True Nature Travels Blog

A mother is something extraordinary. It goes beyond the basics of what a “mother” is or should be. Mother is the feminine, a woman who provides, loves, nurtures, and creates. A woman of strength and softness with a heart so compassionate that her warmth comes through with just a simple hug. So much love we have for these wild women who have raised us, sheltered us, taught us lessons, listened, nurtured, and also stayed in her own vulnerability showing us even the magical have flaws in perfection and one should only show their authentic self. This is a day to celebrate them, yourself, whoever it may be that is symbolized as this embodiment of complete love and that has helped you through your life.

A mother is in my eyes a type of medicine woman. They heal with so many lessons and love, which they provide. Always giving, beyond themselves, because that is their soul and selfless desire; what devotion they have to their roles of giving. Since these women give us so much medicine, I thought it was only proper that we treat them with medicine on their special day of celebration. I’m speaking of the medicine of Cacao.

“I often call chocolate the best-known food that nobody knows anything about,” said Alexandra Leaf, a self-described “chocolate educator” who runs a business called Chocolate Tours of New York City.
Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/a-brief-history-of-chocolate-21860917/#WSL7Rh4jPcgU0sJQ.99

Deep in the amazon basin in South America, between Ecuador and Peru, the people would put the fruit whole inside of water mostly for making alcohol, to find that when the bean would ferment it would completely change, becoming a bioavailable food. Culturally Cacao developed in Southern Mexico and Guatemala, among the Mayan and later Aztec kingdoms. Culturally meaning that it became a common part of daily life, cuisine, ritual, and art mythology. These people would make the bean into a chocolate and mix it with herbs, creating an elixir finding that this drink would help them expand in multiple ways. Some would say it opens your heart and portals in the body. It was used both for spiritual reasons as well as for healthy fats which help with brain developing properties, amazing minerals such as magnesium, antioxidants that help the body naturally detoxify, and lastly it brings mind altering properties due to Alkaloids. This was a drink for uplifting the mood, gaining a natural source of energy, and also for relaxation. The experience is different for everyone. Some would say they have more of a psychedelic experience, leaving them in a “high.” Some would say it helped them through depressed feelings, times of doubt and stress. And for others it was mostly just used for rites of passage, funerals, weddings, births, etc. Creating an uplifting mood, a level of openness to what is, feeling blissful and fully alive. How could we not want to treat our mothers, the complete divine, to this divine drink?

Now instead of making a recipe myself, I decided to go to a better source, a dear friend of mines company, Cacoco, based out of Santa Cruz, Ca. I want to share this with you for a few reasons. First off, this company has a mission to not only supply their customers a healthy, safe, and delicious product with uncompromised quality and integrity, but to also embrace environmental sustainability, healthy vibrant lifestyles, and social responsibility.

I have some of the deepest respect for these guys and their mission. Food as medicine and enjoyment is some of the finest gifts from this earth we can get. These fellas are going to make an impact on this planet and community in beautiful ways, as they already are. I feel a way we can impact growth as humans and really start giving back to our planet more is by celebrating people’s gifts that they are blessed with, their talents, passions and offer an energy exchange in return.

Places to order; directly from their site https://drinkcacoco.com/pages/about; Found in Whole Foods Markets in Northern California; Found in health food stores all over the west coast.

         I hope you enjoy this day of the feminine and really celebrate, celebrate for all of the gifts that Mothers have blessed us with.

 

About the Author: 

Chelsea Shapouri, currently in Ventura, California, is an entrepreneur with the love for holistic health, yoga/meditation, herbal medicine, travel, and the outdoors. Her aim is to help people achieve their true authenticity, move away from stress and into balance using her knowledge with Holistic Living. Chelsea currently is teaching “Yoga Medicine” at local studios and indoor rock climbing gyms, creating a cook book, taking photos with her favorite companions, hosting workshops locally, and enjoying the ocean and trails on her days off. To learn more about her mission and offers you can go to her website; Thegrainsoflife.com or email her at; thegrainsoflife@yahoo.com. Join the team to spread this awareness of happiness as well as taking care of our earth and people.

