True Nature Travels Blog

Fall is here and Autumn foliage is upon us! In the coming weeks, millions of leaves will be turning an array of different colors. As leaves stop producing chlorophyll, the deeper green leaves start to change and reveal their true colors– a process called senescence. Autumn is a reminder that change is in the air and is a great excuse to embrace these transitions and learn about the trees that grow around us.

Fall is the perfect excuse to get lost, so put on your boots and layer up- it’s time to crunch in the leaves and feel the cool air on your skin! One of the perks of hiking in the fall is that there are less crowds and less traveled trails. It’s also the perfect opportunity to collect leaf specimens to bring home, press, and identify. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about pressing leaves for your own collection and tips that will help you to identify them.

  1. Start a field journal. Use a small notebook to help you take notes about when and where you find a leaf, and any other observations that might help with identification. Your notebook can also be a vessel to hold each leaf in place and keep its shape. 
  2. Choose leaves when they are young and have recently fallen from its tree. If you wait till a leaf is too mature and dry, it may be more prone to fading. Take a good look at each leaf and make sure there is no evidence of insects that may have feasted on it.

  1. Enjoy picking leaves that you find beautiful! With so many leaves out there, choose as freely as you wish. This is the best part!
  1. To prep for pressing, lay leaves separately on newspaper. Take a dry paintbrush and lightly clean the leaf, blotting off any moisture and sweeping any loose soil.

  1. Once they are completely dry, arrange leaves in layers of tissue paper, wax paper or newspaper before pressing. Be sure to tag each leaf with a scrap of paper next to it with brief notes for identifying.
  1. If you have a plant press, lay each leaf in a layer of the cardboard and gently screw the wood in place.
  1. For those that don’t have a plant press, gather two sheets of cardboard (size can be dependent on leaf haul) or two spare ceramic tiles covered in newspaper. Layer leaves between and use rubber bands or straps to secure together. You can also use an old heavy book as a press. Make sure that you don’t mind it getting a bit wrinkled or stained; the moisture from the leaves could damage the pages slightly. Thicker books are best, but any book will do as long as you add weight on top of it. Weight can be distributed in the form of a pile of books; these will not get damaged so it’s okay to use books you want to keep.

  1. Check the leaves every two or three days, and replace damp papers with dry ones. It will take 2-4 weeks before the leaves are dry.
  1. After your leaves dry, use your imagination! Create a leaf identification journal and identify your findings or create some art by placing the leaves in frames. Decorate for fall or place your leaves in a memory box to share throughout the rest of the seasons. You can visit https://www.arborday.org/trees/whattree/ to help you identify your collection.

 

About the Author:

Charlotte Gottenkieny, Digital Media and Outreach Development Manager at True Nature Travels, lives to create and travel. With an extensive background in art and design, she is always submersed in a project or three. Whether it is making sculpture, taking photos, formulating a new recipe, or running her design agency, she is always using her hands to create in some way. Charlotte loves the adrenaline rush of adventure. From scuba diving to trekking in high altitudes, she strives to discover new landscapes at every opportunity. Working with True Nature gives her inspiration to be able to share stories and connections made through seeing the world.

True Nature Travels Blog

This Labor Day, We Celebrate YOU!

 

labor-day-celebrate-you

This Labor Day, we are celebrating all of our national and international partners. Without the hard work of each and every one of you, there would be no True Nature to speak of. So thank you; thank you for all you have done and all you continue to do to make the True Nature Travel’s experience truly one-of-a-kind.

 

To all the retreat leaders who have led a True Nature Travels retreat:

labor-day-celebrate-you

This Labor Day, we celebrate you. You are the lifeblood of our retreats. Your dedicated practice and fearless leadership allow us to offer thousands of individuals transformative adventures around the world. Your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual guidance has served so many and it is a tremendous privilege to work with you.

 

To the staff and team members at True Nature Travels: 

labor-day-celebrate-you

This Labor Day, we celebrate you. The amount of work you put in day-in and day-out is inspiring. Your consistent dedication to making every True Nature retreat special is the reason we are able to give so many travelers an unforgettable journey. Thank you for your endless efforts to keep this company running and hand-craft each unique retreat experience.

 

To all the retreat center owners who have hosted a True Nature retreat: 

labor-day-celebrate-you

This Labor Day, we celebrate you. Our retreats would be nothing without the amazing retreat centers we have the honor to partner with. Thank you for opening your arms with such joy and welcoming and making all of our participants feel they have found their home away from home.

