Meditation has become trendy. More and more people have the urge to connect with themselves in the ever-changing crazy world. Meditation, which in the past has been an exercise of monks, yogis and hippies, is becoming a widely spoken topic among corporate executives and athletes.
The meditation traditions in India trace back centuries and the medical benefits of meditation balancing our bodies are part of the traditional Ayurvedic medication. In the western world, we tend to only rely on scientifically proven medical benefits not so much on the traditional and natural healing methods. In India, the executive directors of large national companies have cultivated meditation as part of their meetings, and board of directors meditate between meetings. There are also those who get into a headstand in between meetings, in their corporate outfit, wearing a black suit and tie. What a great way to take a break, to increase the blood flow to the brain and to change your perception, center yourself and relax your mind and calm your body.
Silence is Spiritual Discipline
Blue Osa is no regular hotel. It is an eco yoga retreat center and spa offering its guests a sanctuary to disconnect and reconnect. Blue Osa is paradise with a relaxed atmosphere, plenty of space around and tucked away from busy city life.
At Blue Osa, we start our mornings with morning silence. Silence allows people to focus their minds, calm the internal chatter and feel the beauty in every morning. Read more about experiencing morning silence at Blue Osa here.
The morning silence is broken with beautiful Himalayan ancient prayer, providing the guests an opportunity to emotionally engage in holiness and spirituality. And really, what regular hotel starts their mornings with prayers.
Importance of Sacred Sanctuary
The property of Blue Osa is mindfully designed and landscaped to provide the guests with a tranquil environment. The energy in this place, between the powerful Pacific Ocean and the jungle, is tense. If anywhere, this is the place for an immersive yoga experience.
As being used to offering Blue Osa guests a special place for yogic experience, it is equally important for Yogi Aaron to choose the right locations for his Blue Osa journey retreats. This time, Adam, the co-owner and architect/ designer of Blue Osa, was traveling together with Yogi Aaron in India to check out locations for the upcoming Blue Osa Indian Himalayan retreat.
Adam explains his experience, “In July 2014, it was my first time in India. Quite of an experience overall. But what struck me the most, were the temples. I was just amazed and inspired by the temples. The temple rituals that people have in India, the devotion of queuing into the temples with offerings to receive this blunt service was just fascinating to watch. The people were so devoted and committed to the rituals and engaged in the spirituality. All this reflecting from deep internal devotion, there was none of this external glory as we are used to in western church services.”
“Witnessing the mass of people on their pilgrimage to the Ganges River to be purified by the holy water was incredible. To see the connection these people had for the spirituality and for the deeper meaning in life was so incredible. There is just something so genuine, deep and blunt sincerity in the Indian temples and the rituals. I was mesmerized by this experience,” Adam explains.
From Idea to Realization
“And then Aaron and I had the idea, what if we would have our own temple in Blue Osa!” Adam reveals how the wonderful temple got started. “We could offer a special sacred place for our guests to connect, center and experience the intensity of connecting with something genuine, deep and spiritual” Yogi Aaron continues.
The Blue Osa Temple is a special place in a special place.
“I am not a spiritual man, but it does not take a yogi to discover that there is a deeper meaning in life and sometimes we need a moment of tranquility to invite that connection,” Adam explains.
While still in India, Adam started to search online images of wooden temples that could be modified to the Costa Rican local construction materials. “I found this beautiful Hindu temple near Rishikesh. I did not get to visit the temple but I did see it from a distance from the Himalayas. I selected the ornamental engraved screens and traditional doors and the altar table from India and had them shipped to Blue Osa. We used the local carpenter and sourced the wooden materials for the temple from Costa Rica”. Adam explains.
It was in October 2014 during Yoga Teacher Training when the inauguration of our temple in Costa Rica was celebrated. Ganesh has found its space at the center of the back wall on an altar, greeting people entering. “Ganesh, this elephant-headed character, is probably the most recognized Hindu God outside India and it speaks to many of us” Yogi Aaron explains the choice for the centerpiece in the temple.
Ganesh is the lord of fortune, providing prosperity and success and also the beginner and remover of obstacles of physical of a spiritual kind. In addition, Ganesh is a destroyer of vanity, selfishness and pride. Definitely a powerful focus point for meditation for anyone.
Get Started With Your Meditation
We meditate to quiet our mind, to overcome the internal continuous chatter, analysis and to steady our mind. When we are able to quiet our conscious mind, our nervous system finds its balance. We are able to relax our body and mind, resulting thoughts, state of mind and we experience less stress and anxiety in everyday life. We learn how to respond to stressful situations with breathing and positive mindset.
Temples are, traditionally, places for religious and spiritual practices such as prayer and sacrifice. Holy places with special energy, with healing power. In addition to prayers, temples are an excellent place to meditate.
“The Blue Osa Temple is always open to our guests. Enter in, take your offering to Ganesh, or don’t. Find your way and center yourself. Our temple offers a special place for our guests to connect to whatever they need to connect with,” states Yogi Aaron. “And now we also have a place for fire rituals in front of the temple, which has been in quite popular for retreat groups” Aaron continues.
