Tag: India

Craving rest and rejuvenation? Try Panchakarma!

Panchakarma, Sanskrit for ‘five actions’ or ‘five therapies’, is rapidly growing in popularity amongst Western travellers who seek detoxification and rejuvenation of their bodies, minds, and spirits.

Panchakarma is a branch of Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of healing that emphasizes prevention, balance, and self-awareness. Ayurveda is a way of life that deals not only with the body and mind, but also with the human spirit and consciousness. Ayurveda is the knowledge of life and longevity, and promotes balance within the body for optimum health and well-being.

When our digestive energies, known as agni (fire), are functioning optimally, our tissues are healthy, we eliminate waste products efficiently, and our bodies produce a subtle essence called ojas, which promotes physical strength and immunity. When agni is weakened, however, digestion is slowed and toxins become stored in the body. Continue reading

The Divine Love of India – Interview with Michele Labelle

I recently had the pleasure of sitting with Michele Labelle, my dear friend and yoga retreat leader, to discuss one of her favourite subjects – India! Over chai, we explored the topics of spirituality, healing, love, yoga, and Michele’s upcoming Sacred South India Yoga Adventure with Sacred Earth Journeys. Here’s just a fragment of our conversation, which fittingly took place on Valentine’s Day.

Michele doing cobra...with a cobra!
Michele doing cobra…with a cobra!

AA: What does India represent to you?  

ML: India is like a melting pot. Of course there is the spiritual aspect; that’s what has always attracted me. When I think of India, I think of the colours, I think of the people…and the children’s smiles. When the kids come up to you, you see their soul through their eyes. There’s a rawness there that wakes something up deep, deep inside of me.

And then you have the dichotomy of modernization. The young women in their jeans, the older women in their full traditional dress. And being able to still walk on dirt roads, with the cows and tuk-tuks everywhere. It’s starting to blend the modern with the old.
India can be a shock to the system for the first-time traveller. What words of wisdom would you give? 

Coming on this journey with us, there is the opportunity to feel safe, to be in a group setting. You sleep in a comfortable bed, and you are fed well. And you know, South Indian food, with all the different coconut curries — every single bite is so delicious! So that security, and having a tour guide who speaks the language, makes the experience so much more enjoyable.

Every single person has their own experience. So wherever you are in life, whatever meditation practices you have or not, whether you have your own spiritual guru or not…India wakes something up in every person I’ve ever met who has a calling to go.

And because I love India so much, I just want to share that love. It’s an invitation, like coming to a movie. It’s a whole different movie than you’ve ever seen in your life. And you’re a player in that movie.

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Top Sacred Journeys for 2015

Whether your yard is still buried deep under snow or those first buds of spring are starting to peek though, February is a perfect month to start your vacation planning.  Here we round up our 2015 sacred journeys: from a writer’s retreat in Ireland to an Ayurveda program in India, we’re sure to have something to nourish your spirit.

Women’s Spiritual Art Journey in Bali with Mooh Hood and Lori Goldberg: A Transformative Travel Gift to Yourself, March 12 – 23, 2015

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Women’s Spiritual Art Journey is a rare opportunity to participate with a small group of women to engage with the local Balinese, explore the lush landscapes, pray at the Mother Temple, immerse in the Holy Springs and tap into your creative process and create a daily art journal (no experience needed). You will be travelling with Bali expert Mooh Hood and artist Lori Goldberg on this journey of profound connection and discovery. Read the full journey details on our website. 

There are a couple of spots remaining on this life-changing journey – book now to secure your place! 

A Spiral Journey into the Heart of Ireland with Phil Cousineau: Explore the Mythology, Arts and Spirituality of the Ancient and Modern Celtic World, September 19 – 30, 2015 (with a Dublin Extension, Sep 30 – Oct 3)

Ireland_men

Join writer and filmmaker Phil Cousineau as he leads you on a journey that spirals into the heart and soul of one of the most unique cultures in the world seeking the presence of Ireland’s great trilogy of “myth, poetry and magic” through its incantatory storytelling, hypnotic music, and the sheer beauty of glorious countryside. The journey includes visits to the Aran Islands, Cliffs of Moher, Yeats’ Tower, Galway, Croagh Patrick and Donegal Castle as well as the vibrant cities of Belfast and Dublin (extension). With special guest appearances by local writers scholars and cultural leaders, and dedicated time for daily discussions and journal writing, this is a culturally and spiritually rich tour not to be missed. Discover more here.

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India: Embracing my Discomfort Zone

For most of my life, the idea of travelling to India scared me. Though I am of Indian ancestry, I was born in Canada and had little desire to visit my mother country. India felt too uncomfortable and strange, and many questions plagued me: What if I got sick? What would the bathroom situation be like? What if the crowds and poverty were too confronting?

But a few years ago, something shifted. I began to practice Yoga and learn more about the Vedas, the spiritual texts of India. I started to appreciate aspects of my culture that I long took for granted and, for the first time, felt the inclination to just go.

India_sunrise-2Byoga
Practicing yoga on the beach at sunrise…ahhh

I believe that when one desires to visit India, there is an irresistible, magnetic pull to the country. Previous doubts and fears lose their grip, and circumstances seem to line up to make the journey happen. It’s as if Mother India knows we are coming!

