True Nature Travels Blog

World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day is an international day marked on February 4th to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. In light of this upcoming day, we are grateful to share this powerful insight from True Nature Leader, Robyn Tiger.

Robyn is a Physician, Certified Yoga Therapist, and Founder of Yoga Heals 4 Life serving those touched by cancer, anxiety, and stress-related disorders. She is faculty for Trauma-Informed Yoga Therapy, the Medical Resource Director for Journey To Be Free (a nonprofit serving the cancer community), and serves on the Advisory Council for Yoga Therapy Today and yogatherapy.health. Robyn serves those touched by cancer, anxiety, and stress-related disorders.

Surviving or Thriving? The Cancer Journey, Chapter 3

As a physician, I spent many years in Diagnostic Radiology with a focus on Women’s Imaging. It was my job as the “doctor’s doctor” to help clinicians identify what was causing their patient’s symptoms. Through a multitude of imaging modalities and biopsies, I searched for what was responsible, often discovering cancer. Although patients were incredibly grateful for my “saving their lives”, I visualized their situations quite differently having repeatedly watched the downward spiraling negative transformation that subsequently took place. I see this process, the cancer journey, as divided into 3 continuous chapters, the 3 rd chapter frequently being the most challenging and difficult.

Cancer Journey – Chapter 1

When do individuals first become cancer survivors? The moment they hear the words: “you have cancer” their lives are forever changed. Questions, fears, and concerns fill their thoughts and every part of their being. Life as they know it comes to a standstill. Many of my patients have described this chapter as the rug being pulled out from under them.

Cancer Journey – Chapter 2

The rush to cure begins. Treatment plans are created and put into fruition as soon as possible. Now its full steam ahead with a multitude of doctor’s appointments and additional testing followed by treatment, often a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. What are the consequences? These state-of-the-art treatments, although wonderful for treating the cancer, frequently result in physical limitations, emotional distress, and dampened spirit.

Cancer Journey – Chapter 3

After treatment, cancer survivors are released, free to go on with their lives, no longer under the rigid watch of their medical team. But instead of moving forward carefree…the opposite occurs. The stress response takes over instead of declining, reaching its highest peak of the journey. It is common in this chapter for survivors to be the most fearful, full of anxiety and worry, concerned if the cancer has truly left their bodies, if it will return, or if they will develop another. They feel completely lost and helpless, wanting desperately to be in control and take action to make changes for a healthier life, but they just don’t know how.

Through many years of close observation, I realized that a large portion of patient care was missing: How do we help patients heal? What do we do to help individuals beyond their disease? What resources can we provide to educate them particularly during “Chapter 3” of their cancer journey when they are most in need of this support? I was completely lost as to how to be of help. I knew that my job as a doctor was not nearly complete. Simply diagnosing cancer was not enough. Then I found my answer to fill this hole in-patient care: yoga & meditation.

Medical research has proven that specialized yoga practices diminish the side effects of cancer therapies during and after treatment. In addition, they significantly decrease stress levels, improve overall well-being, and increase longevity. Cancer survivors learn how to get in the driver’s seat and put the rug back underneath themselves, process what has happened, and be ready for whatever may come, in essence, to truly thrive.

My colleague and dear friend, Kathleen Ross-Allee, and I are both Certified Yoga Therapists, specialty trained and experienced in cancer recovery. We adapt and create safe and effective variations for every body, individualizing yoga and meditation practices to meet the needs of each person. We understand the need to include certain practices to lessen and reverse cancer treatment side effects and to exclude certain practices that could exacerbate an already existing side effect.

Together, our deep passion in serving this population has inspired the creation of a life-changing retreat for much-needed recovery and renewal in “Chapter 3” of the cancer journey. While immersed in the sense of comfort and community that a retreat setting provides, we teach individuals how to safely and effectively use yoga and meditation tools as lifestyle medicine. After experiencing firsthand, the benefits of these tools on retreat, they are able to confidently cultivate and implement a daily home practice. They leave feeling revived and empowered full
of resilience!

Are you or someone you love ready to take the next step for a more complete, healthy fulfilling life? Take an active role in your journey to healing! Join us this August in the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. Let us guide you in the transformation from cancer survivor to cancer thriver!

“You had the power all along, my dear!” –Glinda

 

From Survivor to Thriver: A Healing Journey for Cancer Recovery
Yoga Therapy & Meditation Retreat with Robyn and Kathleen
August 22 – 27, 2020
Asheville, North Carolina

True Nature Travels Blog

If you’re a self-professed homebody, you could seriously benefit from a change of scenery. Spending time in nature could improve your physical and mental health, ward off illness, and actually make you happier! As the Father of Western Medicine, Hippocrates, once said, “Nature itself is the best physician.” If you’re curious about the health benefits you can reap from being outside, read on! Below, we cover 13 reasons to soak up everything nature has to offer. Read on for the best benefits of getting outdoors.

Hiking

1. Being in Nature Boosts Life Satisfaction

If you’ve been feeling blue, visit somewhere green! A recent study found that men and women who spent just 20 minutes in a park setting reported a 64% hike in life satisfaction. (hike- HA, see what we did there?)

The best news? Participants’ satisfaction levels had nothing to do with physical activity! Simply visiting the park boosted well-being. Of course, movement adds a plethora of additional health benefits.

Swimming

2. Soaking up the Sun Elevates Vitamin D Levels

Regular sun exposure is the best source of vitamin D. An estimated 40% of U.S. men and women are vitamin D deficient, which can lead to some pretty scary health implications, including depression, cancer, and osteoporosis.

Penciling in your time outside around midday is ideal, especially if you’re short on time, as UVB rays reach their peak around noon. Exposure later in the day has been linked to skin cancer.

 3. Spending Time Outdoors may Lower Blood Pressure

Sunlight does so much more than boost vitamin D levels… It can actually lower your blood pressure! Researchers report that the nitric oxide present in the skin responds to the sun’s rays by widening blood vessels, resulting in lower blood pressure.

Although study participants whose blood pressure was in the normal range noticed a minimal drop, it’s believed that folks with high blood pressure would likely experience a more significant change.

