True Nature Travels Blog

In a world that often moves at a hectic pace, finding moments of tranquility and connection is essential for personal and professional growth. Imagine a retreat where the gentle rustle of leaves accompanies thoughtful reflections, where the crisp scent of pine inspires deep breaths, and where the beauty of nature nurtures the spirit. Planning retreats in serene and natural environments provides a unique opportunity to cultivate love and kindness, fostering a transformative experience for participants.

The Healing Power of Nature:

Nature has an inherent ability to soothe the soul and calm the mind. As planners of retreats, harnessing the healing power of nature can elevate the entire experience for participants. Selecting destinations with natural beauty—lush forests, pristine lakes, or mountainscapes—creates an environment that encourages introspection, mindfulness, and the practice of love and kindness.

Choosing the Right Location:

When selecting a location for a nature-centered retreat, consider the unique qualities of the environment. Coastal retreats offer the calming influence of the ocean, while mountainous regions provide breathtaking vistas that inspire awe and humility. Forested areas create a cocoon of tranquility, allowing participants to disconnect from the noise of daily life and reconnect with their inner selves.

Integrating Nature-Based Activities:

To amplify the love and kindness theme, incorporate nature-based activities into the retreat itinerary. Guided nature walks, meditation sessions amidst natural surroundings, and outdoor yoga classes are excellent ways to foster a sense of connection and appreciation for the environment. These activities not only promote physical well-being but also encourage participants to express love and kindness towards themselves and others.

Mindful Practices in Nature:

Encourage mindfulness through guided practices that capitalize on the serenity of the chosen location. Morning meditations with the sunrise, silent walks through nature trails, or journaling sessions by a reflective pond can facilitate a deeper connection with oneself and others. Mindful practices in nature become powerful tools for cultivating love, compassion, and gratitude.

Sustainable Retreat Planning:

Show love for the Earth by incorporating sustainable practices into retreat planning. Choose eco-friendly accommodations, minimize waste through thoughtful event logistics, and engage participants in environmental initiatives, such as tree planting or local community support. A retreat that values and protects the natural environment aligns with the principles of love and kindness.

Nourishing the Body and Soul:

Incorporate locally-sourced, nourishing meals into the retreat schedule. Emphasize the connection between the food on participants’ plates and the surrounding environment. A shared dining experience in nature promotes a sense of community and gratitude, fostering love and kindness among participants.

Creating Spaces for Connection:

Design retreat spaces that encourage connection and open communication. Whether it’s around a bonfire under a starlit sky or in a cozy communal area with panoramic views, providing spaces for participants to share experiences, insights, and emotions promotes a sense of unity and support.

Conclusion:

Planning retreats in serene and natural environments offers a canvas for cultivating love and kindness. Nature becomes not just a backdrop but an active participant in the transformative journey of the retreat. As leaders in the industry, let us embrace the opportunity to create experiences that not only rejuvenate the mind and body but also nurture the spirit with the love and kindness that only nature can inspire. Through thoughtful planning and a deep appreciation for the natural world, we can guide participants on a journey of self-discovery, connection, and lasting transformation.

Ready to explore nature? Join Mike and Rhonda at Gentle and Therapeutic Yoga Retreat in La Fortuna, Costa Rica in the rain forest with beautiful accommodations, healthy food exotic hikes, yoga and breathwork. 

 

True Nature Travels Blog

At True Nature Travels, we believe that yoga retreats are not just about personal transformation but also about creating positive ripples in the world. Our commitment to community, connection, and compassion extends beyond the yoga mat. In this blog, we explore the power of Acts of Kindness as a means to build a stronger community, both locally and globally. Join us on a journey of heart-centered retreats that make a lasting impact through meaningful service projects.

The Heart of Service:

Yoga teaches us the importance of selflessness and compassion. At True Nature Travels, we embrace this philosophy by incorporating service projects into our retreats. These Acts of Kindness are not just gestures; they are opportunities to connect with local communities, contribute to positive change, and foster a sense of collective well-being.

