Green Phoenix: Saving the tropical dry forest in Costa Rica
Can we prevent the destruction of the world's tropical forests? According to the book Green Phoenix: Restoring the Tropical Forests of Guanacaste, Costa Rica, by William Allen (2003), not only can we prevent their destruction – we can restore them to their original splendor.
The northwestern province of Guanacaste in Costa Rica has one of the largest dry tropical forest areas in the Americas. Dry tropical forest consists of unique vegetation with many deciduous broad-leaf trees and undergrowth that survive with much less water than a tropical rainforest. It endures a dry season lasting approximately eight months, yet is still home to a magnificent diversity of plants, trees and wildlife.
This amazing Costa Rica tropical forest was nearly destroyed in order to create pastureland for cattle to graze. Besides cutting the forest, a highly-invasive African grass called Jaragua (Hyparrhenia rufa) was planted to feed the cattle. The Jaragua grass is also highly flammable. When it invaded the local vegetation, it became explosive tinder for fires in the dry season, which resulted in a greater reduction of forests.
By the 1980s, the Guanacaste forests were badly damaged from cutting, cattle grazing and fires. In many places, only a few strands of forest were strung across a charred landscape. This is when Allen’s gripping environmental story begins, recounting possibly the greatest environmental success of our time of how extensive devastation can be halted and reversed.
Why you should do beach yoga in Santa Teresa Costa Rica
Doing yoga outdoors has many benefits, and the beach is an ideal place to practice your poses. Besides fresh air and killer scenery, your body has to work a lot harder to do yoga in the sand. It takes balance, concentration and strength to hold yoga poses on an uneven unstable surface, so you get more of a full-body workout.
At Pranamar Oceanfront Villas & Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica, you have the best of both worlds while practicing yoga. While taking yoga classes at Pranamar Villas in their stunning Yoga Shala, you look out at the blue Pacific Ocean, palm trees and white sand of internationally notable Santa Teresa Beach. Then step outside and you are right on the sand, ready for more of a challenge.
I asked Nancy Goodfellow, resident yoga instructor and co-owner of Pranamar Villas, to tell us why yoga is awesome on the beach. Here’s what she says:
Snapshot on the Santa Teresa Costa Rica organic cuisine scene
Organic food flourishes in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.
“At Pranamar we try to satisfy not only your stomach, but also your soul with cuisine that is varied, distinctive, delicious and healthy,” explains Pranamar Villas Head Chef Rodrigo Soriano of Argentina.
The open-air Buddha Eyes Restaurant, overlooking the lagoon-style pool at the Costa Rica beach resort, features organic Costa Rican fruits and vegetables, creative vegetarian cooking, local farm-fresh meats, and fresh just-out-of-the-ocean fish and shellfish.
“We buy our fish fresh each day from local fishermen in Santa Teresa and Malpais. It can’t get fresher than what we have!” commented Soriano, who has been working with Pranamar Villas for nine years, and leads the restaurant team with chefs Claudio “Cicco” Mazzone from Italy and Jesus Zabala from Venezuela.
Local farmers in the southern Nicoya Peninsula region provide the hotel with grass-fed beef and free-range chicken and eggs. The beachfront Santa Teresa Costa Rica hotel grows some of its vegetables and fruit, including zucchini, zucchini flowers, basil, pumpkin, squash, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, mangoes, plantains, bananas, star fruit and coconut.
“We grow what is in season and we try to buy products that are in season so they are fresh. We buy very few things from a supermarket,” noted Soriano.
Yoga in Santa Teresa Costa Rica is magic at Pranamar’s Yoga Shala
A yoga studio can be a magical place. If designed well, and filled with calm energy of a good yoga instructor, entering a yoga studio can change you into a happier, more relaxed and less stressed person.
Pranamar Oceanfront Villas & Yoga Retreat in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica has a Yoga Shala (Sanskrit for “studio”) that does just that. The beachfront Santa Teresa Costa Rica hotel specializes in yoga and yoga retreats, and the yoga space was carefully crafted to reflect the owners’ beliefs.
“We believe the practice of yoga is for people of all ages, all levels, and all intentions. Our classes will challenge you physically, but more than that they will be an opportunity to increase self-awareness, knowledge and joy,” state Pranamar’s owners.
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