The Most Useful Mindful Meditation Tips from the Experts at Imiloa

The Most Useful Mindful Meditation Tips from the Experts at Imiloa

The term “mindfulness” has become an increasingly popular concept in culture and has grown in interest and potential over the past decade. What was once an original ancient Buddhist practice for exploring the human experience, is headed mainstream. 

But what exactly is mindfulness? 

Ramana Maharshi, who died in 1950 in India, was known to share that in a meditation practice, if your brain scatters, bring it back to center by inquiring: “Who am I?” This is a remarkable awareness in and of itself; it actually shuts the mind down because each time the inquiry is posed, the mind simply cannot answer. 

Mindfulness and meditation practices simply keep us open and allow us to collapse the judgments we have in the world by acknowledging that they exist. 

But how do we do it? How do we actually…meditate?

Lee Davy, one of the Founding Family members at Imiloa, explains just exactly how we can achieve this. Lee used to own a gym in Toronto before becoming investor #2 at Imiloa. His life is radically focused on others and sharing the technologies and tools that he believes can transform the lives of others. 

First, Davy explains, there are three important components of meditation that we must understand in obtaining this state of contentment. 

The first element of meditation is awareness. By going inward, dropping in, and visiting ourselves on a deeper level, we can become more aware of what’s going on around us.  Classically, we can do this by focusing on the breaths. When our brains wander, we acknowledge and gently refocus on the breath. 

The second component of meditation is the practice of being in the present moment. This entails recognizing and noticing our current state. This allows us to check in on the mind and sift through our thoughts, emotions, concepts, images, feelings–all without judgment. 

The third part of meditation is attunement. This is the notion of honing in on the concept of “more.” It’s how we acclimate and visualize more love, sensations, healing, growth, energy, and overall, more abundance into our lives. 

These three components of meditation are proven to bring us higher degrees of health, wealth, bliss, overall, a sense of contentment.

With so many techniques, technologies and tools for meditation, it can cause overwhelm. Meditate on it. 

Kidding. Sort of. 

Davy suggests that a great habit to form is establishing a morning meditation practice before you get out of bed. One of his favorite practices is a three and a half-hour meditation of the pineal gland. This practice took Davy years of dedication to put into place. 

Davy explains that the pineal gland is a small “pine cone” shaped piece located in the center of your brain in the endocrine system. This system is known to regulate melatonin, as the gland works to govern and maintain the circadian rhythm. Essentially, our sleep/wake cycle.

The gland has also long been associated with the idea of the “third eye”, or “the eye of intuition” which comes from the yogic symbol of all-knowing. However, Davy goes on, the pineal gland is a space that’s located above the third eye and works as the sensing unit. This gland begins to degenerate as we reach the age of ten, which is when we start to lose touch with our spirituality. 

But with a solid pineal gland meditation practice, we can help begin to regenerate the health of this gland. Davy shares that a way to do this is by getting into a comfortable position, keeping your spine straight, and to visualize and place your attention solely onto the pineal gland. This awakens intuition and activates inner wisdom while creating a soothing and peaceful state of mind.

Physical activity is another great form of meditation. Any form of movement whether it be yoga, free dance, or activities such as running gets the blood flowing. The art of movement and physical activity gets you out of your own head and more into your own body.

Another suggestion Davy recommends for meditation is learning how to breathe. Yes, that’s right. It may come as a surprise as we think of breathing as a natural thing, right? But studies show that most of us are not breathing correctly which can lead to anxiety symptoms and depression. New research shows that we tend to take small sips of air and hold in our chest, forgetting to breathe with our bellies. 

An exercise that Davy loves to share with his guests at Imiloa to help with “belly breathing” is the Wim Hof Method. This type of breathwork is easily approachable and consists of two parts. The first technique is similar to a polar bear plunge. 

An extremely chilly dip in artic-type water is believed to boost the immune system, increase energy levels, and relieve joint pain. Another version of the Wim Hof meditation consists of 5 rounds of deep belly breathwork. 

Generally, this part involves 30 breaths within the rounds, while adding small retention after each round of breathing. This style of breathwork allows us to control the flow of air through our lungs to regulate our body’s energy. It also steers us away from reacting in a fight or flight mode, thus giving a sense of relaxation and response.

Ultimately, learning to incorporate some of these mindful meditation techniques really comes down to honoring your own spiritual journey. When we begin to nurture our bodies, we start to nurture our spirit.