 

 

To all the tour providers who have offered excursions and activities on our retreats:

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This Labor Day, we celebrate you. Your guidance, knowledge, and care shines like a bright light on every retreat we host. Thank you for helping us dive into the local experience and see the hidden wonders of each country we travel to.

 

To all the chefs who have cooked meals for our retreats:

labor-day-celebrate-you

This Labor Day, we celebrate you. The delicious, local, and healthy cuisine at our retreats is a huge part of the experience. The heart you put into our food makes every meal part of the journey.

 

To all the drivers who have transported participants on our retreats:

labor-day-celebrate-you

This Labor Day, we celebrate you. Thank you for safely transporting our retreat participants around the world. Without you, no one would ever get to begin their transformative travels!

 

 

To all the housekeepers who have kept the rooms spotless during our retreats:

labor-day-celebrate-you

This Labor Day, we celebrate you. Thank you for keeping our rooms comfortable and clean and for making our retreat centers feel like a true paradise!

 

 

To all the individuals, near and far, who have worked hard to make the True Nature experience one of a kind:

 

labor-day-celebrate-you

This Labor Day, we celebrate all of you. Without you, there would be no True Nature. We celebrate the work you do and the love you bring to the True Nature experience. Thank you for all your hard work and the amazing energy you have poured into our retreats!

 

 

About the Author

Sarah Dittmore, the Director of Operations at True NatureSarah Dittmore Travels, is always seeking a new adventure. When she’s not barefoot hiking in the mountains of Peru, kayaking around an island off the coast of Italy, or camping in a rainforest in Costa Rica, Sarah writes about her adventures on her travel blog, Autobiography of an Adventurer. Join her as she travels the world and documents the wild and wonderful things she discovers along the way at www.autobiographyofanadventurer.com.

True Nature Travels Blog

Labor Day.

What meaning do you find in those two words? For myself, I must admit
that the meaning seems to be lacking. Yet I have always enjoyed this
particular holiday, as it is one of the few that remains noncontroversial,
without any associated traditions or religious origins and connotations. It is
truly a unifying holiday, as every adult understands what it is to labor and
enjoy his or her prized days off. Rather than honoring something or
someone else, Labor Day celebrates you and all of your hard work for the
entire year. The holiday was literally founded on the need to have a “you”
day!


As I am sure many of you can relate, I cannot name a single tradition that I
hold for this day. I have memories of enjoying barbecue and sunshine, but
nothing that I would consider an annual tradition. So this year, I encourage
you to create meaning, to discover your own traditions that celebrate you,
and only you.


Whether you are with friends, family or on your own, soak up all that is you
this Labor Day. Although we should strive to cherish the self every day of
the year, on this one particular day let us make it a priority to bask in our
own uniqueness. Give thanks for our strengths and abilities, and even our
flaws, because together these attributes form us. Take these 24 hours to
unplug and appreciate your existence on this beautiful planet. Get out of
the office, away from your computer and social media, and do something
that makes you deeply happy.


Labor Day is quite simply, your day. Make it an annual celebration of
everything that is YOU.

True Nature Travels Blog

When I was a little girl, my dad coached nearly all of my softball teams. As I got older, he continued to coach me beyond little league and onto travel summer ball.  We traveled the state and played tournaments nearly every summer weekend.

I remember one tournament particularly well.

We were in Santa Cruz playing against one of the best teams in the league. We were ahead by four runs and incredibly thrilled. We were heading into the 5th inning and my dad turned to two of the players who had been on the bench all game.

“Carly, I’m putting you in as short stop. Melanie, you take left field.”

I forfeited my spot in left field and my teammate, Alex, gave up her spot as short stop so the other girls could go in. As someone who was never particularly talented at softball, I wasn’t worried about it. I spent a lot of time on the bench and never minded; I was there for the comradery more than the game. Alex wasn’t as used to the bench, but she didn’t seem to mind too much either. Her parents, however, were furious.

Our team took the field and Alex’ dad stormed over to the dugout.

“Why isn’t my daughter in?” He asked. He then continued to berate my dad with questions and fuming statements. Alex hadn’t done anything wrong, he insisted, so why was she being punished with the bench?

