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Looking for the perfect blend of eco-adventure, yoga, and bliss for you and your significant other?    

Come join us January 22-28, 2017 or April 2-8, 2017 with Anthony Alcalde.

This all-inclusive retreat couples experience:

  • 6 nights at our resort partners’ beautiful locations minutes from San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
  • All Inclusive, delicious, body-nourishing meals
  • Daily AcroYoga and related yoga practice with Anthony
  • Couples Massage
  • Eco-Adventures: Beach Excursion, Sailing, and more..

According to AcroYoga International, “AcroYoga elevates the connection between you and others through movement, connection, and play. Acro in Greek means high, or elevated. Yoga in Sanskrit commonly translates to notions of union, or joining. The experience of taking flight with AcroYoga instantly dissolves fears and invites practitioners to tap into new and infinite possibilities of communication, trust, and union.”

Through a blend of solar acrobatic practices, lunar therapeutic practices, and yogic practices, couples can cultivate trust, listening, and awareness – strengthening relationships and bringing partners closer together physically and spiritually.

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Now, couples can learn and practice AcroYoga and harmonize their relationships in paradise – Zen Yoga Nicaragua is excited to announce a couples only AcroYoga retreat with Anthony Alcalde. Anthony’s unique practice blends the spiritual wisdom of yoga, the loving kindness of Thai massage, and the dynamic power of Acrobatics. In the vein of giving and receiving, the relationship between partners will grow and bloom as much as it is being watered and nourished. Explore AcroYoga and the wisdom of yoga, the strength of acrobatics, and the loving kindness of Thai massage.

Learn more and sign up for our couples only AcroYoga retreat today!

Studies suggest that practicing yoga modulates the stress response.

Since the 1970s, meditation and other stress-reduction techniques have been studied as possible treatments for depression and anxiety. One such practice, yoga, has received less attention in the medical literature, though it has become increasingly popular in recent decades. One national survey estimated, for example, that about 7.5% of U.S. adults had tried yoga at least once, and that nearly 4% practiced yoga in the previous year.

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Yoga classes can vary from gentle and accommodating to strenuous and challenging; the choice of style tends to be based on physical ability and personal preference. Hatha yoga, the most common type of yoga practiced in the United States, combines three elements: physical poses, called asanas; controlled breathing practiced in conjunction with asanas; and a short period of deep relaxation or meditation.

Many of the studies evaluating yoga’s therapeutic benefits have been small and poorly designed. However, a 2004 analysis found that, in recent decades, an increasing number have been randomized controlled trials — the most rigorous standard for proving efficacy.

Available reviews of a wide range of yoga practices suggest they can reduce the impact of exaggerated stress responses and may be helpful for both anxiety and depression. In this respect, yoga functions like other self-soothing techniques, such as meditation, relaxation, exercise, or even socializing with friends.

Taming the stress response

By reducing perceived stress and anxiety, yoga appears to modulate stress response systems. This, in turn, decreases physiological arousal — for example, reducing the heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and easing respiration. There is also evidence that yoga practices help increase heart rate variability, an indicator of the body’s ability to respond to stress more flexibly.

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A small but intriguing study further characterizes the effect of yoga on the stress response. In 2008, researchers at the University of Utah presented preliminary results from a study of varied participants’ responses to pain. They note that people who have a poorly regulated response to stress are also more sensitive to pain. Their subjects were 12 experienced yoga practitioners, 14 people with fibromyalgia (a condition many researchers consider a stress-related illness that is characterized by hypersensitivity to pain), and 16 healthy volunteers.

When the three groups were subjected to more or less painful thumbnail pressure, the participants with fibromyalgia — as expected — perceived pain at lower pressure levels compared with the other subjects. Functional MRIs showed they also had the greatest activity in areas of the brain associated with the pain response. In contrast, the yoga practitioners had the highest pain tolerance and lowest pain-related brain activity during the MRI. The study underscores the value of techniques, such as yoga, that can help a person regulate their stress and, therefore, pain responses.

Improved mood and functioning

Questions remain about exactly how yoga works to improve mood, but preliminary evidence suggests its benefit is similar to that of exercise and relaxation techniques.

In a German study published in 2005, 24 women who described themselves as “emotionally distressed” took two 90-minute yoga classes a week for three months. Women in a control group maintained their normal activities and were asked not to begin an exercise or stress-reduction program during the study period.

Though not formally diagnosed with depression, all participants had experienced emotional distress for at least half of the previous 90 days. They were also one standard deviation above the population norm in scores for perceived stress (measured by the Cohen Perceived Stress Scale), anxiety (measured using the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory), and depression (scored with the Profile of Mood States and the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, or CES-D).