4. Outdoor Time can Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation has been linked to a host of health problems, from autoimmune disorders to depression and even cancer. Various studies have shown that spending time in green spaces reduces inflammation.

Men and women of all ages can benefit from this natural inflammation-buster. From healthy, college-aged males to elderly patients,  there was a marked difference in inflammation among individuals who spent time in the forest.

Adventure

5. Being Outside is Good for Eyesight

Surprisingly, spending time outdoors in childhood could lead to better vision later in life. A recent Canadian study found that spending time in nature greatly reduces the risk of myopia, more commonly known as nearsightedness.

Believe it or not, one-third of U.S. adults experience myopia, and one key contributor is a lack of outdoor time in childhood. If you have children, encourage them to spend time outdoors daily to preserve their vision later on. It’s easier than getting them to eat carrots right?

6. Outdoor Time Improves Sleep

Struggling to snooze? Going outdoors could improve your quality of sleep, according to Stanford Medicine. It seems that increasing the amount of time an individual spends outside helps to regulate body temperature, along with the sleep-wake cycle, otherwise known as the circadian rhythm.

While spending time in nature could lead to better sleep for people of all ages, the benefits seem to be most notable for men over the age of 65.

Biking

7. Being Outdoors Burns More Calories

Whether you venture outside to relax or workout, you’ll burn more calories than if you had stayed inside. While outdoors, the body works hard to balance CO2 levels and consume oxygen, both of which require more energy, leading to a higher calorie burn.

Outdoor workouts are particularly effective because the body must constantly adapt to the terrain. Plus, outdoor fitness tends to be more enjoyable, so you’re more likely to stick to a routine.

8. Spending Time Outside Increases Happiness

It probably comes as no surprise that outdoor time can have a positive effect on mood. In an interview with National Geographic, author Florence Williams discussed an experiment she conducted to track her own happiness over a one-year period. In addition to spending time with friends, vacationing, and listening to music, Williams discovered that being outdoors made her incredibly happy.

The boost in mood from being outside may be due, in part, to nature’s ability to zap anxiety and ruminating thoughts. A 2015 study published by Science Direct found that folks who walked in a wooded area reported a better emotional state when compared to study participants who walked in an urban location. If you live in a city, try to schedule regular trips to green areas for mood-lifting benefits.

9. Nature Relieves Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

One of the best remedies for stress, anxiety, and other mental health concerns is spending time in nature. According to NBC News, “forest bathing” is a Japanese practice that has caught on here in the States. To begin your own practice, simply spend time in a forest or wooded area regularly.

So, how exactly does becoming one with nature lead to improved mental health? Studies show that walking in a green environment lowers the stress hormone cortisol. While cortisol is vital for optimal mental and physical health, elevated levels have been linked to a menagerie of health problems, including anxiety, depression, memory and concentration problems, and even sleep disorders.

Kayaking

10. Outdoor Time Relieves Pain Naturally

Exposure to nature may be the best medicine for healing and pain relief. Research indicates that patients who undergo surgery experience quicker recovery and don’t require as much pain relief when exposed to green spaces.

In addition to recovery from surgical procedures, “green exercise,” or exercising in nature, is suggested for chronic pain sufferers.

11. Spending Time in Green Spaces Boosts Immunity

If you’re prone to illness, getting outdoors may help. Research suggests that spending time in nature wards off everything from diabetes and ADHD to cardiovascular disease and cancer. This is largely due to the relaxed state that nature promotes.

Forests are particularly beneficial for the immune system, as plants produce phytoncides, which have been shown to increase natural killer cells—a type of white blood cell in humans. Plus, sun exposure strengthens infection-fighting T cells.

Climbing

12. Time Outdoors Increases Social Interactions

As humans, we’re social creatures who need regular interaction with others. Spending time outdoors is a great way to connect with other people, whether it’s at the local dog park, beach, or sports field.

According to Psychology Today, an active social life boosts feelings of well-being, as well as the immune system. Social interaction is also great for brain health, and can even ward off dementia. Plus, social folks tend to live longer! But really, we don’t need a study to tell us that we’re much more interactive when we’re not on our phones.

Biking

13. The Great Outdoors Generates Creativity

It’s not a fluke that the best ideas come to us when we’re in a relaxed state. A great way to promote creativity is by unplugging and enjoying time in nature. The key is disconnecting from technology, including social media, and giving your mind a much-needed respite.

In everyday life, most individuals are on a constant mission to accomplish as much as possible, resulting in decreased focus. Thankfully, it seems nature has the ability to restore attention, which can lead to improved creativity.

In fact, most of our ideas for TripOutside come from being on a hike and not from trying to force new concepts on the whiteboard.

How Much Outdoor Time is Enough?

Science suggests that spending 120 minutes in nature each week is ideal for optimal health and well-being. While getting outside daily could undoubtedly make you feel better, researchers note that the recommended two hours per week doesn’t have to be divvied up evenly. That’s great news for folks who live in urban areas, have limited access to nature, and those with hectic schedules. Whether you venture outdoors one day per week or seven, you’ll reap the rewards.

Tips for Optimizing Your Outdoor Time—and Staying Safe

We’d be remiss not to mention a few tried-and-true tips for enhancing your outdoor adventures and keeping yourself safe:

  • Know where to go: Although there is so much information available, it can link to analysis paralysis on where to go. We love apps like AllTrails that can help you find the closest hike or outdoor activity to you and filter by distance, how strenuous it is and read reviews from others.
  • Dress for the weather: Check the forecast before venturing out, and be prepared for possible weather conditions, such as rain or snow.
  • Wear sunscreen: Broad-spectrum sunscreen is a must, whether it’s bright and sunny or cloudy and gray. If you’ll be physically active or in water, opt for sweat and water-resistant protection.
  • Stay hydrated: Be sure to tote along plenty of water and a snack, along with a meal if you’ll be off the grid for an extended period of time.
  • Check-in with loved ones: Before making your way to the park or forest, let your loved ones know exactly where you’ll be, as cell reception may be spotty.

