Written by Dee on 20/05/11, filed under General News, Relaxation and Pampering Spa, Yoga | No Comments
Exercises, that slow and deepen the breathing bring a ‘feel – good’ factor to the body, while also relaxing and resting the mind. Yoga practice releases tension in the physical body and also frees obstructions in the nadis, or energy channels. It is important to choose a posture that is comfortable and sustainable. The traditional postures for meditation such as the yoga poses of Padmasana (lotus posture) or Virasana (hero posture), hold the body in stillness on a stable foundation, while allowing energy to flow freely along the spine as start to turn our focus inward. The classical yoga asanas are designed to promote strength, balance, breath and focus. This makes them ideal exercises for all the koshas, and an excellent preparation for the meditation. Vrksasana -tree posture (above) is one of the classic yoga postures used in preparation for meditation practice.
The traditional position for meditation practice is to sit with the knees out to each side. This creates a pyramid with a firm triangular base so that it is difficult to topple over and easy to keep the spine erect, even when you are totally engrossed in inner experiences. Sitting with spine erect allows flow energy between the ‘heaven’ (light) and ‘earth’ (life) poles of our being. Energy needs to flow smoothly up and down through the physical spine and energy channels of the subtle bod, so that the brain and breathing function optimally and the chakras are balanced and full of vitality. An erect spine is quite easy to maintain if the right props are used to begin with and the right exercises are performed regularly to strengthen the muscles that hold the spine erect and open the hip joints. However, in Western society people seldom sit in this position.
Focusing on the breath is a universal technique for enlightenment and healing, and many traditions use breathing practices wither as a way to prepare for meditation of as meditation techniques for themselves. The technique of holding the breath – either in or out , safely requires one to one teaching, but becoming aware of the breathing process and directing the flow of the breath is within the capacity of everyone. Slowing down the breathing and lengthening the breath out switches the nervous system into its peaceful happy mode, allowing stress to be dissolved and rest, digestion, absorption and healing to take place at every level of five koshas.
Relaxation is quite different from mediation and should not be confused with each other. Relaxation practices are done lying down in as comfortable a position as possible. Western psychotherapists usually favor a reclining position because there technique require client to be relaxed as they follow a guided visualization or answer questions from the past. Meditation practices takes us deeper than this, with the mind quietly focused on a single object.
The most external levels of our being are our physical body and our energy flow. Through a sequence of gentle movements and techniques that foster awareness of the breath, we can bring both these levels into a state of harmony, so that we can sit comfortably and peacefully for meditation practice.
Written by Dee on 15/05/11, filed under General News | No Comments
Essential oils are often referred to as the ’soul’ of a plant. They are produced by tiny glands in the petal of flowers, in the wood, stems and barks of trees, and in the skins of many fruits. Each oils is composed of at least 100 different chemical constituents, which are categorized as aldehydes, oxides, ketones, phenoles, esters, terpenes and alcohols. Oils have individual characteristics and when blended the different chemicals together produce a specific property – such a relaxing, uplifting or sedative and a distinct aroma. About 300 oils are known for their healing powers, and more are continually being discovered. However, all are not used in aromatherapy.
The reasons for blending essential oils are to incorporate their different healing properties and create a particular aroma. There are no strict rules about blending , which is why aromatherapy can be a wonderful path of discovery. It is always a good idea to smell the oil before being massaged as we all have our own unique body odor which is governed by wide range of factors and same oil may smell differently on two different people.
When the massage is combined with aromatherapy, the scents of the essential oils can themselves assist in relaxation, helping to re balance the emotional tension that often leads to muscle tension. An aromatherapy massage is performed more slowly and lightly, than traditional massage. It can take anything from few minutes to couple of hours for the oils to be absorbed into the body, depending on a person;s state of health and the amount of fatty tissue.
Which ever oil you use for your massage, they will certainly help yo u to relax, while at the same time revitalizing and healing – the natural way.
Written by anita on 12/05/11, filed under Destination and Hotel Spas, Europe | No Comments
It was our 10th wedding anniversary and we wanted it to be particularly romantic, tranquil, preferably in a sunny, warm environment and not far from an international airport. We are both huge fans of wine so the combination of Portugal and wine made perfect sense. That’s how we came across Aquapura Douro Valley, the most delightful discovery since we got married. We landed in the surprisingly modern Oporto International Airport and were driven in a super comfortable private transfer to Port wine territory. 100 km of terraced land, vineyards, pine and olive trees and amazing perspectives over a lazy, shining river running through narrow canyons. The first glimpse of the hotel is of a patch of dark orange against a background of lush green woodland and thick river bends. Mesmerizing! We were very nicely received with a cup of iced tea and a steaming towel to clean our tired hands. How pleasant that was! This feeling of being welcomed and of being thoroughly looked after remained from the beginning to the end of our stay. It started with the impossibly comfortable, sleek bedroom we were assigned and continued through our first dinner at the Almapura restaurant. A perfect, intimate, delectable meal by candlelight followed by a stroll by the swimming pool and through terraced gardens under a pitch black sky with a very visible Milky Way! The next two days were as wonderful as the first one as we visited various aristocratic wine producing estates, where we were welcomed by the owners and taken to wineries rich in history and stories to try red wines that tasted like heaven and felt like smooth silk! Our last day was pure bliss as it finished at sunset on a vintage sailing boat from which all the magnificence of the Douro estates and countryside can be fully appreciated. Definitely a holiday to be remembered and repeated!
Day one | Arrival and dinner at the property
Day Two | Boat Trip in a English Vintage Boat with Quinta do Crasto Wines on board in the morning, lunch at a local restaurant on top of the river named DOC, visit to wineries such as Quinta de Napoles from Niepoort Wines or Quinta do Seixo with an interactive museum from Sandeman Wines.
Day Three | visit to palaces and museums such as Palacio de Mateus (a palace from 18th century from Nicolau Nasoni) , lunch a local restaurant as Castas e Pratos in the old train station, afternoon at the spa
Day four | departure or extra visits to other wineries or historical villages. Discover the history of Vallado and D. Antonia Ferreira, the most important business woman in the Port Wine industry. Visit Lamego, headquarter of Portuguese church in the 15th century with castles and religious museums. Taste the local treats such as peixinhos de Lamego.