True Nature Travels Blog

karma

 

Karma. The west has twisted this Sanskrit concept into a pop culture excuse for… well, everything. Let’s fix that, shall we?

Action

The word karma simply means “action,” and from the classical yoga perspective, actions are vitally important. In fact, karma offers one of few paths to self-realization.

Karma yoga understands that actions have consequences, so what we do matters. Therefore, karma yogis practice acting with intention.

This isn’t easy! The influence of past karmas can be strong. We may feel compelled to act according to how past karmas imprinted us, regardless of what present-day values we hold.

The True Teaching

With practice and attention, we can build enough awareness to begin recognizing karmic impulses and open up the possibility of choosing something different.

Stepping back from habits of thought and belief empowers us to act in alignment with our values, rather than being driven by ego-centric, karmic conditioning. We can do beautiful work when ego isn’t invested in the outcome, and action becomes an end in itself.

karma

Selfless Service

Since it’s difficult to interrupt the habit of focusing on our own needs, karma yogis perform selfless service. Confession: Even though I want my life to be about something bigger than myself, motivating for karma yoga service projects doesn’t come naturally to me. I really have to make an effort.

Along the way, I’ve discovered a secret! As long as you’re trying to do something that’s not about you, even if it feels forced, the path will rise to meet your feet.

Maturity

In high school, for example, I went on a church “mission trip” to rural Honduras. I had no idea what I was doing, but the trip extracted me from my affluent, pop culture, teen life for the first time …and turned my worldview upside down.

The Honduran people lived close to the Earth and to one another in a way I had never seen before. My materialism began to erode, and my heart grew. That trip caused the single largest leap in maturity of my life.

Gratitude

Later, as an adult, I volunteered at a homeless shelter one Thanksgiving. Many guests were gripped by a frightening state of rage. Others struggled to communicate. Some were just totally checked out.

I came away with profound gratitude for my own mental health and ability to navigate the world. I saw clearly how vulnerable we can be to the forces of karma and how precariously our capacity for change rests upon our capacity for awareness.

Healing From Grief

This year, Hurricane Dorian just barely passed us by on the same day when the dive boat Conception caught fire and sank in California, taking two dear friends down with it.

I was gobsmacked by their tragic deaths, by being spared from a hurricane but thrust into the jaws of grief, and by my cross-country distance from the support of a community to grieve with. After days of devastated uselessness, I schlepped my sad heart into town to help sort donated hurricane supplies for delivery to the disaster zone of the Bahamas.

It wasn’t what I wanted to do, but the work healed me. That one act of selfless service turned the corner on my grief and helped me begin to flow with life, again.

All Karmas Are Shared

What we do matters. However, always remember this: Results are complicated. The karmic currents of this interconnected world converge and diverge endlessly. We are caught in a Universal web of shared karmas.

We can only pour this present moment action into the mix, with an intentional whisper of blessing, and then let go.

I have no idea how volunteering in Honduras, at the homeless shelter, or for the Bahamas impacted the people I wanted to help. I only know how it impacted me.

Karma yoga is a path of self-realization. When we step forward in selfless service, ironically, it’s self that transforms …and by transforming ourselves, we heal the world.

Our actions create the future. There’s no escaping this fact. We are setting up new sequences of cause and effect right now. So ask yourself what type of world you want to live in, and whatever your answer is… act like it.

 

About the Author

Delana Thompson helps spiritually-inclined entrepreneurs express their hearts and expand their influence with authentic copywriting, project management, and professional delana thompsondelivery of their online content. Her clients include teachers and practitioners of meditation, yoga, ayurveda, shamanic healing, astrology, and fine art. When she’s not writing marketing emails or designing landing pages, you’ll find Delana salsa dancing, practicing meditation, planning a trip, listening to a podcast, speaking Spanish, or missing all her faraway friends. Visit Delana on LinkedIn to learn more about her business.

True Nature Travels Blog

Karma Yoga

At True Nature, our mission of giving back to local communities around the world is at our core. Integration with new cultures and supporting the local communities on our retreats are some of the ways to truly be able to experience a destination and learn about the culture.