Venturing outside on a regular basis will undoubtedly have positive short-term and long-term effects on your overall health and well-being. While you’ll likely notice an immediate difference in your mood and energy level, consider keeping a written record of your outdoor adventures and any changes in your health, as many benefits tend to occur gradually.

Most importantly, enjoy your time away from the daily grind!

Ps: We also hope that by spending time outside, we’ll all appreciate nature more and work towards preserving it for future generations.

Original article here.

About the Author

Julie SinghJulie Singh is passionate about outdoor adventure, wildlife and conservation. She spends her free time mountain biking, hiking, paddleboarding and snowboarding, and she also loves to challenge herself with new outdoor adventures. Julie spent 15 years in Retail, Merchandising and Finance, leading teams and growing large businesses before she co-founded TripOutside with her husband Reet.

True Nature Travels Blog

New Year

From a Mindfulness perspective, every moment is an opportunity to start again. The New Year is the clear beginning of a new cycle of the calendar and for many of us. The freshness of a new chapter can be inspiring and a reminder of hope. We also can remember that just as the seasons change, the sun rises each morning, and as we take each breath we also have the opportunity to start anew.

“No” is the New “Yes”?

In a time where options are seemingly unlimited, it is a good time to truly contemplate and discern your choices. When options are presented to you, take your time and be mindful in making your next decision. Use a 24 hour period to “meditate” on the situation and seek clarity on this next step, which might be small or large. Realize that saying “no” (and maybe “thank you”) can be just as empowering and rewarding as saying “yes”.

New Year

Create More Space

The New Year is a great time to let go and release that which does not serve anymore.
A time to reevaluate what has taken up the space in your full life and make a purge, opening up more room to breathe and be.

New Year

Live Your Intentions

Where will the new year take you? True Nature is so excited to welcome the new decade and we are kicking off the year with the gift of wellness!

For the month of January, we are extending an extra $100 off all our Wellness Retreats! Save up to $400 off shared accommodations when combined with Early Bird Discounts!

For the full list of our retreats, visit our retreat calendar and enter coupon code: WELLNESS100 in the ‘Admin use’ box at checkout.

Wellness Retreat Sale

Offer valid for new registrations 1/1 – 1/31

True Nature Travels Blog

gift of travel

Traveling takes time, planning, and often some expenses, but always gives back so much more. It allows you to get out of your normal routine, go see something new or discover the completely unknown. Whether it is an afternoon hike in the well-trodden woods near home or a week in a new and exciting part of the world, I find that travel continues to give gifts long after the journey is over. It creates a wealth of experiences to pull from and the confidence to go forth and learn new things about ourselves and others. Memories are created with new and old friends as you explore together.

To share the gift of travel, we are offering $100 off all of our Wellness Retreats through December 15th! This coupon can be combined with Early Bird Discounts for up to $400 off! Enter coupon code GRATITUDE100 in the “Admin Only” field at checkout.

Give yourself the gift of wellness, travel, AND savings this year!

2020 – 2021 Retreat Calendar

Black Friday Travel Sale, Cyber Monday Travel Sale

True Nature Travels Blog

gratitude1

Gratitude is something that is sorely lacking today. Too many people feel they are entitled to what they have, and even a simple “thank you” is too much to ask from them. A lot of the stress we feel about our lives can be traced to feel entitled to the “nice things” that others have. Still, I believe that if you learn how to practice gratitude, you can shift your focus—and with this new attitude, everything can change.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey

“A Man Must Feel the Bite of Winter to Feel the Warmth of the Hearth.” If you are a Game of Thrones fan, then you’ve heard these words before, but more than a quote from a TV program, it is a beautiful description of what gratitude is and why it is an essential antidote to the emptiness we feel in life. Because of the comforts that surround us—comforts that previous generations would have found unimaginable—that we have become numb, entitled, and unable to feel gratitude for what we have.

We have become numb, entitled, and unable to feel gratitude for what we have

Today we have smartphones connected permanently to the internet. We have access to the repositories of all the knowledge of humankind, but imagine if there was no internet. No instant communication with your friends wherever they may be in the world. No Wikipedia or other websites from which we can mine the collective knowledge of the world. Just 20 years ago, that was the reality.

I remember a time when we had to go to the library to access the internet because the home internet was not yet a thing. It is because I know what it was like before the internet that I appreciate its existence more.

Now apply that to something closer to home. Imagine what life would be like to be an orphan. To not have a mother nagging you to put on a shirt or some other mundane “motherly” thing. To not have a father giving outdated life advice while teaching you how to do “manly” things more suited to the 1950s. Just the thought of not having your parents ought to get you to call them right now to tell them you love them.

Mindfulness As A Method Of Practicing Gratitude

gratitude2

If you haven’t seen my article on mindfulness, maybe now would be a good time to give it a read. Mindfulness is the ability to appreciate the present and the things we have in the here and now. By practicing mindfulness and the science of gratitude, we can be grateful for what we have, even if it is not necessarily what we want, or not as good as what we desired.

A mindful person lives in the moment and enjoys the wonders of what they possess at the moment. By being content, the mindful person does not covet what they do not have. They are grateful for what they already have and do not take for granted their blessings or the achievements they have reached. A person trained in the art of mindfulness will savor with gratitude the life they already have. They will not covet a life that they could have had or that they desired in their youth.

For example, I know a man who became a lawyer at the age of 33. Recently, he lost both his parents within two years of each other. His doctor suggested that he discipline himself and develop mindfulness as an antidote for chronic, long-term dysthymia, which is the combination of an anxiety disorder and low-grade depression.

If this man decided to only focus on the negatives in his world, he might be cursing the powers that be for taking away his parents. He could be resenting the fact that it took him so long to become a lawyer.

But a mindful and grateful heart would teach him to be thankful that he had his parents for the first 30 years of his life. He had the privilege of becoming a lawyer in a state where more than 80% of those who finish law school do not ever attain this status. He has a lot to be grateful for if only he can train himself to see the light instead of dwell in the darkness.

