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When scouting out our Yoga retreat locations, not only are we looking for places with beautiful views, rich culture, & fun excursions, but we're also seeking out spots that offer spectacular natural properties. Nestled in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean, São Miguel Island stands as a testament to the awe-inspiring beauty and healing power of volcanic landscapes. São Miguel is a haven for travelers seeking solace, rejuvenation, and a deeper connection with nature. As we're headed there this spring, we've been delving into the unique healing benefits that this enchanting island offers. Listed below, are some cool ones we've found. :)

Geothermal Hot Springs: São Miguel boasts a network of geothermal hot springs scattered across its verdant landscape. These natural pools, heated by the earth's core, are infused with a rich blend of minerals renowned for their therapeutic properties. Visitors can immerse themselves in the warm waters of places like the Terra Nostra Thermal Baths in Furnas, where the mineral-rich springs offer relief for tired muscles and rejuvenate the skin. The healing warmth of these springs, coupled with the tranquil surroundings of lush botanical gardens, creates an oasis of relaxation and renewal.

Volcanic Soil and Exotic Flora: The volcanic soil of São Miguel nurtures a diverse array of flora, some of which are prized for their medicinal qualities. From the vibrant hydrangeas that blanket the island's hillsides to the exotic fruits like pineapple and passion fruit that thrive in its fertile soil, São Miguel offers a cornucopia of natural remedies. Visitors can explore local markets and farms to sample fresh produce or indulge in traditional dishes infused with healing herbs and spices. We'll be enjoying these local and seasonal items in our meals each day.

Spiritual Renewal Amidst Volcanic Landscapes: Beyond its physical healing properties, São Miguel's volcanic landscapes provide a powerful backdrop for spiritual reflection and renewal. Hiking enthusiasts can traverse ancient lava fields and rugged crater rims, immersing themselves in the raw beauty of places like Sete Cidades and Lagoa do Fogo. These natural wonders invite visitors to pause, breathe, and connect with the elemental forces that shape the island's terrain. We always say that if you're open, the spaces we travel to will gift you with exactly what you need. Whether gazing out over the mystical blue-green hues of crater lakes or standing in awe before steaming fumaroles, São Miguel offers a sanctuary for those seeking solace and inspiration engulfed in the forces of nature.

São Miguel Island in the Azores is a hidden gem where the healing power of volcanic landscapes is waiting to be discovered. Whether soaking in geothermal hot springs, indulging in the island's bounty of fresh produce, or immersing oneself in its awe-inspiring natural wonders, São Miguel offers a sanctuary for travelers in search of healing, rejuvenation, and a deeper connection with the earth making it a perfect spot to dive into the healing practice of Yoga. We are are so excited to experience these healing properties first-hand this April!

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In the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle, I find myself nostalgic about this time of year. Childhood memories flood back, filled with enchantment and the joy of selecting gifts for loved ones, reuniting with family, and every kid’s favorite — the anticipation of receiving gifts. It felt as though the kindness dial got turned up a few notches. The emphasis was on spreading love and ‘giving’ in circumstances most typically wouldn’t. 

As the years have passed, the holiday season seems to have taken on a different hue. Anxiety sets in amid the expectations of consumerism and the myriad distractions that accompany it. From Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays to lengthy gift lists and the pressure to coordinate travel plans during one of the most chaotic months of the year, it often feels like people are moving out of obligation rather than in a celebration of love. Society seems to have fallen into the habit of these rituals year after year as it all become increasingly more extreme.

In the midst of the holiday whirlwind, it's easy to forget the 'why' behind it all. This is where the practice of Yoga becomes a guiding light, encouraging us to slow down and cultivate a heightened awareness that fosters internal reflection. With the stillness of the mind, we gain clarity to observe our actions and start to naturally question the motives behind our choices. I am deeply grateful for the transformative power of this practice, as it has opened my eyes to aspects of life that would normally go unnoticed.

When I step onto my mat, I'm reminded to pause, breathe, and connect with what truly matters. The next time you feel overwhelmed by the holiday hoopla, take an hour to step onto your mat & connect with what’s real. Gratitude, Love, & the gift of being in this elaborate & beautiful human experience.

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A few years back, I took my first trip out of the country. Despite the fact that I had no means to do so, a series of very fortunate events had my best friend and I traveling to Madrid, Spain. This was the first time that I had been exposed to a new culture. A place where I didn’t understand the language and a society that functioned much differently than what I was used to in the U.S. Aside from the physical beauty of the country, there was a particular magic in the air half way around the world. I presume it had something to do with the pace that life tended to move.

Everything felt so easy. There was a lack of hustle in bustle that I was used to. People seemed to just ‘stroll’ as opposed to ‘race’ through their day. In the evening, the city was ALIVE with laughter. People enjoying delicious food, wine, and most of all savoring company of each other. There was something about that trip, something about physically removing myself from my environment that really shook things up for me. It was as though I was able see my life from an outsider's perspective. I could see certain patterns, behaviors, relationships, and ways of thinking that were simply not serving me anymore. It was as though I had returned home with a fresh set of eyes. I couldn’t ‘unsee’ what I had noticed thousands of miles abroad.

Enter in a few challenging conversations, surprises to loved ones, a career change, & a move back to Florida, this trip had sparked a journey that pivoted the trajectory of the rest of my twenties. Below are some of the gems I've found that make travel well worth the time, investment, & energy.

  1. Presence: When you're in a new environment, you have no choice but to be present. New scenery, sounds, and smells bombard your senses, and your mind is taking all of it in. You have to be ON. Being present and fully engaged in what's happening is where the magic lies. In the day-to-day life, things become routine and it's common to get stuck in a loop of familiarity. Travel can teach you that approaching everything with child-like wonder can make every experience magical.

  2. Exposure to new Culture: Experiencing a new culture opens your eyes to different ways of living. You realize that the world is not confined to your own experiences and beliefs. Interacting with people from different backgrounds challenges your preconceived notions and expands your understanding of humanity. You begin to develop a deeper sense of beauty in diversity.

  3. A Shift in Perspective: Traveling to a foreign land grants you a fresh perspective on your own life. Being removed from your daily routine and surroundings creates space for reflection and introspection. It helps you identify aspects of your life that are no longer in alignment. This clarity can inspire the courage and motivation to make changes for the better.

  4. Adaptability and Resilience: Even when planned to the very last detail, traveling often involves unexpected situations. Navigating unfamiliar environments, language barriers, and cultural differences strengthens adaptability and resilience. It teaches you to embrace uncertainty, think on your feet, and find solutions fast. These skills generalize into various aspects of life.

  5. Connection: Travel has a remarkable way of fostering connections with people from different backgrounds and with different stories. Whether it's connecting with the other travelers on your trip or interacting with locals, these encounters can be transformative. The bonds formed through these experiences often transcend language and cultural barriers, reminding us that we are ALL ONE!

Moral of the story, traveling offers you a POWERFUL opportunity to step out of your comfort zone, shift your perspective, and discover aspects of yourself you didn't know existed. Setting out on your adventure with an open heart & open mind is where the journey truly begins. As Dr. Seuss said, "You're off to great places, today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so... get on your way!

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