Tag: Kauai

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

Winter Traditions

Sacred Earth Journeys offers Sacred Journeys, Wellness Travel & Yoga Retreats, and Wisdom Teachings to many different parts of the world. Participants have a unique opportunity to both connect with the spiritual energies at some of the most important spiritual sites and be immersed in the local culture.  For many of us in the Western world December is a month dominated by Christmas, and whether or not we celebrate the holiday itself, it’s hard to miss its presence in our stores and communities. Here in Canada we are also blessed to share in other festivities that happen in the late fall, from Diwali to Hanukah.  But how about in some of the countries that Sacred Earth Journeys travels to throughout the year? Do these countries also celebrate the winter months with festivals of light and love? What are the local customs at this time of year? This blog takes a peek at some of the countries we will be visiting in 2014 to see how different cultures celebrate.

 

Aarti Ceremony, India

 

In India, as in many other countries around the world, Diwali is a national holiday, and is widely celebrated. This Festival of Lights celebrates the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and, importantly, inner light over spiritual darkness. It is a happy festival, of cleaning and preparing the home, shopping and buying gifts, listening to stories passed down through the ages, and marvelling at fireworks on Diwali night. Its spiritual essence can have meaning for us all as we work our way through life’s challenges. In the ever-wise words of our India tour leader, Jeffrey Armstrong:

“Just as we see that a small lamp drives away the dark of a whole room, so our doubts, sadness and fear are driven away by the constant renewal of our faith in the eternal light of Divine Love. In truth, we are like lamps that must be cared for. We must tend the wick of our mind, restore the oil of our life and relight the lamp of eternal love and truth that is in our heart. Diwali is the annual celebration of that rekindling of Divine fire within us.”

Lush Kauai, Hawaii

 

Today in Hawaii Christmas is celebrated much as it is on mainland America, expect that Santa prefers garlands of flowers to his stuffy red suit, and his sleigh – an outrigger canoe – is pulled by dolphins rather than his usual reindeer! But, before Christmas made its way to the Hawaiian islands in the late eighteenth century, Hawaiians celebrated Makahiki, a New Year Festival in honour of the harvest and Lono, the god of fertility and rain. This ancient festival ran for around four months from the middle of October, during which time there were contests, tributes to chiefs and a ban on war. It was a time to take a break from the usual farming cycles, and give thanks to the earth. The current Aloha Week festivals continue the Makahiki traditions. There will be plenty of time to give thanks to the earth and appreciate Kauai’s uniquely lush environment on our Goddess Retreat this coming April. As Dr. Alexina Mehta says,

“Kauai is considered to be the most sacred or spiritual of the Hawaiian islands according to many different sources. They consider it to be the third eye of the Hawaiian Islands and the lush environment is really conducive to a nourishing, goddess vibe. …The focus [of the retreat] is on connecting with the highest expression of the divine goddess that’s in every woman, connecting with the beauty, the wisdom, the different energies of various mythic goddesses and exploring how those energies live within each of us; how to find balance with those different energies, and at the same time how to have fun, relaxation and enjoy all the beauty of the island.”

Olympia, Greece

 

The Greek Orthodox Church is celebrating Christmas on December 25, the same date as the Catholic and Protestant churches. Greek traditions and customs at this time of year are rooted in the differences between light and darkness so apparent in December, and the date was chosen because it also marks the day many in the Mediterranean use to honour the Persian god, Mithras, the god of the Sun. Did you know that the word “carol” comes from a Greek dance called a choraulein, which was particularly popular in France! Of course, the Greeks are also famous for another festival we still celebrate today: the Olympics. As the writer and scholar Phil Cousineau, leader of our Greece journey, tells us:

“But there is another quality – a force – that deepens the mystery of these statues [of Olympians] especially in their connection to the Greek passion for athletic festivals, including the one the Greeks revered most of all, the Olympic Games. It is in fact the miraculous force that animates all great art as well as great athletes. Call it spirit, the divine spark, the breath of life – it is the transcendent element that lifts us up when you’re down and out, the source of courage, and the soul of inspiration. Strangely, we’re not quite sure where it comes from, where it goes when it’s crushed, or how to revive it. We just know we need to be in touch with it, which is one reason we turn to art, drama, poetry, and sports, especially the Olympic Games, the most watched television event on earth.” (from The Olympic Odyssey: Rekindling the True Spirit of the Great Games)

As humans our need to tend our inner flames of inspiration, passion, faith, art and love is powerful. However you are celebrating this Holiday Season I hope you have an opportunity to connect with your own personal inspiration, tend your own wicks and find your own sacred place to be at peace with yourself and the earth. And I wish you joyous inner and outer travels!

~ Kim Bridgett

Notes:

Makahiki description taken from the Hawaiian Dictionaries.

Quote from Jeffrey Armstrong taken from his Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/kavindraVASA

Quote from Dr. Alexina Mehta taken from interview with Kim Bridgett. 

What Makes a Retreat Sacred?

Interview with Dr. Alexina Mehta, Epic Kauai Goddess Retreat Leader,
April 18-25, 2014.
 
We’ve all taken many trips, and there is certainly plenty of choice when choosing our next vacation or destination. In this blog I want to look at what makes a journey or retreat sacred, and how such a retreat differs to other vacation packages. As the retreat leader for the Epic Kauai Goddess Retreat – April 18-25, 2014, Dr. Alexina Mehta brings wisdom and knowledge to the question of what makes a retreat sacred, and I was lucky enough to interview her for this piece.
 
Dr. Alexina Mehta, Beach in Kauai

KB: What makes this retreat different to other “yoga vacations” – how is this retreat particularly sacred or spiritual?