After a few tense minutes, my dad asked his co-coach to watch the game and pulled the raging father aside. I could hear my dad’s voice as he explained to the father, “These girls are thirteen. Their families are paying to play in the league and the girls are dedicating their summer to practices and games. As I explained when this team started, it is my personal mission to ensure that every player gets an opportunity to take the field in every tournament we play. Alex did nothing wrong; she’s a great player who played five solid innings and will play more this weekend. But at this age, it’s not about winning or losing. It’s about enjoying the game and working as a team. I would rather these girls learn to be good team players then stop an extra run from getting scored.”

In that moment, I was proud of my dad, but thought little more about it as I was quickly distracted by the play happening on field. But as I’ve gotten older, I find myself thinking about it more and more. Because that moment is how I would define my dad.

He is a team player. He believes in equal treatment and giving everyone an opportunity to shine. And he always values the experiences and lessons that come from our actions far more than whether or not we “succeed”.

It’s been nearly 10 years since I last stepped foot on a softball field. My ability to catch a fly ball is long lost and rarely serves me in my current life. But the lessons I learned from years of watching my dad coach my teams with kindness, integrity, and equanimity have forever shaped the way I choose to carry myself in the world.

So thank you, Dad, for being the best example of composure and compassion a daughter could ask for. I love you and am wishing you a very happy Father’s Day.

True Nature Travels Blog

My dad is my everything. He made me the person I am today and taught me the value of integrity, kindness, and generosity. Which is why, every Father’s Day, I am at a total loss for how on earth to show my appreciation. Now that I’m in my twenties, a hand-painted mug that says “#1 Dad” just doesn’t hold the same weight it did when I was five (though, knowing my dad, he would still be just as grateful). This Father’s Day, I wanted to plan a celebration that would really warm his heart and show how thankful I am for all he’s done for me over the years. Inspired to help sons and daughters facing a similar dilemma, I drafted this list of five ways to celebrate Father’s Day this year.

1. Enjoy the summer sunshine together

For most of us, June is a month filled with sunshine. So, what better way to celebrate Father’s Day than to embrace that sunshine?? Go on a bike ride together, hike your local trails, have a picnic, visit the beach, or simply take a walk through town. Just spending some quality time (and filling up on vitamin D) can be a wonderful way to remind your father how much you love him.

2. Take him to a live show that’s right up his alley

Maybe your dad is the comedic type. Or perhaps he’s more inclined toward drama. Or maybe he likes to jam to live music. Whatever his preference, pick a show that has DAD written all over it. Take him to a local comedy club, buy tickets to a theater performance, or score great tickets to his favorite band. Live performances are always a blast and it’ll be a great opportunity for you and your dad to have fun together.

3. Show him your favorite hangout

When we grow up and move out, our lives split from our parents. More often then not, when we spend time with them it’s in our homes, their homes, or old restaurants that have been family favorites since the beginning. This Father’s Day take your dad to one of your spots. He’ll be thrilled to get a window into your day-to-day life and sharing what you love with your father is the perfect way to show him how much you love him! Make a reservation at your favorite Sunday brunch spot, hit up that awesome craft brewery, or take him to a speak-easy you love to visit on payday.

4. Plan a week away for father bonding time

Most of these options require being locally based, but what about those of us who live hundreds or thousands of miles from our fathers? All hope is not lost. Why not pull out the calendar and pick out a week to dedicate to the two of you? You could go on a vacation together, maybe head camping, go on a fishing trip, or invite him on one of our yoga/wellness/adventure retreats! What better way to celebrate Father’s Day than to turn it into Father’s Week?!

5. Make the day all about him

Celebrate Father's Day

At the end of the day, the best way to celebrate Father’s Day is to truly celebrate your father. Whatever you choose to do, make it all about Dad. Eat his favorite foods, do his favorite things, or simply tell him why he is your favorite dad. If you want to make this Father’s Day special for your dad, then remind him why he is special to you. Trust me, that will be more than enough to put a smile on his face.

About the Author

Author_Sarah Dittmore

Sarah Dittmore, the Director of Operations at True Nature Travels, is always seeking a new adventure. When she’s not barefoot hiking in the mountains of Peru, kayaking around an island off the coast of Italy, or camping in a rainforest in Costa Rica, Sarah writes about her adventures on her travel blog, Autobiography of an Adventurer. Join her as she travels the world and documents the wild and wonderful things she discovers along the way at www.autobiographyofanadventurer.com.