He has a lot to be grateful for if only he can train himself to see the light instead of dwell in the darkness

In a way, mindfulness and gratitude will form a positive feedback loop in your life. Try it and watch as your attitude toward everything in your life changes.

The Scientific Argument In Favor Of Gratefulness

In a study, researchers learned that a person’s happiness level could be stable over the long term. This means that a grateful person can have a high level of happiness, and they can sustain it over a prolonged period. So, the bottom line here is: A grateful person is happier. (Consider rereading what I wrote about mindfulness earlier in this post, and start reaping the benefits of being happier right now.)

The same study also found that not only were people with a grateful mindset 25% happier, but they were far more optimistic about the future, too. One way to understand this is that the person who has a positive outlook in life will see the world differently. The grateful attitude for the present will permeate their attitude for the future.

If you think about it, this makes perfect sense. Someone with a grateful heart has a positive outlook on life because they aren’t wasting time being jealous or coveting what they do not have. They are already happy because they are content with their life.

This positive attitude has even farther-reaching effects on other aspects of a grateful person’s life. Depression or anxiety are far less likely to take hold because of the grateful attitude that increases their baseline happiness.

A grateful, happy person is less likely to seek out alcohol, drugs, or other compulsive behaviors. This is because these are behaviors that people use to fill a void in their lives. They wouldn’t have to fill a void if they were already fulfilled. Gratefulness means that there is much less of a chance that compulsive behaviors will become attractive to them in the first place.

The Practice Of Gratitude In Our Daily Lives 

Gratitude3

For those with religious inclinations, the practice of gratitude begins with prayer at the start of their day. Whether they are Christians, Jews, or Muslims, each will typically take part in morning prayers. During this practice, the faithful will thank a higher power for allowing them to rise in the morning after a restful night’s sleep.

If that’s not your cup of tea, then wake up nevertheless with a sense of gratitude. Even if you don’t practice any religion, it would be beneficial to reflect in the morning and take stock of what you have. Do not take anything for granted! If you have a roof over your head, a warm bed, and enough to eat, then you should be grateful.

Be grateful that breakfast is merely a matter of walking into your kitchen and opening the refrigerator or cabinets. Consider how so many others must work or even beg for the meager sums they would need to get the first or only meal of their day.

The Power Of Thank You

Gratitude4

“Thank you” should be an important phrase in your vocabulary. Say thank you when someone does you a favor or offers you a simple act of kindness—and if this is not something that you do as a matter of course, well, its time you made it a habit now. Giving thanks is an excellent way to develop an attitude of gratefulness, even if it is just in the little things.

Thank the person in front of you for holding the door for you. Thank your partner for handing you your first cup of coffee each morning. Thank your administrative assistant for bringing you your morning mail at work. It may feel awkward at first, but eventually, it will become a habit.

As a bonus, people will learn to appreciate—and emulate—your newly-developed sense of good manners. The practice of saying “please” and “thank you” has become a lost art in this era of entitlement—the 21st Century. You are spreading gratitude by bringing good manners back into the modern age.

The practice of saying “please” and “thank you” has become a lost art in this era of entitlement

If you want to learn more, you can draw inspiration from the movie Happy, Thank You, More Please. As the movie title suggests, the audience is invited to have an attitude of Happy, Thank You, More Please. If something makes you happy, then be grateful by saying thank you to the person who made you feel this way, and the “More Please” is in reference to asking for more of the thing that made you happy.

Gratitude And The Law Of Attraction

Gratitude5

There are many people today who believe in something called the law of attraction. They ascertain that when we want something and work hard to make it happen—or attract it—the universe will somehow bring it to us. For example, if we want a promotion at work, and if we diligently strive to attract the promotion, eventually, we will receive it. There is a mystical, quasi-religious aspect to the law of attraction. Suffice to say that it has many followers, simply because it appears to work.

Even for those of us who don’t necessarily put much stock in the other-worldly, it still makes sense. After all, how do we attract something? By acting toward making it happen. How does an employee attract a promotion? By working more hours, being more efficient, or generally acting in a manner in which they would be more deserving of a promotion.

The same holds with an attitude of gratitude. By being grateful even for small favors or kindnesses, you will attract people to be positively disposed toward you. People tend to feel good and act accordingly when they receive gratitude.

That Uber driver you thanked for bringing you to work? He might have been working all night, perhaps dealing with difficult customers. That small act of kindness in thanking him might be the first nice thing he experienced during his entire shift. That diner waitress you thanked for bringing you your first coffee of the day? That little bit of positive reinforcement and kindness could be the only thing that is holding back her tears.

In both and many other cases, the gratitude you show might very well attract even more acts of kindness from others. The kindness you display may resonate with others, and in turn, make them feel more grateful and allow them to experience a more positive outlook in life. Even if only for the moment that you gave them that appreciative interaction—that brief experience might help them to see that it is possible to obtain an attitude of gratefulness.

Life Is What You Make It. So, Why Not Make It A Grateful Experience?

The ability to be thankful for both small things and great blessings will change your outlook. It can spark a positive feedback loop that will change your inner attitude—and your entire life.

There are even scientific studies that suggest living gratefully can improve your quality of life. Your positive outlook and grateful attitude can stave off depression, as well as many other sources of negativity in your life. Think of it this way: Gratitude helps increase your positivity, and this positivity will help you resist succumbing to the onslaught of negative vibes around you every day.

This positive feedback loop within protects you even further because you will not accumulate negativity, and you’ll have a lower chance of engaging in any risky, compulsive behaviors, which might cause you even more problems later on. After all, if you feel good about yourself, you are far less likely to do drugs or consume excessive amounts of alcohol to “feel better”—and, best of all—this improvement in your attitude can radiate toward others around you.

By practicing gratitude, you may very well be bringing this gift to others in your day-to-day life.

Original post

 

About the Author

Rebecca Temsen is a Blogger & Editor at selfdevelopmentsecrets.com.

