It is inevitable that you will feel tired of the daily grind. Getting caught in a routine can be quite stressful and there will be times when all you will want to do is give in to the exhaustion but then you stop yourself from doing so because you can’t; if you don’t keep going, who will do it all for you? Taking time to attend your needs just doesn’t seem practical.
In the modern world, the ultimate life goal is to chase our dreams whatever they may be. So, we keep pushing forward to reach this goal. We romanticize the idea of grasping the dream but often in the process, the chase becomes mechanical and soulless. If and when you reach this wall, the best thing to do is to stop, breathe and go within.
Unplug from technology. Retreat to a simpler way of living. Reconnect with your mind and body.
August is National Wellness Month but you don’t need to wait for August to prioritize and improve your own health. Sometimes, just looking within and finding your breath is the only quiet you need to reset.
In my case, however, I headed to the mountains to reconnect with nature, rediscover myself and most of all, to get a much-needed holistic healing.
I traveled to Bulod Campsite in Daraitan, Tanay in Rizal, Philippines; the ideal setting to lose one’s mind and find one’s soul. Tucked deep in the wilderness of Sierra Madre, Bulod Campsite was founded and established in January 2021 by Felix Ayque to escape the madness of city living. He soon developed this space to provide job opportunities and empower the local community, including the Dumagat tribe living in the area which were greatly affected by the pandemic.
It may not be National Wellness Month but I embarked on a wellness journey in this gem of a place as organised by Soul Speak Yoga, an outdoor yoga organization that aims to encourage holistic health through yoga retreats in the different uncorrupted places of the country while simultaneously promoting eco-tourism.
We were a group of strangers being guided by our yoga master’s light and love surrounded by the untamed beauty of Daraitan. It was then that I remembered how nature and our openness to surrendering to the experience can be the greatest school masters.
Here, in this healing space we were happiest. Here in our natural state, we felt Mother Earth’s powerful healing forces at work.
Climbing mountains can be a very meditative experience. Practicing mindfulness is key to reaching the summit safely while reaping many health benefits such as clarity of thought.
Meditation, on the other hand, teaches you to practice mindfulness, finding awareness and achieving peace. Much like what ascending a mountain peak teaches us.
We practiced meditation on top of a hill, facing the giant Sierra Madre mountain range. In the process, we entered a state of altered consciousness and that was our summit in this soulful meditative climb.
Trees and yoga
While we were a few breaths in the Nataraja pose, our yoga master encouraged us to embrace the wobble if we felt we were going to topple. So we embraced the wobble, we honored our truth, we rooted our foundation firm to the ground and realigned ourselves.
Just like a tree reacting when strong winds come and when seasons change. Just like the tree, we made tiny adjustments and continued finding our balance.
Yoga offers more than just improving one’s strength balance and flexibility. When I do yoga, I am like a tree that is rooted to the Earth while reaching up to the sky. It is during this time that I feel alive.
River and sound healing
Taking a nice long bath is one way many of us unwind from a big day or big week. Water is soothing and calms a worried mind and tired body.
Here at Bulod, we were fronting Agos River. Its calm state reflected our serenity. However, our calmness reached a whole new level when we started our sound healing session.
Listening to the gongs and taking in the relaxing drone from the tibetan bowls, together we seemed to be on the same vibration, though each of us having our own unique experience. Sharing our experiences afterwards, some said they felt themselves being floated to oblivion, others would saw colors pulsating in their mind’s eye, while others still felt the tickling vibration radiating in their entire bodies.
Sailing down the river, the experience was much the same thing. We felt we were heading down the same path but there were rocks that would slightly change our directions so our experience was different. Except we would all meet at the end when the waters merged reminding us that it was still a shared experience. It was a slow ride but we all got to the same destination. A great metaphor in how we have grown spiritually and how each of us have found peace.
That weekend, we were the spawns of the perfect marriage between Bulod Campsite’s beautiful place and Soul Speak Yoga’s healing space. Together, they nurtured us and helped us take on the challenges of our daily lives with more enthusiasm and zest. For that, we are grateful.
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All images by supplied author.