True Nature Travels Blog

15 calming outdoor activities

Spending time in nature has been proven to be good for humans. Even throughout the rush and bustle of the last couple of decades, as we have seen technology explode in use around the world, there will always be parts of us that need the Great Outdoors.

It has been shown that spending time outside can dramatically help to decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression. However, with these ailments becoming more prevalent, we must realize how to handle them in healthy ways.

If you are looking for actions you can take daily, weekly or even monthly to stay calm in the blur of life, here are 12 activities. Think about each one and select those you believe will help keep you both enjoy the natural world and stay calm no matter the situation.

1. Get creative while spending time outside.

Nature has been one of the most significant inspirations for art and design throughout the ages. Try to take it outside when12 calming outdoor activities you need to get out of your head or feel like you need a creative outlet. Keep your eyes and heart open for things around you that feel inspiring and artful. Take your focus away from the daily grind and work on something creative, from chalk art to breaking out a canvas.

2. Go for a wander.

Sometimes the hustle and bustle of life are what gets us so wound-tight. If you feel like your mind is too full, try walking around aimlessly for a while. Our fast-paced lives tend to mold us into very goal-oriented people. We walk with a purpose to a destination and rarely enjoy the journey along the way. So ditch the path and go for a wander.

3. Leave the headphones behind.

As technology developed, so did our need and connection to it. Nowadays, if we go out for a walk or bike ride, it is rarely without headphones pumping noise into our brains. If you are feeling overwhelmed, try leaving the headphones at home. Instead, take deep, conscientious breaths and take notice of the natural noises around you. Hearing life around you can often help to center you uniquely.

12 calming outdoor activities

4. Visit a hot spring.

Tension often manifests itself in various muscles throughout our bodies. So instead of sitting in a hot tub or sauna in an enclosed space or filled with chemicals, go natural. Visit a hot spring and spend time sitting in the warm water and letting nature wash over you.

5. Do yoga in the sun.

Yoga itself is quite a calming activity that helps you become more reflective and aware of your needs. However, doing it outside can help you bring your perspective inside of you while appreciating everything outside of you even more. Get some vitamin D at the same time by practicing your flow in the sun.

12 calming outdoor activities

6. Give into the swing of things.

Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is to give in to our child-side. Playgrounds aren’t only beneficial for kids to use for play and exercise. You can get back into the swing of things by taking some time on the actual swings. Rock back and forth or get your legs into it to take up your heart rate and have fun.

7. Cuddle an animal in the Great Outdoors.
12 calming outdoor activities
Our connection to nature has started to come indoors with the trend for homes to be urban jungles. However, it isn’t only plants that connect us to the Great Outdoors. Take time to cuddle an animal outside. You can interact with animals in some petting zoos, take your dog to the park and spend time with them outside or sit on your balcony with your cat. Both of you are bound to enjoy the time outside.

8. Take a picnic.
12 calming outdoor activities
We all need to eat. If you don’t have much time to take an extended walk, practice outdoor yoga or visit a park, pack a picnic. Take your lunch break outside in a green space to take a break from the “office box,” so to speak.

9. Sleep under the stars.
12 calming outdoor activities
Camping might not be for everyone, but you can sleep under the stars in more than just a tent. Glamping has become a popular trend. You can often find fancy wigwams, cabins or modified tents to sleep in overnight and get to enjoy the stars. Of course, you can always keep it simple by filling the back of a truck bed with plenty of blankets and pillows.

10. Ditch the shoes (carefully).

We all know the phrase “stay grounded.” Sometimes the easiest way to do that is to connect yourself to the ground again. If you are outside, consider taking your shoes off and walking through the grass. Take note of what the soft grass feels like and the dirt under your feet. Do also ensure there’s no glass, nails or anything else sharp in the vicinity before taking off your shoes.

12 calming outdoor activities

11. Try looking at nature through a lens.

Almost everyone in the 21st century has a smartphone with a camera function. You don’t have to be a world-renowned nature photographer to be able to enjoy looking at nature through a lens. It will make you pay more attention to the finer details around you as you search for the perfect picture. Then, when you don’t have time to escape outdoors, you can always flick back through the pictures to mentally recreate a happy place.