True Nature Travels Blog

Wellness Trip 1

Nowadays, people resort to going on vacation solely to run away from the hard-working and tedious lives they are leading. However, many tend to return from holiday feeling even more drained. Organizing and going on a wellness trip where you can enliven all your senses, have long and relaxing spa days, meditate, and do yoga will enable you to find a greater purpose beyond tourism. While there are many resorts and wellness destinations around the globe for you to choose from, you still need some basic guidance on how to organize the best international wellness trip. Here is a guide that will get you fully covered.

 

Set a clear ‘relaxing’ objective

You can’t start browsing through various destinations before you figure out what relaxation and mindful wellness trip means for you. You need to have a clear and steady objective of what you want off your trip. For many, it’s the serenity of the ambient, while other factors like comfortable accommodation, beautiful scenery, and fitness amenities are vital. You may want solely to hold or organize spa retreats and offer quality spa treatments and dietary detoxes, so take a notebook and write down your ideas. Once you have everything sorted out, you can search for an international location.

Wellness Trip 2

Look for a lucrative destination

There is an abundance of gorgeous and peaceful wellness retreats around the globe that simply allure an individual to stay there forever. When you need to organize a wellness trip on your own, you need to be careful with your choice. Start your search by narrowing down the places that can fit within your budget. Envisioning impossible outcomes will only make you disappointed. Consider going somewhere touristy, but don’t opt for renowned retreats but many somewhere off the beaten path. Also, go off the popular seasons when there is less crowd. Chances are that you will get the most of your trip and more.


Coordinate trip wisely

Now for some technical matters. Firstly, if you are travelling by car either solo or with a buddy or two, you should find out how to drive internationally. This means that you must check the maps, roads, read the regulations, learn some foreign rules, get the necessary papers, check the rental possibilities if necessary, and others. Next, you have to schedule the sessions, provide suitable accommodation, confirm and reconfirm the timings, and of course, coordinate meals and make sure that dietary are taken care of.

Wellness Trip 3


Deal with the logistic upfront

Organizing an international wellness trip requires patience and diligence, but above all meticulous logistics. Besides transportation, transfer, meals, and food, you need to organize productive wellness activities that will enable you and the whole group to make the most out of your healthy travels. Whether you set your heart out to the beach, mountain, or a place within the rainforest, if you don’t clearly set the timing of the sessions, length, and find the right yoga teachers and trainers, you will be in for more stress. Therefore, in order not to get busy with the organization on your trip, deal with important matters upfront so that you can utterly unwind in your wellness trip.


Seek for physical tranquillity and activity

Going to a distant place where the sheer environment can help you improve your health and wellbeing is the key to an international wellness trip. Sometimes even if the surrounding can make you feel re-energized and uplifted, it may not be enough. Find a place where you can get active and have the ability to relax as well. Have some other activity in mind besides doing yoga and meditating. Think hiking, swimming, or stargazing. Organize some extra curriculum activities like writing, drawing and art sessions, learn how to play an instrument or how to cook some special international dish.

Wellness Trip 4


Have a light agenda and short sessions

You don’t want to do yoga for 5 hours in the morning and then sit and meditate for another five. No, you must set light and mindful agenda so that everyone can get the most out of their stay. If you are in a different timezone, pay attention to the jet lag that someone might be experiencing. Let your yoga or other spa sessions last up to 2 hours each or 45min of some other demanding workout. Have a short break where you would chat, drink green tea and meditate. In the afternoon, you can do other activities, roam around, and in the evening gather up to share experiences.

You aim should be to make this international wellness trip as restful and rejuvenating as possible. By following the above-mentioned guidelines you will certainly accomplish that and have a mindful and regenerating experience.

 

About the Author

Morgan Elliot

Morgan Rose Elliott is an aromatherapist, yoga instructor, animal lover, and a happily married mother of two. She enjoys reading biographies and writing poems, sunny days on the beach and any shape and form of vanilla. Crazy about the ’80s, her favorite band is Duran Duran and she is obsessed with Netflix original Stranger things.

https://twitter.com/MorganRoseElli1

True Nature Travels Blog

Ayurveda

 

Not everyone loves traveling, however, those who do can attest to the fact that traveling is an entire fun package. Asides the fact that it is interesting and full of excitement, it also holds memories which you would treasure for years to come.

The fun in traveling does not start from the road trip it starts from the anticipation. Waiting for the designated day to arrive comes with its own type of fun, as you could find yourself fantasizing before then.

In order to enjoy your travel, it is advised that you carefully and painstakingly select everything you need, so that you do not get on board and realize that you left out one or two things. Now, there is an undeniable fact which is, stating how exactly your travel might be. You might be surprised to find out that, it is either more strenuous than usual or more comfortable than you expected. On a conventional note, there is no escaping it you might be faced with stress, which could come in different forms.

Below are some of the common symptoms which travelers are likely to experience:

  • Dysfunctional digestive system
  • Impaired immune system
  • Constant feeling of tiredness
  • Feeling overexcited
  • Feeling depressed
  • Body pains and aches

These common symptoms are what Ayurveda seeks to handle. Ayurveda tries to ensure that the spirit, body, and mind are in one piece so that you would feel bubbly and balanced.

It would interest you to know that one of Ayurveda’s foundational goals is providing optimum balance to your well-being.

Ayurveda

Below are some essential tips, which would keep you on the right track while traveling:

