Close-up of a person meditating on the beach, showcasing mindfulness practices at Vayu Retreat Villa in Costa Rica.

What Is the Difference: Mindfulness vs. Meditation

What Is the Difference: Mindfulness vs. Meditation

This Blog post will offer some basic information about mindfulness and meditation.

Discovering the Nuances Between Mindfulness and Meditation: A Wellness Guide from Vayu Retreat Villa in Costa Rica

If you have arrived at this page, you may have thought about starting a wellness practice, perhaps saw it on social media, or read about its benefits. Consider beginning your journey in Costa Rica, the land of “Pura Vida,” where the lifestyle is rooted in mindfulness and present-focused living. Both mindfulness and meditation offer incredible benefits and can be practiced together or separately. At our boutique hotel Vayu Retreat Villas in Costa Rica, we provide the perfect starting point to embrace the “Pura Vida” mindset and way of living, helping you enhance your well-being through mindful living and meditation. Experience the essence of mindfulness Costa Rica has to offer and immerse yourself in the tranquility and beauty of Vayu Retreat Villa.


We live in a world defined by paradox: the more connected we are, the more divided we become; the more productive, the less fulfilled; technologically empowered, but powerless to technology. Our current moment is one in which we are all searching for ways to feel less rushed, anxious, lonely. We’re ready for more. We’re increasingly understanding mindfulness and meditation as part of a solution to our modern day maladies. But the popular notion of mindful practice remains narrow.

The Present Moment

Millions of people today are still sitting alone in their living rooms, peeking at the clock, wondering if it’s “working” yet. However, as mindfulness continues to grow in popularity, we are constantly seeking new ways to deepen, expand, and explore the practice. Beyond a form of stress-relief, mindfulness can be a powerful tool for personal growth, deeper understanding, and vibrancy. More than a means to disconnect, it can foster a sense of community and belonging. Far from mere silence, it can be an immersive, beautiful, and moving experience. There is immense power in the present moment, and we hope to inspire you to embrace it fully.

Pura Vida

When people think of Costa Rica, the phrase “Pura Vida” often comes to mind. This “Pura Vida” lifestyle is deeply rooted in mindfulness and present-focused living, making it the perfect setting to explore mindfulness and meditation. Both practices offer incredible benefits and can be integrated into your wellness journey, whether practiced together or separately.



Key Insights

  • Mindfulness: Awareness of the present moment, can be used throughout your day.
  • Meditation: A deliberate practice often involving mindfulness.
  • Combined Approach: Using both to maintain focus and presence for optimal wellness in Costa Rica.


A person meditating on the beach with the ocean in the background at Vayu Retreat Villa, experiencing mindfulness in Costa Rica

Mindfulness and Meditation Explained

Mindfulness is the simple act of being aware of the present moment. For example – being aware that you are sitting; where are you sitting, on what? holding a phone or looking at a computer screen, reading, what do you hear? Perhaps there is the sweet smell of fresh cut grass nearby – Mindfulness involves paying attention to your current thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. Mindfulness can be practiced anytime, anywhere, and offers numerous benefits. Being in a nature-rich environment, like our boutique hotel here in Costa Rica, can make it easier to tune into your surroundings. This setting allows you to deeply connect with the natural world, fostering a sense of harmony and belonging that transcends everyday life.

Research shows mindfulness can help lower blood pressure, particularly for those at risk of heart disease. In one study, participants practicing mindfulness saw significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

While mindfulness and meditation share similarities, they are not the same. Here’s how they differ:

Meditation 101

Meditation is an intentional practice that differs from mindfulness. It involves finding a quiet, comfortable place to sit, focusing on deep breathing or rhythmic breathwork, and guiding your mind to a focal point, such as a mantra or visual anchor. Meditation is typically practiced during a set time frame, distinguishing it from the more spontaneous practice of mindfulness. More on this in a little bit.

Mindfulness 101

Mindfulness is a way of being that can be practiced anytime, anywhere, by engaging fully in the present moment. Many people are often preoccupied with past emotions or future tasks, making it challenging to remain mindful. Practicing mindfulness involves actively engaging with your current thoughts, senses, emotions, and actions, reducing stress and enhancing happiness. It is often difficult to stop, focus and take a mindful moment.

Integrating Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness can be practiced outside of meditation, and meditation often includes mindfulness. If you struggle to stay present, you’re not alone. A Harvard study found that people spend 46.9% of their waking hours thinking about something other than their current activity. Other studies indicate that 90% of what we think are regurgitated thoughts and ways of thinking – neural paths.

Practicing mindfulness multiple times a day can help refocus your mind.

Meditation incorporates aspects of mindfulness but includes additional elements. While mindfulness can be practiced throughout the day, meditation is a more structured activity. Combining mindfulness and meditation can reduce stress, improve clarity, and enhance well-being. When focused on the present, you activate the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation and better sleep. This combined approach is integral to the wellness experience that we encourage at our boutique hotel in Costa Rica.

A person meditating by a waterfall while staying at Vayu Retreat Villa, embodying mindfulness in Costa Rica's natural surroundings

Varieties of Meditation Techniques

Meditation encompasses various practices, each offering unique benefits. Here are some common types:

Guided Meditation Practices

Guided meditation is a practice led by a teacher, either in person, through a video, or via an audio recording. Both beginners and experienced meditators can benefit from the guidance provided during a session. An experienced teacher can introduce you to new skills or techniques that you may not have encountered before in your meditation journey.

One of the significant advantages of guided meditation, especially at our boutique hotel in Costa Rica, is the ability to completely relinquish control and let the teacher lead you through the practice. This can prevent distractions, such as checking the clock or worrying about maintaining the right rhythm in your breathwork. Surrounded by the natural beauty of Costa Rica, guided meditation sessions allow you to fully immerse yourself in the experience, enhancing your connection to the serene environment and deepening your practice.

Transcendental Meditation Methods

Transcendental Meditation involves using a silent mantra, provided by certified teachers, to focus the mind. Typically practiced for 15 to 20 minutes daily. Try using Pura Vida next time, timed with your breath – In breath Pura. Out Breath Vida

Techniques for Progressive Relaxation

Progressive relaxation scans the body, focusing on relaxing one part at a time without creating muscle tension. This method is ideal for those who find muscle contractions difficult or unpleasant. The practice usually starts at the head and moves down to the feet, promoting overall relaxation, and is often used to help ease one into sleep.

Complementary Practices Involving Meditation

For those looking to calm their mind and stay mindful, the following practices can be beneficial:

Incorporating Yoga for Mindfulness

Yoga combines physical postures with breath awareness and often includes meditation. Beginners should seek guidance from trained teachers to learn proper techniques and breathwork.

Two women engaged in a yoga pose and practicing mindfulness techniques while staying at Vayu Retreat Villas in Costa Rica

Practicing Breath Awareness

Breath awareness involves observing each breath without trying to control it. This practice can help reduce anxiety and build mindfulness by focusing on the natural rise and fall of each breath.

Finding the Right Meditative Practice for You

There are many ways to practice mindfulness and meditation. Each method has unique characteristics, and experimenting with different techniques can help you find the one that fits you best.

Stay tuned for more in-depth and detailed descriptions regarding wellness practices in the coming blog posts

Pura Vida


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