At the end of three months, women in the yoga group reported improvements in perceived stress, depression, anxiety, energy, fatigue, and well-being. Depression scores improved by 50%, anxiety scores by 30%, and overall well-being scores by 65%. Initial complaints of headaches, back pain, and poor sleep quality also resolved much more often in the yoga group than in the control group.

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One uncontrolled, descriptive 2005 study examined the effects of a single yoga class for inpatients at a New Hampshire psychiatric hospital. The 113 participants included patients with bipolar disorder, major depression, and schizophrenia. After the class, average levels of tension, anxiety, depression, anger, hostility, and fatigue dropped significantly, as measured by the Profile of Mood States, a standard 65-item questionnaire that participants answered on their own before and after the class. Patients who chose to participate in additional classes experienced similar short-term positive effects.

Further controlled trials of yoga practice have demonstrated improvements in mood and quality of life for the elderly, people caring for patients with dementia, breast cancer survivors, and patients with epilepsy.

Benefits of controlled breathing

A type of controlled breathing with roots in traditional yoga shows promise in providing relief for depression. The program, called Sudarshan Kriya yoga (SKY), involves several types of cyclical breathing patterns, ranging from slow and calming to rapid and stimulating.

One study compared 30 minutes of SKY breathing, done six days a week, to bilateral electroconvulsive therapy and the tricyclic antidepressant imipramine in 45 people hospitalized for depression. After four weeks of treatment, 93% of those receiving electroconvulsive therapy, 73% of those taking imipramine, and 67% of those using the breathing technique had achieved remission.

Another study examined the effects of SKY on depressive symptoms in 60 alcohol-dependent men. After a week of a standard detoxification program at a mental health center in Bangalore, India, participants were randomly assigned to two weeks of SKY or a standard alcoholism treatment control. After the full three weeks, scores on a standard depression inventory dropped 75% in the SKY group, as compared with 60% in the standard treatment group. Levels of two stress hormones, cortisol and corticotropin, also dropped in the SKY group, but not in the control group. The authors suggest that SKY might be a beneficial treatment for depression in the early stages of recovery from alcoholism.

Potential help for PTSD

Since evidence suggests that yoga can tone down maladaptive nervous system arousal, researchers are exploring whether or not yoga can be a helpful practice for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

One randomized controlled study examined the effects of yoga and a breathing program in disabled Australian Vietnam veterans diagnosed with severe PTSD. The veterans were heavy daily drinkers, and all were taking at least one antidepressant. The five-day course included breathing techniques (see above), yoga asanas, education about stress reduction, and guided meditation. Participants were evaluated at the beginning of the study using the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), which ranks symptom severity on an 80-point scale.

Six weeks after the study began, the yoga and breathing group had dropped their CAPS scores from averages of 57 (moderate to severe symptoms) to 42 (mild to moderate). These improvements persisted at a six-month follow-up. The control group, consisting of veterans on a waiting list, showed no improvement.

About 20% of war veterans who served in Afghanistan or Iraq suffer from PTSD, according to one estimate. Experts treating this population suggest that yoga can be a useful addition to the treatment program.

Researchers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., are offering a yogic method of deep relaxation to veterans returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dr. Kristie Gore, a psychologist at Walter Reed, says the military hopes that yoga-based treatments will be more acceptable to the soldiers and less stigmatizing than traditional psychotherapy. The center now uses yoga and yogic relaxation in post-deployment PTSD awareness courses, and plans to conduct a controlled trial of their effectiveness in the future.

Cautions and encouragement

Although many forms of yoga practice are safe, some are strenuous and may not be appropriate for everyone. In particular, elderly patients or those with mobility problems may want to check first with a clinician before choosing yoga as a treatment option.

But for many patients dealing with depression, anxiety, or stress, yoga may be a very appealing way to better manage symptoms. Indeed, the scientific study of yoga demonstrates that mental and physical health are  not just closely allied, but are essentially equivalent. The evidence is growing that yoga practice is a relatively low-risk, high-yield approach to improving overall health.

Article: Harvard Medical School

You can become a yoga instructor by completing a 200 hour yoga teacher training with a certified instructor. Check out our Moksha Modo YTT or LEVITYoga YTT for more information!

You can also submerse yourself in paradise, practicing yoga and meditating away from the stressors of daily life in a Nicaragua yoga retreat.

It’s something so many of us suffer with on a daily basis. Whether it is just small bouts of minor anxiety and depression, or severe, debilitating panic attacks, thousands everyday are enduring unneccesary stress. With these days come shaky and sweaty hands, racing thoughts, shallow breathing, and a sense of helplessness. It’s becoming a widely recognized problem for so many around the world today. Anxiety is a peace-thief. Researchers have searched for years trying to uncover the best ways to combat this growing condition. For those who opt to fight anxiety a more natural way, there has been one specific warrior they’ve found to be incessantly victorious time and time again– YOGA.

How exactly does a consistent yoga practice fight anxiety?