True Nature Travels Blog

Not unlike most daughters, I often sought my mother’s approval. From the jobs I took to the men I dated; I wanted my mom to be as thrilled about them as I was. But my mom was never the type to approve or disapprove of my choices. She never told me if she thought my job title was impressive or if my salary was substantial; she asked me if my work fulfilled me. She never told me that she did or did not like my boyfriends; she asked if they made me smile and treated me well. Because my mom never cared what I did, so long as it made me happy.

When I started working for True Nature Travels, I was, of course, attracted to the travel aspect. I’m an avid traveler and have been moving around the world since I was 18. But the “true nature” side of things touched a more personal part of my heart. True Nature boasts a wide calendar of events that guide participants through a variety of exercises and life-changing adventures to help them discover their True Nature and learn how to embody it every day of their life.

Upon some reflection, I realized that’s what my mom has been doing for me since I was a little girl. Like the time she rode the Tower of Terror with me, even though everyone insisted it was too scary for someone my age, because she knew I needed to explore the edges of my bravery. Or the time she spent two years taking me to the ranch three times a week because I was convinced I wanted to be a cowgirl. Or flying halfway around the world to visit me in Ethiopia and see what this travel thing was that I had become newly obsessed with. My mom has always been there to support my whims, encourage my curiosity, and help me chase down my True Nature.

This Mother’s Day, I want to say thank you. Thank you, mom, for being my biggest cheerleader. Thank you for not just saying, but truly believing, I could do anything I put my mind to. Thank you for driving me to lacrosse camp for the one week I was certain I was going to be a world-champion lacrosse player. Thank you for being the first person to enroll for that one yoga retreat I led when I was convinced I was going to be a career yoga teacher. Thank you for laughing at my terrible improv performances when I knew I was a natural performer with a long and fruitful career ahead. Thank you for supporting every different path I’ve taken along the winding journey.

Most of all, thank you for always asking, “does it make you happy?” Thank you for always reminding me to step back and analyze why I was doing the things I did. Thank you for guiding me through those miscellaneous offshoots and helping me return, over and over again, to my center. Thank you, Mom, for helping me discover my True Nature.

 

About the Author

Author_Sarah Dittmore

Sarah Dittmore, the Director of Operations at True Nature Travels, is always seeking a new adventure. When she’s not barefoot hiking in the mountains of Peru, kayaking around an island off the coast of Italy, or camping in a rainforest in Costa Rica, Sarah writes about her adventures on her travel blog, Autobiography of an Adventurer. Join her as she travels the world and documents the wild and wonderful things she discovers along the way at www.autobiographyofanadventurer.com.

True Nature Travels Blog

It’s that time of the year! Mother’s Day is upon us, which means now is the time to celebrate everything your mother has done for you over the years and make her realize how much you appreciate the role she has served, and continues to serve, in your life. Or, if you’re like me, it’s the time of the year when you stress about what gift to give the woman who has given you everything, even life itself. For some reason, flowers never seem to cut it for me. I mean flowers next to actually birthing and raising me… it just doesn’t quite compare. Which is why I’ve dedicated much of my time to figure out more creative and meaningful way to celebrate Mother’s Day. Read on for five of my favorite creative Mother’s Day gifts.

1. Go tea tasting (yes, that’s a thing!)

mothers-day-tea-tasting

You’ve heard of wine tasting, but… tea tasting? It’s not unlike wine tasting; a tea sommelier will guide you through a menu of teas and offer samples of a range of white, green, red, and black teas. You’ll enjoy some of the best teas in the world while learning about the harvesting, roasting, and brewing process. For all the tea connoisseurs out there—or anyone interested in a unique and delightful Mother’s Day celebration—look for a tea tasting room near you! If you are based in the Bay Area or New York City, we recommend teance or tea drunk respectively.

2. Reconnect to yourselves and to each other

Every time I ask my mom what she wants for Mother’s Day, I get the same response: “Time with you.” It’s sweet but really doesn’t help when I’m weaving through shops trying to nail the perfect gift. But at the end of the day, she’s not wrong; the best gift is always time together. So this mother’s day, give your mom exactly what she wants and take her on a week-long yoga retreat anywhere in the world. It’s not only the gift of epic travel, but it’s the gift of saying, “yes, Mom. I will drop everything to spend a week with you in a foreign country.” Reconnect with your mom and say “thank you” this year by dedicating a whole week to exploring your yoga practices together.