And by nurturing our spirit, we are nurturing the world. It’s an important aspect in life to fill our own cup first; as one cannot pour from an empty cup. There’s a subtle art to finding the delicate balance between lingering too long in the past and overthinking about the future. 

By acquiring habitual meditation practices, we can usher ourselves to a state of awareness, and awareness is what brings us to the present moment. The present moment is where we can find true contentment. 

Life is happening for us, never to us. We gain this perspective through our meditation practice. And what emerges is a more playful, joy-filled life being realized in the present moment to moment

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“Jake, this is it, this is where I was when I had the vision, it was never Indonesia, it was here in Costa Rica.” 

I can remember that day so clearly: I was in the pool with Jake at the Bali Master house, one of our 200 year old homes imported from Bali on the Imiloa Institute Campus,  and it hit me.

The rainy season of 2018 was heavier than usual, and it just so happened to be when we decided to start construction at Imiloa. Six bungalows down to our waterfall, six Geodesic Domes imported from Warsaw, Poland. A social space, a remodel and a dream that human beings would come here and hang their hat for a while.

Imiloa was being birthed in front of our eyes and nothing and no one seemed to be able to stop it.

Fast forward 14 months later, an impossible construction project built, and a dream well on it’s way to being realized. It was spoken and it was now beyond our hands. The Hawaiian word “Imiloa”, Jake has told me, translates to: “creativity expressed through the sense of wonder and imagination.” More than a name, it’s a way of life, and it was truly taking place in this magical land of Costa Rica.

My personal journey has been of growth at Imiloa. What I thought would be a place to heal others and provide them with a transformative journey has turned into a healing sanctuary for me, for every team member I hire and for all those who visit.

Imiloa has taught me about removing my mental and spiritual limitations. It has reminded me, as it has for so many, the power we have as creators. I’m understanding and learning about the perfect in everything as it is.

The land is so magical and the power we have as humans in it is incomprehensible, indescribable. Waking up to the sounds of nature, connecting to the animal kingdom and walking barefoot in this land has brought my inner awareness to another level. It truly shows you what needs to be addressed within, it challenges you in ways I never imagined, very subtle yet profound.

And what about my realization in the 200 year old home from Bali? Well, you see, a year prior, I thought I was moving to Bali. I was living in Toronto at the time, with strong visions of a cliffside retreat center, with old homes and pools and people from around the world coming to visit. I impulsively bought a ticket to Bali and stayed for two weeks. I didn’t find what I envisioned. It’s because it wasn’t meant to be.

A few months later, Jake and Nadav’s assistant found me in Toronto. And the cliffside views over the ocean and the world showing up at our front door, complete with the 200 year old Indonesian homes, found me, too.

Imiloa has been a place for my own personal transformation. The seed is well planted so that this place can show up as a beacon of light in the lives of so many. So that, just maybe, they can go out and touch families, communities, and cultures they return to after their time at Imiloa has come to a close.


India Mayorga
Co-Founder, Imiloa Institute
Member of the Bri-Bri Tribe of indigenious Costa Ricans
Fashion, surf and vegan enthusiast



Puedo recordar el día tan claramente: estaba en la piscina con Jake en la casa principal de Bali (una de nuestras casas de 200 años de Bali en el campus de Imiloa) y me golpeó,

“Jake, esto es, aquí es donde estaba cuando tuve la visión, nunca fue Indonesia, fue aquí en Costa Rica”.

La temporada de lluvias de 2018 fue más intensa de lo habitual, y resultó ser cuando decidimos comenzar la construcción en Imiloa. Seis bungalows hasta nuestra cascada, seis cúpulas geodésicas importadas de Varsovia, Polonia.

Imiloa estaba naciendo frente a nuestros ojos y nada ni nadie parecía ser capaz de detenerlo. Avance rápido 14 meses después, se construyó un proyecto de construcción imposible, y un sueño bien en camino de hacerse realidad. Se habló y ahora estaba más allá de nuestras manos. La palabra hawaiana “Imiloa”, me ha dicho Jake, se traduce como: “creatividad expresada a través del sentido de la maravilla y la imaginación”. Más que un nombre, es una forma de vida, y realmente estaba teniendo lugar en esta tierra mágica de Costa Rica

Mi viaje personal ha sido de crecimiento en Imiloa. Lo que pensé que sería un lugar para sanar a otros y proporcionarles un viaje transformador se ha convertido en un santuario de curación para mí, para cada miembro del equipo que contrato y para todos los que visitan.

Imiloa me ha enseñado a eliminar mis limitaciones mentales y espirituales. Me ha recordado, como lo ha hecho para muchos, el poder que tenemos como creadores. Estoy entendiendo y aprendiendo sobre lo perfecto en todo como es.