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Looking to practice more Yoga in 2014? Start here!

Here in Canada we’ve had quite the start to 2014! Where I live in Newfoundland, we’ve experienced the effects of the Polar Vortex that hit much of North America and, as well as the frigid temperatures and heavy snowfall, we’ve had rolling blackouts, fierce blizzards, full-day power outages and a delayed start to the school year, with many businesses still closed as they continue to repair the winter damage.  We turned the outages into opportunities for family board games by flashlight as best we could, and I’ll admit that reading by candlelight was a nice respite from the to-do list.
But, the weather has certainly taken its toll and I’ve definitely noticed the stress of the rolling blackouts in my body, the muscle twinges and the sugar cravings, and, with my routine disrupted, I’ve also neglected my yoga practice.
 
One of my intentions for 2014 is to increase my fitness levels for my physical and mental health and, for me, that starts with yoga. I notice that when I practice yoga and meditation several times a week, I feel more able to cope with everyday stress, have increased energy and am just a nicer person! My yoga mat is a home to come back to when I need to figure things out but don’t know where to start, a place where my body remembers how to be strong, and a place where I can re-connect with my core values and instinctively know those areas in my life that are out of balance.  

If, like me, you’re looking to improve your fitness levels this year or are keen to start or continue a yoga practice, Sacred Earth Journeys has journeys and retreats planned for 2014 to help you with your quest. Our tour and retreat leaders are experts in their fields and can offer you so much whether you are completely new to yoga and just want to give it a go or you are an experienced yoga teacher looking to take your practice to the next level. Our tours and retreats are very holistic in nature so you are getting the chance to spend time with inspiring leaders and experience new cultures, sites, foods, spiritual traditions, fauna, and so much more.

Here is a snapshot of the retreats and journeys that will interest you if you’re looking for a getaway this year that involves yoga and meditation.

Sacred Journey to India with Jeffrey Armstrong:
A 2-week Immersion into Vedic Wisdom and Yoga Philosophy,
March 1 – 15, 2014

Jeffrey Armstrong is a truly inspiring and inspirational leader. A 40-year practitioner of yoga, he is also an author, philosopher, accomplished public speaker, and scholar of the Vedas. With Sandi Graham he co-founded VASA – the Vedic Academy of Sciences & Arts. Journeying to India with Jeffrey and Sandi will most certainly be a life-enhancing voyage. Highlights of this incredible journey include temple visits (not those on the usual tourist trails!), participation in the International Yoga Festival, a cycle rickshaw ride around the 300-year-old Chandni Chowk market, a sunset tongo horse and carriage ride to the magnificient Taj Mahal, an elephant ride to the Amber Fort in Jaipur, and the list goes on! Read more about this must-do journey on our website.

Epic Kauai Goddess Retreat with Dr. Alexina Mehta
An Adventure of Healing and Self-Discovery in Breathtaking Hawaii,
April 18 – 25, 2014

A springtime retreat on divine Kauai, Hawaii; daily yoga and meditation practice and healing words of wisdom from the fabulous Dr. Alexina Mehta, ND; the most delicious food prepared by chef and holistic nutritionist Celina Archambault; visits to the magnificent Hanakapi’ai Falls, Kauai’s Hindu Monastery, the Kadavul Hindu Temple, opportunities for kayaking, snorkelling, hiking, and so much more. This retreat will be truly unforgettable.

In the words of a past participant:

“To say my Kauai retreat was life changing sounds melodramatic but I don’t know how else to explain the impact that the sacred island and the sacred journey had on me. I’m so grateful for the wise, gentle, powerful and respectful guidance of Alexina… many years my junior but many life-times my elder, both at the same time.” ~Judy Dickens, Aurora, Ontario

Read full details of this retreat on our website.

Yoga Isla Ibiza with Karen Heaps
A Magical Holiday & Yoga Retreat on the Mediterranean Island of Ibiza, Spain, September 13 – 20, 2014

If you’re starting to plan a little further ahead, consider our September retreat to Ibiza, Spain. Enjoy 7 days of yoga next to the healing Mediterranean, guided walks to some of Ibiza’s hidden gems, beaches, sunshine, opportunities for spa visits and excursions – in sum, a perfect yoga retreat.  Read full details on our website.

Yoga Retreats in the Baja Mexico & Tofino BC!
Join Milagro Retreats on an amazing yoga retreat in Baja Mexico or Tofino BC!,
Year Round

Sacred Earth Journeys also takes bookings for Milagro Retreats run by Shani Cranston and her team, a Vancouver Island based wellness company, offering all-inclusive surf and yoga retreat and yoga travel packages, interactive seasonal cooking classes and vegetarian and living food catering on Vancouver Island, BC and in Baja, Mexico. Read full details on our website.

Bali Bliss Retreat with Michele Labelle

Nov 3-12, 2014

Full details of this transformational yoga retreat, offering a unique and enchanting experience of Bali, will be up on our website soon. Read about the 2013 retreat here.

Whatever your intentions for 2014, I wish you a healthful, joyful and adventurous year, full of travel and sacred moments.

~ Kim Bridget