3. Take her for a walk down memory lane

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Our childhood is full of memories of our mothers. Collect your memories and offer those as your Mother’s Day gift this year. If your parents no longer live where you grew up, you can do this remotely by collecting photos of memorable moments, cooking foods that your mom used to prepare, and telling her stories of things she once did that meant the world to you. If you are still near your hometown, take your mom for a literal walk down memory lane. Eat lunch at that café where you broke down in tears and she was there for you. Get your nails done at the salon where you got your first ever manicure for your high school prom. Spend this Mother’s Day showing your mom how much her support through the years meant to you (and will always mean to you).

4. Take her on the adventure of a lifetime

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Do you and your mom have more of an adventurous side? Then give her an opportunity to get out and explore. Even better? Go with her. Plan some mother-child bonding time by booking you both on an epic adventure. Imagine riding through the Dolomites of Italy, mud splashing on your wheels, then getting back to the hotel and sitting down for a glass of locally made Italian wine. Or scaling epic vertical limestone routes with views of the Aegean Sea during a rock-climbing retreat on the island of Kalymnos, Greece. If this kind of blood-pumping, adrenaline-inducing adventure is up your mom’s alley, then what better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than going on an adventure of a lifetime together?

5. Give her the same celebratory treatment she gave you

mothers-day

 

We all have that thing. The thing our mom would do to celebrate special occasions. Maybe it was a trip to the beach, or dinner at your favorite restaurant, or tickets to see that movie you’d been whining about for weeks. For me, it was my favorite breakfast served on our red “You Are Special Plate” in front of my favorite Disney movie (eating in front of the TV was a huge rarity for us and very exciting). Whatever that “thing” is, turn the tables and offer it to your mom this year. Let her feel a little of the joy you felt when you were young.

About the Author

Author_Sarah Dittmore

Sarah Dittmore, the Director of Operations at True Nature Travels, is always seeking a new adventure. When she’s not barefoot hiking in the mountains of Peru, kayaking around an island off the coast of Italy, or camping in a rainforest in Costa Rica, Sarah writes about her adventures on her travel blog, Autobiography of an Adventurer. Join her as she travels the world and documents the wild and wonderful things she discovers along the way at www.autobiographyofanadventurer.com.

True Nature Travels Blog

As we enter into Spring, we hear the birds singing more vibrantly, we see the trees blooming, and the Earth becoming more colorful again. Perhaps you are also experiencing this feeling of waking up and connecting back to the Earth as Winter has left and the Earth seems to become more alive. The beautiful cycle. Earth Day is fast approaching us, a day when we are reminded to give thanks to the Earth by supporting environmental protection. The yoga sequence I offer below is intended to ground you and connect you to the Earth. I encourage you to find a quiet space outside before beginning.

Standing in Mountain pose, hands to heart’s center, feeling your feet on the Earth. Begin by moving your toes, feeling all aspects of the Earth, the cycles of energy. Start feeling that energy radiate up through your feet, throughout your body, your palms, your third eye. Breathe deeply.

Continue breathing, focusing in on all the energy you feel throughout your body. Now hear the sounds around you, the birds, the wind. And feel the air touching your skin. Perhaps it’s cold and crisp, perhaps it’s warm and sunny. Breathe deeply.

Inhaling, lift your arms to the sky, looking up at your hands. With your hands clasped together above your head, slowly side bend to the left. Instead of crunching the left side of your body, feel like you are moving up and over the full moon, keeping both the left and right side body long. Breathe deeply here. Slowly return back and repeat by bending over to the right side.

Breathe, and on your on time, bring your hands back to heart’s center. On your next inhale, raise your arms up to the sky and clasp your hands together. Slowly bend back allowing your throat to open and your upper back to slowly arc up and over. Feel your chest open and allow the flowing energy of the Earth and the sky to seep into your heart. On your own time slowly return to mountain pose.

On your next inhale, raise your arms to sky and then move through one sun salutation on your own breath. As you arrive in Downward Dog, feel your palms and feet simultaneously supported by the Earth’s surface. The Earth supports us every day in more ways than we are constantly aware. The Earth supplies us with water, nourishing fruits and vegetables, physical support, wood for our homes, emotional support through nature, the list goes on and on. As you pedal out your feet in this Downward Dog, I encourage you to think about all the ways in which Mother Earth served you today.

