So many of us spend our days in front of computers, only to return home to TV screens and other types of technology – not to mention a to-do list of chores and children vying for our attention. From a FaceTime session with family back home to ordering food online and binge watching the latest series, this modern way of living is a far cry from the close connection our ancient ancestors had to nature.
Research shows that putting down our tablets and taking some time to unplug through nature is beneficial – if not, vital – to our health, both mentally and physically. In fact, studies have shown that getting outdoors more often can boost our energy and mood, relieve stress, fight depression and anxiety, stimulate creativity and concentration, reduce inflammation and lower risks of heart attack.
PAMPOSH DHAR, founder of the Terataii wellness centre in Singapore, and SUBBA VAIDYANATHAN, mindfulness practitioner and co-founder of BeingSattvaa Retreat Centre and Being Me programmes, add that time spent in nature can also help us connect with each other and the world as a whole. Being fully present, rather than distracted or overcome by thoughts or worries of the future – the idea of mindfulness – is key to stress release and a mental recharge. This is why the two of them have collaborated to offer “Refresh in the Rainforest” retreats, where participants can “consciously connect to nature through water, earth and trees.”
The Bali-based retreats include group meditation and “nature-bathing” (or “forestbathing”), which is immersing oneself in the sights, sounds and smells of nature, to de-clutter and recharge the mind. There’s also personal coaching on offer, and eating healthy, plant-based food.
“Refresh in the Rainforest” is held in Ubud, Bali, at BeingSattvaa (beingsattvaa.com.sg) – a haven created by Subba and his wife Renuka that’s been designed specifically for wellness experiences. It boasts a yoga pavilion, a restaurant and spa overlooking the rainforest, and private spaces to enjoy solitude. The retreats are designed not only to help people experience the calming and therapeutic effects of nature on the body and mind, but also to increase awareness of how much we as human beings need nature, particularly at a time when our planet could use some extra tender love and care.
“They help us connect both to ourselves and to the world, and lead us progressively towards finding a way to live a life of meaning, fulfilment and joy,” says Subba. “At the same time, they connect us to our natural world and enable us to feel firsthand what that connection really means.”
Every activity in the retreat takes place in a green area, surrounded by rainforest, butterflies and birds. “We do grounding practices where we focus our attention on our connection with the earth as we walk on it, and with the trees as we walk through the forest. And, to connect with water, we do a spiritual and emotional cleansing under a waterfall,” says Pamposh.
Subba adds, “Our intention is that, with each progressive retreat with us, participants are able to experience a deeper calm and feel empowered to transform from within to live their best lives.”
To find out more about the retreats, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
terataii.com.sg | beingsattvaa.com.sg | beingme.com.sg
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This article first appeared in the September 2019 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!