Reflection

It has been a powerful year of service with the True Nature community. With an emphasis on the process, this service work isn’t just done and over, it creates an impact that keeps rippling- through the community and through ourselves. One of the takeaways from Karma Yoga is it is reciprocal. The service is not only beneficial for the communities we serve but a rich experience for each of us. What we learn from these projects and communities goes above and beyond the efforts firsthand. We leave feeling more collaborative, motivated, and with a fresh outlook. Most often this work creates more action. Karma Yoga creates more motivation to keep the service process going. Even with little time to put forth, the tiniest acts help significantly. The willingness to further our efforts and perspective, to create a global community is contagious.

True Nature Directors, Kristyn, Charlotte, and Prema were fortunate to be able to join our most recent Karma Yoga project in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala. We partnered with an amazing group during Alyssa Snow’s retreat. We are grateful to Alyssa for inviting us to join and it was a powerfully rewarding experience.

About La Puerta Abierta

Six years ago, La Puerta Abierta opened the first creative, non-conventional preschool in Santiago, Atitlán. They have created an environment for our young learners which is inviting, educational, and stimulating. The staff has designed a creative curriculum which embraces art and exploration.

La Puerta Abierta strives to educate the whole child by offering a variety of learning opportunities via music, body movement, out-door education, sports, theater, art, nutrition, and food preparation. La Escuelita Puerta Abierta currently offers seven academic grades, preschool through 5th grade.

 

The Projects

 

We were able to help with a few different projects including gardening in the community garden, the playground, and helping build an addition to the classroom.

It was a beautiful experience to be able to work with the students during their recess! Everyone pitched in to help.

What a difference many hands can make!

Community

With Karma Yoga, you become one with the community. This we learned firsthand. When it was time to depart, we received a special surprise.

A special thank you to the La Puerta Abierta Community for letting us spend the day at your beautiful school! We would also like to extend our gratitude to Alyssa and her group, for this special collaborative experience we were able to share with you.

Karma Yoga

Last but not least, a shout-out to our community who value this work just as much as we do, and we look forward to the next Karma Yoga experience. To find out how you can help or lead a service project, visit https://truenaturetravels.com/educational-travel/karma-yoga/.

 

True Nature Travels Blog

As someone who spends an inordinate amount of time sorting my trash into recyclables, compost, and garbage, I always carried a layer of guilt around my affinity for travel. I was far too aware of the ridiculous amount of carbon emissions that came attached to each international ticket I booked. Which is why when I first heard the term “Eco-Tourism” I immediately wanted to know more. Fast forward a few years and no I’m not only an eco-tourism expert, but a passionate believer of integrating the values of eco-tourism into all my travels. And I’m here to share that expertise and passion with you. In this ultimate guide to eco-tourism, I will go over what eco-tourism is, why it matters, and how to practice it in your daily life.

The What: What even is eco-tourism?

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) defines eco-tourism as “Environmentally responsible travel to natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and accompanying cultural features, both past and present) that promote conservation, have a low visitor impact, and provide for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local peoples.”

Catchy, right?

Let’s put it in terms that don’t sound like something out of a dull college lecture. Basically, eco-tourism is tourism centered around nature. Visiting nature, appreciating nature, and respecting nature. It means traveling to biodiverse countries and destinations in order to appreciate the natural environment and the communities that have coexisted, and still do coexist, with that environment. Most of all, ecotourism is about respecting nature. This means finding ways to limit the impact your travel has on the natural world and support the local communities that live in these natural areas.

The Why: Why should you care about eco-tourism?

Okay, so now you know what eco-tourism is, but why should you care?

We all have different things that drive us. And if you are already passionate about fighting global warming and engaging in environmentalism, you probably don’t need me to explain why eco-tourism is important. After all, what’s good for the planet is good for us.

But maybe environmentalism isn’t your cause. That’s okay! I have a feeling eco-tourism will still be for you. And here’s why…

Imagine you are setting off for a new adventure. Maybe you’re going to lie on the beaches of Phuket, climb the Swiss Alps, or dance with the whirling dervishes in Turkey. Regardless of where you are headed, one thing is always the same: you are a guest. Eco-tourism is about respecting that guest-host relationship and treating other countries the way you would treat a neighbor’s home. If your neighbor asks you to remove your shoes in the house, you do. So, if a foreign country asks you to honor their land and respect their customs, why should that be any different? When boiled down, eco-tourism is all about respect, and who can’t get behind a cause based on mutual respect??

The How: How can you practice eco-tourism on your travels?