1.  BREATHING

The simple act of mindful breathing can help reduce anxiety. When you focus on the breath, your mind has a chance to rest and let go of negative thoughts. Yogic breath is also good for the body. Deep breathing increases oxygen levels in the blood supply, which helps remove toxins from the body. It also increases lung capacity and helps improve digestion. Anxiety steals our breath sometimes, so it’s so very important to set aside time to focus on giving it back to our body.

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2.  SWEATING

It’s amazing what a few stretches on a mat can do for your physical body and strength. Holding poses that feel comfortable for longer periods, create strain and resistance, causing quite a healthy workout. Sweating is another way our bodies rid themselves of toxins and burn pent-up energy. Many of us lack the daily exercise that we need to get natural endorphins flowing. This can lead to even more anxiety. Even thirty minutes of focused breath and stretching will increase heart rate, sweat, and the release of our daily dose of serotonin.

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3.  STRETCHING

The practice of asanas (or yoga poses) is good for both mind and body. Physically, asanas help release the tension that anxiety creates, allowing the body to feel recharged and healthier. When the body feels better, so does the mind. The challenges you face on the mat reduce anxiety by taking your mind off your worries and fears. You find yourself focusing on your strength, your body’s flexibility and limitations, and physical endurance, and giving your mind a much-needed break from reality. Taking your mind off of things that you can’t control and placing them onto things that you can control, eliminate the hold that anxiety has over your mind.

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4.  MEDITATION

Meditation is challenging, but not impossible. The ability to clear one’s mind of all thoughts is a skill that takes time. It is a path, not a goal. Meditation starts by simply taking the time to focus on your breath. It gives your mind a chance to slow down and teaches your body to relax.  In addition, with a regular meditation practice, you will begin to notice patterns in your thinking. The things that trigger anxiety, panic, and fear will become apparent to you. Once this happens, you can learn to change the patterns by recognizing your triggers. Learning to focus your mind on positive, thoughts full of gratitude, helps hold the effects of anxiety at bay.

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5.  NAPPING

Don’t we all do yoga for the savasanas–naps at the end?  After a concentrated time of focus, stretching, sweating, and meditation, the act of lying flat of our backs, no matter what life may have in store for us afterward, is exactly what the mind needs every single day. If meditation is the focusing of the mind, then savasana is the clearing of it. Whether it takes on the form of being completely in tune to all 5 senses and enjoying the smell of lavender in the air and the sweet sounds of the breezes on your patio, the pose of surrender and REST is exactly what each one of us need before or after a busy day. We all struggle to slow down. We move from one task to the next, and then onto a myriad of daily distractions, never allowing our minds to fully rest. Savasanas remind us that there is always time to  s l o w d o w n.  And it is extremely necessary.

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It’s time to step onto your mat… the practice will take care of itself. Through the simple steps of conscious breathing, regular asana practice, and meditation, anxiety is a thing that can be controlled, reduced, and ultimately overcome one breath, one pose, one day at a time. Take hold of your practice. Take hold of your life!

Namaste.

Have you caught the “Nica-Buzz” yet?? Nicaragua is now internationally recognized as an often overlooked, yet primier tourist destination for wanderlust souls. Known for it’s pristine, untouched beaches, rich history, colorful culture, and low cost of living, expats and tourists alike are flocking to this gorgeous country to enjoy the “tranquilo” lifestyle.  A lifestyle of more relaxation and adventure is necessary for one’s mental and physical health.  With so many around the world now suffering a combination of sick, tired, depressed,anxious, and miserable, it is a sad fact that many people seem to accept that a different way of life doesn’t exist. Whether you are in the mood for a permanent move, temporary relocation, or just an overdue vacation dedicated to your health, here are

“5 Reasons to Revive Your Soul in Nicaragua”:  

1.  Bask in the Sunshine

Soaking up the sun has received some bad press as of late. While it’s true that one shouldn’t spend all day in the sun, moderate, direct exposure to the sunshine is a healthy, necessary thing, and is easy to do in Nicaragua’s tropical climate.  The locals will joke that there are three seasons in Nicaragua; Summer, Windy Season, and Rainy Season with temperatures of 80-95 degrees fahrenheit year round. You will find most outside throughout the entire day, smiling and milling about their daily chores with a sense of jubilation and purpose.  Many believe this positive mental attitude is attributed to the beautiful sunshine.  In addition to encouraging a better mental state, exposure to sunlight has so many other positive benefits, such as the body’s production of melatonin and can promote more restful sleep. It’s also required for the body to produce Vitamin D, a vital nutrient not often available in the foods we consume daily. Doctors are now requesting patients to aim for 30 minutes of direct sun exposure at least a few times a week. Nicaragua is the perfect place to visit to bask in the sunshine and reset your body’s positive mental state.