La tierra es tan mágica y el poder que tenemos como humanos en él es incomprensible, indescriptible. Despertar con los sonidos de la naturaleza, conectarme con el reino animal y caminar descalzo en esta tierra ha llevado mi conciencia interior a otro nivel. Realmente te muestra lo que hay que abordar, te desafía de formas que nunca imaginé, muy sutiles pero profundas.

¿Y qué hay de mi realización en la casa de 200 años de Bali? Bueno, ya ves, un año antes, pensé que me mudaría a Bali. En ese momento vivía en Toronto, con fuertes visiones de un centro de retiro junto al acantilado, con casas y piscinas antiguas y personas de todo el mundo que venían a visitarme. Impulsivamente compré un boleto a Bali y me quedé por dos semanas. No encontré lo que imaginé. Es porque no estaba destinado a ser.

Unos meses después, el asistente de Jake y Nadav me encontró en Toronto. Y las vistas del acantilado sobre el océano y el mundo que aparecen en nuestra puerta principal, completa con las casas indonesias de 200 años, también me encontraron.

Imiloa ha sido un lugar para mi propia transformación personal. La semilla está bien plantada para que este lugar pueda aparecer como un faro de luz en la vida de muchos. Para que, tal vez, puedan salir y tocar familias, comunidades y culturas a las que regresan después de que su tiempo en Imiloa haya llegado a su fin.


India Mayorga
Cofundador, Instituto Imiloa
Miembro de la tribu Bri Bri, indígena costarricense
Entusiasta de la moda, el surf y el vegano.



Light Leadership

November 11-18, 2019 

Join us in November for a week-long experience in community as healing medicine. This retreat focuses on working through the next steps to take after healing has begun to continue to grow and learn in your own consciousness and leadership among your tribe. We will focus on creating the expansion possibility within you as an individual to bring your personal gifts to the world as a healer and in creating the container within your neighborhood. 



Pedro, our Imiloa Institute plant-based chef, has overcome personal difficulties to be able to offer his gift to the world – the gift of nourishing, life-giving food. Food is medicine. At Imiloa Institute the way we nourish our retreat guests is important to us. 

You can bring the nourishing cuisine home with you: cook our delicious new plant-based recipe from in-house chef Pedro : Moussaka, complete with Tzatziki Curry and Caramel Onions. Pedro specializes in imaginative vegan cuisine, made from ingredients grown on-site and locally in the Dominical area of Costa Rica. This dish is sure to nourish your body & soul and demonstrate how delectable and easy to prepare plant-based eating can be. 


A Greek lasagna made from layers of roasted vegetables, coconut cheese, and quinoa tomato sauce. 


2 cups of red quinoa
160 g Organic tomato paste
5 red tomatoes
3 red bell peppers, roasted and diced
1 big white onion, diced
2 rosemary sprigs
1 head of garlic
Bunch of basil
3 cloves
2 bay leaves
2 spoons of nutmeg
4 spoons of cinnamon
2 spoons of paprika
Pinch of coconut sugar

Lasagna pasta

4 potatoes, sliced
4 zucchini, sliced
4  eggplant, sliced


Heat 3 cups of water in a pot and add the quinoa. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Into the pot add olive oil, onions, garlic, bell pepper, tomatoes, tomato paste, and all the herbs. Cook for 15 minutes.
Cover the eggplant with salt and let sit for 10 minutes, then wash salt off.
In warm pan, saute slices of eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes in olive oil until golden brown.
Assemble by laying eggplant as the first layer, cover with quinoa sauce and coconut cheese. Zucchini is the next layer, cover with quinoa sauce and coconut cheese. Final layer is potato slices. Top with remainder of coconut cheese.
Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. Let cool and serve with caramel onions and tzatziki curry sauce.

Tzatziki Curry

1⁄2 cup of fresh young coconut meat
1 lemon
3 spoons of curry madras
1 tablespoon sesame oil


Blend all ingredients together.

Caramel balsamic

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1⁄4 cup raw brown sugar
1 spoon of water 


Cook until sugar caramelizes and turns black. 

Imiloa has recently hit 14 incredible months of bringing light to this world. Our passion for changing the game for cultural conversations is reaching new heights with so many powerful masters and leaders bringing their expertise to share in our sacred space. With so many upcoming programs to choose from, we are sure you will find something that calls to your soul here in our lush jungle home. 

We are ready to open you with open arms. 

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