You are now a budding expert on eco-tourism. You know what it is and why you should care about it. But it’s no good memorizing the theory if you don’t know how to put it into practice. So how can you actually live the eco-tourism life on your next trip? Here are a few of my favorite tips:

  • Off-set the carbon footprint of your airfare. Carbon Fund allows you to enter the departure and arrival airports for your flight, then make a proportional donation toward carbon reduction projects to help off-set your impact. It’s cheaper than you might think (I only spent an extra $17 last time I went to Europe) and turns a negative impact into a positive one.
  • Travel with organizations that embody eco-tourism. Whether you are spending three months volunteering in the Amazon or spending a week on a yoga retreat, make sure the organizations you travel with priorities eco-tourism. True Nature Travels, for example, works hard to make sure we work with eco-friendly retreat centers and offers service projects so you can give back to the local community during your retreat.
  • Spend more time visiting natural parks around the world. From Monteverde in Costa Rica to Plitvice Lakes in Croatia, the world is full of breath-taking natural parks. Adding these to your travel itinerary not only adds a few days of stunning travel through some of the world’s most incredible natural wonders, but gives you an opportunity to support local efforts to keep the world a little greener.

However you travel, you can make it eco

Contrary to popular belief, eco-tourism does not mean camping. You can embody the values of eco-tourism in all sorts of travel. From luxury resorts and spas to camping and trekking through the rainforest, you can experience the world your way while still acting as an eco-tourist. So the next time you plan a trip, dig a little deeper into where you are staying and what you are doing, and try to add a little eco to your tourism.

True Nature Travels Blog

At the heart of True Nature Travels is our commitment to service. We are honored to work with so many amazing partners around the world and are grateful for the opportunity to give back and help in as many ways as we can. The following is a recent note we received from Lindsay Padilla, our partner for our service project in Costa Rica. Here, Lindsay shares her story and reminds us why what we do matters. Read on for an inspiring note from this incredible woman!

Happy Farming Service Project in Costa Rica

service project in costa ricaFor the ones that know about my family history, we have had a difficult time because of cancer. During the last 5 years, 2 loved people (my aunt and my grandpa) died because of cancer and at the same time, my mother is a cancer survivor.

One day, the doctor told us that mom could not live longer and it would be impossible for her to win the battle against cancer (she was almost in stage 4). But my mom said there is a purpose in everything and God is the One who knows the future, so she came back home with faith and many changes in her life.

I remember that at the end of that week, we welcomed a True Nature group and there at mom’s kitchen, most of the visitors sitting on the floor, started singing with Luna and Joshua! I saw her smile again. She told me she felt “Open to Grace” If you listen that beautiful song you realize “Cuando caigo, para crecer de nuevo,” to grow again, that was what she did.

We started planting our veggies. Her hands were busy. Then she started sharing the harvest and we eliminated all the processed food from our diet. Some years have passed and mom is still in the treatment, but cancer is gone! Happy and simple lifestyle results! Gratitude is the key.

Because of the past and thinking of the present, this project was born. We highly believe that love and happiness are the medicines to the entire world. service project in costa ricaThat is why we are employing people from the village to farm in harmony with nature. That is our Happy Farm Project that includes planting what we eat, collecting eggs from the farm and growing tilapia. Our commitment is to avoid chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides while we have a responsible use of energy and natural resources to ensure healthy food and farm from today and for the future.

The builder you can find in the pictures is Marvin.  True Nature helped him to improve his home last year. A group came to paint his home one day prior to his daughter’s wedding because they were planning to have the party at home. What a nice gift! Marvin is the one who leads the groups that come to build and repair in the village. He also will sell fresh tilapia from the farm. By now he is busy building the hens coop. This project includes a tilapia fish farm while we recycle the tilapia containers. When we started this project, we bought an electrical machine for saving water, but it doesn’t work without electricity. That is why we are doing the tilapia project in my mother’s property, so we can use water pressure from the river, saving electricity and water, while we can hire local people for building, farming, cooking, and selling high-quality products that are not expensive.

Nothing of this could be possible without the support of True Nature. During many years they have helped us to improve our village, to have new opportunities for the local people to work.

Literally, True Nature has put color on the village for years. They have been there to help us to make many projects a dream come true and we honor their good works.

Thanks very much, True Nature!

You believe that it is possible to improve our lives while we practice a happy and healthy lifestyle.

True Nature Travels Blog

What am I here for?

It’s more than 14 letters creating a question. It is a question that I’d like to answer while I fight against resistance.

After having a difficult time, we are probably not completely full of energy. I have been part of that group of people that are tired sometimes, but I always fight for what I really love and it is helping to create a better place to live!