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2.  Breathe Fresh Air

As the old saying goes, you can survive weeks without food, days without water, but only a few minutes without air. Given it’s place on the priority list, it goes without saying that the best air is fresh and clean. In Nicaragua, where the entire county’s homes, restaurants, and shops are all “open-air”, there is no doubt that all it’s inhabitants and visitors can breath fresh air with confidence. Away from the smog and industrial pollution of much of the first-world, Nicaragua is known for it’s beachside breezes and lack of dry air that penetrates much of the world’s climate-controlled homes and businesses. According to the EPA, air quality is usually two to five times worse inside than outside, full of chemical fumes from furniture, paint, flooring materials, air fresheners, and dehydrating air-conditioners and heaters. Come on down to Nicaragua and breathe easy, clean, and salty sea air. The difference is refreshing.

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3.  Get Your Dose of Vitamin “SEA”

There are abounding nutritional properties that the ocean provides, as other health-giving elements that one can benefit from. Nicaragua is surrounded by The Pacific on one side and the Caribbean on the other, providing an insurmountable number of gorgeous coastline to soak in the vitamin “sea” for your well-being. Research shows that the sound of waves alters wave patterns in the brain lulling one into a deeply relaxed state. Relaxing in this way can help rejuvenate the mind and body. Floating in the salt water can cure all sorts of skin and body ailments as well, as the exfoliation promotes better oxygen absorption and boosts seratonin, a body chemical linked with mood and stress. Go a step further and learn to surf, boogie board, or snorkel on the Nicaragua coasts!

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4.  Eat More Clean, Whole Foods

Much of Nicaragua is agricultural. Fishing villages line the coast, boasting fresh deep sea fish direct from the boats. The more inland sections of the country focus on farming all types of fruits and vegetables, as well as coffee, red beans, and rice. Much of the food that is consumed in Nicaragua came from Nicaragua. Most chicken and fish dishes are free of chemicals and preservatives and came from a farm or ranch just down the road. Huge “mercados” are centers for providing the locals and tourists with clean, whole foods. Many flock to Nicaragua to “detox” their systems from the “fast food” culture up north. Eating clean, whole foods helps one feel more energetic and productive and instantly improves mental health.

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5.  Get in Some “Adventure Therapy”

Over 100 years ago, doctors began using nature and it’s elements as a way of helping patients. The practice of using the outdoors to improve mental and physical health has developed into a concept called adventure therapy–using experiences that are active and challenging to boost mood, and jumpstart the body and mind into a better mental place. Nicaragua’s mountains, beaches, rainforests, lakes, and volcanoes are the perfect prescription for those who need a dose of adventure in their lives. Ziplining, catamaran sailing, volcano hiking, parasailing, surfing, rock-climbing, horseback riding, rainforest camping, scuba-diving, and ocean hoverboarding are just a few of the adventurous excursions that are available in this amazing country.  Discovering yourself through yoga and other forms of fitness can raise those endorphin levels and give you a much needed mental boost as well. (For more info on yoga retreats, contact us HERE!)

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Do you need a prescription for better health and mental wellness?! Travel to Nicaragua this year and revive your body, mind, and soul! Adventure and sunshine awaits you!  Bring your friends and refresh together! All-inclusive Group Retreats available through NYI HERE.

 

Nothing beats the winter blues quite like getting on the mat. But after that is done, curling up by a roaring fire with a good book to soothe the soul and rest your muscles is the next best thing.  Dr. Seuss put it best with this sentiment, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the  more places you’ll go.”  Knowledge is power. And fueling our minds with enlightenment and ideas to help us deepen our practice should be on everyone’s Holiday “wish list”. Here are our Top 7 Winter Picks for yogis this holiday season:

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  • LIGHT ON YOGA – B.K.S. Ivengar

 

Written by the man that is accredited with introducing yoga to the Western World, this book is full of knowledge and experience. With detailed descriptions of over 200 poses and 600 photos, this book is perfect for anyone wanting to perfect a posture or learn to instruct others in doing so. His style of yoga focuses on proper alignment, and makes Light on Yoga the “rule book for asanas”.

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  1.  MEDITATIONS FROM THE MAT – Rolt Gates

This book is more of a relaxed read, offering daily reflections on the yoga practice.  The Journey Junkie says, “The writings are simple, relatable, easy to digest, and lighthearted. This is a great book to read first thing in the morning, at night when winding down, or whenever you need some feel good yumminess. It is also perfect for anyone interested in learning the principles behind the yoga practice.”