True Nature Travels Blog

Nature has always been my “safe space”. When life gets a little too much, I find my way to the trees, dig my toes into the dirt, and breathe. It’s there that I feel most at home, and sooner or later, I find the connection to Earth helps me re-connect to my self as well. Unfortunately, winter always brings a dip in this sense of connection. As a native-Californian, I thrive on sunshine. The snowy meadows and dreary rain clouds are not exactly what I consider inviting. By the time winter comes to a close, I find myself feeling disconnected, flustered, and a little lost. Which is why I use Spring as an opportunity to reconnect with Mother Earth. The following are a few practices that help me rebuild my connection with Mother Earth; follow along and join me in building a stronger, lasting relationship with her this Spring!

Stop and smell the roses (or wildflowers)

While I generally keep away from clichés, I couldn’t help myself with this one. Spring is a time when trees start getting their leaves back, hills turn vibrant shades of green, and wildflowers start working their way up through the melting frost. Take time this season to appreciate the vibrant world budding around you.

Watch a young tree swaying in the wind outside your office window. Pause while your dog sniffs a tree to gaze at your neighbor’s stunning garden. Plant a garden of your own and watch it come to life as the season progresses. Or simply sit outside and be. Feel the air against your cheek, smell the fragrant flowers and fresh grass all around you, watch the clouds float across the sky. Simply taking a moment to appreciate nature can help you reconnect to Mother Earth and all her abundance.

Dance in the rain

Not every day in Spring is sunshine and roses. The rainclouds will still come. But don’t let them bring you down! Embrace the showers and all they do to help Mother Earth grow more luscious every day. Next time it rains, take a moment to be with that rain.

Maybe it’s simply standing under an awning and feeling the crisp air of a rainy day while you contemplate the life that this dreary weather brings. Or maybe you put on a swimsuit, head to a muddy puddle, and dance joyously as the rain splatters on your hair. However you decide to experience it, let yourself feel the delight Mother Earth feels when the pouring rain nourishes her dry body.

Leave your shoes at home

Whether you spend five minutes standing with your toes in the grass or decide to go for a barefoot hike through the countryside, there is hardly a more powerful way to reconnect with Mother Earth than taking off your shoes.

Forming a connection between the sole of your foot and Mother Earth’s diverse landscape is a powerful way to feel the pulse of the Earth beneath you, find that center that runs from the core of your heart to the core of the planet, and remember the stability and love that Mother Earth provides every single day.

Don’t be afraid to get dirty

This spring, get your hands dirty. You can start with something small, like lying down on a grassy hill without putting a towel down, or you can go all in and spend some time playing in the mud or rolling down a hill. Embrace the inner child that longs to get as close to Mother Earth as possible, and don’t worry if some grass stains result. It’s a small price to pay for the joy and connection you’ll find when you immerse yourself in Earth.

Reconnect with Mother Earth and maintain that connection

These practices are all simple ways to find your connection, but it’s easier to reconnect with Mother Earth than it is to maintain that connection. Once you find that connection, do your best to hold onto it. One way to do that is to take these practices and incorporate them into your daily (or weekly) routine. Another is to weave it together with other practices, like journaling, yoga, or meditation, that support a deeper connection with the world around you. Whatever practices speak to you, don’t just try them from time to time. Live them. Become them. And watch as they lead you closer to Mother Earth with each passing day.

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

Spring cleaning - spring approaching

Is it really already time to think about spring? I don’t know about you, but the as much as I adore the sunshine and wildflowers that come with the season, I always have a difficult time pulling myself out of the winter doldrums and into the elation of spring. My body is still heavy with soups and cocoa, my eyes still droop from short days and long nights, and my mind is weary from months of hibernation and self-reflection. This transition has been, and probably always will be, a difficult one for me. Which is why I have created a sort of spring cleaning tradition to enact when the poppies start blooming and the tree leaves return. If embracing the high-energy season of spring seems daunting, this routine will help.

Step 1: Clean out your physical space

Spring Cleaning - Physical SPace

Before I can apply the spirit of spring cleaning to my lifestyle or mental space, I have to apply it to my home. I have a Spotify playlist entitled “Dance it Out.” I turn the speakers on high, open all the windows (sorry neighbors), and I dance it out. I dance out the dust bunnies, toothpaste splattered mirrors, and unvacuumed carpets. Then I dig into the desk drawers and back closet space, making “Trash” and “Giveaway” piles larger than expected.