What am I here for?

I am here to encourage people to believe that if we are united, working together, no matter if we are just a small group, we can make a big difference.

Today is a great day! A good opportunity to do something for others.

It is interesting, because I have heard a lot of expressions like, “We can do nothing about it”, “It is imposible”, and “Don’t even try, you can’t do it”.

I can, you can, we all can!

What we really need is to start doing the impossible. There are too many people doing the possible now!

If we start now, we can do exactly the same thing tomorrow, with a new mind-set, so the ordinary things will turn to extraordinary things.

During many years, we have been working hard hand in hand with the True Nature. It has been an interesting adventure.

Painting buildings and homes, repairing houses, helping to build an English classroom at the local school and even giving a hand (or two) to the local people in their farms, without forgetting the other many activities we have been involved in… Too many good projects that are counting in our fight to create a better place to live, in our fight to show the entire world that the real power is inside you, inside me, the power of God acting through our hands.

There is a bridge between the countries, between the languages and we cross it together while we volunteer.

See you around here soon. No matter when you can come visit us, you will always be welcome here in Costa Rica, at home.

I wish you a happy day, plenty of peace and love.

 

About the Author: Lindsay Padilla 

Lindsay was born in San Jose, Costa Rica. She currently lives in Costa Rica where she helps foreigners immerse themselves in her beautiful country. True Nature works with Lindsay and The Real Costa Rica to provide service opportunities to our retreat participants. We love working with Lindsay and we cannot wait for our next Costa Rica retreat

True Nature Travels Blog

BLACK BEAN CAROB BROWNIES (GF)

I am always looking for new ways to re-invent the naughty favorites.
Based on your feedback, brownies have been re-born.

Carob is a tropical fruit with a delicious, sweet and edible pulp. When dried and minced, it resembles both the textures and flavors of cocoa powder. The difference between carob and cocoa is the caffeine content. Carob has 0 caffeine and can help with those of us who are caffeine sensitive. By all means, if cocoa is your preference, this recipe can easily be cocoa translated by simply replacing the carob with cocoa. Same portions and all are tasty options.

Why would you re-create something so perfect to begin with? I hear it all the time… people will say, “No thanks,” before they ever try a healthier variation because they think it will taste like cardboard, hence it is will be a waste of their palette’s time.  I agree.

I believe food was meant to be an experience. Something that not only smells enriching, but looks, and taste it as well. Not only this, but also enriching for the body’s health. YOU CAN have it all. You don’t have to sacrifice one for the other.

This recipe is sure to fulfill your chocolatey desires while staying true to a low glycemic and gluten free diet.

Give it the ultimate test for yourself. Make these brownies for your friends and family. They are sure to enjoy them just like they would with a traditional recipe!

So, the next time you have a craving, know that you don’t necessarily have to abstain. There are healthy alternatives for every recipe out there.

Black Bean Carob Brownies
Total Time: 15m
Yield: 9-12 brownies
Ingredients
• 1 1/2 cups black beans (1 15-oz can, drained and rinsed very well) (250g after draining)
• 2 tbsp carob powder (If carob is too much of a leap, I understand. Don’t worry, cocoa can be substituted!) (10g)
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1/3 cup pure maple syrup, coconut palm sugar, or agave (or honey, but not for strict vegans.) (75g)
•  3 eggs (or flax seed eggs)
• pinch uncut stevia
• 1/4 cup coconut or ghee
• 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup chocolate chips (115-140g) (Not optional. Omit at your own risk.)
• optional: more chips, for presentation
Instructions
Black Bean Brownies Recipe: Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine all ingredients except chips in a good food processor, and blend until completely smooth. Stir in the chips, then pour into a greased 8×8 pan. Optional: sprinkle extra chocolate chips over the top. Cook the black bean brownies 15-18 minutes, then let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to cut. If they still look a bit undercooked, you can place them in the fridge overnight and they will magically firm up! Makes 9-12 brownies.