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  1.  MetaAnatomy – Kristin Leal

One of our favorite authors and teachers, Kristin Leal produces an amazing read on the metaphysical or metacarpals in her book, MetaAnatomy.  In Anatomy of a Yogi Volume One, you are introduced to. . .YOUrself! With chapter titles like “I’ve Got Your Back, Jack” on the glorious spine and “Oh The Nerve” on the magnificent nervous system, she disseminates what can be dense information into fun accessible bite size pieces. Wrapped inside the teachings of yoga philosophy this makes an excellent companion to yoga teacher training programs or for those yoga students interested in learning about their own amazing body. This book covers all the major muscles, bones and joints along with the anatomy of breath and the nervous system forming a comprehensive and lighthearted study for yoga students, yoga teachers or anyone with a body. Meet author and speaker, Kristin Leal in person this March 3-12th for her Meditation in Motion Yoga Retreat in Nicaragua! Or purchase her book directly at http://www.kristinleal.com/.

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  1.  YOGA FOR TRAVELERS – Jennifer J. Ellinghaus

This gem is great for all our traveling yogis out there! This book includes the personal stories of travelling yogis, the ups and downs of the road, experiencing different cultures and languages, and making connections with others along the way. Whether you find yourself in a cramped hostel or hotel, this book gives creative sequences for practicing no matter where you find yourself in the world. The author shows just how adaptable yoga can be and how liberating it can feel to practice by a prehistoric lake, atop a mountain after hours of trekking, or on a wooden balcony overlooking a rain forest. This winter, it’s a great read curled up by the fire, and even better read when you hit the road this yoga retreat season abroad!

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  1.  Happy, Healthy, Sexy: Ayurveda Wisdom for Modern Women – Katie Silcox

Teacher and yoga instructor, Katie Silcox is a leading expert on Ayurveda. She knows that bringing ancient wisdom into our modern lives does not mean sacrificing the occasional rendezvous with red wine, fashion magazines, and other sensual pleasures. In Healthy Happy Sexy, Katie offers not only a philosophy of life but a time-tested (we’re talking thousands of years!) method for living your most radiant, healthy, and sexually vital life possible. Combining Ayurvedic wisdom with practical tools and her lively, playful, and down-to-earth voice, Katie provides a method to heal, entertain, inspire, and remind you that you are one sexy goddess. After this fantastic read, if you’re craving a bit more, join Katie this summer for her Ayurveda Tantra Yoga Retreat and Training in Nicaragua, ! Check out her website to purchase this book directly: http://www.katiesilcox.com/

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  1.  SIDDHARTHA – Hermann Hesse

For those looking for a “gamechanger”, Siddhartha is just that. You will pick it up and not put it down until it completely devoured.  It’s a beautiful story, a quick read, and one that will entirely shift and empower your perspective on life. We could all use a bit more of the wisdom from the pages of this gift: “In the end these things matter most: How well did you love?  How fully did you live?  How deeply did you let go?”

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  1.  THE ALCHEMIST – Paulo Coelho

This one is on so many “must-read lists”. It’s not just for the yogi, but for all who need a fresh perspective. The Alchemist is a life-changing read, a book that will inspire you to think from an entirely new and uplifted point of view. It’s a story about a boy on his journey of self-realization, and the lessons it contains are things we can take with us everywhere we go.  “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure…. And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

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We hope you enjoy our “Must-Read” picks for the season! Some are yoga-centric and others are more secular in nature. However, each one deals with what’s at the core of yoga: self-knowing, self-awareness, self-love, inspiration, and spirituality. So brew a cup of tea, put on your favorite yoga pants, and settle in for some time of reflection and enlightenment this winter season.  Take your mind for a retreat or pack your book or Kindle and join us in Nicaragua for one of our many Yoga Retreats, hop in a hammock and  dig into these great reads.

 

There’s no doubt the benefits that having a regular yoga practice can bring to an individual. Maintaining a habitual practice of meditation and centering your energy can bring resounding enhancements to your body, physically and mentally. Studies have proven the benefits of yoga on the nervous and respiratory systems, not to mention improving your body’s ability to relax, focus, and build strength.

 

Did you know that taking a yoga teacher training can benefit you even further as an individual? Even if you’ve never wanted to become a professional yoga instructor, enrolling yourself in an intensive yoga teacher training could be the best thing that you ever do. Here’s why:

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Knowledge of Your Anatomy and How Your Body Works For You – So many of us take our bodies for granted. We don’t realize the complexity of how we function. From taking breaths to running long-distances, our bodies are working hard to be balanced and in shape for all our daily activities. In a yoga teacher training, you learn the mechanics of how the body works, the muscles and bones and tendons and how everything works together and stays in alignment. This is beneficial in the beginning by learning how to do each of the poses correctly, but understanding why you need the poses and how to get in and out of each pose helps you to understand that yoga is not just about flexibility, but how to maintain your body and prevent it from injury, on or off the mat.