Building Community Through Service:

1. Local Engagement:

Immerse yourself in the local culture by participating in community-driven service projects. From beach clean-ups to supporting local schools, these initiatives allow our retreat participants to connect with the heartbeat of the destination.

2. Global Impact:

Extend your reach beyond borders. True Nature Travels collaborates with international organizations, providing opportunities for retreat-goers to contribute to global causes such as environmental conservation, education, and community development.

3. Yoga in Action:

Our retreats integrate the principles of Karma Yoga—selfless service—as a way to embody the teachings of yoga off the mat. Engaging in service projects becomes a natural extension of the yogic philosophy, fostering a deeper understanding of interconnectedness.

 

Spotlight on Service Projects:

1. Eco-Friendly Initiatives:

Join us in environmental conservation projects, including tree planting, clean energy initiatives, and sustainable practices. Our commitment to preserving the planet aligns with the yogic principle of Ahimsa (non-harming).

2. Education and Empowerment:

Support local schools and educational programs. True Nature Travels collaborates with communities to provide resources, mentorship, and opportunities for personal and professional growth.

3. Wellness and Healing:

Contribute to health and wellness initiatives in the communities we visit. From offering yoga classes to sharing mindfulness practices, our retreats aim to leave a positive impact on the mental and physical well-being of local residents.


Join Us on a Retreat with Purpose:

At True Nature Travels, we invite you to be a part of something greater. Join us on a yoga retreat that goes beyond the ordinary—a retreat that leaves a positive footprint in the world. Acts of Kindness are not just gestures; they are the building blocks of a community rooted in compassion, connection, and collective well-being.

Embark on a journey with True Nature Travels, where yoga meets service, and together, we create a world of positive change—one retreat at a time.

True Nature Travels Blog


Iceland, famously known as the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’, is a destination that offers a diverse range of awe-inspiring landscapes, from vast glaciers and volcanic formations to geysers and hot springs. This beautiful, rugged country is also a global leader in sustainability practices, with a deep commitment to renewable energy and ecological conservation.

Iceland’s sustainability ethos is reflected in every aspect of life, from the food you eat to the places you stay. Its commitment to renewable energy sources, such as geothermal and hydroelectric power, is truly impressive. Nearly all of Iceland’s energy comes from these sustainable sources, providing an inspiring model for the rest of the world.

Icelandic culture is a unique blend of ancient heritage and modern innovation. Rooted in the sagas of the Viking Age, it is a culture filled with rich folklore, unique traditions, and a deep respect for the natural world. Icelanders are known for their love of literature, arts, and music, which are celebrated through numerous events and festivals throughout the year. The country’s connection with the natural world is also evident in its culinary culture. Locally sourced ingredients, such as fresh fish, lamb, and dairy products, dominate the Icelandic cuisine, offering visitors a unique culinary exploration.

Icelandic cuisine is a testament to the country’s natural bounty and resourcefulness. Traditional Icelandic food is shaped by the country’s rugged terrain and harsh climates, resulting in an array of distinct dishes. The seafood is a standout, with fresh fish like haddock, halibut, and salmon often taking center stage, thanks to the country’s location in the North Atlantic. Another staple is the Icelandic lamb, renowned for its high quality, largely owing to the traditional free-range rearing methods. The lamb is often served roasted or used in hearty stews.

Unique dishes include “hákarl”, fermented shark, and “harðfiskur”, dried fish, which are often served with “rúgbrauð”, a dense and dark rye bread. For the adventurous eater, there’s “svið”, boiled sheep’s head. The country’s dairy products also deserve a mention, particularly “skyr”, a thick, yogurt-like cheese that’s been part of Icelandic cuisine for over a thousand years.

Iceland’s commitment to sustainability extends to its food production, with many restaurants and food producers striving to use local, seasonal, and organic ingredients. As a result, dining in Iceland not only offers a culinary adventure but also a chance to experience the country’s culture and dedication to sustainable practices.

A visit to Iceland offers a truly unique combination of natural beauty, sustainable practices, and rich cultural experiences. This is a place where you can disconnect from the hustle and bustle of city life and reconnect with nature, all while embracing a culture that values the environment and sustainable living. So, why not make Iceland your next destination?