 

BIO : Alana Roach  is a International Yogi currently based out of Annapolis, MD. Formerly adorned by the city lights and the busy streets of America, she was then whisked away by the illustrious path of yoga and took to traveling the world to share it with others. A few years back she started to write about the transformation she undertook by  practicing conscious meditation. Her passions became her career and she now holds RYS Teacher Trainings & International Retreats, Health Coaches, and writes every opportunity she gets. In her spare time she loves cuddling with her daughter, surfing, being in nature, and living amongst her ever growing and global loving and conscious community. She is on Facebook , Instagram, Twitter, and can be reached by email explorationsofself@gmail.com

True Nature Travels Blog

True Nature is honored to be working with inspiring, beautiful, and shinning leaders. Becky and Betty are no exception. With their robust experience, expansive practice, and lovely spirits, we are so excited about their upcoming retreat in Playa Uvita, Costa Rica this January 28February 4. 

Learn more and register today!

Join Virginia natives Becky and Betty for a week of self discovery and reconnection with the core of our infinite being. Surrounded by nature, nestled between the ocean and the jungle, warmed by the tropical air and embraced by the infinite sky, we will take advantage of the surrounding elements by combining asana practice with workshops that invite earth, air, fire, and water to parallel the elements within us.

We will explore the beauty of the external landscapes of Playa Uvita, Costa Rica while navigating our internal landscapes; flowing freely on our mats while quieting our minds with stillness and meditation. As we partake in island adventures, we remain open to infinite possibilities. As our journeys take us within, we invite you to dive deep through opportunities for ceremonial work, self reflection, and healing. Stripping away the distractions of everyday life, we will get back to basics, cultivating our ever present and universal truth that lies within.

 

We had the privilege of interviewing Betty and Becky! Check out our exclusive interview below:

True Nature: How does the idea of “Infinite Connection: Invoking the Elements Within” play into your retreat? What themes do you see coming up throughout the journey?

Becky: The theme came to us quite naturally. It is Our intention for our participants to reconnect with the deepest parts of themselves and with this incredible Earth that Embraces us each and every day of Our Lives. Every day of the retreat will be dedicated to a different element including Earth, fire, air, water, and ether… There will be lots of magical representations of each intertwined.

Betty: The Elements are with us all day every day, even when we’re unaware of it. Not only do they surround us, but more predominantly, they are within us. We are born from the Earth and will return there when we pass. Our bodies are composed of 60% water. Our lungs automatically fill with air to keep us alive. Our words and actions are fueled by fire that is sparked directly from the passion of our spirit. Our intuition, guidance and dreams dictate our place in Ether. These elements surround us in nature, but they are also our internal nature. We are ready to return these simple but powerful bases of existence as we dedicate one day to each element through meditation, asana, workshops, ceremonies and a few surprises along the way 🙂

True Nature: Who has been your greatest influence and why?
Becky: I don’t believe that I can choose just one person who has been my greatest influence. I have been surrounded by and continue to be surrounded by so many incredible teachers everyday of my life. I have to thank my parents for raising me in a way that was open-minded and also with an open heart. They raised me in nature which is where I find the deepest sense of spirituality. I also have to acknowledge my teacher, Arlene, who is with me each and every day as her physical body has left this Earth. She has given me a message and it is my Dharma to continue on… Serving as a vessel of blessing; an instrument of Peace…My sister Betty continues to be my muse and inspiration as well… Constantly reigniting this fire of passion reminding me why I do what I do. My students continue to be some of my greatest teachers… Acting as mirrors… Reflecting so much inspiration and guidance.
Betty: I can’t specify an actual physical human who has been my greatest influence. My greatest influence has been Life itself. All of the “coincidences” (which of course aren’t just coincidences), the magic of being in the right place at the right time, the misfortunes, accidents and detours (that led me to the exact place I was meant to be) teaching me everything I need to learn, and handed me the tools necessary to face anything that comes my way. Traveling internationally has also been another one of my greatest teachers. Through 70 countries I’ve learned to navigate the world and it’s people; to go with the flow or to stand up for myself, to take care of myself and to look out for myself, when to trust and when that huge red flag of intuition shoots up. Of course, the people I’ve met along the way and in each stop of the winding path have made the adventure what it is so far, but that’s tens of thousands of people, and I certainly don’t have enough space to list them all!
True Nature: If there was a yoga pose or meditation practice that described you – what would it be and why?
Becky: If there was a yoga pose or meditation that describes me, it would be a vinyasa flow. I am constantly changing and flowing into this beautiful now moment… the only thing constant is change.
Betty:  My personal expression as a practice would definitely be a super hot and sweaty powerful surrender class. Essentially I totally dig hot power flow classes (around 100 degrees in a studio or equatorial locations around the world 🙂  and then stretch it out with a final yin sequence. I’m on the cusp of Pisces and Aries, so I have both water and fire in my blood. I like to sweat and burn and then surrender and just be.
True Nature:  Other than yoga and meditation – what are some of your passions? Will these be explored in your retreat?
Becky: Exploring the beautiful and wild Outdoors! My home…
 