12. Find a wild swimming site.

There are many types of bodies of water, many of which are calling out you to come for a dip. So whether you have a lake nearby, a stream or the ocean, give wild swimming a chance. Just make sure that it is clean and safe for you to swim in before you dip your toes.

True Nature Travels Blog

5 Ways Nature Impacts Our Well-Being and How to Have an Amazing Outdoor Adventure

In our pursuit of health and happiness, we tend to focus so much on the material goals and taking a daily multivitamin, that we completely forget about Mother Nature how much the modern lifestyle has distanced us from our roots. Yes, you can have an amazing life chasing after material goals or simply by eating healthy and exercising regularly, but if you want to take your well-being to the next level and commit to healthy living, then you need to find a way to reconnect with Earth.

Escaping into nature every once in a while is one of the best ways to reconnect with yourself as well, shift your mindset towards positivity, build mental strength, and even become physically healthier. If adventure is calling to you, then you do need to master some essential survival skills as well, but the key is to imbue your life with health and happiness simply by spending more time in the great outdoors.

Let’s talk more about this exciting journey and how you can have yourself an outdoor adventure of a lifetime.

Heal your body and soul

Heal your body and soul

One of the key reasons why you want to make nature escapades a regular part of your life is because the peace and tranquility that awaits you in the great outdoors is perfect for healing your body and soul. We live in a fast-paced world, and no matter if you’re currently in a big city or a mid-sized town, your body and your mind are slowly getting tired of all the noise and the confusion on a daily basis. 

The reality is that humans were never meant to live in big bustling metropolises, but instead meant to live among the trees in peace and serenity. While that might not be a possibility in this modern day and age, you can definitely combat the effects of your urban environment by simply penciling in a nature escapade throughout the year. Put it in your schedule, and don’t skip your next adventure no matter what.

Banish stress with nature yoga

Banish stress with nature yoga

There are many wonderful activities you can partake in when you reach your destination somewhere far away in nature. While you should go hiking, running, mountain-climbing and more, you should also take a step back and allow yourself to unwind with some restorative activities like mindful meditation and yoga. In fact, you can use your yoga playlist to do one or more daily sessions that will challenge your body but soothe your mind and spirit.

The key here is to find the perfect backdrop, such as a lake or a mountain range, and choose the best time to do your meditative yoga sessions. The early morning is definitely the best time for your first session, as it’s the perfect way to wake up your body and mind. You can do your second session late in the afternoon to greet the setting sun. 

Prepare for an exploration journey

Prepare for an exploration journey

Of course, you don’t just want to stay at your cabin, campsite, or tent all day long – you also want to go off exploring and adventuring through the beautiful landscapes. You can set the pace for your exploration journey, and choose more difficult or easier trails to challenge your body in different ways.

One thing is for sure, though, you don’t want to leave the campsite without some essential survival gear, like a multifunctional OTF knife that will come in handy when pitching a new tent, leaving navigational marks for yourself on trees, or if you need to get yourself out of a tight spot. Having a trusty knife at your side is essential, but you also need to bring a first-aid kit, and a charged smartphone just in case. You might want to leave all your tech behind, but that’s never a good idea when adventuring alone.

Adopt a positive outlook on life

Adopt a positive outlook on life

If there is anything that Mother Nature is good at, it’s giving us a fresh perspective in life. When you’re surrounded by beautiful natural sceneries and that distinct peaceful feeling as you’re gazing into the distance, everything seems to gain a new perspective.

If you have never experienced that feeling before, it’s just because you haven’t spent enough time in nature’s embrace, or maybe you haven’t visited those bucket-list destinations that never fail to transform our lives for the better. Make sure to sprinkle in those faraway destinations at least once a year for a complete restorative experience.

