Yoga and meditation are all about breathing deeply, relaxing, and reconnecting with your inner nature. What better setting for this practice than the pure oxygen-rich rainforest of Costa Rica.

yoga_urwald_asana.jpg?width=220Be in harmony with nature around you at a yoga and meditation retreat at Portasol Rainforest & Oceanview Living. The sustainable community on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Coast will hold seven Rain/Sun Yoga and Meditation Retreats in 2013-2014. Retreats will focus on creating new energy for participants with yoga, Qigong, meditation, nature hikes and other creative activities.

Spending time in nature is a way people can reconnect with their inner-selves, explains yoga instructor and retreat leader, Doris Mueller-Weith. Portasol is a perfect place for yoga retreats because participants are immersed in the green beauty of wild rainforest, waterfalls and the crystalline Portalon River that runs through the 1,300-acre sustainable development, said Mueller-Weith, who owns an eco-home at Portasol. Breathing in the pure oxygen-rich air of the rainforest helps people rejuvenate, she said.

“In my experience during my life, many diseases that humans have are from cutting off our life energy to the planet. We are not grounded anymore, so we have nervous breakdowns, high pressure, stress, heart attacks, burn outs – because we are not connected with our own nature and the nature that is around us. That is how we get sick,” Mueller-Weith explained. “This connection to nature is vital to our lives and our health. Being in nature keeps us healthy, and we create good energy with yoga in nature.”

Yoga-lessons-at-Portasol-300x225.jpg?width=300On the retreats, Mueller-Weith leads a gentle type of sequenced Hatha Yoga called Viniyoga. Meditation practice is simple and free of religion. Qigong (pronounced “chee-gung,” as in “lung”) is the ancient Chinese art and science of using breathing techniques, gentle movement, and meditation to circulate the body’s energy, or chi (qi). Mueller-Weith also uses singing bowls, drama therapy, and walks in nature to stimulate inner reflection during retreats.

Yoga retreats at Portasol vary from five to six nights, and there are also short weekend programs. Participants receive meals and lodging at Portasol; accommodation is available in Bungalows, a shared Duplex dwelling, and the private vacation home, Toucan House. There is a maximum of eight persons accepted per retreat, so make reservations early.

The next upcoming yoga and meditation retreat is Endings and New Beginnings” from Dec. 28 to Jan. 3, 2014. The program involves daily yoga and meditation sessions, walks in the rainforest and by the river, swimming at Portasol’s waterfalls, visits to the nearby Matapalo Beach, and other creative activities. Based on interest, the group will go on Jan. 2 to the traditional indigenous “Festival de los Diablitos” (Little Devils Festival) in the village of the Borucas, as an optional activity.

Yoga-at-Cazuela-Rancho-at-Portasol-300x292.jpg?width=300A Yoga, Meditation and Drama Therapy retreat will be held January 13-19, 2014. Drama therapy uses dance and movement, poetry and painting, ritual and fantasy to explore archetypes and inner life, explains Mueller-Weith.

A 5-night Yoga Vacation from Feb. 4-9, 2014, adds local area tours to the program. The March 10-16, 2014 yoga retreat focuses intensively on the seven chakras, working on awareness levels with participants, along with healing yoga and meditation. An April 11-17, 2014 retreat centers on the Easter theme of “End and Renewal.”

Two yoga awareness weekends – Jan. 24-26 and Mar. 28-30, 2014 – involve yoga and Qigong classes, meditation, mandala painting, storytelling, and a hike in the rainforest with a biologist.

Portasol Rainforest & Oceanview Living is an ecological community of nature lovers from all over the world. The sustainable residential and vacation rental community is located on 1,300 acres of pure rainforest along the Portalón River, approximately 30 km south of Manuel Antonio and 20 km north of Dominical. The long, un-crowded Playa Matapalo is only a 5-minute drive away.

Article by Shannon Farley

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