Betty: Ah, there are so many! I love to write: finding expression with words. I love to dance: finding freedom with
movement. Recently I began hooping, which has been an incredible teacher of meditation through mind, body, movement and music. Reiki and energy healing are also huge sources of connection for me. And my other job is as a photographer, which I went to school for, and have been doing professionally for eight years now. Writing, energy exploring and photography will all certainly be present as creative outlets for us and our participants. I’m pretty sure we will get a good dance party going at some point as well, and I always travel with my hoops so there will definitely be opportunities to flow with these sacred circles 😉
True Nature: What is on your “Costa Rica bucket list” and what are you most excited about?
Becky: I am most excited about going with absolutely no expectations… Allowing the unknown to unfold.
Betty: I am lucky enough to have already visited Costa Rica a few times for work. Every time I travel in Costa Rica, I fall in love with the landscapes, people, food and way of life, over and over again. I am so excited to share this incredibly vibrant country with others, allowing the Elements of Costa Rica and Playa Uvita to do what they do best as we pay respect to them both internally and externally.
True Nature:  Is there a saying or quote that really resonates with you and your upcoming retreat?

Becky: Victoria Erickson continues to be one of my greatest inspiration in the world of words. Whenever I have the blessing of going on adventures such as this I take her with me in this poem:

Promise to stay wild with me. We’ll seek and return and stay to find beauty and the extraordinary in all the spaces we can claim. We’ll know how to live. How to breathe magic into the mundane.
Victoria Erickson

Betty: This may be cliche, but the Ticos (Costa Rican people) say “Pura Vida,” which literally translates to “pure life.” However, they say it for everything! It could be used as “take it easy”, “enjoy life”, “all good”, “purity in life”, “hello”, “goodbye”, and “this is life!” They use it to represent a peaceful, simple, uncluttered life with a deep appreciation for nature, family and friends. I am so excited to get back to this: peace, simplicity, and nature. 

 

 

 

True Nature Travels Blog

We are constantly inspired by the teachers we work with and Monica Mesa Dasi is no exception. This May, Monica will be leading a Costa Rican yoga retreat, so we’ve asked her a few questions to help you get a better feel for what it will be like to go on a Costa Rican adventure with this inspiring woman!
    Costa Rican Yoga Retreat Monica
True Nature:  How does the idea of Yoga of Heart & Soul play into your Costa Rican yoga retreat? What themes do you see coming up throughout the journey?
Monica: I called this yoga retreat the Yoga Heart and Soul because the Prana Vinyasa classes that I will be teaching will be deep, fulfilling, and nourishing classes. The study of Bhakti, which is the yoga of love, devotion, and service, and the magic of the sea will add to the alchemy of this week together. As far as themes, we will be focusing on: connecting to the Divine inside ourselves, inspiration from the great masters of the Bhakti tradition, and connecting to the beauty that surrounds us.
Costa Rican Yoga Retreat Monica Cobra
TN: Who has been your greatest influence and why?
M: Shiva Rea has been the greatest influence in my life. Through her, my path in yoga has blossomed and she has brought me to my other two greatest influencers, Neem Karoli Baba and Lama Tsultrim Allione. They have all three blessed my life fully with jewels of wisdom and inspiration.
Costa Rican Yoga Retreat Monica Pidgeon
TN: If there was a yoga pose or mediation practice that described you – what would it be and why?
M: My sadhana, or sacred daily practice, begins with pranayama and meditation followed by a creative namaskar and flow that answers my needs for the day. This is the way every day of my life begins and it is my anchor to be able to live a soulful life of love and service.
TN: Other than yoga and meditation, what are some of your passions? Will these be explored in your Costa Rican yoga retreat?
M: My other passions are surfing, the ocean, the power of nature, and bonding with others to support one another on the path of life. This Costa Rican yoga retreat is perfectly aligned to enjoy and explore all of my passions!
Costa Rican Yoga Retreat Monica Volcano
TN: What is on your “Costa Rica bucket list” and what are you most excited about?
M: I am most excited to meet the wonderful souls that come together for this Costa Rican yoga retreat as well as the magic of the sea and all that Santa Teresa has to offer us.
TN: Is there a saying or quote that really resonates with you and your upcoming Costa Rican yoga retreat?
M: “Love everyone, Serve everyone, Remember God.” ~ Neem Karoli Baba. This is my Guru’s teaching and it is my great honor and joy to spread it in all that I do and teach.
Join Monica for her Costa Rican yoga retreat by going here and signing up!
Costa Rican Yoga Retreat Monica Wild Thing
Monica Mesa Dasi
Prana Vinyasa Yoga Teacher/Trainer
Shiva Rea Samudra Global School of Living Yoga