When spring cleaning day (or week, if I am being entirely honest) comes around, I stick with three strict rules. Rule 1: If I haven’t used it over the past season or forgot I had it, I’m getting rid of it. Rule 2: Everything has a place; if it doesn’t and I’m just trying to make room for it (on bookshelves, countertops, or in my dresser), then I’m getting rid of it. Rule 3: If it doesn’t have an obvious and necessary use, and doesn’t bring me some personal or sentimental joy, I’m getting rid of it. Take the edamame growing kit my neighbor gave me; I haven’t used it, I don’t know where to put it, and honestly, I have no interest in growing edamame when it’s like $2 at Trader Joes. So that one goes in the giveaway pile. Soon enough, my apartment starts to look less like a hoarder’s den and more like a home.

Step 2: Give your routine new life

Spring Cleaning - schedule

Once my living quarters have been scrubbed and re-organized, I turn the mop on my lifestyle. I grab a pen and paper (or maybe I have an entire notebook dedicated to this purpose, but that’s beside the point…) and I start sketching out my schedule. I look back on the past three months and jot down what my average routine was. When did I work? When did I exercise? When did I see friends, do art, or go outside?

On the next page, I think about what I think worked for me and what I think I would like to change. This year, for example, I started a workout routine over the winter that brought me to the climbing gym three days a week. I really enjoyed that and would like to keep in up in the spring. I did not, however, write nearly as much as I had intended to. That is something I want to carve more time out for.

So, with all these notes in mind and on paper, I start designing an ideal spring schedule. I know I won’t stick to it every day, so I try not to be too specific, but I set general goals like “write for an hour before work every morning” or “go for a 4+ mile hike at least once a week”. Sometimes the goals are specific, like “meditate for five minutes every day as soon as you wake up.” Other times they are really vague, like “say yes to new things.” Either way, I dedicate some time to giving my schedule and routine the spring cleaning treatment, then do my best to stick with it as the season progresses.

Step 3: Power wash your mental space

Spring cleaning - mental space

Finally, it’s time to brush the cobwebs away and dig into the well-packed boxes shoved into the recesses of my mind. During the winter, I go into full hibernation mode. I pretty much live off of books, baths, and tea from December through February and do my best to stay as covered by blankets as possible throughout the season. When Spring comes, I’m still content with my lethargy and my brain moves with the slow, gentle pace of a sleepy tortoise.

But spring is a time for action. It’s a time for a change and trying new things. Growth, renewal, birth; these are the themes of the season and they don’t pair well with lethargy and melancholy.

Which is why the final step of my spring cleaning routine is to clean out my mind. Not unlike my methods for cleaning my physical space and routine, my mental cleaning process involves a careful consideration of what to keep and what to let go. I usually start static; I sit in meditation or else get a journal out and start contemplating where my mind is at. How do I feel about myself lately? What about how I engage with others, with my goals, with my work, and with my environment? Do I feel happy lately? Sad? Tired? Energetic? I evaluate my mental space with a kind eye, lacking judgment and simply gaining awareness as to what is going on in there.

Spring cleaning - paddleboard

Then I move onto something active. I go for a hike, get out on the paddleboard, or flow through a vigorous yoga practice. I move until my body drips with sweat and my brain finds that sweet, endorphin-filled space of emptiness.

Lastly, I go back to stillness and turn my thoughts to questions like, “what brings me joy?” and “what I love most about myself?” As is my style, I make a list. I plant seeds of dreams, goals, and ambitions. I water them with love and hope. Then I get outside and let that bright spring sunshine help them grow into something beautiful.

 Spring cleaning - blossoms

True Nature Travels Blog

Is it just me, or does it seem like every yoga teacher’s theme for every class in autumn is gratitude? A few weeks ago, I was in a particularly tense pigeon pose. While my hips were begging me to stop, my yoga teacher was prattling on about how we should be grateful for our bodies, even when they felt tense and sore. That we should practice cultivating gratitude even when things are uncomfortable.

be-thankful

“I get it!” I wanted to scream, “it’s Thanksgiving season. Gratitude. Blah blah blah.” I was not feeling very grateful.

Then again, how could I? The past year has felt like a constant battle.

I’d struggled through graduate school–one of the most stress-inducing, exhausting experiences of my life. I’d worked for a company that disrespected and over-worked its employees. I’d lost a loved one to cancer.

And it all culminated in flying back to my parents’ house because I was in excruciating pain and none of the doctors in Edinburgh (where I’d been living at the time) could figure out why.

What did I have to be grateful for?

