This time last week, I was getting back from one of my favourite places in the world, Aro Hā. It’s an adventure wellness retreat on the South Island of New Zealand (about an hours drive from Queenstown). This was now my fourth visit as a guest teacher and the experience was nothing less than profound… again.
Perhaps it’s the daily routine; yoga, three-hour hike in pristine nature each day, massage and hot/cold recovery for aching muscles; clean and highly nourishing food from the incredibly-talented kitchen staff and mindfulness led by some seriously ‘tapped in individuals’.
Whatever it is. It works. Like magic. Pure and simple.
And whatever the special ingredient or combination, there are a few samples I wanted to share with you. I know we don’t always have access to The Routeburn Track (voted one of the best walks in the world… I literally felt like an elf out of The Lord of the Rings walking through there), and although most of us are lacking the time to become expert vegan chefs, we always have access to the following:
Because it’s expansive, provides clarity and it’s totally free. You can always carve out just ten minutes for yourself each day (even if it’s the ten minutes before bed when kids are in bed) to do nothing but sit in stillness, lie on the couch or go for a walk with no headphones or iPhones. I promise you’ll gain perspective as well as process whatever needs to be processed. All you need to do is listen, feel, heal.
Take only what you need.
One thing I notice in contrast when I go to this retreat is how much of an over-consuming culture we have. Most of us don’t actually need that large a serving or that extra hour of TV or another pair of leggings. Take only what you need. Be gentle on this planet and on yourself.
Keep it light.
Remember your true nature is playful and joyous. Half the stuff we tell ourselves on a daily basis is rubbish. Cultivating a state of playfulness is essential for resilience and connection with others. This means you get to hang out with people who give you belly laughs, who see life as a game and who don’t take themselves so seriously.
Daily dose of nature.
Get outside. Breath in the fresh air. We don’t always have access to three-hour hikes but we do have access to parks, beaches, paddocks and fields. Put your feet on the ground for ten minutes and soak it up.
Walk and wonder.
It’s one of the most gentle yet effective forms of exercise we have. I can’t believe how much my fitness improved from the hikes – granted some of them were quite hefty so if you’re looking for more of a ‘workout’ find some decent hills. Plus when we walk we take more in, we process things and give ourselves time for creative thinking.
Give yourself permission to stay in tune with some of those things I’ve listed above.