True Nature Travels Blog

IMG_2344_snapTrue Nature is so fortunate to be working along side amazing, inspiring, and talented teachers that lead global retreats! Two of our newest instructors is leading a Costa Rican retreat in February 2017.

Join Virginia natives Becky and Betty for a week of self discovery and reconnection with the core of our infinite being. Surrounded by nature, nestled between the ocean and the jungle, warmed by the tropical air and embraced by the infinite sky, we will take advantage of the surrounding elements by combining asana beachpractice with workshops that invite earth, air, wind, and fire to parallel the elements within us.

We will explore the beauty of the external landscapes of Playa Uvita, Costa Rica while navigating our internal landscapes; flowing freely on our mats while quieting our minds with stillness and meditation. As we partake in island adventures, we remain open to infinite possibilities. As our journeys take us within, we invite you to dive deep through opportunities for ceremonial work, self reflection, and healing. Stripping away the distractions of everyday life, we will get back to basics, cultivating our ever present and universal truth that lies within.

You can learn more about their retreat and sign-up here! 

Becky shared with us one of her inspirational poems with us. Take a look below……..

IMG_20160610_075004

Knowing

Something deep within me knows. Knows where I have been and where I am going. It is not a knowing in my mind. It is a knowing deeply rooted in the depths of my soul. It is the animal of my body; constantly in touch with my instincts no matter how distracting the stories become.

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A tiny seed does not need instructions to grow as it fearlessly roots down into its loving mother two then courageously grow up towards its father. The seed does not think. It knows.

A delicate spider does not study an instruction manual to weave her silver miracle that comes forth from within; providing her with everything she needs to survive. The spider does not think. Golden GoddessShe knows.

A stallion does not need permission to run wildly through the fields when his muscles ache to move. He listens, he feels, he unapologetically flies. The horse does not think. He knows.

Why must I think?!

Ha!

Exactly.

I shall leave you to your thoughts as I grow… As I weave… as I fly… Empty and free…

This is what it is to trust.

Namaste.

Here is a little bit about this good vibe goddess!

Becky Eschenroeder—a Richmond Virginia native—is an accomplished Yogi who is recognized as a 500 hour RYT, 200 hour E-RYT, RCYT and was voted as one of the top three yoga instructors by Richmond Magazine in 2015. Becky studied under Arlene Bjork and Grace Yoga Training Systems prior to Arlene’s passing in late 2009. Becky then obtained her 500 hour RYT through Om On Yoga under the guidance and wisdom of Jennifer Elliot. It is through this experience that she made the commitment to be a full-time yoga teacher. Becky made the conscious decision to dedicate her life to bringing her love of yoga, movement, and learning to all walks of life as evidenced by her deep commitment and involvement in such initiatives as Project Yoga Richmond and YoKid.Golden Goddess

With a degree in Psychology from James Madison University combined with her elementary school teaching license from Mary Baldwin College, Becky uses both her knowledge and experience in these disciplines to design yoga workshops, classes and retreats, here and abroad, that expand the senses, broadens the mind, and opens the heart to what is truly possible. Her ability to meaningfully connect with those she serves so selflessly arises out of her personal commitment and disciplined approach to deepening her own learning and practice of yoga, philosophy, and meditation.

Becky has been a proud Ambassador for Lululemon Athletica, Project Yoga Richmond and YoKid Stretch Your Limits. Becky is a certified YoKid Facilitator Trainer responsible for training fellow adults in ways to incorporate yoga into children’s lives. Becky is also trained to teach children’s yoga through the “Yoga with Nitya” format, and yoga to individuals who have undergone trauma.

Becky can be seen riding her bike around town as she commutes to and from teaching yoga classes, private lessons, and meeting with community leaders. You might also see her leading a Yoga Hike along the James River during the warmer Virginia months. These only a couple of many examples of how she lives her life in full beauty and in alignment with the yoga teachings and practice. Becky is a creative and passionate woman who loves art, freelance photography, hiking, kayaking, traveling and running along with most outdoor adventure activities. She adores doing all these things with family and friends—both old and new.