But the teacher just kept insisting that we should be cultivating gratitude.

gratitude

“Try looking at things from a different perspective,” she suggested as we settled into pigeon on the other side. “Instead of focusing on the pain and tension, focus on the good. Consider what you have to be grateful for.”

At first, I rolled my eyes.

Then I took a deep breath and tried it. I scanned my mind in search of something to be grateful for. I started to look at the past year with a new perspective.

Graduate school had been incredibly difficult and, frankly, I don’t think it was the right fit for me. But I never would have known that if I hadn’t tried. And it gave me the opportunity to live in Edinburgh for a year, which is now my favorite city on Earth. Plus, the people I lived with are now lifelong friends and some of the best friends I’ve ever had.

The company I worked for in Edinburgh was awful. Every one of their employees got injured and sick because of how hard they worked us. If I’d stayed there any longer than I did, I think it would have broken me. But I didn’t. I quit. And I learned a lot about what I need from an employer. Now I’m working a job I love for a company I adore. And sometimes I honestly think my boss worries about my well-being more than I do.

I lost someone I love very much to cancer. And I still get choked up when I think about it. But I also smile whenever I think about her. She is one of the most inspiring, big-hearted people I know. The world may be a little darker without her in it, but my life will always be a little brighter for having known her.cultivating-gratitude

I was not happy about leaving Edinburgh. I huffed and puffed the entire flight back to California. And then I got home. And my doctor diagnosed me with nerve damage the minute he examined me and sent me to a surgeon who had me in, out, and fixed in a matter of hours. The healing process has been relatively fast and I am already, just two months after surgery, almost back to 100 percent. This after being unable to stand up straight for months.

So, while it has been one of the more difficult years of my life, I guess there are still some things to be grateful for.

The stubborn side of me didn’t want to admit it, but my yoga teacher was right. Even when everything feels stressful, painful, and overwhelming… there is still a place for gratitude.

As the endlessly wise Dumbledore once said, “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light”.

turn-on-the-light

I like to think of gratitude as that light. We can wallow in the pain and suffering and leave the lights off. It’s easy enough to do.

What’s much harder is to turn on the light.

In times of darkness, it’s hard to practice cultivating gratitude. But we need to let gratitude act as the light that illuminates the reasons we have for being happy, even when things are darker than ever.

For the past few months, I have been wallowing in that darkness. Which, I believe, is what I needed at the time. There was a lot of pain and anger in me and I needed to feel it before I could come out on the other side.

But I think I’m ready to turn on the light.

This holiday season, I am going to work on cultivating gratitude. After all, it is the season of Thanksgiving!

So, tell me… what are you grateful for?

woman-cultivating-gratitude

About the Author

Author_Sarah Dittmore

Sarah Dittmore 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

Fall brings beautiful colors, crisp air, and inspiring energies. During this season, we may become more aware of our surroundings, more aware of how alive Mother Earth is, and more aware of what we may take for granted each and every day. Celebrate autumn by following this Sun Salutation of Gratitude and tune into awareness. From this awareness, we can cultivate a sense of gratitude.

Sun Salutation of Gratitude

sun salutation

We’ll begin in mountain pose, hands to prayer tuning into the energies around and within us.

From Mountain Pose, we take a breath in, lift our arms overhead to the sky, palms open, gathering gratitude and bringing it back to heart center. We inhale and raise our arms to the sky again. As we exhale, we swan dive, bowing to the earth, giving respect and gratitude for all she gives us. We breathe into standing forward fold, feet

As we exhale, we swan dive, bowing to the earth, giving respect and gratitude for all she gives us. We breathe into standing forward fold, feet hip-width apart, knees bent as needed. The crown of the head faces the floor and we relax our neck, visualizing the tranquil leaves blowing in the wind.Inhale into

Inhale into half-way lift, bending the knees to straighten the spine, shoulders away from your ears making space to encourage gratitude to seep in. On the next exhale, we step back into high plank, shoulders over the wrists moving back and away from the ears, lower abdomen in and up while pressing your heels back. In plank, we tune into our strength and resilience, and our ability to repair the environment a little every day through our choices and actions.

On your next exhale, moving through Chattaranga or dropping your knees to the floor, focus on hugging the elbows in at your side. Inhale into Cobra or Upward Facing Dog, focusing your eyes on a new detail in your current environment.