Connect with the natural world

Connect with the natural world

Lastly, you should visit nature more often simply to rekindle that relationship with Mother Earth. It takes more than one road trip to regain that deep intrinsic feeling of belonging, but after a couple of trips, you will notice that nature is making a more positive and peaceful human being. Every time you come back home, you will feel more refreshed and energized than before, and you will be able to tackle the daily challenges with new-found zeal and passion for success and happiness.

Over to you

Living in the modern era, many of us have lost that deep connection with nature that is essential for our health and happiness. With these tips in mind, go ahead and make regular outdoor escapades an inextricable part of your life in order to nurture your lifelong well-being.

 

True Nature Travels Blog

Most Beautiful Secret Beaches in Europe
The past year has been stress-filled, uncertain, and challenging for most of us. Not only have we had to deal with loss of various kinds, the loss of freedom to travel and explore, the loss of freedom to interact the way we’re accustomed to, all the way to the loss of our loved ones, the greatest one of all. The accumulated
stress of the pandemic has taken its toll, but we have yet to toil through the following few remaining months of the year, anticipating what 2021 will be all about. We hope to greet the New Year with a brighter outlook in terms of travel, so that we can heal and restore our sense of freedom.

In the meantime, in addition to following travel precautions during the pandemic and staying at home as much as possible, we can dream up the best possible list for the upcoming year. We can look forward to all the translucent waves greeting us at the cusp of a beach in France, or Croatia’s forest-laden islands in the Mediterranean, overlooking the vast blue of the sea. Here, we’ve compiled a list of several of the most stunning coastal stretches in Europe to add to your post-pandemic bucket list.

The pine-adorned Cala Escorxada
Most Beautiful Secret Beaches in EuropeAs if Spain isn’t enough, its islands can be even more alluring in terms of natural wealth, gorgeous beaches, and hidden nooks. Take Menorca as a perfect example and its many less-known wonders, but if you ask a local or an adventurous beach enthusiast, you’ll find that this little island is riddled with beaches fringed with pine trees, creating the perfect shade, and in idyllic contrast to the sand and iridescent waves.

Cala Escorxada fits that description perfectly, down to the natural shade and no crowds or noise. You can reach it on foot if you enjoy the hike, or by boat or kayak. It’s not easy to reach, so it takes a more determined mind to get there, but once you do, you’ll be embraced by its striking uniqueness. 

The hidden gems of the Makarska Riviera

The hidden gems of the Makarska RivieraCroatia and its nearby islands are perfect for anyone eager to get a glimpse of both friendly, sand-laden beaches, as well as their more rugged, dramatic counterparts. The Makarska Riviera in particular is one 38-mile stretch of absolute beauty. It’s ideal for those who crave some solitary time away from the crowds, and even more so for those who like the authentic look and feel of untouched Mediterranean.

If you want to reach some of its more secluded alcoves, you’ll need to use a motor yacht that can get you the most precious spots along the coastline, such as the hidden Nugal beach. They are compact and highly durable, proving extremely useful for venturing away from the more populous beaches of Croatia. 

Lisbon’s crown jewel, Adraga

The hidden gems of the Makarska Riviera

Portugal is certainly a wonderful destination for any yogi at heart, as you’ll find all kinds of dreamy retreats nestling in this diverse region of Europe. In addition to unparalleled wine and food, the capital of Portugal comes with all kinds of surprises, one of them being its coastline, worth exploring for every travel enthusiast with a soft spot for beaches. 

Although the most worthwhile beach isn’t directly in Lisbon, it’s a mere bus ride away, easy to reach, and belongs to the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. Praia de Adraga is stunning in its versatility, offering you to explore its tunnels, caves, as well as its peaceful, sandy coast.

The hidden gems of the Makarska Riviera

Europe is brimming with exotic, sandy beaches just waiting to be discovered. Maybe this year is their well-deserved rest, as Mother Nature is often oversaturated with our presence and thoughtless actions – perhaps there’s a lesson to be learned about fostering greater respect to what she so generously grants us. 

These beautiful alcoves of absolute serenity and unspoiled beauty await our curious steps, and hopefully, we’ll earn the right to explore them as soon as the pandemic is done. Until then, we can keep dreaming and planning our travels for the future. 

