Happiness, bliss & the beauty of life on Santa Teresa Beach
Are you happy?
That seems to be the question being asked in recent times, from boardrooms to bars, international conference centers to offices of government leaders, business schools to book stores. Are we happy? Following our bliss? Living our passion? Are we "me-focused" or "others-focused"?
The tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan even measures its country's prosperity by its "gross national happiness" (GNH), measuring the spiritual, physical, social and environmental health and happiness of its citizens and natural environment. Bhutan's policy attracted great interest at the United Nations climate change conference in Doha, Qatar last December.
Costa Rica has made it to #1 on the Happy Planet Index for two years in a row (2012 & 2011), based on its national conservation policies, small ecological footprint, high quality of life and life expectancy rate all being "exceedingly above par", states Forbes Magazine. The Happy Planet Index is an annual survey conducted by the New Economics Foundation, a British think-tank that aims to measure the level of happiness in every country in the world. The ranking system establishes a solid link between happiness and the environment or nature.
Top 10 Destination Wedding planning tips
Trending in recent years among brides and grooms is leaving behind the traditional, large, 250-person, fancy church, banquet hall wedding in favor of a fun, exotic destination wedding that adds the adventure of a sunny honeymoon vacation. Couples choose to go out-of-town for many reasons, including basic economics. You would think that staging a wedding in another country would break the bank, but in most cases, only close friends and family attend these celebrations; thus, sparing couples from the large, expensive, traditional wedding receptions back home where everyone up to your long-forgotten Sunday School teacher are invited.
Destination weddings have become increasingly popular for couples of all types. Costa Rica has become one of the premier locations for destination weddings in the world.
The popular wedding website TheKnot.com named Costa Rica in 2012 a top wedding destination in Latin America. TheKnot.com reported that one out of every four destination weddings in Latin America take place in Costa Rica. What's not to like? You have fabulously gorgeous beaches, lush rainforest, volcanoes, a thriving tourism industry, and an abundance of hotels, resorts and vacation homes available. A destination wedding is an exciting alternative to a traditional wedding, but a destination wedding requires a lot of planning. Information taken from many sources, including top Costa Rica wedding planner Aimee Monihan, owner of Tropical Occasions and Santa Teresa Beach Weddings, brings you our:
Top 10 list of "Things to Know Before Planning a Destination Wedding":
1. Choose your location carefully. Destination weddings don't always have to be a beach setting. Choose a mountain, volcano, lake, forest, etc. if beaches aren't your thing. For instance, Costa Rica has lovely cool climates up at elevated cloud forests.
2. Plan well in advance, especially your airline tickets. Try not to plan a wedding during the country's busiest times of year when tourism and costs are at their highest, or during national holidays when people do not want to work and businesses are closed. (For Costa Rica, these times are Christmas Week through New Year's, and Holy week.)
Uncover the Rich Indigenous History of Costa RicaVisitors to Costa Rica's northwest Guanacaste region probably don't realize the area was once a thriving community for the indigenous Chorotega tribe. Indigenous history and traditions maintain a low profile in the Central American country, yet if you look closely they are all around you.
Spreading across Costa Rica's entire northern Pacific zone, Guanacaste, for instance, is called the "Chorotega region" after its original inhabitants. The Nicoya Peninsula is named for a Chorotega chief who ruled the area when the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Costa Rica in 1523.
At the time of the Spanish conquest, the Chorotega were the largest and most technologically advanced tribe in Costa Rica, according to Encyclopedia Britannica and other historical reports. The tribe, whose name means "people surrounded by enemies", were driven by warfare from Central Mexico many generations before the Spanish arrived and settled in southern Nicaragua, Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula.
They spoke Mangue, an Oto-Manguean language from Central Mexico that was shared by indigenous groups in Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Many of the place names in northwest Costa Rica are Chorotegan, including Guanacaste – name of the northern Pacific province and Costa Rica's national tree. The word "Guanacaste" means "ear tree" for the trees' seeds which resemble a human ear.
Yoga Stretches for Surfers ... Practice in Costa Rica!
Most surfers are probably already aware that the practice of Yoga results in great benefits for the physical body and beyond.
Yoga increases mental clarity and our ability to concentrate with intention on specific goals and desires. The breathing techniques used in this ancient science are amazing for increasing lung capacity, while helping to lengthen our ability to retain the breath (so necessary for surfers).
On a physical level, the postures (asanas) create flexibility, tone, strengthen, and hone in on our balancing skills. They also fill the body with vital Life energy (prana) and highly raise our body and self-awareness.
The following dynamic and static postures will help you achieve the strength and flexibility needed out in the surf, and will increase your balancing abilities for greater stability on your board. Remember to always warm-up before heading out to the water, stretch for 5-10 minutes after surfing, and ENJOY!!
1) 3 legged downward dog w/ bent knee
Begin in downward-facing dog pose with your hands outer shoulder distance apart and feet parallel to each other, at least hip width apart. As you lift your hips up and back you'll begin to feel a deep stretch along the backs of the legs. Remember to engage and tone your quadriceps (fronts of the thighs) while moving the tops of the thighs toward the backs of the legs. Breathe deeply in and out through the nose and throat, balancing the flow of breath and helping to calm the mind. Keep the arms strong and stable by pushing all four corners of the palms and all the fingertips into the ground and begin to lift your right leg up and into the air behind you. Lengthen through both legs as you take the right hip higher, "stacking" the hips and gently twisting from the waistline. Carefully bend the right knee while flexing the foot and spreading out the toes. The more you take your foot to the left, the more you will need to tuck your pelvis to lengthen the lower spine and increase flexibility in the psoas muscles. Work up to holding the position for 5-15 breaths. Bring the right leg back to downward dog posture and repeat on the other leg.
2) Standing Pigeon w/ Eagle arms
Begin standing upright and cross your right ankle over your left lower thigh (right above the knee), keeping the foot active and flexed to protect the knee joint. With your hands on your hips, slowly bend your standing leg and widen your inner thighs back and apart (imagine you are hovering over a chair!). Bring your arms parallel to the earth, reaching long from the heart center to your fingertips. Then cross your right arm under the left and "wrap" the arms around each other. Energetically lift your elbows and fingers upwards, while dropping your hips and thighs. Hug strongly into the mid-line with the legs and breathe deeply for 5 -10 breaths. Release and try the other side.
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