This is the fundamental lesson that keeps Becky grounded in uncertain times and one that she learned many years ago when she first began practicing on the mat. Becky lives her life holding a deep belief that it is her responsibility to guide others down this path and help lift them up through action and word. Namaste.

True Nature Travels Blog

Costa Rica Yoga AdventureI found myself hiking uphill in a small town on the outskirts of Turriabla  on a Costa Rican adventure, wondering exactly what I got myself into. I was beyond exhausted from hours jumping from bus to bus, brain buzzing with struggling with translating the language, and was surrounded by mainly cows and leaf cutter ants. I was on an adventure.

I came straight out of a blissful week in the sweet beach town of Santa Teresa, covering a True Nature Yoga and Wellness retreat. The vibes there were strong, positive, safe, and every aspect of day to day was covered. Beautiful dishes were served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; pristine rooms, hot showers, daily yoga sessions, dancing waves, and a whole team to support you. Needless to say a yoga vacation is the way to go for a chance to relax, reconnect, and simply be. So this was quite a little bit of a shock.

I tend to be an adventurous soul. I am not a stranger to backpacking trips, traveling solo, getting lost in nature, and ultimately just figuring it out. I figured why not while I am in Costa Rica go off the beaten path and discover something new. So I did. What I did not anticipate is my banking account being shut down for what they think was fraud, my cell phone to stop working in these small off the grid towns, and the language barrier to be so strong where I wouldn’t speak english for a week or two straight. I was not on a yoga retreat anymore. Either way, I trudged along and took in all I could with an open heart and mind.

Costa Rica Adventure Travel

So this is where you find me, huge backpack, 5 dollars to last me a week and walking straight up hill to a tiny farm where I would spend the next 4 days in La Suiza along the river. La Suiza is a sweet little town based around sugar cane. Small, friendly, where everyone knows everyone. Within the town a beautiful rushing river cuts through the small mountains. And let me tell you, the river taught me everything I needed to know.

DSC_2827In our culture and day to day lives, it is all about the hustle and bustle. We push ourselves in our personal life, careers, and are usually working towards what is next. It is ingrained in us and becomes subconscious behavior. At least for me it is, and I am sure many of you can relate. Juggling professional life, family life, and self care is a never ending “to do” list. On top of that add in our constant connectivity where we can be reached and expected to be reached at any moment. Instagram, facebook, snapchat, emails, all in your pocket.

Strip this away and what are you left with. When you are forced to be out of pocket, tasks have to wait, your world literally gets put on pause. Cows. I was left with cows, muddy trails, and my monkey brain running in circles on how to get cell service, answer emails, and continue on while in this town.

Costa Rican Adventures

Adventure Travel

Well long story short, a day later in my quaint little shack along the river, I realized it was about surrender. Life has a funny way of giving you just what you need. It is your choice if you will go with the current or against it. Will you go with the flow or fight it. By allowing ourselves space to tap into the natural progressions of life, it is no longer an upstream battle but a playful ride down the rapids.

DSC_2740By the second day, I woke up lightness in my step. Waking up to the rushing river, birds chirping, and the world yawning herself into the
day. I picked fresh avocados, mangos, and bananas for food. I jumped from rock to rock along the river. Sat down with the animals to read.
Examined each and every flower surrounding the house. Made friends with an old farmer. And rolled in the mud. I turned off my brain, told the world to wait and played.

Costa Rican Adventure TravelI needed to be reminded it all isn’t so serious and that we all need to delegate time for play, day dreams, and simply being. Maybe it didn’t require such an extreme adventure, remoteness, and challenging situations for me to get there in my head space. But that is how it happened and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The river danced with the sunbeams, and laughed along the rocks, she pushed me right along and when I left I had a tear in my eye. I came in crying with stress and exhaustion and left with tears of joy, surrender, and gratitude.

I was off to the next leg of my journey, a True Nature Educational and Adventure trip, where uncertainty would not be an issue.  I would be well taken care of, going on epic adventures in a controlled environment, speaking English, connecting with awesome student leaders, and surrounded by all the beauty of Costa Rica. All the while, in the back of my head I would hear the river whispering to me to go with the flow and have some fun.

Adventure Travel