 

True Nature Travels Blog


hibernate: a state of minimal activity

I love the greys, browns, and earth tones of November. The cool, crisp air and subdued colours communicate a quietude that I deeply relish. For yogis in the Northern hemisphere, the coming of winter solstice can be accompanied by a depressive impulse that our culture encourages us to placate with sugary treats, binging, retail therapy, and other distractions that draw our senses outward.

This inward impulse is part of the natural rhythm of our bodies and our circadian rhythm adjusting to the external change in Nature.

In the winter, trees shed their leaves and much of nature goes into a dormant stage of rest, conservation and preservation. Just as Nature hibernates, so too must we listen and honour the inward impulse by lessening our commitments, reducing external stimuli and tending to our inner realms.

The inward impulse is extremely conducive to meditation and meditative activities like knitting, beadwork, drawing, reflection and journalling, contemplation and creative endeavors. Honouring this impulse can result in fruitful and satisfying outcomes rather than the cultural imperatives to shop, feast, and socialize which often leaves us feeling drained, empty, and depressed.

The darkness and quiet of winter Solstice makes it an ideal to retreat and go inwards; to preserve our vital life force for growth and transformation in the inner realms of the psyche.

Winter retreats offer an opportunity to unplug from the stressors of modern, urban life, immerse into wisdom teachings, and devote ourselves to practices that revitalize our essential life fore.

Retreats create space to hibernate from our worldy and digital engagements to re-assess, re-prioritize, and re-direct our energies so that when the time comes to engage with the world, we are ready, renewed, and clear in our direction and path forward.

Below are some suggestions for aligning ourselves with the external rhythms of Nature.

  • Shed Commitments.
    Lessen external commitments over the holidays to create space for rest, contemplation, and creative projects.
  • Unplug digitally.
    Minimize, reduce, or eliminate for a few days social media and news to cleanse the mind of external thoughts and worries.
  • Harness the inward impulse.
    Commit to inner practices or creative projects that harness the inward impulse in productive and skillful ways.
  • Nourish yourself.
    Rest, sleep, and eat well.

Join me for two winter Retreats. Honor your inward impulse and celebrate the beauty and quietude of the season.

BIJA: Planting Seeds for the New Year
Dec. 27 to Jan. 1 2021
This online Retreat is offered on a by-donation basis!

Everything we do, say, and think makes a deep impression in our consciousness. Commit to practices that keep you anchored and balanced and plant positive intentions and develop positive habits to take you in the New Year.

Daily yoga, optional workshops, recipes to try out, and a self-care package mailed to you in the new year.

Details here– https://www.saltspringcentre.com/bija-planting-seeds-for-the-new-year/
Register here- https://form.jotform.com/202655406870254

*******

Seven Days of Self-Love
Feb. 14- 21 2021

Daily schedule includes yoga video, inspirational podcast, and a daily self-love practice. Daily themes include: reverence, devotion, joy, compassion, presence, and surrender.

Registration opens in the New Year!

True Nature Travels Blog

garden wisdom

I never thought of myself as a gardener and I definitely do not have a ‘green thumb’. When Covid hit the world, suddenly, I had lots of time, and a yard that needed work. It started with the simple act of digging and moving soil to level out a yard that had been unloved and uncared for. The vacant lot next to our home had been overgrown with blackberry bushes and had been a dumping ground for garbage of all kinds. Once the garbage was cleared and the blackberry bushes uprooted, now it was time to tend to the soil and envision a future garden.

Day by day, I began to see the possibility of a garden. It started with a few kale plants, some onions, baby tomato plants and seeds from our neighbours. Every day, I would water the seeds wondering if anything would sprout and wander outside to check in to see if the plants liked the soil and would grow. Everyday, something new would capture my heart; a new sprout peering out from underneath the soil or a new leaf budding on a baby plant. After a few weeks, I was hooked as I became a witness to the miracle of life- the sun, soil, and water waking up the intelligence within the seed to create life and produce food for my body and my family.

