“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer,” said Mark Twain.
But did you know that travel also makes you healthier? Scientists have recently proven that travel can help to boost immunity, lower your stress levels, improve your mental health, decrease your risk of heart disease. Now that gives you reasons to travel!
Our ancestors have long known about the energy power centers of the earth. From Macchu Picchu to Stonehenge, when the earth’s energy is harnessed in various cultural traditions, it is known to have a profound effect. Whether it is the summits of the Himalayas, or its peninsular coasts, ancient rock-caves of the Deccan Plateau, or thick rainforests of the southern subcontinent, India has always been one of the most spiritual places on the planet. Nature and nurture are intrinsically intertwined with one another.
The Indian ethos is replete with holistic healing traditions. From Yoga to Ayurveda, Vedic Chanting to Vipasana (silent meditation), holistic healing is integral to the fabric of India’s culture.
According to ancient Vedic tradition, the five elements of nature are fundamental to the human spirit. They form the crucible in which our physical, emotional and spiritual being evolves and by consciously drawing upon their power, we elevate ourselves.
Earth. Water. Fire. Air. Ether.
Known as the five Mahabhutas, they are intrinsic to all forms of being. According to ancient yogic tradition, each element can be called upon through a series of mudras, to leave their imprint upon our mind, body and soul.
As Pico Iyer rightly says,
“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again- to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.”
When the team at WIYO Travel decided to curate a retreat, we focused in on the spirit of wellness that is evoked by both nature and travel. We truly believe that the combination of wellness and travel with likeminded people will evoke the most unique form of discovery. We honed in on Samanta Duggal, a leading practitioner of yoga and wellness traditions who embraces the same ethos of discovery through wellness in travel as we do, to integrate India’s ancient wellness traditions into the fabric of its landscape. And so The Natural Element was born.
Bhumi – Earth Element
The earth manifests itself in the muscles and bones of the physical body. The organ associated with it is the nose. It represents a solid state of matter and is responsible for the physical constitution of our body. Bones, tissues and teeth are linked to the earth. The earth element can manifest itself in a feeling of heaviness, total comfort or discomfort, depending on the circumstances. Earth is associated with the Muladhara chakra or Root Chakra represents stability and support, as well as with the Kapha dosha.
Jala – Water Element
Water manifests itself in our blood and other bodily fluids. It is represented by the tongue which is used for the dual function of taste and speech. It denotes the liquid matter in the human body and is responsible for fluid metabolism. It expresses itself in a feeling of oneness, togetherness, floating or flowing feeling. The water element is also linked to the Kapha dosha and the sacral chakra in our bodies which evokes wellbeing and pleasure.
Agni – Fire Element
Fire manifests itself in your body’s temperature or temperament. The eye is the organ associated with the fire element. It represents form without substance and is responsible for digestion and perception. The fire element is dominant in the feeling of passion and it is associated with the pitha dosha and the manipura or solar plexus chakra.
Vayu – Air Element
Air denotes our breathing – the flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body, and it dominates the respiratory system. Air denotes the feeling of movement, of wanting to run away or escape. The skin is the organ associated with it and it manifests itself in our touch. It is associated with the Vata dosha and the Anahata or Heart chakra and represents love and forgiveness.
Akash – Ether Element
Ether is the most esoteric of all the elements. It is linked to a sense of space in the inner being, a spirit or soul. Ether is associated with feeling expansive or light, a higher state of consciousness. Ether is associated with not one, but three chakras: the Visuddha (throat) chakra which is indicative of faith, trust and creativity; the Ajna (brow) chakra which evokes dignity, intuition and knowledge; and the Sahasrara (crown) chakra which indicates a perfect balance and feeling of oneness with the universe. It is associated with the Vata dosha.
Fire, Air and Ether are light and push the energy upwards, producing a sense of lightness of being, while Earth and Water are heavier and flow downwards producing heaviness in the body.
The three doshas are a combination of the elements and the elements are the building blocks of everything in the universe. Therefore, the forces of each dosha manifest themselves in everything the universe has to offer, be it the seasons of the year or the times of day. The presence of the doshas can not only be felt, but also observed in our physical and emotional being. Vata is the force of wear and tear that results in destruction or degeneration of the universe, Pitha maintains the creation and Kapha is the creative force.
The Natural Element Retreat revolves around these five mahabhutas and is set amid the beautiful scenery of the Nilgiri mountain range in a pristine natural environment. Lush foliage, gushing streams, and open skies filled with natural light and the stars will be our base for the retreat.
Integrated Yoga By Samanta Duggal
The retreat will be lead by Samanta Duggal, a leading practitioner of wellness and holistic healing techniques. As you breathe in the fresh air and serene natural surroundings, Samanta will guide us through a series of wellness experiences that include yoga, vedic chanting, mudras, meditation and Thai massage.
Samanta’s particular brand of integrated yoga blends classical Hatha yoga with Vinyasa, while incorporating Vedic Chanting, Mudras, Pranayama, and Thai Osteo Bodywork. Samanta has a vast range of experience and her yoga style adapts traditional practice to fit into the rhythm of a modern lifestyle. She also specializes in creative dance expression and combines elements of her yoga practice with a free flow of creative expression to really delve into the essence of the mind, body and spirit.
The Kurumba Village Resort – Vanakkam!
The Kurumba Village Resort is the ideal environment in which to explore your natural surroundings and in addition to the wellness experiences, enjoy tranquil nature walks, bird watching, star gazing, and simply relax and decompress in the lap of nature. Kurumba is a true “refuge for the senses” a place to restore once sense of wellbeing and equilibrium, far removed from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Your accommodations are full of light and space with an ethnic touch and all the creature comforts. Nestled within a ten acre private spice plantation one is surrounded by cardamom, nutmeg, cloves and pepper, while gorgeous rosewood, jacaranda, and jackwood trees soar towards the sky.
WIYO Travel – The World Is Your Oyster
At WIYO Travel, we believe in making things happen. We don’t just say it. We do it. We know what that it takes a well-tuned ear to really listen to what you are looking for, and interpret it in ways that exceed your expectations. We understand that you are looking to be inspired, so we bring you the best of what the world has to offer. We appreciate that you are a savvy, smart and sophisticated traveler, so we allow you to make your own choices, with our help and suggestions. We relate to your desire to be in safe and reliable hands, and have honed our attention down to the last detail of your journey. We know you know what you want and we want to take you around the world to find it.
The Natural Element Retreat is lead by Samanta Duggal and organized by WIYO Travel. It will take place from March 1 to March 5, 2017.