Participating in a retreat in Iceland can be a transformative experience. Surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, you’re invited to deepen your connection with nature, encourage self-reflection, and foster a sense of peace and well-being. Yoga and meditation sessions often take place in serene settings, offering views of Iceland’s stunning natural features, from geysers and waterfalls to glaciers and volcanic landscapes. The retreats also offer opportunities to immerse yourself in Iceland’s culture, sample local cuisine, and participate in traditional Icelandic practices. This immersive experience, set against the backdrop of one of the world’s most beautiful and unique countries, is designed to inspire personal growth, enhance mindfulness, and promote physical and emotional health.

Experience one of our Icelandic Retreats!

True Nature Travels Blog

Gratitude is not just an emotion; it’s a practice that deepens our yoga journey, especially when traveling internationally for yoga retreats. Engaging in a consistent gratitude practice can enhance your retreat experience by fostering a positive mindset and a sense of connection with your surroundings.

Benefits of Gratitude

For the Body

Gratitude has a profound impact on the body. Research shows that people who regularly practice gratitude have lower blood pressure, improved immunity, and are less bothered by aches and pains. Expressing gratitude can also improve your sleep, leading to better overall physical health – a benefit that can greatly enhance your yoga practice.

For the Mind

On a psychological level, gratitude can increase happiness and reduce depression. It encourages positivity and reduces toxic emotions, such as envy and resentment. Practicing gratitude can increase your resilience, helping you to overcome stress and bounce back from adversity – essential skills for any yoga practitioner.

In conclusion, practicing gratitude during your international yoga retreat can enrich your overall experience. It allows you to be fully present, engage meaningfully with your practice and the world around you, and reap the physical and mental benefits that gratitude provides.

Why Practice Gratitude When You Travel

Traveling opens up new horizons, experiences, and perspectives. Practicing gratitude during your travels can amplify these benefits. It helps you appreciate the beauty, diversity, and uniqueness of each place you visit, fostering a deeper connection with the culture, people, and environment. Expressed thankfulness for the opportunity to travel and experience different cultures can lead to more fulfilling and enriching experiences. It can transform ordinary moments into extraordinary ones, as you become more mindful and savor every moment. Moreover, gratitude while traveling can make you a more responsible and respectful tourist, creating a positive impact on the places and people you encounter. In essence, practicing gratitude can turn every journey into a more meaningful, rewarding, and memorable adventure.

Ways to Practice Gratitude When Traveling

Practicing gratitude while traveling can take various forms, personalized according to your own preferences. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Keep a Gratitude Journal: Every day, take a few moments to jot down what you’re grateful for. It could be a beautiful sunset, a kind stranger, or a delicious meal. This practice allows you to acknowledge and appreciate the small moments of joy and beauty in your travels.
  2. Mindful Photography: Capture the moments that spark joy or awe. It could be a landscape, a street view, or a unique cultural experience. Photography can be a form of gratitude, allowing you to appreciate the beauty around you and preserve it as a memory.
  3. Say Thank You: Express your gratitude verbally to the people you meet. Thank the hotel staff, the tour guide, the local vendors. Not only is it a kind gesture, but it also fosters positive interactions.
  4. Gratitude Meditation: Dedicate a few minutes each day to meditate on gratitude. Reflect on the experiences and people you’ve encountered during your travels, and allow feelings of thankfulness to fill you.
  5. Support Local Communities: Show your gratitude by giving back to the places you visit. It could be through purchasing local products, contributing to community projects, or respecting local customs and traditions.

Remember, the key to practicing gratitude is to be genuine and mindful. It’s about appreciating the journey, not just the destination. The more you practice, the more it becomes a part of your travel routine, enhancing every experience and making each trip truly unforgettable.