As your shoulder blades or wings move towards your spine, we begin thinking about all the birds that migrate throughout the world. We give gratitude for when we are able to witness one of these beautiful creatures in different regions of our Earth.

We exhale back into downward facing dog pressing our hands and heels into the Earth, focusing on creating space between our ears and shoulders and lengthening our spine.

We are grounded, we are resilient, we are full of wisdom and creativity to act how we want to move through this world. May

May the space we create through our lengthened spine in this physical practice of yoga symbolize the space we create for gratitude and for experiences to learn and grow. We walk our feet to our hands, hanging in forward-fold, envisioning all the space we are creating. Perhaps this space allows for the gratitude we bring in through travel, through experiencing other cultures, other ecosystems, and environments, other possible ways of life.sun salutations

We slowly rise up raising our arms once again up to the sky, this time sensing how the energy we’re gathering may have changed through our practice. As we bring our hands to heart center, we breathe, tuning into our energy and radiating our inner light out to all other beings.

As you watch the falling leaves, hear the changing sounds of wildlife, and feel the crisp air and shorter days, I encourage you to focus on appreciating the beauty and details of the diverse ecosystems you routinely pass by.

Sometimes travel can help us expand our horizons and experience gratitude from a different angle. And travel incorporating yoga and service… that practice opens up spaces within our emotional and physical body we did not even realize we could access. May you shine your light out to all beings.

Namaste.

We would love for you to join us on one of our many retreats. Please see our calendar here.

 

True Nature Travels Blog

Meditation and running has long been considered only for improving physical health. But the recent studies have shown that the running, along with meditation, will help a lot in preventing or reducing depression.

meditation and runningPeople who have depression tend to be ruminative thinkers, and they worry a lot. They also tend to have a smaller hippocampus on the brain and it further contributes to the worsening of the symptoms. Recent studies have shown that the meditation when combined with running has a profound effect in increasing the number of cells and the size of hippocampus in the brain.

The study involved 52 participants who underwent the combination of aerobic exercises and meditation for over two sessions per week. At the end of the 8 week study the people who had major depressive disorder reported significantly less depressive symptoms. The study also concluded: “There are two behavioral therapies, aerobic exercise and meditation, which have demonstrated benefits for individuals suffering with depression, are not accompanied by profound side effects and can be practiced across the lifespan.”meditation running

Like this, there are many of the studies that have repeatedly proven that meditation, when combined with any form of aerobic exercises like running can reduce the depressive symptoms than that of psychotropic medications. In a world where we think that just by throwing money at the scientist we can invent anything, we have forgotten the benefits that the nature has given to us.

How to combine meditation and running?

As you may have observed the above study demonstrated the benefits of running when combined with meditation for reducing the depressive symptoms. It also concluded that these two activities when combined will have a profound positive effects than that of doing either of the two.

Now the question is, how do you combine meditation and running for maximum effects?

Meditating before running is found to be more beneficial. This sequence carries all the benefits that any form of pre-workout meditation carries. The practice of tuning into the body and breath prior to physical exertion might help increase focus and reinforce your commitment to strengthening and nurturing your entire body. It also helps you to be more mindful while running, which in turn enhances the release of feel good  hormones a.k.a endorphins.

meditation

Before doing any sort of aerobic exercises whether it be running on a treadmill or cycling, meditating even for 5 minutes is very beneficial for your mental health.

You can do meditation in the form of mindfulness breathing, or a guided meditation with the help of apps like Headspace or SoundCloud. If you are new to meditation I highly suggest you to make use of guided meditation instead of just mindfully focusing on your breath. Because, at the beginning you may find it hard to concentrate on your breath without making your mind to wander.

Many people also suggest to do meditation after working out or running.They tend to get a deep relaxation state. I tried this method and I noticed that after running, my body will be exhausted and I will not be able to concentrate on my breath. In short, for me, the post workout meditation may help but not the post running meditation.

What about meditation during running?

Doing meditation while running is also called mindful running, similar to mindful walking. This concept has gained a lot of buzz in the recent times.

Let me explain you how you can double the benefits of running by doing it mindfully.

running

While running, rather than just thinking about a random topic just focus on what’s going on with your muscles and in the surroundings (if you are running on a road). Just observe what’s going on in your mind and how you are feeling right now. Also, observe your breathing patterns while running. Try focusing on your foot hitting the floor while running. This kind of non judgmental awareness to the physical and mental sensations while running will help you to double the benefits of running for your health.