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Gaining an Understanding of How to Breathe Properly and How This Affects Everything – Breathing is something many of us never focus on. However, breath is food for our body. Without understanding how to breathe properly, we cannot understand how to best fuel our body with the oxygen it so craves. Respiration is a huge focus of the training, and uncovering the knowledge that each breath brings with it nutrients that our body needs to function. Many of us will never learn to focus on our breath, and balance it in a way that removes anxiety, tension, and many other negative emotions. Delving into the art of Pranayama, you will discover breathing practices that increase your range of respiration, bringing a renewed sense of calm and energy.

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Discover the Philosophy of Yoga and How the Mind Works – Thousands of years ago, someone wrote down philosophies that incorporate yoga that still speak to this very time and date. Yoga Sutras explain how yoga is more than just a bunch of complicated poses. The wisdom from these Sutras can be so helpful when we are feeling stuck in any way emotionally and mentally. Each verse has something to offer that will enhance any religion you practice, or give you some meaning if you don’t have a religion. You learn how to think and how to work with your mind when life begins to overwhelm, as it always will.  That, in itself, is invaluable.

Peter Sterios, reknown yoga professional and international yoga trainer instructs hundreds every year, leading them in their intensive yoga teacher trainings. Many, he says, never teach a class.

“Over the last ten years of leading Teacher Trainings, I have observed more than half of the graduates never teach. If you ask many of them “Was it worth it? All the time, effort and money it took?”, rarely is there even a hesitation. They are excited to share how the training was a turning point in their lives – a personal, transformational experience which deepened their understanding of yoga and helped them integrate it into their life back home.. . . At the end of the program, you will possess a very personal and intuitive understanding of yoga, based on your own experience, that will serve your practice and ultimately bring more balance and grace to your life. . .Beyond becoming a teacher, what is beautiful to see is the connection we all benefit from when learning together and from each other, and finding how this moves beyond our yoga practice into all the relationships in our lives. That’s really what our Teacher Training course is all about.”

Join Peter Sterios and James Bailey this winter in an inspiring teacher training in the beautifully cultural setting of Nicaragua, learning about the art and philosophy of yoga on the gorgeous Pacific Coast. Spots are still available for this 200-hour intensive training, February 17th-March 6th. (You can sign up for this transforming training HERE – LEVITYOGA REGISTRATION.)

Experiencing a yoga teacher training abroad allows you to dive deep into your study of yoga and you. You get to walk, talk, breathe yoga. It allows for an opportunity to do all the homework and really digest the material. You get to spend time with your teacher, seeing how he lives the yoga, learning by example. After a period of time in such an immersion, your life does change, for the better. You will find yourself knowing how to sit to keep your lower back happy. You will be less annoyed at family members and friends, using the tips from the yoga philosophy.

Once you’ve experienced something as life transforming as a yoga teacher training, you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.  It’s certainly not just for teachers. It’s for humans who have practiced some yoga and now want to learn more about themselves. When we know more about ourselves, we are less fearful and able to be present with anything that life offers us. In this world of constant change and unexpected turns, that is priceless.

 

 

 

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Yoga retreats are an amazing way to escape, focus on balancing your life, and refilling your well. They almost always include relaxation, meditation, and lots of spiritual discovery. What if they also included amazing adventures?!
Daily Yoga Sessions

This January 24-30th, NYI is hosting a YOGA ECO-ADVENTURE! Amazing instructors Katie Prucha and Jessica LaVallie will lead sunrise yoga sessions to clear your mind and bring you renewed focus for each new day in sunny Nicaragua! The afternoons will be spent exploring the jungle in one of the tallest volcanoes in Nicaragua, learning to surf in the magnificent Pacific waves, and sailing the coastline on a catamaran with your new yoga amigos at sunset! Each and every day holds a brand new adventure!!

Amazing Eco-Adventures

This week will be a journey of fun and focus, self-discipline and self-discovery! If you’ve ever needed a winter escape, the time is now to sign up for this wonderful all-inclusive opportunity! Participants will be pampered in our luxury 5-star accommodations and will be wined and dined the entire week with our fresh, organic gourmet meals. Spots will fill up fast so take advantage of this amazing package!
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All-Inclusive Yoga Eco-Adventure Retreat Package Includes:

*Luxury Accommodations at the Pelican Eyes Resort in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

*All Gourmet Style Meals

*Round-trip Airport Transportation

*Daily Sunrise Yoga Session

*Catamaran Sailing Trip

*One Hour Massage

*Granada Trip and Volcano Hike

*Surf Lesson

*Raw Foods Workshop

*Volunteer Activity

*Unlimited Pool and Beach Time

Package Prices starting at $1895. To reserve your spot in paradise today, visit the Yoga Eco-Adventure Retreat Registration Page.  You don’t want to miss!!

 

 

What do the Boston Globe, Travel and Leisure, Men’s Journal, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and the Huffington Post all have in common? They have all named Nicaragua as a must see travel destination in 2015.