True Nature Travels Blog

Italy, a land brimming with history, culture, and natural beauty, has a unique way of teaching us the art of ‘gratitude’. The Italians have a beautiful word, “grazie”, which traces its roots back to the Latin word “gratias”, meaning “thanks”, which is also the origin of the English word “gratitude”. Over centuries, “gratias” morphed into “grazie” in Italian, retaining its heartfelt sentiment of expressing gratitude. However, in the context of Italian culture, “grazie” signifies more than just a simple ‘thank you’. It is an embodiment of appreciation, a reflection of the Italian ethos of relishing and recognizing the beauty in every facet of life. Whether expressed for a meal, a kind gesture, or the simple pleasures of life, “grazie” is a testament to the Italian spirit of celebrating and expressing gratitude for life’s blessings.

A Culture Steeped in Appreciation

The Italian culture is steeped in appreciation for the simple and beautiful things in life. From the aroma of a freshly brewed espresso to the intricate detail in a piece of Renaissance art, Italians have a deep-seated appreciation for beauty in all its forms. This appreciation encourages a sense of gratitude for the everyday things that bring us joy and satisfaction.

Gratitude in Italian Cuisine

Italian cuisine also embodies gratitude. Every dish tells a story of the hard work of the farmers, the fishermen, and the cheesemakers. In Italy, farmers and cheesemakers are the backbone of the country’s renowned cuisine. The Italian countryside is dotted with farms that have been family-owned for generations, where the age-old traditions of farming are still preserved and practiced. These farmers devote their lives to producing a bounty of fresh vegetables, fruits, olives, and grains, which form the basis of Italian dishes.

Italian cheesemakers are artisans of dairy. From the creamy mozzarella of Campania to the sharp pecorino of Sardinia, Italian cheeses are a testament to the skill and dedication of the cheesemakers. Each cheese is unique, reflecting the characteristics of the region it comes from and the individual touch of the cheesemaker. The art of cheese making is often passed down through generations, reflecting a deep bond with the land and a profound understanding of the craft.

Both farmers and cheesemakers exemplify the Italian tradition of “fatto a mano” (made by hand), a testament to their tireless work ethic, their passion for quality, and their commitment to preserving Italy’s culinary heritage. Their contributions, while often unseen, form the heart of Italy’s gastronomic story, and it is through them that the narrative of gratitude in Italian cuisine unfolds. 

Learning Gratitude from Italy

So, how can we learn gratitude from Italy? The answer is simple. Slow down. Take the time to savor the small moments, just as Italians do with their slow food and slow living philosophies. The Slow Food movement began in Italy in the 1980s as a reaction against fast food and fast life. Instead, it promotes a return to traditional food production methods. At the heart of the movement is respect for biodiversity, sustainable farming and fishing methods, and fair compensation for producers. The idea is to savor high-quality foods, prepared with care while respecting the environment and cultural traditions. It’s not just about taste, but a way of life that supports the well-being of both the planet and the people who live on it. For Italians, the Slow Food movement encapsulates their inherent appreciation for the process of creating a meal – from the fields and waters to the table, it’s a journey of patience, love, and gratitude.

Italy doesn’t just offer us a feast for our senses, but also a lesson in gratitude. The Italian way of life encourages us to appreciate the beauty in everyday living and to express our gratitude for the simple joys that life brings. Grazie, Italy, for teaching us the art of appreciation! Whether it’s a leisurely stroll through a vineyard or a moment of quiet in a bustling piazza, there’s much to be thankful for when we pause to appreciate the beauty around us.

Experience Italy on Retreat

Experience this slower pace and gratitude for the simple joys at one of our Italy Retreats. 

True Nature Travels Blog

I have been fortunate enough to go on yoga retreats in incredible locations throughout my adult life. Yoga retreats, for me, are digging deep with oneself, taking a break for self-care, and being within the community. For me, the collective group energy on retreat is so powerful, whether it be in meditation, having a meal together or in deep breathing conversation. The conversation you experience on retreat is rich and fulfilling because you are in the deeper headspace.That can be so rewarding for a person. 