Dr. Alexina Mehta:
First, the location: We’re going to be on Kauai, which is considered to be the most sacred or spiritual of the Hawaiian Islands, the “third eye”, according to many different sources. The lush environment is extremely conducive to a nourishing, goddess vibe, and the Epic Kauai Goddess Retreat is focusing on nurturing and honouring the highest potential that exists in every woman. This retreat is actually an opportunity for women to access that potential while they are practicing yoga and meditation, visiting sacred sites, enjoying healthy food, or just enjoying the spirit of Kauai – all the activities we do will have an element of the goddess weaved in.

 
The focus then is on connecting with the highest expression of the divine goddess that’s in every woman, connecting with the beauty, the wisdom, the different energies of various mythic goddesses and exploring how those energies live within each of us, while finding balance with those different energies. At the same time it’s about having fun, finding relaxation and enjoyment… the island is exquisitely gorgeous and there’s an emphasis on beauty in this retreat – inner beauty and outer beauty.

View over lush Kauai
 
KB: Is a there a particular aspect of the retreat that you’re most looking forward to?

Dr. Alexina Mehta:
The group: Thinking back to the last retreat, the most rewarding part was just how much joy we saw people experience. One of the retreat participants commented after 2 days, “gosh it’s been 2 days – it feels like we’ve experienced 10 days, a whole new world” – she was so amazed at how many incredible experiences she had had in 2 days. For me, it’s just being able to witness people see what life is like when you’re living consciously and supporting each other to be the best you can be; witnessing people experience the happiness that comes with doing this kind of retreat.

KB: Can participants take all of that joy, happiness and newfound wisdom back with them after the retreat as well?  

Dr. Alexina Mehta:
Absolutely, and a lot of people felt their lives had changed for the better after the retreat, they had learned a lot of different tools to help them through different situations, they felt more calm, more inner power, more assertive, more inspired, more connected. It’s so rewarding to see people access that higher, divine self that lives within them and see them begin to live from that place as opposed to living from a place of fear or a place of confusion or anxiety, which is a place a lot of people live from. I love helping people find peace and then also joy and fun while they’re at it.

Kauai Retreat, April 2011
 
KB: Who is this retreat open to?

Dr. Alexina Mehta:
Women who are open to learning. This isn’t an advanced yoga retreat; the focus is more on using yoga as a tool to access the goddess within. Traditionally that’s what yoga is about:  accessing the divine and allowing the divine to guide life. There are lots of yoga retreats out there that focus more on physical learning but this is not so much that (although we’re going to get some exercise for sure!). Everything is go at your own pace, and that’s really what the goddess is about: being able to recognize and honour your own authentic experience and what’s right for you own body. If you can listen to that experience and your intuition, you can then work with the tools in a way that empowers you, and you can only empower yourself, of course, if you know where you are, where you stand. If anybody feels called to come, if they feel attracted to the retreat, that’s a good sign!

Yoga practice on Kauai, 2011
 
KB: You’re a Naturopathic physician as well as a Yoga and Pilates teacher with a strong connection to the spiritual traditions of India. What does your background and professional experience bring to this retreat, and how will participants benefit from your specific wisdom?

Dr. Alexina Mehta:
My experience is quite eclectic. I did teach yoga for several years, quite regularly, and fitness and Pilates, and studied kinesiology and am quite familiar with the physical body. Studying healing through naturopathic medicine and then energy medicine has given me more of a well-rounded approach to healing. The energy medicine side of things gives me an ability to connect people with the sacred side of medicine and the sacred aspect of life. I think that because I’ve experienced Peruvian shamanic tradition and teachings from India, several different aspects in that dimension, I bring ancient and new knowledge to make it accessible. I’m good at simplifying things for people so it can be tangible, useable and practical in their life. Because I’ve studied things in such great depth I have the ability to recognize what knowledge might be helpful for a particular person. There’s an old saying, you’ve got to study everything in great complexity and at the end of the day it boils down to being able to provide simplicity.

Honour Statue, Kauai
 
KB: Your co-leader, Celina Archambault, is a chef and holistic nutritionist – how will having Celina there will be of value for participants?

Dr. Alexina Mehta:
First of all she’s just a total delight to be around, and brings a lot of joy to people. Also, she really believes in the power of whole foods so when people come on the retreat they’ll be experiencing a whole food diet, local to Kauai. She’s going to be going to the markets and a lot of food that we’re going to be buying is straight from the source – participants are going to get Hawaiian fruits and vegetables. Being a nutritionist, she’s got a good understanding of dietary requirements for people (including gluten-free) and what makes a well-balanced meal. She’s also very education oriented – she’ll stop to help people understand how she made certain things and how people can incorporate those into their life when they go home. As she’s making each meal she’ll explain all the ingredients, why she chose certain items, and the benefits of the foods for people, so they understand the nourishment of getting real, live foods.

And, of course, our health is directly related to how we eat and how we take care of our bodies, and that just goes hand in hand with connecting to your higher self, and being the best you can be. It’s the best of both worlds – we’re connecting to the sacred  and we’re eating really healthy foods and educating people about good solid nutrition, which they can take back home with them.

To read more about this very sacred retreat, visit the Sacred EarthJourneys website. To read more about Dr. Alexina Mehta or view photos from previous retreats you can visit her blog or websites: http://kauairetreat.wordpress.com, http://www.celebratingthegoddess.com, http://www.dralexinamehta.com. To discover more about Celina Archambault you can visit her website: http://www.languageoffoods.com
 
~ Kim Bridgett