  • Body massage: When you have had a long stressful day of undergoing touristy pursuits, it might be tempting to go straight off to sleep. This is not advised, however. It is best to
    perform a massage on your body. If you cannot do it yourself, then you can get someone to help. In a good number of cases, you might not get someone who would be readily available, so you have to do it yourself. All you need do is, commence from the top; your head, perform a massage on the scalp, right down to your feet. Do not skip your stomach, as a good massage helps with proper digestion. This is why it is important always to go along with a small bottle of oil, to perform this traditional Ayurvedic massage.
  • Yoga practice: When traveling, the commonest activity you would perform is sitting, and this makes you quite stiff, depending on the number of hours traveled. Yoga comes in handy to eliminate this body stiffness. When Ayurveda and Yoga are practiced together, the advantages are always much. You do not need to perform complex hand and leg twists for Yoga, all you need is a wide space which would give room for ample movement and body and mind healing. During your trip, you can perform some Yoga on your seat, or probably after your trip has ended. You can do some basic exercises such as forward folds, side bends, stand twists and the likes. Simply move your body gracefully.
  • Remaining Hydrated: Water is essential for all forms of travel, and it is necessary to have an ample quantity with you. The cool breeze seeping through the air-conditioners, or the tough breeze blowing through the window in your car, is enough to make you dehydrated and cause you to lose balance. It is more advisable to take water than alcohol prior to and when traveling, as alcohol makes you dehydrated. For your trip, take along with you, a portable water bottle, and ensure it is quite warm so that it can promote easy digestion and for your overall comfortability. For increased effectiveness, you can mix with any natural superfood such as shilajit, turmeric, lemon and a host of others. Every superfood has its own benefits. Lemon juice mixed with warm water protects the body from Immune system deficiencies. To turn the usual water to natural energy drink and to boost your energy level, you should use shilajit. But there are other amazing health benefits of mumio.
  • Enough sleep: The importance of enough sleep cannot be overstated. Before you travel, ensure that you sleep well, because it is important to your health. It is better to have a goodnight’s rest prior to your travel, than during the trip itself, except if it is a very long one, it is still safe to fall asleep for a while. After your trip, your body also needs enough sleep, especially at night. During the night, your mind and body undergo detoxification and repair, and results are best gotten when you are asleep. If it is hard to sleep, then you can perform any of the following activities:
  • Take a shower
  • Listen to music
  • Meditation
  • Read any random book

Ayurveda

  • Pause to breathe: If you want to know how stressed you are, take a moment and check your breathing pattern, you will observe that it is quite shallow. Also, when you are feeling more relaxed, your breathing pattern becomes deep. Hence, the deeper you breathe, the better your health is. Hence, during the course of your travel, take a moment to perform a simple breathing exercise. For 4-5 seconds, breathe in through your nose, and breathe out for six seconds. Repeat this for a good number of times until you feel fulfilled. If you are someone who finds it quite difficult to keep up with exercises such as this, you can place a reminder for yourself, at a particular time of the day when you can perform it. With time, you will get used to it.

 

Conclusion

Having gone through these tips, planning your next vacation would be easy. You can take a mental picture of yourself undergoing these activities, and plan how they would fit into your schedule.

Taking part in any of those tips will aid in reducing the accumulated stress in your body. When you travel, always bear it in mind that, you are focusing on grounding and providing balance to your spirit, mind, and body. Some of them might be rigorous and uncomfortable for you, the end results are usually amazing, and you would be able to enjoy every bit of your trip.

 

True Nature Travels Blog

Finding freedom of the self

Finding freedom of the self; how to let go and surrender

As we approach the half way line in the year, this is a great time to pause, reflect and release everything that is holding you back from living with confidence, bliss and freedom. The thing is all of us can feel completely free, we just have to be open to let go and release what we are holding on to so tightly. Through every experience, we pick up different energy, conscious and unconscious reactions which can all trigger tension or imbalances in the mind, body, and soul. We can attach ourselves to people, things, situations and experiences that can create a heaviness internally. Finding freedom is about learning to let go of all the attachments, of the unnecessary emotional baggage we carry around, and by acknowledging that it already exists within ourselves.

Freeing the physical body

It’s no surprise that moving the body and being physically active brings many health benefits. But on an energetic level, this also helps us to release any blockages we may have within. One of the main aspects of hatha yoga is about purification of the physical body. When we practice asanas and bring our body in alignment, we release toxins, muscular tightness and clear out anything that impedes our energetic flow. Through movement we create space in the body, to feel more freely, to think more clearly and to breathe more deeply. Bringing our attention to the breath and practicing pranayama (yogic breathing techniques) will also get the prana or life force within flowing freely. Although hatha yoga brings a harmonious state to the physical body, any type of physical exercise will benefit you in feeling free in the body. Negative emotions and thoughts, feelings of unworthiness, shame, guilt, etc also get stored in the body resulting in muscular knots, physical pain and even illness. As we continue to allow the mind to wander and keep our emotions inside, we create tension in the physical self. Moving the body, alongside with deep breathing can help release these so we can learn to move freely and enjoy the rhythm of our own body.

Freeing the mind

The mind can sometimes be non-stop, feeding us with different thoughts at all moments of the day. If we pay attention to these, we can go further into creating ideas and scenarios, all resulting in illusions. Practicing meditation is not about sitting in lotus pose with your hands in a mudra and ignoring these thoughts; instead it is about bringing yourself into the present moment, feeling grounded and still, whilst simply observing the non-stop chatter of the mind with no attachment to it. When we do so, we can learn that this is the only experience we are part of; that the past and the future don’t exist, all there is in now. Practicing mindfulness is important, because when we have stillness of mind, we can be present with clarity. And this is true freedom. And when the mind is free, creativity blossoms and we see the world as it is, without any biased preconceptions. We can also allow the mind to be curious and to be open to new things, learning and practicing mindful affirmations.

Freeing the soul

The soul is part of every experience we go through on our physical journey through life. Connecting with this completely authentic and pure part of the self, doesn’t necessarily require any special type of practice. The soul is at the essence of who we are, we are always with it and it is always with us. The soul thrives on all types experiences, excitement, courage, new beginnings, freedom of expression etc We nurture the soul when we learn to love ourselves and love others; when we let go of judgement of the self and others; when we trust and surrender. We can listen to the guidance of it simply by allowing ourselves to listen to the silence within. We can do so through mindfulness and becoming aware of our intuition and its wisdom, separating our desires from it. We can allow the soul to shine through acts of goodness for the self, others and the environment coming from a pure intention. Those who travel often begin to feel more inspired about life and their purpose. This is because the soul feels free to explore the world through a different perception other than being bounded by routine and to do lists. But physical travel is not necessary as this is part of just some people’s journey. Others can simply do so by taking an internal adventure of the soul, journeying through their own self and discovering what is deep inside. Whatever you perceive is making you feel stuck, come back to the present moment, observe it and let go. Freedom is and will always be available to you.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Miriam IndriesMiriam Indries is a published author, yoga and meditation teacher, passionate about holistic healing. She is also a qualified Ayurveda Practitioner and NLP coach. A keen traveller, wondering soul and student of life, Miriam is the creator of Self-Elevation.com, online platform empowering others to find their greatness.