In “Where to go in 2015” the Boston Globe says, “Forget Costa Rica — old news. Industry experts are calling Nicaragua the hottest destination in Central America, and one of its best bargains…making it one of the world’s top 10 emerging destinations.” Travel + Leisure listed Nicaragua as 21st on their Best Places to Travel in 2015. The Huffington Post urges travelers to visit Nicaragua and “Discover the Paris of Central America.”

  1. Beaches/Surf

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Nicaragua is blessed with bountiful beaches and ideal surf conditions boasting more than 300 days per year of offshore winds.   Nicaragua, and San Juan del Sur, in particular, provides beach goers a variety of sandy options from the adventurous surfer (Playas Yankee and Maderas, named by Men’s Journal as one of the “20 Most Adventurous Beaches” in the world) to the lazy hazy book in a hammock days (Playa Coco and Marsella). CBS’s Survivor can’t seem to get enough of Nicaragua, having hosted not 1, but 4 seasons of the hit show on San Juan del Sur’s beaches.

  1. Eco Adventures and Wildlife

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Adventurers are quickly replacing Costa Rica with its neighbor to the north, Nicaragua, as an eco travel destination. After all, it is known as the “Land of Lakes and Volcanoes.” Nicaragua boasts diversity in its climate and geography – offering tours of volcanoes, beaches, lakes, islets, rainforests, and reefs.

Nicaragua is home to nearly 5 million acres of protected parks and preserves, filled with wildlife, including exotic birds, howler monkeys, turtles, and giant iguanas.  Zip lines, canopy and rappelling, volcano boarding, boat trips, surf, SUP, kayak and more all make exploring the beauty of Nicaragua accessible and sustainable, without disrupting the biodiversity of the area.

  1. Yoga/Wellness

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Thanks to its laid-back vibe, vibrant culture, and soothing waves, Nicaragua is attracting a growing community of wellness practitioners. International Yoga Instructor, Vanessa Pattison opened the popular Zen Yoga Studios in San Juan del Sur. Peter Sterios, an internationally recognized yoga teacher from California, and James Bailey, a renowned Ayurveda and Oriental Medicine practitioner, yoga educator and yoga teacher trainer, are now offering annual yoga teacher trainings with Nicaragua Yoga Institute in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. YogaGlo’s own Jo Tastula is joining forces with Nicaragua Yoga Institute to offer an exclusive yoga retreat next May and Moksha Yoga International recently announced a 200 hour yoga teacher training in collaboration with the Nicaragua Yoga Institute for early 2016.

  1. Safety

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A recently published study by Gallup highlighted Nicaragua as the safest country in Latin America and the Caribbean. The once shaky political climate has long since calmed and the country is dusting off the welcome mat to visitors, investing in infrastructure and facilities. According to the economist, confidence in the police is the highest in Latin America after Chile and Nicaragua is less violent than booming Panama, and may soon be safer than Costa Rica, a tourist haven. The Nicaraguan government has also allocated more than $6 billion towards infrastructure in recent years, all of which add to the safety and security of the country.

  1. Accessibility

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Airlines are catching on, too! Due to its increasing popularity as a travel destination, major airlines are adding seasonal non-stop routes to Managua, Nicaragua’s capitol city.   Delta is offering a weekly nonstop service from Los Angeles to Managua during the summer months. Spirit Airlines recently added 3 new flight times from Houston to Managua and American Airlines recently added weekly flights from Dallas/Fort Worth to Managua. As of March 2015, Nicaragua is served by a total of 11 airlines and there are a combined total of 56 weekly flights operated by American, Delta, Spirit, Avianca El Salvador and United Airlines to Managua. Ground transport from Managua to San Juan del Sur is growing too, with safe, reliable, air conditioned vehicles ready to comfortably transport you to your Nicaragua Yoga Retreat.

There is no better time than the present to come and explore Nicaragua. As the Huffington Post noted, you will want to “Get To Nicaragua Before Everyone Discovers It!”

Contact Sarah at scrosley@nicaraguayogainstitute.com to book your travel!

 

 

 

 

Want a Beautiful Yoga Beach Body…Mind & Spirit?

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Monique Claudio – Melt Move and Grove Beach-Yoga Spa Retreat – Nicaragua Yoga Institute April 12-18 2015

Bone Up on Beach Yoga Benefits

Practicing yoga outdoors yoga has amazing benefits that you just can’t achieve in a yoga studio, and the beach is the best place to get the most out of your yoga practice. Whether you visit your yoga studio everyday during the week or you’re a brand new beginner, or you are on a yoga in retreat in Nicaragua, I don’t need to remind you of all the emotional and physical wellness benefits yoga offers.

However, if you haven’t thought of elevating your practice to a new level and environment, it’s about time to reconsider the call of the ocean. Practicing yoga in the sun and on the sand has many additional benefits that you just can’t get in a gym studio or your home.