My memories from retreats include: Watching the sunrise over a secluded beach in Costa Rica, Zipping through the rainforest on a zipline, feeling like Tarzan swinging over the trees, swimming with dolphins in the Pacific Ocean with a group of eight retreaters,while schools of  dolphins surround and swim with us. It was an incredible experience.  surrounding us and swimming with us was an incredible experience. Swimming over a gorgeous reef in the bright blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.And of course, the yoga, The guiding practice which puts you in the right headspace to make this trip. 

This experience is different from a regular trip. Getting in the mindspace of peace. where those experiences are so much richer than regular vacations. And so that it becomes an exercise in self-care in self-nourishment. I will treasure all of my experiences. Great connections I have made on retreat that will last forever. Retreat is truly a revitalizing experience. It enriches your life, and allows you to come back to the world rejuvenated. Rejuvenated by the sun, by connection, by laughter, by yoga, and a deeper connection with yourself. 

Even though, I have experienced such incredible retreat and travel destinations,whenever I see a new retreat destination that want to go to, which are primarily destinations where my teacher will teach, I think,” Is this location accessible to me?” I am a person with Cerebral Palsy, which is a disability that affects my movement and speech.Despite the well known fact that I like to challenge myself,  am really a person that really wants to live life,and will travel terrain, even if it may be difficult,It has been suggested on 4 occasions that I not participate on a retreat because the terrain is too difficult. Of course, this is very frustrating to me when I am told that this retreat is not open to me. Open to me because the terrain may be too hard or the altitude may be too high, or that the trails may be too difficult as would be in Machu picchu. Because I want to experience this with all my heart. By taking this away from me, it is taking away the chance for me to study with my teacher, which is something I treasure doing in these incredible locations. 

As I have stated before, I have had some incredible experiences on retreat,despite the fact that I haven’t been able to attend every retreat I’ve wanted to. Even though I was able to attend these retreats, some of these places where I retreated were more accessible than others to people with disabilities. None were totally accessible and had many obstacles. For example, at one place I had to, to hold onto a person in order to walk around the property.  Although people that were on retreat were more than willing to help me out, as an adult who values his independence and ability, this is hard for me. The yoga space at almost all of these facilities were upstairs,  or down inaccessible paths. Now, I could get you all of these yoga spaces, but being on a yoga retreat, you would think the first thing a property owner should do is make the place where the primary practice is held, accessible to everyone. Even though I have been able to overcome obstacles and go on retreat in these awesome places. When it comes to a person with a more advanced disability, or uses a mobility device, such as a wheelchair, they would have no chance of going on most of the retreats I have been to. 

 

Before describing what is needed for accessibility for people with disabilities, I would like to talk a little bit about the need for yoga retreats for people with disabilities. In a society where people with disabilities often feel discriminated against in many phases of their life, they are required to go to doctor appointments or cannot find a job in the field they want,  are unable to get a leg up in an ableist society. Retreats can be very nourishing for them. 

In offering them an accessible place to go, they are able to  rejuvenate and refresh, and come back into society. With that openness and freshness, this is really important. There is a growing, accessible yoga movement in society today and a press of making the practice accessible to everyone. It is imperative, as we make the practice more accessible than it is,  that the accessibility extends to retreat locations. So, we are able to invite people with disabilities to enjoy the richness of retreat. I understand, some retreat places that are indoors may be more accessible than outdoor retreat places, but people with disabilities are individuals with different interests, and they should be able to decide where they will wanna go and have several options, just like anyone else.

When we think of accessibility, we often think, can a person with a disability or in a wheelchair get in the door or access the basement. When looking at a yoga retreat, the accessibility extends to many things other than the front door. It extends to things like- Is the lodging accessible? Is the shower accessible? The toilet? The yoga space? The activities and other aspects of the retreat. People often think when they hear that they need to make a space accessible for people with disabilities. Their first thought might be “Oh my gosh, that will cost me a fortune.”Instead of thinking that you are just making a space accessible for a person with a disability, it may be helpful to know that by making a space accessible, you are benefiting many different populations and that principle is called universal design. Universal Design is the design in composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent passable by all people, regardless of their size, age, ability or disability. 