True Nature Travels Blog

Be Well Live Well

Spring time is all about cleansing and regrowth

As nature starts to lighten its load, us as humans start to mimic that in nature. Building new daily rituals, removing old patterns that don’t serve our authentic code, our highest self, and really diving into embodiment. There are many remedies for helping one get into their bodies and so I am going to share some of my favorites that have helped me transition into the spring time.

Since Spring is a Kapha season; heavy, wet, dense, and slow. We want to incorporate rituals that can balance these qualities. So, quicker, heated, and energizing. For example: more cardio and exercise daily, body rituals to move our lymphatic system, reduce napping, rise with the sun, indulge in saunas, and add energizing aromatherapy to our life. Drinking detox spring teas that will help our metabolism get back to action and limiting snacking/overeating. Taking herbal tinctures to support the immune system and transition is highly recommended as well since Spring is allergy season to the max!

Be Well Live Well

Now let’s talk embodiment for a second. What does that mean exactly? Most would automatically think it means to be able to look graceful and beautiful as we move our body. Sure, that is a part of embodiment to be able to feel your movements in a controlled manner, but truly only a section of the word. Feeling, incorporation, manifestation, realization… these are all synonyms that really put this word into play. Since this is a time to grow into the new, we must be able to FEEL and LISTEN in order to really dive into ourselves and that is the embodiment I am talking about. When we start to do daily practices, rituals if you will, then we start to become more connected with our true authentic self and get to really just BE with our body, mind, and spirit. Learning how to love more of ourselves, connect more, and find more peace in our lives. All of these practices that I am going to share with you all are tools to help enhance this sensation. Most products can be found locally near you at health food stores in their beauty department and of course, there is always online. I hope you all have a smooth and happy transition. Let’s dive into the rituals.

Be Well Live Well

Abhyanga (Self-Body massage/ Oiling of the skin)

For spring, you will want to use a lighter oil such as almond, or grapeseed and even infuse it with an energizing essential oil. This practice can help create a protective, strengthening force field around you for the day. It is best to apply the oil warmed up right before you shower. The warm water will help open the pores and so the oil will penetrate more deeply. Now I am talking, whole body and focus mostly on where the joints are. Rotate in a circular motion. This will start to move the blood flow in the body and form a deeper sense of self-acceptance and appreciation. Try to be gentle and loving with your touch.

dry brushing

Dry Brushing

So deeply beneficial in the spring time since water retention and weight gain are usually present. You will want to use a natural bristle dry brush, it is very easy to locate these at a local store. You will do this on dry skin and preferably before you oil or shower. Starting from the ankles, moving upward toward your heart, make small circular motions and really exaggerate in the areas of armpits, groin, chest, inner thighs and anywhere fats that may be more stubborn would generally hang out. This is really good to boost circulation and exfoliate/ stimulate this skin. The body should be more of a rosy color and this is a practice that should be welcomed at least twice a week before showers and oiling.

tongue scraping

Tongue Scraping

You can use a stainless steel or copper scraper for this and try to incorporate morning and night before brushing the teeth. Scrape the tongue at least 6 times from back to front and be mindful of your little taste buds in the back and tongue tissue. A mucus will likely appear so rinse as needed in the sink.

herbal tinctures

Herbal Tinctures

Now there are many ways of getting herbs for support during transitions but I am going to share my favorite company with you. This is a local small business in Ben Lomond, Ca (Santa Cruz Mountains) and is curated by an herbalist I know personally. He has been studying herbs for over 18 years and is literally an encyclopedia of herbs. These tinctures also taste delicious when most are pretty hard to chug down due to their taste. Calasha has a few different tinctures that would be supportive. I highly suggest for men and woman to each get the Vital Woman or Vital Man to help nourish your own particular body and then pair it with either the peaceful mind blend or lung support. The lung support is EXTREMELY beneficial for seasonal support and since Kapha can attack the respiratory system, this is a crucial key to keep in you balance and keep the body strong during the shifts. Their tinctures are sold locally in Santa Cruz but you can order through me directly! Email primalharmony@gmail.com to find out more on these medicines.

meditation

Meditation

ALWAYS crucial when going through any type of shift and to also speed up the embodiment process. Meditation can be at any time of the day but I highly suggest right upon waking and right before bed time. There are many free apps now on the phone that can guide you through a meditation or simply just give you some music to have in the background, and if you already have mantras incorporated in your daily habits then I highly suggest brining in an invocation. Mediation isn’t necessarily about quieting the mind but instead learning it and watching the thoughts that come in and learning to not attach but instead just watch. It is also one of my favorite ways of devotion and bringing myself back to my spirit, empowering myself and improve focus.

Be Well Live Well

Neti Pot

Think of this as flossing your nose. Important to use filtered warmed up water and salts specifically for the Neti, they will be sold in the same area as the pot and will be a fine grain sea salt. I highly suggest staying away from any plastic ones and spending a little more for the ceramics. This is for dislodging accumulation mucus and impurities that most definitely arise during the spring! Use in the morning and then only, try to not overdo it and always wash your Neti afterwards. You’ll boil the water and then let it rest with the salts to dissolve. Make sure to test the water before using, you should be able to hold your finger in there without any discomfort. Lean forward and tilt your head to one side and keeping the back of your neck extended, so bend your torso. Tip your head and place the spout into the top nostril and wait for the water to run out the other side. If the water is not draining after a few tries than wait till you can have more proper guidance in person. Make sure to follow the instructions for the amount of salts and so forth. You can find this at a local health food store.

Foods to start eating more of:

Pungent spices, dry whole grains, astringent fruits, lean proteins, bitter vegetables, and raw honey in moderation.

Think warming, light, dry, mobile, sharp and what is selling at your local farmers markets. That is always a key way to know what is seasonal or not.

