Tag: Michele Labelle

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)

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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.

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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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Bali Bliss – A Perfect Yoga Retreat

When I’m looking for a yoga retreat, I look for something that includes high quality yoga practices and a variety of other travel experiences for a truly rounded, memorable vacation. Bali Bliss: A Transformational Yoga & Meditation Retreat in Magical Bali with Michele Labelle, November 9 – 18, 2014, offers so much more than a standard yoga retreat making it the perfect sacred get-away!
Yoga
Our Retreat Leader and Yoga Teacher is Michele Labelle – a Certified Hatha Yoga Teacher who has been involved in meditation and energy work since 1996. Prior to becoming a yoga teacher, Michele worked as a Respiratory Therapist for 16 years – an experience which gave her a unique view of the breath! Michele will skilfully and compassionately guide us in morning hatha yoga and meditation practices as well as an evening sunset practice. The yoga practices are suitable for beginners and more advanced students.
Location
This yoga retreat offers every opportunity to explore beautiful Bali. We will spend time close to the cultural and artistic Balinese village of Ubud and the sacred Monkey Forest as well as time in the quiet, largely tourist-free northwest, an area with nature and marine parks, coconut groves and beautiful ancient temples dotting the landscape. We will go snorkelling, bike through magical rice paddy fields and explore the rich flora and fauna of the Bali Barat National Park.
Cultural Immersion
We will share a unique and profound cultural and spiritual experience on this Bali Bliss Retreat – a visit to the local village of Pacut to learn more about daily life in Bali. Pacut is the home village of our Balinese retreat co-leader Artayasa, who is also a village master, responsible for organizing cultural events and co-ordinating tourist visits here. We will stop by an elementary school, weave coconut leaves for a hat and temple offering, witness traditional farming activities, and gather with the local musicians to play gamelan Angklung (Balinese orchestra).
Activities
As well as our daily yoga practices we can enjoy a variety of fun activities on this Retreat. Try snorkelling the best sites in Bali off Menjangan Island, swimming past colourful coral reefs, stunning gorgonian sea fans, turtles and an array of fish. Or, try walking through an abundant forest of rambutans to reach the 30-metre-high Les Waterfall for a natural water massage.
Spiritual Excursions
92% of the population of Bali practices Balinese Hinduism and the Balinese culture is an expression of devotion. We will experience daily devotional offerings everywhere and special prayers are said several times a day. We will visit sacred temples while in Bali, including Pura Luhur Uluwatu, one of the most sacred traditional temples, spectacularly set at the top of a steep cliff with breathtaking views over the surf below, Ulun Danu Temple, an important Hindu and Buddhist water temple, and the Brahma Vihara Arama Buddhist Monastery.

This balanced yoga retreat offers an amazing opportunity to work on your own spiritual journey in sublime surroundings with a wealth of activities and excursions to enjoy.  The traditional greeting in Bali is, “Om Swasti Astu”, an honouring of the heart and spirit, and we hope you’ll be hearing it very soon.

Visit our website to read more about our BaliBliss Retreat with Michele Labelle.

~ Kim Bridgett

Looking for Vacation Inspiration in 2014?

Our handy quiz helps you plan your perfect journey!

 

Choosing a vacation destination can be tricky, and choosing the perfect package to suit your unique needs even harder. We all want our vacations to be meaningful, memorable and, well, magical – but how do we pick the perfect spot?

Choose a package that’s aligned with your values.

What is it that really matters to you? What makes your soul sing and makes you feel completely at one with yourself? If you can identify your core values you can translate those to your vacation package…

Ask yourself these 3 fun questions to help you find what’s right for you:

1. When do you feel most happy?
  • a.     During a new & exciting activity
  • b.     On my yoga mat
  • c.      Hiking in nature
  • d.     Reading or learning about a new culture

2. Your perfect birthday gift would be:
  • a.     A new surfboard or bike (or similar piece of gear)
  • b.     Handmade coconut oil moisturizer with essential oils
  • c.      A new camera
  • d.     A gift certificate for your favourite bookstore

3. Your favourite clothes store is:
  • a.     MEC
  • b.     Lululemon
  • c.      Etsy
  • d.     The whole world is my clothes store!