This kind of mindfulness practices when adopted in your daily life, helps you a lot in getting rid of those ruminative thoughts about the past or the anxiety about the future. In addition to this, any form of mindfulness practices improve those parts of the brain, especially the pre-frontal cortex that is involved in deep focus and the presence of mind.

Wrapping up: Reading this blog post was a very easy job for you.  But implementing the techniques that have mentioned in this blog post is not that easy job. Try to incorporate the techniques that I have mentioned in this blog post mindfully in your life and you can see the great benefits and improvement in your health within few days.

Hope you loved this blog post. Make sure you share your views on this post below.

About the Author: This article has been written by James Hood from FitnessAbout. He is an avid bodybuilder, a proud vegan, God believer, and also tries to cut the crap promoted by mainstream media. He believes in a holistic approach for personal excellence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

A Costa Rica Yoga Retreat, What’s Not To Love?

Costa Rica Yoga Vacation
The sky ripped and roared. Lightening illuminated the sky and thunder shook the oceans. I was coming in on a ferry boat into a foreign land in the dark by myself. I have traveled solo quite a bit and I was no stranger to thunder storms. So I took in the rain and pondered what was awaiting me at my final destination. After all, I was in Costa Rica, a place of paradise, covering something I care tremendously for, yoga retreats.

In Cost Rica there is one Spanish lesson you need, Pura Vida. Hi= Pura Vida. How are you= Pura Vida. I am doing well= Pura Vida. The locals, or “ticos” joke about this, but really there is a lot of truth to this phrase that literally breaks down to Pure Life, and is virtually laurenandkellyused as much as possible. That is the mentality of this gorgeous country; pure life. Barely the size of West Virginia, Costa Rica has so much to offer from culture to landscapes. The hospitality is unreal and the abundance of love and greenery is just as mind blowing. I couldn’t wait to join the Shakti Yoga retreat!

I was excited to dive in and as I arrived to the lush tropical retreat center on the ocean, I had butterflies of what to expect. Every yoga retreat is different and beautiful in their own special and unique way. I was joining in the last leg of this trip. It was the Shakti Power Yoga retreat. I walked in at the end of dinner and immediately felt at home. Warm beaming smiles, radiating hearts, and glowing yogis greeted me. I knew I arrived.

Long story short, the Shakti Yoga sisters, Lauren and Kelly, know how to lead a robust and fantastic retreat. They have been part of the True Nature family for sometime and their global adventures have evolved to an art. The community they bring with them from Nashville and the yogis from around the nation that join their retreats all reflect what Lauren and Kelly are all about, love.

yoga

They truly love what they do and it shines. The community they build during retreat is strong with acceptance, dedication, and a playful spirit. It was such a pleasure and honor to get to know these lovely ladies and explore what retreat means on the shores of Costa Rica.

To accurately account and share the entire retreat would need more than one blog space dedicated. Alas, this is one blog post, so I will do my best to share my top 3 things I love about going on retreat with the Shakti sisters and True Nature.

1. Karma Yoga Project: The heart and soul of True Nature is the act of giving back, or Karma Yoga. Sure you can travel and participate in eco tourism. But, it is another thing to dive in heads first, roll up those sleeves and immerse yourself into the culture. Paying particular attention to seeing what work needs to be done and then physically fulfilling that work on a micro level is such a lovely way to give back to the communities your visiting. Most True Nature yoga retreats include an aspect of this. For the Shakti Yoga retreat we participated in a school that serves elementary school children. We cleaned up yards, prepped gardens, taught yoga, played, laughed and learned.karmayoga

2. Family: Family is more than just blood. It is the people you connect and share with. Every one of these beautiful ladies ytton retreat were so sweet, accommodating, and genuine. Deep and beautiful friendships were forged. Also, there was literal family on this trip; multiple groups of sisters and moms!!! Daily practicing, group meals, excursions, and service projects made relationships strong and vibrant. Being surrounded by this energy is an amazing boost of connection that I greatly appreciated. Lauren and Kelly did an amazing job fostering these relationships and allowed a space for new friendships to blossom, and past relationships to strengthen.

fourwheeln3. Adventure. You can not have a Costa Rica experience without adventure. Whether your four wheeling through dense jungles with howler monkeys guiding your way, trudging through rivers to experience a powerful waterfall, or being covered with saltwater from surfing in rolling waves right outside your room’ a Pura Vida experience is at your finger tips. During retreat, excursions are abundant and supported by local and knowledgeable guides. Not only will you know you will be safe and the outing will go smooth, but you will push your limits and experience something totally new. I am a strong believer that adventure wakes something up in all of us. One of my favorite experiences with the Shakti yoga group was four wheeling through rainforests to the close by town of Montezuma, a quaint rootsy coastal town. Delicious food, local goods, waves crashing, and speed on four wheels allowed a memorable experience.

