even the bolt holes in Costa Rica have an individual charm.
 
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My room was equipped with three beds and a great stash of strong Costa Rican coffee, a welcome treat for jet lagged travellers. All around the hotel are beautiful wall paintings, celebrating nature and all that Costa Rica has to offer.image1

I settled into a beautiful bowl of Ceviche with avocado, which cost a mere $6. My change was presented in Costa Rican Colones, an inflated but exotic looking currency. This was going to be a trip of self discovery and a trip through nature, it seemed. I can’t wait to experience more of the Pura Vida dream.

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