If you answered mainly:
A:
A vacation with fun and challenging activities would suit you! The perfect package would include yoga or similar stretching exercises to keep your body and mind in balance and your adrenal system healthy! Ensure the meals are nourishing and wholesome too as you’ll be burning lots of calories!
Try this:
Practice, Breathe and Surf Costa Rica with Chris Duggan & Natalie Rousseau: A seven-day adventure and yoga retreat in idyllic Mal Pais, Costa Rica
November 22 – 29, 2014
Package highlights:
  • Twice-daily yoga classes
  • A choice of 3 included activities + many more as optional extras
  • Choose activities such as surfing/SUP, horseback riding, zip lining canopy tour, 4WD tour
  • Optional spa services to relax your muscles!
  • 3 delicious & healthy meals a day
B:
A vacation with  a combination of physical exercise and opportunities to explore local communities and sites would suit you to a tee! Stops along the way to mingle with locals and explore artisan crafts would be a bonus. Look out for packages that offer more than yoga – meditation, health consultations, time for outdoor activities or spa services will provide a more fulfilling holiday experience!

Try this:

Bali Bliss Retreat with Michele Labelle: A Transformational Yoga & Meditation Retreat in Magical Bali

November 3 – 12, 2014

Package highlights:
  • 7 yoga classes and meditation practice
  • Visits to Uluwatu Temple, Ulun Danu Temple and Brahma Vihara Arama Buddhist Monastery
  • Cultural Immersion & Homemade Lunch at Pacut Village
  • Snorkelling Excursion to Menjangan Island
  • Optional Excursions and Spa Treatments 
 
C:
You need a vacation package that understands and honours your connection to the natural world. A package that provides opportunities to spend time alone or as part of a group at some of the world’s natural, sacred sites would be a great choice! Look for packages that allow you time to explore independently and really breathe in your surroundings. Also look out for holidays that include visits to local communities and artisan craft markets for gifts to bring back home.

Try this:

Heart of the Pachamama with Puma Quispe Singona: Celebrate the Transformative Energy of the Spring Equinox in Sacred Peru
September 17 – 24, 2014
Package highlights:
  • Entrance to Machu Picchu for TWO DAYS
  • Travel with Andean Medicine Man, Healer and Wisdom Keeper, Puma Quispe Singona
  • Visits to Sacred Sites and Temples
  • Authentic Community Immersion
  • Special Spring Equinox Ceremony
 
OR this:
Sacred Path Of Quetzalcoatl-Kukuulkaan with Miguel Angel Vergara: A Journey to Discover Your Potential in the Land of the Toltec & Maya (Mexico)
December 1 – 9, 2014
Package highlights:
  • Travel with author and Maya Master Teacher, Miguel Angel Vergara
  • Participate in meditations, rituals and ceremonies at the sacred sites
  • Lectures by Miguel Angel Vergara to illuminate the significance of the sacred sites we visit
  • Visit the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City
  • Learn how chocolate is made at the Ecomuseo del Cacao near Labna
D:
You need a vacation package that speaks to your creativity and thirst for knowledge. Look for holidays that include opportunities to engage in creative pursuits, ideally with a skilled tour leader who shares your passion for the written word. Journeys to countries and sites of historical and cultural significance will appeal, as will trips that depart from the usual tourist trails and allow you to more fully understand the culture of a country.

Try this:

A Sacred Journey to Turkey with Phil Cousineau: Long Conversations in the Land of Troy, Rumi and the Goddess
October 10 – 22, 2014
Package highlights:
  • Travel with author, presenter and scholar Phil Cousineau
  • Daily engaging and enlightening Conversations with Phil
  • Guest talk by Bedri Baykim, renowned Turkish artist, residing in Istanbul
  • Private Whirling Dervishes Ceremony in Konya
  • Exceptional visits to some of Turkey’s most famous and sacred sites
OR this:

The Heart of Ancient Greece: An Odyssey with Phil Cousineau: The Myths, Heroes, Gods and Goddesses, and Sacred Sites of the Classical World

September 21 – October 1, 2014
Package highlights:
  • Travel with author, teacher and filmmaker, Phil Cousineau
  • Insightful Group Discussions and “Long Conversations”
  • Visit the Acropolis, Parthenon & Theatre of Dionysus
  • Visit the Site of the Ancient Olympics and the Olympic Museum
  • Visit the Dream Temples of Asclepius & the Ancient Amphitheater in Epidaurus

A complete mix of As, Bs, Cs & Ds:

Visit Sacred Earth Journeys to read about all of our vacation destinations and packages to suit you! We also take bookings for yoga retreats in Canada and beyond, and are sure to have something to suit your unique needs! Or contact us to organize a group vacation package for your family, friends or business and let us show you how to translate your values into a perfect holiday!

 

Bon voyage!
~ Kim Bridgett