The Gift of Giving

This is a significant time of year where people gather to celebrate the festive season, leading up to Christmas and ending just after the new year.  Some gather for a religious reason and for others it may just be to enjoy time with loved ones or people within their community. 

To share. To give or receive a gift, a meal and hopefully a laugh or two and some good conversation.

 For the gift of giving, we have chatted with a couple of wonderful friends and they are delighted to share these insights and gifts with you:

Eranthi ~ Aika Wellness
Owner & creator

The Festive Season thing that makes you feel good?

My favourite thing about the holiday season is that every new year we have the opportunity to create new space to dream big and invite into our lives what brings us joy. 

Gift from Aika Wellness – valid until 30 January 2024

Click to action > Aika Wellness

Aika Wellness - gift offer valid until 30 January 2024
Gift from Aika Wellness – When you order any Face product from the Aika Wellness website you will be gifted the equivalent travel size product which is perfect for popping into your bag for the holiday season. Simply add the word NEW in the notes section of checkout and we will add your gift to your order – valid until 30 January 2024

Mukti ~ Mukti Organics
Owner & creator

The Festive Season thing that makes you feel good?

It’s the season of giving, and for me, there is nothing I love more than delighting family & friends with handpicked gifts from sustainable brands that give back to communities in need. One of these brands is Her Hands, who collaborate with Kenyan artists to create handmade pendant lights, weaved from upcycled wood. The income made from these beautiful pendants goes towards purchasing food & paying children’s school fees in these communities. Giving back is incredibly important to me, both personally & professionally, so supporting causes like this one makes me feel good during the festive season.

Gift from Mukti Organics – valid until 15 January 2024

Click to action > Mukti Organics

Gift from Mukti Organics – Receive a special 20% off Mukti Organic’s full sized products (excluding kits, gift cards, minis & collections) with the code SWT20 – valid until 15 January 2024

Karen ~ Spa Wellness Travel
Owner & creator

The Festive Season thing that makes you feel good?

Taking life gently, slowing the pace of life down, taking several deep breaths to be in the moment and smile.  And of course, knowing we are very future to be able to share wholesome food and happy times with people in my world.

Gift from Spa Wellness Travel – valid before 30 January 2024

Click to action > Spa Wellness Travel

Gift from Spa Wellness Travel – Book a Spa Wellness Travel package and receive a $100 gift credit towards your package – valid until 30 January 2024 – Stay anytime during 2024

Karen’s favourite juice that she blends daily and encouragingly shares with family and friends who may be visiting for a night or two.

Karen - starting my day with a green juice makes me feel good
Green Juice – green apple, celery, spinach & cucumber blended together. Add ginger or lemon if you wish for a bit of zest and additional goodness!

Be Aware

October is a reminder to check your breasts. 

There is approximately 57 women diagnosed with breast cancer a day in Australia, 1 in 7 diagnosed in their lifetime, that is over 20,000 per year. For men, there is 1 in 500 diagnosed in their lifetime, nearly two hundred a year advised National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Breast Caner was something I was completely unaware of, but on 8 October 2007 I had a lumpectomy. An change within your breast, just not a lump is worthy of a medical consultation. Then nearing my five year clearance, a second lump was diagnosed in the same breast. Not a happy time at all.  That then became my ten year journey with the breast cancer medics and an altered life.

As mentioned, before my diagnoses I was oblivious to breast cancer. It was not in my family and I had not known anyone who had been affected by it. Like many of us “if it doesn’t affect me”, we don’t give it much if any consideration.

Before commencing surgery and the follow up radiotherapy, I searched for information trying to figure out why, how and what do I do. Thank goodness for friends, family and people I met, who I could talk, discuss or research options, emotions and changes, trying to seek a deeper understanding.

One thing I was certain of, was that I wanted my body and mind to be, I’d like to say best, but what measure is that really!  I wanted to be in a wholesome state, so my body and mind could heal and recover with ease and sooner than later.

At the time, I was fortunate there was a local GP who was also a Ayurvedic practitioner. After our consultation I commenced a two week detox, nothing hardcore, but a change in diet and a daily tablet applicable for my Vata dosha.   I felt content and went on through my unexpected journey.

The message here is…Be Aware – do check your breasts and speak up if you discover any change, it doesn’t have to be “just a lump!”  When I was diagnosed the rate for women was 1 in 9, now it is in 1 in 7 women diagnosed. This is not deaths, but a diagnoses. There maybe more detections now, but early detection is way better than a late detection, hopefully heling with eliminating a terminal outcome.

Do take time for yourself. Once again, Be Aware of what life choices you are making for yourself – it is a balanced a wholesome existence for your mind-body-spirit? If you feel you need to talk to someone or retreat or take up a new practice that gives a positive outcome for you, do it.

After my first bout of treatments were complete, I retreated to Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary, that was my time to shift back into being me.

Here are some retreats that may be of interest to you or simply contact Spa Wellness Travel to discuss other options:

Press Reset, Bali

Radiant Bliss, Thailand

Women’s Holistic Health, Thailand

Resilience & Immunity, Thailand

Men’s Vitality, Thailand

Over the years we have donated to Breast Cancer Network Australia

Mindfulness

Sometimes reading can stop me in my tracks. My thoughts. To ponder.

Recently it was a read within our local gazette Talking Heads.

It was the word ‘dadirri (da-did-ee)

Aboriginal people practice deep listening, an almost spiritual skill, based on respect.  Dadirri is an aboriginal word meaning inner deep listening and quiet still awareness and waiting.

Listen and watch Miriam Rose, Australian Senior of the Year 2021 share some insight > https://youtu.be/Pahz_WBSSdA

Last week I was feeling restless and indecisive, finding distraction with getting a drink, getting something to eat, doing another task and others to avoid focusing and sitting at the desk.  Noting my restless, I intentionally stepped away from the desk, grabbed my light weight blanket and sat crossed legged on the floor.  I nestled into the position resting the backs of my hands on my knees.  I exhaled three Ooooooommmms and sat quietly, eyes closed, inhaling-exhaling.  When I felt at ease, I simply got up and resumed by day at the desk.  Feeling content.

Who else has had moments of feeling restless or frustrated with their day or moments? How do you ease that?
Are you curious to explore meditation or mindfulness further?

Over decades I have been guided and experienced different meditations.  Experiences that now sit in my mind and can be pulled at depending on how I am feeling, how much time I have or what I wish to experience from it.

Meditation – Mindfulness programs

Spa Wellness Travel currently has three Meditation Mindfulness programs available if you are curious to explore more and retreat.

Hugs & happiness, Karen

PS. Wish to discuss further?

Human Sustainability

This is longer that the usual bit of journaling, but it so resonated with me when I read it.  It made me wonder just how many of you are feeling or felt the drag and drain of the last few years or have been in a moment in life where you are spent, to keep pushing and plodding along is draining.

I love that Santani Wellness in Sri Lanka termed The Year of Human Sustainability ~ “we need to think of our own body and mind as an ecosystem”.  Here is a note from one of their guests:

Near the end of my hardest year on record, after living through a pandemic and months of war with two small children in tow, I was a spent force. My productivity was shot. I was getting sick from the slightest breeze. I felt mentally stuck in a deep pit. At my lowest I curled up crying in bed while my father patted me gently on the back. I was grateful for the comfort, but horrified I had fallen into such a dark place. As an adult woman with so much agency and strength, I had failed myself—lost the basic ability to stay afloat.

I launched an intervention on myself. My husband took over watching our kids while I sent myself on retreat to Sri Lanka for a generous stretch of three weeks. It seemed wildly impossible to carve out that time for myself, until I just did it.

I returned from the trip joyously happy and luminously healthy. More than a year has passed since that journey and I can still feel the positive effects. One thing I learned stands out, above all: the concept of human sustainability. Just as we think of environmental sustainability, mitigating the impact of pollution and human activity on the natural ecosystem, we need to think of our own body and mind as an ecosystem. We need to mitigate the impact of stress—all forms of pollution and negative shocks—to sustain ourselves in the modern environment. We need to develop an ability to cope with the factors that are introducing overwhelming stress into our personal ecosystem. Every day we can end a little healed or a little degraded. The net balance determines our human sustainability, how well we feel or how quickly we head into negative territory.

This is not my idea. It comes from a very wise man who befriended me on my journey, the founder of the Ayurvedic wellness resort Santani. He has developed the idea of human sustainability into a living practice and a structural lifestyle. He brought it to life at Santani in the perfect healing habitat; I was one of the lucky ones who got to feel its transformative effects. In the green hills not far from Kandy, I breathed perfect air, ate perfect healthy food, and took in the Ayurvedic detox program that turned me around. Every meal was calibrated to the foods and ingredients my body needed. Though it was not my goal for the trip, extra weight on my body effortlessly dropped off.

Yoga, Ayurvedic therapies, and daily massage will do wonderful things to revive a broken body. But what I think I needed most was the quiet, interrupted only by the sound of insects and Buddhist chants rising from the valley. Santani cleared the space for me to process what I’d been through, to mourn people and plans that had been lost. It gave me the space to cry, to get angry, then to accept reality and transition to it. I am a religious person; I wouldn’t say I was mad at God, but I was certainly confused by the mess we’ve made of creation. At Santani I could stare out at the green hills and have an honest conversation with myself, with my notebook, discharging that angry confusion.

How do we heal now? Retreat, retreat, retreat. That would certainly be best. But short of that, I have found some ways to do for myself the things that Santani did for me. We all need the space to feel the things we feel about what’s happening around us, to have honest conversations with ourselves, and discharge the anger, fear, and anxiety that build up within. On my first retreat more than a decade ago I devised my own forgiveness practice. Opening my notebook I began to write, “I forgive my boss for X, I forgive my family for Y, I forgive myself for Z,” until line by line the pages filled up. It enabled me to empty myself—a freedom and a joy that was illuminating.

Before I took my first solo retreat, more than a decade ago, my close friend and informal life coach Rabbi Avraham Berkowitz gave me the language of “Teshuva”—a Hebrew concept of returning to one’s right and healthy path, straightening ourselves out when we’ve lost our way. It’s repentance as a personal turnaround. Teshuva became my watchword and the guiding concept for every retreat I’ve taken since. Return to centre. Or return to sender, if—like me—you seek to align with a higher power.

As I said, it has been more than a year since my trip and I feel the effects still rolling. Those of us who care to pursue an upper trajectory and help others to the same need to share our lessons learned. We need to share tips for enhancing our human sustainability. We know the pitch we are in now. The hits will keep coming. The only thing up for change is how we deal with them and how happily we live alongside them. A war and the pandemic may have altered my plans, but I won’t let them cancel my basic aspiration to be happy. I wish the same for all of you. Let’s make this the year of human sustainability.

There’s many feelings and reminders in the above words.  Take them as you need and remember your Human Sustainability.

Hugs & happiness, Karen

Celebrate with a Juice

There is always a cause for celebration.  Be it an annual date such as a festive event, a birthday, anniversary or the like.  Perhaps each week you like to take a moment and reflect on what has been and acknowledge achievements and progress or joys that have been experienced. 

So, the question is.  What is your celebratory beverage of choice?  A coffee martini, a wholesome hot cup of chai, a spritzer, a gin and tonic and of course the list is endless. We could also discuss delicious foods that go along with a little celebration, but we can keep that for another time!

At Spa Wellness Travel we’ve revamped with a ‘new look ~ new you’ vibe, so that is what we are celebrating.  To assist we asked the award winning Absolute Sanctuary in Koh Samui, Thailand if they could provide us alternatives to an alcoholic beverage to celebrate with.   

Their dedicated Vitamin Bar has a menu that includes Juices, Smoothies, Super Juices (incorporating Organic Superfood supplements, Power Blast Shakes (incorporating Organic Golden Pea Protein Powder) and Detox Drinks.  And when staying at Absolute Sanctuary most of their dedicated programs include two fresh juices or smoothies a day.

These drinks are delicious and offer a punch of benefits:

SWT_Liver Cleanse

Liver Cleanse

  • 1 slice ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • Juice from 5 oranges
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • A pinch of paprika
  • 30 ml olive oil

Method

Blend ginger and garlic together. Add the fruit juices and flavour with paprika. Pour in olive oil and whizz on speed 1 until well mixed.

Benefits

This simple-to-make drink packs in all the goodness that is derived from oranges. Calcium in the citrus fruit builds healthy bones. It is high Vitamin B6 content supports the production of haemoglobin and the folate in the fruit prevents anaemia by promoting healthy red blood cells. This is the drink to take before or after a detox regime as it flushes out toxins from the liver and gall bladder.

Vata Body Polish

It is happening as the winter chill kicks in.  The wavering between being in a heated room then stepping out into the cold, wanting a hotter shower to warm the body and the dread of wearing additional layers of clothing.  My body is being cocooned, that feeling of freedom and the natural tan has faded. 
I have always moisturised by body after a shower.  But now with the change of season my body requires more.  It requires change and attention.  That is when I had the an uhhaha moment, my body needed a bit of Ayurvedic attention.  I love the Ayurvedic principals; the Science of Life giving attention to your internal and external body for natural healing and health.  So out came the Aika Wellness ~ Vata Body Polish. 
Vata you may ask.  In Ayurveda there are three body types/dosha: Pitta, Vata and Kapha, which can be determined with consultation from an Ayurvedic practitioner or a quick of quiz.  The practitioner consultation will go into more detail than the quiz, but you will get insight. Also, meeting with an Ayurvedic practitioner you will be able to discuss your wellbeing further.

But for now, I wish to share my AikaWellness Vata Body Polish experience.   After reading the instruction on the tub, I stepped into the shower, wet a face-washer and wiped over my arms, shoulders, legs, hips, legs, lower back and glutes.  Now my body was ready, I grabbed my little timber scooper and scooped a suitable measure (teaspoon amount) and emptied the body polish on to my palm and started rubbing one limb at a time and grabbing more polish as required.  With the benefiting ingredients of Himalayan crystal salt, Sesame oil, Nutmeg, Ashwagandha and much more, I continued rubbing not forgetting my torso, hips and glutes.

Begone that white dry dull look and feel.  Standing in the shower, I continued to rub as water from the shower cascaded over my body.  Once the scrub was rinsed off, there was no lingering under the running shower water.  I was out.  Patting my body dry I was amazed to see and feel the difference.  

I did this procedure a week later.  Now, two weeks after the last I’m ready to do it again.   Do note:  the second time I did the scrub, I’m not sure what I did differently, but the colour of the scrub did affect my white shirt that I wore that day.  Don’t fear, when I washed the shirt it redeemed its whiteness.  I shall keep in mind to scrub my shoulders more thoroughly, as I did the first time. 

As you will have noted I used and linked Aika Wellness, would I recommend it?  For sure. 

The Vata Body Polish has benefited my exterior, but I know that I need to look at my diet at this time to further balance vata.

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OMG it was AMAZING

I am a new woman!!! It's like I have had 3 weeks holiday in 7!!

Thank you for being my travel angel I shall definitely be calling on you again Karen.

Virginia ~ NSW