I could go on and on about how wonderful this week is for yourself offering a chance for one to reconnect, serve, practice, and adventure on. The best way to experience it, is first hand. We would love to have you! The Shakti sisters are hosting a True Nature Italy retreat this fall with only a couple spots available! Be sure to check it out here and hope to see you global!

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True Nature Travels Blog

A Global Service Project Paints Hope for the Future

A note from Costa Rica

Lindsay is a village leader in Costa Rica who partners with True Nature Education on multiple Karma Yoga projects. She was kind enough to share how one recent global service project from a TNE retreat genuinely touched the lives of those in need. The physical support was simply metaphor for the emotional support that was given. We are so grateful at True Nature to be involved in these programs and would love to help you plan your next global service project! Enjoy the heart felt words of Lindsay!

 

It is sad to miss someone.

When a loved person dies, the empty space is there, you can see it, you can feel it. Our neighbor, decided to come and start a new life so far from the place where she spent half of her life. Her sad eyes seemed opposite to her beautiful and sincere smile, her deep wish to help the ones around her, made all of us to see her as one more family member.Global Service Project Paints Hope for the Future

Every time when we needed a hand (or two), she was there. As everyone here knows, I am honored to look for the community projects in the área, so every time TNE comes to visit us, they spend hours helping us to improve our village, bringing their brave spirit of cooperation and joy.

As soon as I had to look for a good one project from our list, I thought of this lady and her home.She was so excited to know about it. Not everyday you have a group of volunteers painting your house, so she decided to show her gratitude, doing something that really touched our heart…

She told us about her young son, he had an accident, it was a motorcycle crash and he passed away. So we discovered the reason of her sad mirage. Three days before the group came to start their project, there was a young man living in her home, his name is Jose and he is 24 years old, same age as the son she lost in that accident. Same name, too.

Jose was a homeless boy that because of the drugs addiction could not continue with his dream of becoming a tour guide. He came to the rehab center from the village (where my father volunteers as a motivator ) and his life changed. He became a new person and my neighbor and her husband decided to open the doors of their home for bringing him a new opportunity.

Painting Global Service ProjectThis young man has been working so hard to this family, he is thankful for the miracle of having a new family, a family that trust in his change. We all deserve a new chance to make the things right.

It is a kind of chain of good actions. You never know how far your blessings will go.I would like to thank my dearest friend Joshua and his family for bringing too much joy to our village. I would like to thank you for choosing to travel with a purpose.

While I write it, Jose is trying to find the way to go back to school. Their new parents are so proud of him, same like us, all of us.

Miracles may have different sizes, colors and names. This miracle was signed with love and painted with some rollers and paintbrushes during a rainy morning.

Costa Rica Global Service Project

True Nature Travels Blog

Make a Difference Around the Globe
[Cameron Gray art]
There is a great need for global service projects in this world right now and our mission, as human beings is to pull together to make a difference. This action, known as, “Good karma,” in the yoga world, is meant to send out a positive rippling affect from one person, to the next, to the animals, to the plants, waters, skies, world, Universe.

My path in yoga has encouraged awareness. An awareness of how my actions effect others. An awareness of the,”Other,” not being an other at all, but of being one with everything, including me. According to Albert Einstein’s Quantum Theory, everything in existence breaks down into subatomic particles and is derived from the same light. So from light to the cosmos, we are all made of the same stuff, intermingling, co-existing, co-creating, all from the same source, at the same time.

Think about how this has the infinite power to create a positive and negative effect. Now think about pollution. Think about the oceans and how, for instance, the Pacific Garbage Vortex off of the North Pacific is contributing to the ecosystem at this point. For those of you who haven’t heard of this, it is an island of non-biodegradable plastics and other debris that accumulate in a swirling trash island that is about the size of Texas at this point. What you can’t spot from a plane overhead are the micro plastics that discolor the ocean, creating murky waters. What is not on the surface, sinks to the bottom.