Here is a recipe for a digestive tea for the spring:

2 cups water
1 inch fresh ginger root
1 star anise
3 cloves
3 peppercorns
1 tsp cinnamon powder

Bring water to boil. Coarsely chop the gingerroot and include the skin. Add everything to the water. Let boil for 1 minute then simmer on low with the pot covered for at least 10 minutes. Strain before drinking. Drink after meals throughout the day.

Happy Spring!

spring

 

About the Author

Chelsea Shapouri, The Grains of LifeChelsea Shapouri is a Lifestyle Consultant for women and an Elemental Yoga Instructor based in Santa Cruz, CA. In her work, she offers Ayurvedic lifestyle modalities, Yoga, Breath work, Meditations, and Ayurvedic Recipes. Every client and student is rare and special to her. Chelsea’s mission is to find their unique rhythm, their primal-natural state, and from there support them with techniques and recipes that are meant for their bio-individuality. Harmony for the emotional body, physical body, and mental state is the embodiment she lives by and wishes to offer. Bringing people back home to themselves with techniques they can simply do themselves is what she lives for. The art of service is the art of love and she shares what has helped her heal for the hope to help others heal. Stay connected to Chelsea and read her story through social media or her website: https://primal-harmony.com/

True Nature Travels Blog

Implementing self-care habits can create a harmonious way of life, by bringing our energy and focus to our health and wellbeing. We are often taught that compassion and kindness are about giving to others, but we must first do so for ourselves in order to understand the meaning of these. Only by honouring our own existence, we can do so for others also. Regardless of how busy life can get, your priority should always be on your health, because if you are feeling good, then the quality of your life matches this. Whilst there are many different ways you can create a self-care routine, here are just a few that are easy to integrate throughout your daily schedule.

self-care

Daily sesame oil self-abhyanga

Abhyanga is a traditional Ayurvedic body massage that focuses on bringing the whole body in balance. Ayurveda is known as the oldest medical system in the world, dating back to 7000 years ago and originally practiced in the Vedic culture. Whilst the treatment is done by a qualified practitioner, we can also replicate a small part of it into our daily routine. This can be done in the morning or before bed, however, traditionally it is recommended every morning to create a sense of grounding in the body and stillness to the mind. In doing so, you are starting the day with love and kindness as you focus on your wellbeing. Sesame oil is detoxifying as it removes toxins from the surface of the skin, so it’s a great way to give your skin a good cleanse. But it is important to wash it off after about 10 minutes using warm water. Start by applying sesame oil to your hair, face, ears and the rest of the body. Create circular movements around the joint areas, such as the wrists, elbows, knees, shoulders, hips and ankles and upward movement of the palm on all other parts. Sesame oil also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and leaves a beautiful glow to the skin. It has a heating quality, so it will warm up your muscles and joints, a perfect way to start the day.

self-care

Nourish your digestive system

The foods we eat play a vital role in our overall well-being. Respecting yourself and honouring your body and mind means that you also pay attention to your diet and its nutritional value. We often think of food as a comfort factor to our emotional state, however, food is simply the fuel to our body. When we start to think of it as this, we start to give our body what it needs to be healthy, strong and perform well. Everybody is different, so start to pay attention to how your own body reacts to specific foods. Just because an apple is labelled as healthy, it doesn’t mean that it suits your current digestive state also. Start to listen and connect with your body more when eating. Notice how you feel after different foods and how your digestion is. A healthy, strong digestion is when you can wake up and release stools without any stimulants. This shows that your body is digesting the food well overnight. Feed yourself everything that your body requires to feel healthy, function well and have the necessary vitamins and minerals.

self-care

Setting your intention for the day

How we choose to begin every day has a great impact on how it will actually be. From the moment we wake up, the mind can start the non-stop chatter and before we even leave the house, we’ve already exhausted ourselves with unnecessary self-created scenarios. A morning habit to start practicing daily is to nurture your mind by setting an intention for the day ahead and taking a few moments to meditate on this. Affirmations are effective and they really work wonders once we start to believe what we affirm to ourselves. Feed your mind with positive intentions which empower you to love and accept yourself unconditionally, to manifest your purpose and to embrace your unique self. Affirmations should always be said in the present moment, giving your unconscious mind the motivation to believe it and start working towards making it happen. They are reminders that anything is possible but also have strong influence on the type of energy we give out and are open to receive.

Self-care

Joint mobilisation and light stretching

The most loving thing you can do for your body after you wake up in the morning is to stretch and move. Joint mobilisation exercises boost blood circulation in the body and release the stiffness created in the joints during our sleep. These are best done in a gentle way and you don’t need a lot of space to do so. This daily habit can increase the overall flexibility in your body, and open up any energetic blocked areas. By becoming more physically flexible, the mind also opens and becomes more adaptable to changes or new ways of doing or seeing things. Feeling good in your own body is empowering and it can lead to a more harmonious relationship you have with your whole self.

joint mobilisation and stretching

Slow flow hatha yoga practice

Hatha yoga is the 3 rd limb of the 8 limbs of yoga and it refers to the physical practice, meaning all poses. By practicing it, we purify the physical body and create space in the body and the mind in order to reach a state on inner balance. We also begin to understand our body better and form a beautiful relationship with all parts of the self-based on respect, unconditional love and acceptance. Sometimes the body needs a more vigorous practice, other times a slower one so it’s good to check in with yourself and see what your body needs at the time. But incorporating slow yoga flow at least once a week will slow you down and bring more stillness to your body, mind and soul. When we are still, we can gain more clarity in the mind and reset ourselves. A slow flow encourages us to be gentle with ourselves and to let go of any expectation. We learn to surrender to this present moment, release any emotional or physical tension, and take some quiet time to go within, reflect and reset.

 

About the Author

Miriam IndriesMiriam Indries is a published author, yoga and meditation teacher, passionate about holistic healing. She is also a qualified Ayurveda Practitioner and NLP coach. A keen traveller, wondering soul and student of life, Miriam is the creator of Self-Elevation.com, online platform empowering others to find their greatness.