For example, think of a walking shower. Yes, you may first think of benefiting a person in a wheelchair. However, you would be benefiting someone with a large statue, or someone who is older and does not move it well, or someone who has had an injury that may or may not go away. With universal design, you are making an environment accessible, usable and pleasurable to use. Everyone benefits!  

Above, I alluded to the example of getting to the yoga space and my experiences retreating. Many of the walkways to those yoga spaces were rocks. They were not paved and were not easily accessible. Someone who is older, who is in a wheelchair, who uses crutches, would have a tough time getting to that yoga space. The solution does not have to be elaborate, but just make the surface smooth. So that way of getting to the yoga space is accessible for everyone and  everyone can use it. 

One of the things that I mentioned that was very meaningful to me is the excursions on yoga retreat.  Finding accessible excursions does not mean that the excursion has to be any less enjoyable, but instead looking for options that everyone can participate in, regardless of their accessibility level. For example, if you are going on a boat cruise. Look for a boat that is accessible. If you are going hiking, look for a trail that is accessible. I understand, on the True Nature website that most of the retreat locations are out of the United States; therefore, some countries may not have accessibility guidelines. However, it is important to make spaces, wherever you are, that are accessible to people with disabilities.

Welcoming a disability and people with different needs, like age or a different body type, is important. This not only welcomes people with disabilities, but if a retreat center is accessible, it increases your opportunity to bring in revenue. Because you are welcoming not only the guests you welcomed in before, but you are extending the invitation to another population, a population that may have previously been exempt by your center. 

As the accessible yoga movement grows into the business of accessible yoga travel and/ or accessible yoga retreating. People with disabilities are able to experience the power of retreat. It allows people with disabilities to easefully explore new countries, through hotels and activities that are accessible. Shouldn’t people with disabilities be able to choose a yoga retreat in a new country and just be able to go? To be able to attend a retreat in a new country, just because they want to, without having to be restricted? To see a sunrise over the ocean, a sunset over a mountain, to experience the rainforest and view the wildlife?

I am not an expert on which countries offer truly accessible locations. But I do know this, to go on a yoga retreat, with a teacher you love, is a gift. It is physically and mentally rejuvenating. Retreats offer the opportunity for the much needed self care that every person should be entitled to. The opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life can be life changing. 

Wouldn’t it be amazing if a person in a wheelchair was able to experience those gifts of retreat without having to ask dozens of questions and/or encounter barriers at every corner? To be able to go on retreat, move around without obstacles, participate in activities, and just be another member of the group?

Ryan McGraw approaches every class with the belief that everyone can do yoga. As a person with cerebral palsy who has been practicing yoga for 15 years, Ryan is well aware that yoga poses can be adapted to meet the needs of the student, no matter their level of ability.

Ryan earned his 200-hour yoga teaching certificate from Prairie Yoga in 2011 and completed two adaptive yoga teacher trainings with Matthew Sanford. He received a Master’s degree in Disability and Development from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2013 and created an adapted yoga manual for people with disabilities for his master’s thesis. He continues his studies in accessible yoga with Gabriel Halpern in Chicago. 

True Nature Travels Blog

In our fast-paced world, it’s not uncommon to think of mindfulness as something separate from our daily lives—a task we complete, a box we tick. We set our timers, sit down to meditate, and then proceed with the rest of our day. However, true mindfulness extends far beyond the boundaries of meditation; it is meant to be a guiding force as we navigate the complexities of this human life.

Mindfulness meditation is considered a formal practice, and I wholeheartedly believe in the importance of maintaining a consistent personal practice. Personally, this involves starting each day with my early morning meditation. However, there are days where it is the informal practices, those brief ‘moments of mindfulness’ sprinkled through the day, that really anchor me and keep me feeling grounded and connected. 

The spirit of mindfulness emerges when we seamlessly integrate clarity, kindness, and inner peace into the very fabric of our daily activities and interactions. This, my friends, is the essence of mindfulness—the ‘why’ that drives it. While the personal benefits we gain from our formal meditation practice are abundant, it’s our genuine intention that compels us to carry these insights beyond the meditation cushion and into the world.

So, how do we bridge this gap?