Sea Life

An article from National Geographic states,

            “About 80% of the debris in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch comes from land-based     activities in North America and Asia. Trash from the coast of North America takes about six years to reach the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, while trash from Japan and other Asian countries takes about a year.

 

The remaining 20% of debris in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch comes from boaters, offshore oil rigs, and large cargo ships that dump or lose debris directly into the water. The majority of this debris—about 705,000 tons—is fishing nets. More unusual items, such as computer monitors and LEGOs, come from dropped shipping containers.”

This is creating a negative rippling effect across the world by way of cause and effect. The se
a life has been eating the trash, mistaking it for living organisms, the birds and larger marine life eat them,
chemicals consumed by them are then passed along in the food chain and we, the planet earth, are harmed. This is just one example of how what we do, matters.

I would like to invite you, as a brother, sister, mother, father, friend, and ultimately as the I in you and the you in I, to join me in an active roll to create a positive change in this world. Initiatives have already begun, and it is up to our generation and the generations to follow to continue this work. We must evolved. We all depend on it.

Global Service Work

Here are 5 ways you can contribute to Global Service Work

  1. Organize a nature walk to pick up trash. When I was living in Costa Rica, we would walk up and down the beaches and rainforests together, picking up trash. I was astronished to find strollers, tired, and endless plastic bottles, cans, wrappers, you name it, strewn across the lands. This is a place that has huge nature preserve initiatives, but through tourism, the lands are being disrespected. We can make a difference around the globe. Mother Earth needs us, just as much as we need her. Join the cause. http://www.pickupamerica.org/about/press/volunteers-picking-trash-across-america2
  2. Recycle. During my travels to the Western United States, I was pleasantly surprised at the sustainability act to recycle and compost. You can start small. When I first moved back to the States, I moved into a home that had the recycling bins to use, but never used them. I talked to my room mates about how important recycling is for the environment and I pulled out the recycling bins. They have now been recycling for a year and while I am about to move, I encourage them to continue this sustaining habit. http://inhabitat.com/top-6-recycling-and-reuse-initiatives-from-around-the-globe/
  3. Fight poverty. Whether I am in New Dheli, India or Baltimore, MD, USA, I try to raise awareness of oneness through service work to others. The homeless need help. A dear friend and sister of mine made this initiative her life. She helps out at a local shelter in Baltimore and carries around cards and food in her car to pass out to the homeless whenever she sees them. She lives in the heart of the city to be amongst them. She is the true spirit of Mother Theresa and I honor her courageousness and selflessness in her efforts. While this is the extreme, we can all get involved by paying attention to our brothers and sisters across the globe who have less than we do. You can carry granola bars to pass out and if you want to get involved on a bigger scale, you can. http://www.takepart.com/article/2009/02/17/top-10-non-profits-fighting-poverty
  4. Build another’s value. Kiva. I love this organization so much and I contribute every change that I get. Kiva is a non-profit organization that holds a beautiful space for charitable contributions towards underprivileged people to, “hold the power to create opportunity for themselves and others.” You provide a loan as low as $25 to mircofinance someone in Nepal for instance to buy a cow for their dairy farm, and as they make more money in their business, they pay it back. You then regift the loan to the next person in need. It is the gift that keeps on giving. Recycled money put towards a beautiful purpose. Get involved. https://www.kiva.org/about
  5. Educate the next generation about global service. In this day and age, we are a culture consumed by the digital dance. Children are given glowing devices from infancy forward to educate, distract, and entertain. First, let’s use this force for the good. Show your children videos and articles on how they can make difference. The internet has been a beautiful tool for decentralization. We have the ability to reach large audiences in a matter of seconds and have access to endless amounts of information and like minded communities. Show them how to share this knowledge with others. Bring them on service trips. Get them traveling from a young age. Get them outside and in engaged in the world. Have them open a book that doesn’t glow. It is up to us to educate our children on global change. https://www.youtube.com/user/youthservice

 

Alana 2015About the author: 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. She practices and teaches varied styles of yoga at Ruahstudio.com, leads international retreats, loves surfing, being in nature, and enjoys a good belly laugh. She is on Facebook , Instagram, Twitter, and can be reached by email alanaroachyoga@gmail.com

 

 

Sources: http://education.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch/