Summer is officially here, and many of us are searching for a vacation that will make the most of these long-awaited relaxing summer days. Have you thought about going on a wellness retreat? Whether you want to recharge your energies, or refresh yourself from a busy, stressful life; it might be the perfect answer for you! I’ve listed 9 reasons why you should consider taking one. Read on to discover the benefits of wellness retreats, and how they can refresh your body-mind-spirit this summer.
What is a wellness retreat?
Retreat, by definition,, means “a place of refuge, seclusion, or privacy”. To me, a wellness retreat is about removing yourself from the mad rush of daily life, and letting your mind quiet down from its usual routine. It’s a time to connect with your inner silence and inner peace. A wellness retreat provides a much needed space in our busy lives to finally slow down and connect with ourselves.
What type of wellness retreats are there?
There are many types of wellness retreats out there, ranging from yoga, meditation, detox and spa to spiritual, self-discovery and couple’s retreats. The retreat leader will typically create a program centered around its theme. Spend some time searching, and you’ll find a retreat that speaks to you (more on this in a bit).
9 Benefits of Wellness Retreats
1. Escaping from the city:
Retreats are usually held in a beautiful and serene environment, surrounded by nature. When booking a retreat, make sure it is close to a lake, a mountain, jungle, desert, or organic farm land. This will allow yourself to take in the picturesque scenery, hear the chirping birds, stop to smell the flowers and see the clear blue skies.
2. Lots of yoga and exercise:
Wellness retreats provide plenty of gentle exercise to stretch our bodies. If you’ve never tried yoga before, don’t worry: most yoga classes are designed to fit all levels at retreats. Yoga has many forms and shapes ranging from more physical ashtanga to the more spiritual kundalini. There’s even more daring and artistic ones such as aerial yoga. Whatever the type work gently on all levels of your body-mind-spirit. Before you go, make sure to read upon the type of yoga you'll be practicing.
3. Daily meditation techniques:
Did you know the word "Meditation" is derived from the same word as “Medicine”? Meditation has many health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, reducing stress, helping to balance emotions, and so on. Meditation techniques are usually incorporated into most wellness retreats to help clear the mind and to refresh your energies. Some techniques include vipassana, transcendental, mantra meditations, chakra (energy) practice and guided hypnosis. I’ve learned a new meditation technique at every retreat I’ve been to, so even if you meditate regularly, you’re bound to learn something new.
4. Healthy nutritious meals:
Many retreats have developed menus that include organic, vegetarian, gluten-free, even juicing options. I have once participated in a high vibe juicing 3-day retreat and my body felt wonderful afterwards. The taste is always incredible and the food is very nourishing. At most retreats, you can ask for the recipes, or take part in a healthy cooking class. This gets you in the habit of preparing your own healthy food at home after the retreat.
5. You’ll get pampered:
If it’s offered, I recommend booking a healing treatment while on a retreat. Massage therapy, Reiki healing, body talk, body wrap, holistic facial, or nutritional consulting are just a few of the options at a typical retreat. The environment and the retreat experience will be heightened by your healing treatment, so take advantage of it and get blissed.
6. Exciting and resourceful activities:
The retreat is usually formed around a specific theme or a topic of interest. While on retreats, I’ve enjoyed art classes or learnt how to start my own herb garden. You'll always learn something new about personal development!
7. Forming bonds with others:
You'll be surrounded by wonderful people who likely chose that particular retreat for similar reasons that you did. As the retreat progresses, you’ll notice they'll become your support group. Your fellow guests will be there to listen, and offer encouragement for whatever life issues you choose to share. You might even form lifelong friendships.
8. Taking time for yourself:
It’s a good idea to take a technology break and be away from your phone. Get the most out of your retreat, and let your friends, coworkers, employees know that you won't be available to answer emails/phone calls. Wellness retreats usually offer lots of free time to "retreat" into yourself. Perhaps bring a book that you've been wanting to read, or journal to write down every revelation you’ve had, and enjoy just being with yourself.
9. Your body-mind-spirit knows the best retreat for you :
Have you noticed certain events calling you? Usually retreats find you! When this happens, I recommend to take action and to sign up!
If you feel you need a little help choosing the right retreat, there are wonderful websites available such as Wanderfulsoul a collection of luxury retreats, RetreatsOnline which provides detailed descriptions of the many retreats to choose from. I also find Eventbrite.com and Vitality magazine have great listings of local events and retreats.
There might even be retreats run by holistic practitioners who you know and trust. Ask your local yoga teacher, life coach, or holistic healer if they plan to organize one.
If you want to join our retreats, I organize a couple different ones each year. This year, we're really looking forward to: 1. a Summer week-end retreat at Crystal beach, ON (July 15-16; 2); 2. Fall Urban retreat in Toronto (Oct 22nd); 3. Caribbean wellness cruise on (March 20th-27, 2018). Feel free to contact me directly!
Above all, have fun and enjoy your retreat experience! You'll return back to your workplace feeling refreshed and rejuvenated in your energies :)
About the author:
Marta Melinda Pap, is a Holistic Health Practitioner, Life Coach and Reiki Master/Teacher who founded Alternative Healer Toronto in 2010 to help Urban Professionals in managing stress better whether home or work related. She has been practicing chakra balancing, life coaching and cleansing of homes and businesses for optimized energies for over 10 years.
The intuitive energy healing she offers, helps her clients increase the ability to release any unwanted habits, improve balance in life, enrich relationships, and help find more joy in life. She has appeared on TV and radio, and teaches her clients seminars on how to heal themselves. Her special office meditation series has been a favorite to many downtown small businesses where stress levels are high and employees look for ways to feel more balanced in their body-mind-spirit. She organizes retreats to enhance her clients' experience throughout the healing progress.
This is the time of year, when many people take on spring cleaning projects inside and outside their homes. Since we put so much time and effort into cleaning our worldly residence, shouldn’t we also do some spiritual spring cleaning in our heart & soul? One of my specialty services is to help people clear the stagnant, negative energies around their homes & offices.
What are some of the initiatives you can do to better lift the energies?
1. De-clutter & let go of old items that hold dust and no longer serve you
ie. old papers, documents, broken items, clothes from exes.
2. Open all your windows (and your heart), and let the fresh air in for more oxygen circulation.
3. Use cleaning products that are chemical free, ie. with vinegar or lemon.
3. Burn sage with the intention that you're burning away any impurities and negative energies.
White buffalo sage with lavender is my favorite!
4. Decorate your home with live plants (or flowers) and desirable paintings to bring more
life into your space.
5. Pick crystals that increase the energy flow: amethyst for good health, carnelian for more creativity,
malachite for peace, harmony, pink quartz for love, turquoise for better communication etc.
6. Use essential oils and a diffuser to enhance the air quality: I recommend getting a variety of essential oils, so you can select a different one daily. For example lavender is calming, lemon is invigorating, menthol is clarifying.
7. Sprinkle Himalayan salt in front of entrance to purify anyone's energies before they step into your home.
8. Place a nice white crystal, or citrine by the foyer to bless everyone who enters your space.
9. Follow Feng-Shui principles to enhance your layout and the flow: ask me about the Bagua map.
10. Practice yoga/meditation, and positive affirmations to increase your energy frequencies!
11. Use kind words to yourself and others to foster Love with your family/friends, and
read books that bring your dreams closer to manifestation.
If you still experience stagnant energies in your home and office, please feel free to call me for a consultation. I can certainly check the signs, and examine the root cause of the low energies, then do an energetic cleanse for your home. My house blessings services are very effective and my clients report wonderful results. Examples when homes/condos can benefit most from a clearing are after a break-up, before selling your home, after moving into a new place, someone passing on premises, children sensing spirits, uncomfortable chills around certain areas.
10 tips on how to make the most of the “heat” this summer?
The predictions were true for this year, it has been "triple-H" kind of summer in Toronto – heat, haze and humidity – according to Environment Canada. How can you keep cool & healthy this summer?
My recommendations are the following:
1. Dip into water 2-3 times daily: whether at home or up in the cottage. Start your day with a cold shower in the morning, also interchange hot/cold water which will increase your blood circulation thus improve your tolerance levels to extreme temperatures.
2. Keep hydrated at all times: throughout the day keep hydrated with lots of water. Alternative to water is to place fruits into your water (such as lemon, watermelon, cucumbers), or make an iced tea with lemon and honey. Also ensure to hydrate your skin with water based products, such as rose water or mineral water.
3. Eat light, make delicious healthy meals: such as salads, and fresh fish. If you have a juicer, freshly squeezed veggies are fantastic! Keeps the body clean and clear, and adds lots of nutrition. One of my favorite juice is: baby spinach, apple and ginger. Also ask me how to make a special Reiki juice!
4. Choose summer sports over the gym: when it comes to exercise chose outdoor sports to keep your exercise routine exciting! Canoeing over to Toronto island, hiking in the escarpments, portaging in Algonquin park, or swimming in Lake Muskoka can be refreshing and great for your body. You work out without noticing and allows you to enjoy your summer week-ends healthy!
5. Use natural sunscreen, and mosquito repellent: you can find these in natural health food stores. They are noticeably lighter on your skin and work just as well, but don't contain chemicals. For example natural mosquito repellents use citronella, menthol oil that can naturally keep bugs away. Natural sunscreens usually include raspberry seed oil, coconut oil, carrot seed oil, and Shea butter.
6. Look for shaded areas: where you can have the option to stay in the shade if it gets too hot. Wear a nice hat that can be practical and fashionable at the same time.
7. Take time off & relax: meditate and do yoga by the water, or close to trees, where you can observe the four elements such as water, fire, earth, air. Your meditation can go deeper as you observe nature and appreciate the present moment the now.
8. Have fun & dance: call up some friends you haven't seen in a while. Life goes by so fast with us being busy. Why not spend some time with an old time friend, and enjoy the good vibes? Make sure to keep the conversations positive, and if any of you wonders off into complaining or negative thoughts, steer it back with gratitude and positive affirmations.
9. Travel to an exciting place: Even if it is a small weekend trip, look for a place you haven't seen. There are lots of hidden gems in Ontario or if you're more adventurous the world is your oyster. If you can also plan a bigger trip to expand your horizon. If I may recommend, Eastern Europe offers wonderful history and lots of thermal water to rejuvenate.
10. Take things lighter: Let go of your worries! Enjoy and say a gratitude each hour. See yourself happy, healthy, exactly as you would like to see yourself! Say how lucky you are with your life and how things are turning
Keep cool & your energies nice and high :)
Don't forget to book your next Chakra balancing treatment or sign up for my Chakra class in September! Love & Light, Marta
With the beautiful summer around the corner, I was impressed by all the sailboats I have seen on Lake Ontario. I'm fascinated by their simplicity and beauty; however, I know how much work goes into it. For smooth sailing includes: teamwork, dedication, knowledge, expertise, and perseverance.
A few years ago, with my girlfriends, I went on a sailing trip to Greece for 10 days. I thought to myself how wonderful it would be to learn how to sail, spend some time with friends exploring the islands, and to get a nice tan on top of a beautiful yacht. Eight of us decided to book this trip, the next thing you know is, we were arriving at the airport in the Ionian islands. As we got to the boats we realized, they were much smaller than we thought, (and not exactly very luxurious). After a quick introduction on how to sail, we were off. Ten days of island hopping! We had a set route we had to accomplish, and a certain amount of distance to complete, to finish the trip and to keep up with the twenty other boats, flotilla.
Little did we know what was on the horizon? On the first day, our four boats with the eight girls were lost because we didn't follow the compass. Thank God one of the skippers realized this and came to save us. The next nine days were a combination of: learning how to handle the boat in various weather conditions, how to get along with your sailing partner, and to enjoy the ride and scenery, (despite the adversities that come along with learning how to sail.) It was a wonderful trip that I will always remember. We laughed together, saw some amazingly beautiful islands, tasted fresh fish in the many villages, and were fascinated by the secluded beaches along the way. It definitely taught me a few lessons.
Life is very similar in that way: We have our boat that we are trying to steer in the right direction. Of course, there are many factors that will ultimately determine if our journey will be smooth sailing or if we will encounter some rough waters along the way.
My mission with Chakra balancing and Life Coaching is to provide you with the proper understanding of your vessel so that you can efficiently navigate towards your desired destiny.
What are some of the important determinants to smooth sailing in your everyday life?
1. Never give up! Have faith that things will work out for the better:
Everybody at some point in their lives faces a storm, whether at work, or at home with the family. At times such as grief or loss, it is very easy to lose faith. Trusting in God and the universe, will give you the strength to go on, and also allow your guardian angels/spirit guides to give you assistance. Research shows that people with faith are able to better deal with adversities in life.
2. Have the most knowledge or expertise you can gain:
In every situation, do your research; learn what needs to get done to be successful. Whether getting a job promotion, or a divorce? Make sure you educate yourself of the new responsibilities you need in order to get everything done in an efficient manner. Prepare yourself for whatever might come your way! Have a map and a compass with you.
3. Team work or support group:
Life is easier when you are surrounded by a group of people you can trust & rely on, whether it is family or our friends. Release those people who don't serve you best, and keep the ones you know you can trust. "A friend in need is a friend indeed.” Release any resentment to family, and accept them for who they are. It is hard to change certain people, so it is better to focus on their strengths. The bigger your support group, the better you can turn to them. Teamwork is important part of life. When you get tired or run down, let someone else take over the leadership, and share the responsibilities.
4. Keep your body as healthy as you can:
A daily regimen of eating healthy and exercise is important to stay fit and maintain optimal health. You don't need to be a fitness competitor to enjoy a Zumba or a Yoga class. Research shows that exercise can be an effective way to lift the spirit, and combat stress. Also, exercising, and a healthy diet helps to keep your cholesterol and blood pressure low. Watch out for any chemicals or addictive (alcohol, sugar, smoking)! In the long run, any addictive can have a negative effect on your body and mind. Buying organic food goes a long way. In order to navigate your boat right, you'll need to stay fit and focused!
5. Learn tools and techniques to manage your stress levels:
Everyone has a favorite activity in life that helps him/her relax. Whether it's listening to music, going for a walk or a swim, meditating, spending time with friends going out, in nature, or with family, some healthier than others. Meditating has many benefits, including reducing stress levels, anxiety and elevating the spirit and feelings of well-being. There are a number of meditation techniques available, so make sure you pick one that works best for your lifestyle & needs.
Meditation has a stigma of being "boring." But how can it be boring to be with yourself, to really discover your inner beauty? Meditating is not about sitting silently, it's about exploring how to listen and to communicate with your higher self. This activity helps strengthen your balance in times of need.
6. Choose a route/plan that is aligned with you! Don't go against the wind:
A good captain is someone who can help navigate you when you are unsure of your path and what lies ahead. How will you steer your boat in the next little while? It depends on you & your calling! You have many directions you can choose from. You can grow your little boat into a bigger vessel with the many friends and family members you choose to enroll on your journey.
Where do you want to go? Which direction? What's your destination? How will you get there? Everyone has a specific life purpose, so create your own wonderful journey! Make a difference in your life, and those around you! You carry the light within you! It certainly takes a lot to get where you want to be. If you are in tuned in with yourself, you'll know you're on the right path. The universe will be on your side, and you'll feel like everything is taken care of for you and goes smoothly!
People come to me when they feel they have lost themselves throughout this journey in life. I help to clear away any sort of impurities or blockages from the energetic field so your path is more of the pure essence. This alignment allows you to connect with your higher life purpose, and to find out the answers you need in order to take the next steps. Then when used in conjunction with the meditation techniques/tools that I teach, I guarantee that you'll be able to whether any storm and transform your life into a smooth sailing adventure. When you feel peaceful and harmonious in your body-mind-spirit, everything falls into place.
There's no sailing without weather, but once you master the skills, you will be better equipped to steer your life to your dream destination!
So enjoy the ride! Happy sailing through life's beautiful journey!
Marta Melinda Pap is a Life Coach and Holistic Health Practitioner, Reiki Master/Teacher, Crystal Therapist at Atlernative Healer Toronto. She founded Alternative Healer in 2011 to help busy professionals find more balance in their lives. She used to work in the corporate field and tested her tools & techniques. Make sure you try her chakra alignment treatment as it works! Also she can guide you as an empowerment coach through any challenges/changes in life so you can live a more purposeful life. Her clients are highly appreciative of her skills and what she offers to the world!
There are seven chakras, going from the base of your spine to the crown of the head. They represent different aspects of you mind, body and spirit. Each controls a certain part of the body, but also certain spiritual aspects. They can also be used to help alleviate a lot of different ailments, from heart diseases, stomach problems, and even mental health. Here are six tips while conducting chakra meditation:
1.Familiarise yourself with chakras
To achieve self healing and development, one must understand the basic 7 chakras and how they work, what they represent and their linkage to different areas of the body.
2. Set aside time a dedicated place to meditate.
You also need to set up your area with things that are related to this meditation. A large chart of the chakras for an example, is used by a lot of people to help them focus on a particular chakra. Maybe having colored candles, or stones or cloth to hold or light to help you picture the different chakras in your mind.
3. Keep this meditation to yourself
This is to prevent ridicule from your peers or family which may then cause you to lose your faith and determination to proceed. Only when they see the difference in you and ask, you can freely do so.
4. Be patient and consistent
Every person’s response to this meditation is different as they have their own unique problems. One person may feel the effects instantly, while for others it may take weeks or months as their chakras may be completely out of alignment. Thus, results may take time and even after realignment, they need regular maintenance to keep them that way. Take this as a lifetime commitment.
5. Set goal and fulfill them
You should always have a purpose, whether this is to help heal certain parts of your body, or the put your chakras into balance.
6. Be humble
You are doing this meditation to improve your life, not make yourself better than everyone else. If people start noticing the difference in your appearance, your overall outlook on life, or that your illnesses start going away, do not brag about it. This can put the chakras out of alignment.
The art of chakra meditation involves focusing your mind on specific energy centers within your body. Each energy center corresponds with a different aspect of your life, so you can target a specific chakra depending on the problem you want to solve or the goal you want to achieve. There are 7 chakras which are:
Root Chakra (Muladhara)
The root chakra is located at bottom of the spine and affects our basic needs and desires. Imagine a glowing red light near the base of your spine for increasing the energy in this area. Focus can be assisted by holding a Ruby or Garnet crystal while chakra meditating.
Naval Chakra (Svadhisthana)
The naval chakra is located in the lower abdomen, and is associated with physical feelings, especially those of love, sexuality, and passion. You can activate and clear this chakra by focusing your attention on a bright orange light in that area. Focus can be assisted by holding amber crystals while chakra meditating.
Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)
It is located above the navel, just below the chest. It is believed that focusing on this point will help in issues related to self-control, discipline and ego. It helps if you imagine a pure yellow light in this area Use amber or gold to intensify this meditation.
Heart Chakra (Anahata)
The heart chakra is the center of compassion, understanding, and forgiveness. You can use chakra meditation to focus on a green light glowing in this area. This will help you clear away feelings of resentment, guilt, and anger. Focus can be assisted by using emeralds and malachite crystals.
Throat Chakra (Vishuddha)
It is located just below your chin and is useful to help you with issues of truth and knowledge, and can help you communicate with clarity, empathy, and wisdom. The throat chakra is associated with the color blue, Focus can be assisted by using turquoise or blue topaz.
Brow Eye Chakra (Ajna)
The brow chakra is located in the middle of your forehead, just above your eyes. It is the center of spiritual knowledge and understanding. Imagine an indigo light in this area while dealing with spiritual issues or concerns. Focus can be assisted by using Lapis lazuli and sapphires.
Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)
It is located at the top of your head and is associated with self-actualization, inspiration, divine wisdom, and the higher self. Focusing on the chakra will help you increase your sense of awareness and purpose, and develop a connection with universal wisdom. It is represented by the color violet and can be assisted by using amethyst and quartz crystal stones.
Chakra is actually the Sanskrit word that would mean wheel in our Energy centers. The human body includes seven important chakras and also many minor chakras. These 7 chakras start from the bottom of the backbone and finish on the top of the head. Basically, those chakras possess the wheel of continuous revolving and rotating energy. The root (1st chakra) has the slowest revolving speed while the crown (7th chakra) rotates the fastest. As soon as these Chakras are unhealthy, unbalanced or clogged up, one’s lifestyle tend to be out of sync. Weariness, stress and other health issues may set in. In such cases, it’s important to unclogged the affected Chakras and restore its balance.
Stimulation for each Chakras come from its individual and complimentary colour therapy during energy healing treatments, as well as a range of gem stones, crystals, and healing sounds. Chakras have a clear connection among themselves and also the condition of its corresponding organ. The following are the 7 chakras and their related organs in the body. By clearing these energy centers, the client feels better both in the energetic field and the physical body.
What Our Clients Are Saying
"Excellent service. Very professional. Marta handled my sensitive issue very delicately, and I find that after 3 chakra balancing sessions, my life has changed. Thank you" Christina H.
“The Warrior of the Light is a believer.
Because he believes in miracles,
miracles begin to happen.
Because he is sure that his thoughts
can change his life, his life begins to change.
Because he is certain that he will find love,
Paulo Coelho, Warrior of the Light
The healing lies within.....