As we navigate our daily life, juggling family, work, friends, and leisure, including short informal mindfulness practices can be key. Think of these mindful moments as brief, rejuvenating snacks for the soul. In these moments, we pause to check in with our present experience, free from judgment or the desire to alter anything. We release our grip on thoughts and actions, instead focusing on the experience of the current moment, like asking ourselves “how is it now?”

It could be as simple as feeling our feet firmly planted on the floor, sensing the rhythm of our breath, or immersing ourselves in the symphony of sounds around us. 

These fleeting pauses awaken us to the here and now, shifting our attention from the busyness of our racing minds to the embodied sensations of the moment. With time, both formal and informal mindfulness practices nurture and reinforce qualities such as patience, inner stability, and resilience, enhancing our interactions with the world, its people and ourselves.

In the realm of meditation, it’s natural to anticipate moments of serenity and the inner stillness, the ones we yearn to savor. Equally common, though, are the encounters with struggle and discomfort. Mindfulness invites us to welcome it all, serving as a reminder that, irrespective of our preferences, the grounding and clarity we seek are attainable when we approach life with a sense of openness, curiosity and kindness, without taking ourselves too seriously.

So, mindfulness is not another chore to be checked off a list or a practice confined to a cushion. It is a way of life, a sense of ease that informs our daily existence, enriching our connection with the world and ourselves. As we embrace mindfulness in all its forms, from formal meditation to momentary pauses, we embark on a journey of self-discovery and inner peace that transcends the confines of any timer or routine.

Let’s try a moment of mindfulness together now…

I’d like to share a simple yet profoundly effective tool for shifting from ‘doing’ into ‘being’—the breath. Just pausing to take a slower, fuller, more conscious breath can guide us from incessant thinking into the deeper experience of feeling, from rushing forward to receiving what is here, and from gripping so tightly to a moment that invites more ease. Let’s give it a try.

Focus your awareness on the pause at the end of your next exhale and let it linger. 

  • Then, when you’re ready, begin to draw in a long, slow, steady breath, without rush or strain – noticing the sense of fullness at the top of the inhalation. 
  • When the time feels right, release the breath slowly, observing how it feels to ride the natural “letting go” of the exhalation. 
  • Rest once more in the pool of ease that resides in the pause where the exhale is complete. 
  • Take a moment now to truly feel, from the inside out, this experience of being in your body, with the breath, and in the present moment. 

This, my dear friends, is mindfulness in action. If you’d like, gently close your eyes and continue to savor this practice.

“When we approach mindfulness as something we “do”, it has a schedule with a start and a finish. When it’s about paying sincere attention, opening and learning, it becomes how we actually live.”

— Maria

Escape and rejuvenate with Maria and Richard in a tropical paradise. Visualize a week, where each day is bookended on your yoga mat, gazing at the Pacific Ocean. Maria and Richard are thrilled to curate this 7-day journey designed to reinvigorate your spirit. Nestled at the juncture of a lush jungle and the pristine beach of Chacala, Mexico, we will together delve deep into the time-honored practices, enabling profound healing and spiritual awakening.

True Nature Travels Blog

Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Latin American culture by experiencing it firsthand. Diverse and vibrant, these immersive experiences take you beyond the realm of the ordinary, plunging you into the heart of local traditions.

Local Festivals

Festivals play a crucial role in Latin America, offering a glimpse into the region’s cultural essence. For instance, the ‘Festival de la Luz’, a breathtaking parade of lights held in San José, Costa Rica‘s capital. The festival features illuminated floats, marching bands, and fireworks, bringing the city to life with color and music. In Mexico, the Day of the Dead celebration is a unique blend of indigenous beliefs and Catholicism, characterized by vibrant altars, marigold flowers, and sugar skulls.