Slowly lift your right leg in three-legged dog, and bring it through to Warrior II. Feel the energy in your grounded feet, and allow that energy to escape back out through your finger tips. While you feel the power and strength you have in Warrior II, focus in on how you can restore what you allow Mother Earth to provide you with each day. Windmill your hands back down to the Earth, and take a some breaths in downward dog.

Repeat with your left leg, raising your left leg in downward dog and bringing it through to Warrior II. Focusing now on how you can think about Earth Day each and every day. The energy extending from your fingertips is the small things you do each day to thank Mother Earth for what she does for you. Perhaps it is eliminating plastic, perhaps conserving water, driving less, eating a more plant-based diet, recycling and composting. The possibilities are endless in how we can continuously care for the Earth.

Windmill your hands back down to the Earth and step your left leg back to Downward Dog. When you are ready, slowly walk your feet to your hands and roll up, bringing your hand’s to heart’s center. As your palms press against each other, breathe and focus in on how your body and mind feel after spending this time in nature, moving your body and sharing gratitude for Mother Earth. Focus in on an intention for how every day can be Earth Day. Namaste.

 

About the Author

Alexandra is thrilled to be working with True Nature! As a Yoga Teacher and Artist with a Master of Public Health in Environmental Health, work experience at the Environmental Protection Agency, and a passion for travel, her life’s path weaves into the mission and values of True Nature Travels. Since first traveling to Costa Rica at the age of fourteen to study ecology at remote biological field stations, she saw the power that experiential travel abroad has on one’s growth. Since then, she has worked the organic fields of a spiritual and intentional community and continued to travel, immersing herself in the local cultures.

True Nature Travels Blog

2018, a new year, that perhaps brings new resolutions. When you reflected on the past year to make those New Year’s resolutions, what emotions came up? Did you first focus on all you did well or on all your failures? Very often, our goals from the New Year evolve from frustration with what we did not accomplish in the past year. With this yoga sequence I encourage you to answer the question again: In reflecting on 2017, did you focus in on what you deemed your failures or your successes? But, this time, the answer is your successes. As you bring your hands to heart’s center, meditate on how it feels to be proud of yourself, no matter how big or small your accomplishments. And thus begins the journey to self-love.

Start moving through a sun-salutation on your breath, on your time. This practice is for you, for your body and mind. Perhaps you stay in downward dog, seeing how it feels to press through one foot at a time, or perhaps you move through multiple sun salutations. Continue breathing.

With each breath in, bring in kindness, and with each exhale, let go of the self-doubt, the negative self talk. In five more breaths we’ll walk our feet to our hands, and slowly roll up, meeting at the front of our mat in mountain pose. Stand tall, grounded as the earth holds you, as you begin radiating self-love to the beings around you and then out to the world. By showing yourself gratitude, your energy begins to radiate love and kindness to all beings. We’ll move through one more sun salutation, first inhaling our arms to the sky bringing in all the loving energy from around you to your heart.

We’ll meet in Down Dog, lifting our right leg to the sky and exhaling to step your right foot forward between your hands, aligning your knee over the heel. Keep your left leg strong and firm, while lengthening your tailbone toward the floor and reaching back through your left heel. Look up to your thumbs, and feel the energy in your body as your heart lifts up, your left heel reaches back, and your right foot stays grounded. On your next exhale release your arms to the floor and step back into Down Dog.

As you walk out your dog, return back to your thoughts of appreciation for yourself. Bring your left leg to the sky and into high lunge, once again feeling the energy radiating different directions. On your next exhale return to Down Dog, and on your own breath we’ll meet back at the front of our mat in Mountain Pose. On your next inhale, we’ll hug our right knee, and if you’re able, give it a kiss. We’ll then meet in Tree Pose, hands to prayer or reaching up as you extend your branches. Trees are ever changing, with the seasons, the weather, the soil composition, their inhabitants. Just as trees, we are also changing, and the negative self-talk may always be present, but we can continually focus in on our positive self-talk. From tree, we’ll move into Dancer, shifting our weight onto our left foot, bending our right knee behind to hold in our right hand. Lifting our right foot towards the sky, as the left leg stays strong and the left arm reaches forward. Feeling the opposition, but feeling the strength.