If you can’t make it to a Nicaragua Yoga Institute Retreat, we’ve pulled together the top six reasons you’ll get the most out of youe beach yoga practce no matter where you dig your toes into the sand.

Six Secrets to a Yoga Beach Body…..Mind and Spirit

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Nicaragua Yoga Institute 100 HR Yoga Teacher Training – Register Now to become a yoga instructor in 3 weeks Feb 14 to March 9th with Peter Sterios, Founder of Manaduka, at the Nicaragua Yoga Institute and Zen Yoga Studio Center

 

  1. Dig Your Dharma in The Sand

You might be able to maintain a tree-pose for a long time in a yoga studio, however the flat, wooden flooring might not be challenging you enough. When you practice yoga in the sand on a beach, your body, calves, feet, and core have to work much harder.

This is because sand isn’t a stable surface, it moves and shifts underneath you, and you constantly need to make small adjustments to maintain each pose. This causes you to use more of the muscles in your legs, feet, core, and arms, including many muscles that you might not normally use.

The result? A more intense, mindful, deep, full-body workout…and a very well toned beach body, mind, and spirit.

 

  1. Find Your Zen – Balance

Besides building great muscle tone, sand can also greatly improve your overall balance. The uneven and ever-changing nature of the sand surface itself provides you with a natural balance board. Set your driste on the ocean and as you get the hang of it, you might find the sand a better means of support for your practice as a whole on and off the sand, and your mat, since you can learn to contour your movements no matter where your practice or day takes you. When our guests come to Nicaragua for a yoga retreat, we practice on the vibrant black sands surrounding the volcanoes, to multiple sand surfaces at our pristine beaches. Over time, you’ll be really digging your dharma into those balance poses and finding a strong stability you didn’t know you had.

And, because it’s also a much softer and more shock-absorbent surface than a wooden or cement floor, sand can be gentler on your knees and joints–a major bonus for people of all ages.

 

  1. Clear Your Mind and Heart

Whether you are on a yoga retreat in Nicaragua, or go to your local beach, you go to get away, get still and relax. Combining relaxation with yoga’s mindful attributes is the ultimate mindful mix of letting go and deep relaxation. So it a no-brainer to unite the two. Nothing beats Svasana on the beaches of San Juan Del Sur’s  Playa Hermosa or Maderas, or even your own your own home beachside practice.

The nice warmth of the sand, refreshing beat of the waves, fresh smell of the ocean, and the calmness of the wind will inspire to a calmer, more peaceful placeSo skip the studio and hit the sand and surf for practice your entire body and soul deserve.

  1. Simply Breathe

The most critical aspects of our Nicaragua yoga retreats is remembering to just breathe. Especially with the pristine beaches and clean fresh ocean air.  This provides your muscles the oxygen they crave. Discover your Ujjayi breathing and channel your breathe into your sun salutations as your hands sweep the sand and rise to meet the setting sun.

When you integrate the practice of Ujjayi breathing more with the cleansing ocean air,  you’ll deepen your practice and your balance in it’s most natural state — in nature.

 

  1.  Sun Salutations & Moonlight Magic

Follow the Sun – XAVIER RUDD — It’s a fact many people don’t get enough vitamin D. Vitamin D increases your health and is a natural anti-depressant. Fortunately your body produces vitamin D when your skin is exposed to the sun (please wear sunscreen). This provides another perfect excuse to go on a Nicaragua yoga retreat and hit the beautiful beaches for some soothing sun riched vitamin D that only the equator can provide.

After the sun sets, feel the magic of the moon and practice amongst the tree tops swaying in the refreshing breeze as the sun sets and the moonlight  recharges your energy and spirit. Nothing can beat the sunset and sunrise  tree-top studio, Zen Yoga Studio, in downtown San Juan Del Sur, with founder and world famous yoga instructor, Vanessa Pattison, where you get the best of both worlds –the magic of the moon and love of the sun then cap off your practice at their Buddha Juice Bar and Massage Center to replenish your body for the rest of your day and night.

 

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Zen Yoga Studio _  NicaraguaYogaInstitute.com

 

 

  1. Go on a Nicaragua Yoga Retreat -The World’s Top Rated Yoga & Surfing Beaches

When going to the beach to practice yoga, or exploring yoga retreats, add Nicaragua to your list, and hit the beach with friends for a quite spot on a Nicaragua Yoga Retreat. After each practice, feel free to take a refreshing swim, volunteer in town, take a surf lesson or indulge in a massage. You newly balanced beach body deserves it. Here are some retreats that provide beach yoga with multiple eco-adventures and healthy spa activities to indulge in night and day from horseback riding to zip-lining and volcano trekking, all of which will further beautify your body, mind, and spirit.