Traditional Workshops

Participating in traditional workshops can be a captivating way to learn about the local customs and crafts. In Peru, you can join a weaving workshop in the Sacred Valley, where you learn traditional Quechuan weaving techniques from local artisans. Panama, a land blessed with fertile soils and a perfect climate, is also a thriving hub for cacao production. Chocolate lovers and curious travelers alike can partake in the “Cacao and Chocolate Tour” in Panama‘s Bocas del Toro region. This immersive journey begins at Up in the Hill, a certified organic farm and chocolate factory, where visitors can witness the entire process of chocolate making – from cacao pod to delectable treat. Here, one can learn about the cultivation of cacao trees, the fermentation and drying process of the cacao beans, and finally, the transformation of these beans into rich, aromatic chocolate. The tour concludes with a tasting of the farm’s finest chocolate products, a sweet finale to a fascinating cultural experience.

Culinary Experiences

Guatemala, the heart of the Mayan world, boasts a vibrant and unique gastronomy that is deeply rooted in its rich cultural heritage. An unforgettable culinary journey through this Central American gem should definitely begin with its national dish, “Pepian”. This traditional stew, a blend of roasted spices, meat, and vegetables, offers a taste of the complex flavors typical of Guatemalan cuisine. In Oaxaca, Mexico, partake in a Mezcal tasting tour to learn about the production of this traditional spirit and taste the different varieties.

Each of these experiences provides an authentic insight into Latin American culture, making your travel truly enriching. So on your next trip, don’t just visit Latin America, experience it!

Discover the culture and history of Hispanic Heritage by attending one of our many Latin America Retreats.

True Nature Travels Blog

Many of us have the desire to take action to help our communities and the world but get stuck on where to start and what to do.

Here are 5 steps you can take to change the world for the better:

1. Start with yourself:

The first step to making the world a better place is to work on yourself. Identify areas where you can improve and take action to become a better person. This can involve things like volunteering, donating to charity, or making lifestyle changes to reduce your carbon footprint.

2. Educate yourself:

Knowledge is power, and educating yourself about the issues facing the world is essential to making positive change. Read books, attend lectures and conferences, and engage with people who have different perspectives to gain a better understanding of the issues.

3. Take action:

Once you have educated yourself about the issues, it’s time to take action. This can involve things like volunteering your time, donating to charity, or advocating for change. Find an issue you care about and get involved in efforts to make a positive difference.how to change the world

4. Be a role model:

One of the most effective ways to make the world a better place is to be a role model for others. Set a good example by living a life that reflects your values and principles. This can inspire others to do the same and create a ripple effect of positive change.

5. Spread kindness:

Finally, spreading kindness is a simple but powerful way to make the world a better place. Small acts of kindness can have a big impact on the people around you and create a more positive, compassionate world.

 

Remember, changing the world is a process that takes time and effort. But by taking these steps, you can make a positive difference and inspire others to do the same.

True Nature Travels Blog

 

Why should I lead a retreat?

Leading a retreat can be a deeply rewarding experience, both personally and professionally.

Have you wondered why you should lead a retreat? Here are 4 reasons why you might consider leading a retreat:

1. Share Your Expertise

If you have a particular skill or area of expertise, leading a retreat can be a great way to share that knowledge with others. Whether it’s meditation, yoga, music, writing, snowboarding, hiking, or something else, a retreat can give you the opportunity to teach and guide others in a focused and immersive environment.

2. Build Your Network

Leading a retreat can also be a great way to connect with like-minded individuals and build your professional network. Retreat participants are often seeking connection and community. Leading a retreat can give you the chance to foster those relationships and potentially develop new business or collaboration opportunities.

3. Deepen Your Own Practice

Leading a retreat can also be a powerful way to deepen your own personal practice. The act of guiding others can help you develop a greater sense of clarity and purpose in your own life, and being in a retreat setting can provide the space and time for reflection and growth.

4. Escape the Daily Grind

If you’re feeling burned out or overwhelmed in your day-to-day life, leading a retreat can be a way to escape the daily grind and immerse yourself in a more peaceful and reflective environment. It can be a chance to recharge your batteries and come back to your work and life with renewed energy and clarity.

Ultimately, whether or not you should lead a retreat depends on your own interests, goals, and expertise. If you feel drawn to the idea of leading a retreat, it’s worth exploring further and considering how it might fit into your larger personal and professional plans.