Each day the sun rises, I look forward to my morning walk in the garden to see what has grown and to be reminded of the wisdom of Mother Nature. Below are some of the insights I have learned.

Weeds and Seeds

If you don’t intentionally plant something in the soil, weeds grow. They take up space and nutrients, and worse of all, they spread. The same is true for our minds. If you don’t intentionally plant hope, inspiration, wisdom, gratitude, and truth, it is easy for the mind to be overcome with fear, anxiety, worry, and restlessness.

Nutrients

Plants need nutrients in the same way our bodies need movement, our nervous system and brain need relaxation, our heart needs hope, and our mind needs mindfulness. When we don’t have the proper nutrients in the proper amounts, we aren’t able to grow into our highest potential.

Cuttings and Pruning

Plants need to be pruned so they can grow more. Similarly, we need to de-clutter our mind and let go of thoughts and behaviours that don’t serve us. When we grasp on to our former identities and the past, we aren’t able to grow and evolve the way Nature intended.

garden wisdom

Cycles and Seasons

Nature works in cycles and seasons and the same is true for us. We need to be active AND to rest. We need movement AND stillness. We need purpose AND recreation. We need to cultivate compassion AND joy. We need giving AND receiving.

Nature is such an incredible healer and teacher. I am often in awe of her beauty and her wisdom. Each day, I am reminded of the lessons we can learn when we are in touch with the wisdom of Mother Earth.

Yogic Wisdom: Seeds and Weeds VIDEO

The secret of seeds is so simple- a squash seed grows into a squash plant. In the fertile soil of our minds, our thoughts are like seeds and what we think generates an energy. Learn how to fill your mind and heart with thoughts that generate happiness for yourself and others.

About the Author

Farah NazaraliFarah Nazarali is a yogini gardener who loves to sing mantras to her plants, water them with love, and share her garden harvest with her friends, neighbours and community.

Farah specializes in teaching Workshops, Retreats, and Training locally and worldwide. She has a deep love for all things yoga and is profoundly inspired by the sacred texts of yoga, the teachings of Buddhism, and wisdom traditions that lead us to love, truth, and being of service.

Join her on retreat in 2021 in La Fortuna, Costa Rica!

 

 

True Nature Travels Blog

Global Healing

Fifty years ago from this Wednesday, April 22, 2020, people around the world marked the first Earth Day. Thousands gathered to raise awareness about the importance of protecting our beautiful planet for future generations.

We’ve been fearful of the massive impact that humans and our industry have had on the Earth for a long time. Yet, here we are now and the majority of populations and industries are shut down, giving our Planet a much needed deep breath. Here are some facts to celebrate Mother Earth this week and what is currently healing on a global level.

LESS AIR POLLUTION

Global HealingSatellites have detected a significant decrease in the concentration of a common air pollutant, nitrogen dioxide, which enters the atmosphere through emissions from cars, trucks, buses, airplanes, and power plants.

SOUNDSCAPES ARE CHANGING

There’s significantly less noise from cars, buses, trains, and other transportation. It’s well established that noise pollution can negatively affect ourGlobal Healing health, contributing to stress-related ailments, high blood pressure, sleep disruption, and other problems.

OCEANS ARE QUIETER

Marine life is showing back up in the Venice Canals. Endangered bird life has re-emerged around the globe, perhaps you have been hearing more birds?
For other species, less noise pollution is no doubt welcome.

Global Healing

Research has shown that ambient noise from ships/maritime traffic can increase stress-hormone levels in marine creatures, which can affect their reproductive success. Whales have even shown they can adapt to the din, pausing their singing when cargo ships are near and resuming when they move away. North Pacific humpback whales, who have begun to move northward this month and will soon be swimming with newborn calves in southeast Alaska, a region also popular with cruise ships for views of local wildlife. This will be the quietest entries that humpback whales have had in southeastern Alaska in decades.

As the Earth has changed during this time, how will you contemplate continuing to be of service to Mother Earth when this is all over? What will be different and what will the next medicine be?

Global Healing

Earth Facts Source