No matter how the thoughts in our mind may fight each other in opposition, you are grounded in strength. It is this strength that others can feel as you shine your light of love and kindness out to the world. Bring your right foot down and repeating on the left side, giving your left knee a hug, meditating in Tree Pose, and then slowly moving into Dancer, all on your own time, listening to your body. When you are ready, we will meet back at the front of our mat, eyes closed. In cultivating self-love, we can encourage ourselves to grow in a more positive light that shines out to others around us.

Start 2018 out with an act of self-love and join us on one of our many retreats: http://truenaturetravels.com/retreat-calendar/

About the Author

Alexandra Ross is thrilled to be working as the Operations Manager with True Nature! As a Yoga Teacher and Artist with a Master of Public Health in Environmental Health, work experience at the Environmental Protection Agency, and a passion for travel, her life’s path weaves into the mission and values of True Nature Travels. Since first traveling to Costa Rica at the age of fourteen to study ecology at remote biological field stations, she saw the power that experiential travel abroad has on one’s growth. Since then, she has worked the organic fields of a spiritual and intentional community and continued to travel, immersing herself in the local cultures.

True Nature Travels Blog

HalloweenHalloween is around the corner. Soon, the streets will be filled with children’s laughter as masked little ones run from house to house, gather treasures and filling their pillowcases with treats to be enjoyed for the rest of the holiday season. For years it has been a tradition of mine to gather with friends to watch scary movies and show off our best costumes, and while I enjoy the time spent with good friends, this has never been my favorite part of the holiday. My favorite part of Halloween has always been answering the ceaselessly-ringing doorbell and handing out candy to the ghosts, witches, superheroes, and princesses that yell “Trick or Treat!!” from the porch. Besides being absolutely adorable, I find these trick-or-treaters are also wise beyond their years. Take a moment to watch the trick-or-treaters running around your neighborhood this Halloween and you may notice that their eager little faces and over-excited laughter have something to teach you.

Embrace your playful side and re-learn how to play make-believe

Trick-or-treat

What always amazes me most about Halloween is the imagination. Sticks become magic wands, buckets become cauldrons, and a little bit of face paint can morph a child into a jungle animal. When you or I get dressed for Halloween we put on a costume. When a child gets dressed for Halloween, they become a new person. The trick-or-treaters take their costumes more seriously, and yet, they have more fun than the lot of us put together. Because they know that Halloween is the ultimate game of make-believe.

This Halloween learn to embrace your playful side. Let your imagination run wild. Believe in magic, play pretend, and laugh as unabashedly as the trick-or-treaters on your street. We spend too much of our lives taking everything seriously. The best thing we can do is laugh from time to time. Let this holiday be a chance to become something totally new, and, more importantly, have fun with it.

Trick-or-treaters

Be the version of yourself you have always dreamed of being

I used to be a nanny and it always amazed me how early in the year kids would start mulling over their Halloween costume ideas. August would be coming to a close, the parents would be stressing about getting all the necessary school supplies, and the kids would already be weighing the merits of Wonder Woman versus those of Elsa. But it wasn’t just the costume they were debating; it was their identity. In the eyes of a child, Halloween isn’t just a day to play dress up. It’s a day to be everything you have always wanted to be.

So this Halloween, follow the lead of the trick-or-treaters and become exactly who you have always dreamed of being. Whether it’s putting on a mask or taking one off, it’s the time of year to embrace your truest self and let that version of you shine brightly. Like the trick-or-treaters, take your time to reflect and consider what it is, or rather who it is, you have

Halloween Costume

always wanted to be. Then wear that hat proudly. Because a costume doesn’t have to be a disguise. In fact, with children, it rarely is. Rather, it’s a reflection of the most authentic version of the person inside.

Connect with your inner child this Halloween

This Halloween, let’s take a page from the trick-or-treaters’ book. We were all trick-or-treaters once, and we all have a child’s wisdom hidden somewhere inside of us. I invite you to find it this Halloween. To be a little more playful. To play make believe and enjoy some unbridled laughter. To put on the costume you’ve been too afraid to wear. And to let your

costume act not as a disguise, but as a reflection of your truest self. We often associate Halloween with ghouls, zombies, and scary stories. But this Halloween I invite you to be fearless. Be as fearless as the trick-or-treaters who show up on your doorstep, bearing their hearts through their costumes, their faces flushed with laughter and joy. This Halloween, look around you and let yourself learn a thing or two from the trick-or-treaters.