Through temple meditation, we can fully engage with God, the universe, nature, yourself whatever it is that needs connecting with. Fully concentrated and long-term meditation can bring permanent positive changes to the physical shape of the frontal lobe of our brain, which is responsible for our emotions. We become emotionally more stable and focused in life.
The essentials for setting up meditation:
1. Find a peaceful place
2. Meditation methods of choice
3. Passive mindset
4. Comfortable pose
For more tips ho to get started with your meditation, read this.
Different Types Of Meditation To Practice In The Blue Osa Temple
1. Chakra Meditation: Focus your mind and concentrate on opening and exploring the energy centers of your body. In chakra meditation, we can focus on one chakra at a time, or shift the energy through different chakras opening each one of them at a time. Imagine the color and the lotus symbol of each chakra and focus your mind on that specific part of your body where the chakra is located. This is a very powerful tool to increase the energy level in your body and let go of any blockages.
2. God Meditation: Focusing on virtues of the god of your choice. Focusing on the virtues of Ganesh would mean focusing letting go of vanity, selfishness and pride. Read more about meditation focusing on Saraswati.
3. Gratitude Meditation: When we count our blessings and find things we are grateful for in everyday life it helps us grow spiritually and appreciate life. It also helps us to push away from fear and anxiousness. Focus your meditation on the things you are grateful for and you will see a shift in your level of happiness and appreciation in everyday life. You may keep a gratitude journal to keep track of the evolvement of your journey.
4. Singe Object Gazing Meditation: Focus on a flower or candle. Look at rose pedals and focus on the shape and the structure of the flower. Look and observe the simple complexity while focusing your gaze. Then close your eyes and picture this rose in your mind. Hold this image in your mind for 20 minutes. The same exercise can be done with a candle or with a scenery of nature.
5. Mindfulness In The Present Moment: Absorb the current reality and keep your mind clear from any external thoughts. Fully concentrate in this moment, the bodily functions you are performing in your meditation. You may take your mindfulness to chores of the day, such as mindful eating: experiencing fully the taste, flavor, texture and temperature of the food.
6. Mantra Meditation: With the help of mala beads, go through a mantra of your choice. The mantra can be as simple as the sound om, or a prayer. Use your mala beads to count 108 times.
7. Music Meditation: Choose music that is soothing and easy to follow. Focus fully in the music, live it, breath it, imagine it. Bring our iPod or phone and earplugs, as we wish to keep the temple area quiet for others who are not into music meditation.
8. Breathing Meditation: Start your meditation by bringing awareness to your breath. Lengthening and deepening the breath. Keep your mind focused on your breath. Once you have established a rhythm, you can let go of thinking about your breath and become an observant of your mind, breath, body and thoughts. Let any emotions pass by without judgement. You can not breath deeply and worry at the same time, so forget the worries and focus on your breath and the sensation you are experiencing.
9. Loving-Kindness Meditation: You become what you think. Focus your mind on kindness and let every breath fill you with loving kindness. Too often we find it easier to be kind to others and not to ourselves. By practicing loving-kindness meditation we focus on creating positive vibes to our body. Imagine yourself as a child and approach the child within you with care, compassion, love and nurturing that child, breathing in loving kindness.
10. Walking Meditation: Find your focus, center and clear your mind from all external distress. Take a moment to bring your mind into the present moment and focus all of your thoughts to be aware and to experience the sensations in your body. Then raise up, and start to walk. Don’t put your shoes on, go barefoot. During every step, feel how the grass, stones, rock, sad, tiles, or leaves feel under your feet. Feel how your feet press the ground. Stop for a moment to root and ground. Walk mindfully engaging your mind and breath on every step for 15 minutes and the return back to the starting point in the temple. Take a moment to reflect on your feelings and experience.
To close up the meditation practice, we can simply reflect on our emotions, our state of mind and how do we feel. See if you can learn from each experience. It is important to learn and not project with judgement or expectation. every meditation practice is different. Enter your meditation with an open mind and body and gain the various benefits of tranquility, relaxation and a focused mind.
What is your favorite spot to meditate at Blue Osa and what type of meditation do you practice there? Share your experience with us!
About The Author
Inka means literally “The Child of Sun”. This radiant world traveler from Finland is in her thirties has explored in 55 countries and lived in USA, Latvia, and China. For the past decade, Inka has been working in the Global Mining Industry as Marketing Manager, promoting a sustainable technology solution for the world’s metal producers and process industries. While working in China, she truly discovered Yoga and completed her Yoga Teachers Training. Inka is on her amazing adventure through Americas for 3 months which of one-month volunteering in Blue Osa. Her Mantra is: “The Universe is my Home – my yoga mat my temple. We have one life – so live it well. Choose to be happy”. Follow her adventures and take a peek into her photographic memory in Instagram ituononen, #VirtaavaValonVoima.