When we’re focused on anything outside of ourselves, it can start to wear on us, whether it’s work, planning a wedding, keeping up with the latest saga in the White House, or sometimes just tackling that nagging sink full of dirty dishes. Last year, I found myself in that very spot. Worn down and sad. I struggle with mental health and wellness as a side effect of my traumatic history, and I’m a mother of twins, one with special needs. It’s a mix of blessings and exhaustion.

So when my heart-centered exuberant yoga teacher Mandy Roberts, owner of FORM {yoga} in Atlanta, Ga., announced that there were still spots left in her and enneagram teacher Shari L Fox’s Soul Nourish Retreats’ latest excursion in sunny Todos Santos, Mexico, it felt like salvation was calling to me. I answered. If we listen closely, our intuition tells us which way to go—how to nourish our soul. Within a month’s time of booking my ticket, I was on a plane from Atlanta to Los Cabos, excited and nervous about what awaited me.

Me being welcomed into a warm embrace by Shari L Fox on Day 1 of the Soul Nourish Retreat (I so needed that hug) Photo: 2T Photo
Me being welcomed into a warm embrace by Shari L Fox on Day 1 of the Soul Nourish Retreat (I so needed that hug)
Photo: 2T Photo

The entire trip was like the world boring a tunnel of love straight into my core. I met incredible women whose hearts I will carry with me always. We laughed. We cried. We swam with sea lions in the Sea of Cortez. We dined on a gourmet lunch made by culinary genuises on the beach of a private island. We lodged in an eco-luxe resort focused on wellness and mindfulness. We bonded with circles of meditation. We explored ourselves with personal voyages of the mind. We listened to one another, and we listened to ourselves.

How to nourish your soul - group circle around a fire in Todos los Santos, Mexico 2T Photo Equally Wed
At night, we gathered at the fire for a circle to share stories and warmth.
Photo: 2T Photo

We surfed, and we rode horses. We drank beer under the sun and mezcal in the evenings with Spanish lessons. We brought art supplies to a local kindergarten, and stayed with them for the day to create signs for all the fruits and vegetables we brought to help them plant in their school’s garden. We practiced yoga, and we journaled. We learned about the enneagram as a way to further deep-dive into ourselves. We meditated. We inhaled and exhaled. We did transformative soul work. We nourished our souls in an ever-lasting bonding experience that rests quietly in my heart, eveloping me in a warmth I have been lacking my entire life.

 

Seva is the art of giving back to the world. The act itself is a gift to everyone involved, from the giver to the receiver. When we partake in this process we step into intimacy with humanity. Photo: 2T Photo Soul Nourish Retreats
Seva is the art of giving back to the world. The act itself is a gift to everyone involved, from the giver to the receiver. When we partake in this process we step into intimacy with humanity. Photo: 2T Photo
A playful sea lion pup from our snorkeling adventures in the Sea of Cortez on the Soul Nourish Retreats trip Equally Wed
A playful sea lion pup from our snorkeling adventures in the Sea of Cortez on the Soul Nourish Retreats trip Photo: 2T Photo
How to nourish your soul hammock at Pachamama eco luxury resort Photo 2T Photo Equally Wed
How to nourish your soul: lay in a hammock overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Todos Santos, Mexico. Or just stare at this photo and feel yourself relax.
Photo: 2T Photo

I want this for you, dear readers. I want you to experience this feeling. Soul Nourish Retreats explores the world over. Right now, they’re planning trips to Maui and again in Todos Santos. They’ve been to Sicily, Italy, and Tulum, Mexico. They host a mini weekend retreat twice a year in the North Georgia mountains. There are returning guests but fresh new faces everytime. Bring a friend or go solo. Either way, you’ll come back refreshed, nourished and ready to take on your daily hustle with a much more relaxed and mindful approach.

In the meantime, I asked my retreat leaders to share some of their tips on how to nourish your soul. Shari L Fox, certified enneagram teacher and Soul Nourish Retreats leader, and Mandy Roberts, yoga teacher and Soul Nourish Retreats leader, happily weighed in. Lucky us.

Woman's hands and knees pictured in meditative pose with coffee mug How to nourish your soul Equally Wed

TUNE IN

photo of Shari L Fox of Soul Nourish, relaxed smiling woman with long wavy blonde hair in a black dress with bright flowers
Shari L Fox

Music can set the soundtrack for a productive day, a peaceful day, a blissful day—whatever day you need. According to physicist and author John Powell in his new book Why You Love Music, listening to different kinds of music actually causes our bodies to release specific chemicals to deal with life’s unique stressors. With frequent travel (we’re always in airports on our way to or from retreats), we pop in our earbuds and are instantly transported to a soul-soothing experience.

Try this now: Listen to our favorite curated yoga playlists from our retreat facilitator and music-driven yoga studio owner Mandy Roberts. P.S. If you don’t have Spotify account, it costs nothing to join and find your perfect tunes.

Why we love it: Soulful music takes us to a centered place—it can be calming or invigorating. It’s 100 percent customizable to your needs in the moment.—Shari L Fox

How to nourish your soul dance it out Photo 2T Photo Equally Wed

DANCE IT OUT

Mandy Roberts, yoga teacher and Soul Nourish Retreats leader Smiling blonde woman in a tanktop and a hat, blue swirling graphic in blackground
Mandy Roberts

Who doesn’t love shaking their booty? Put on your favorite song or songs and let loose. Dancing invites you to tap into your primal nature, to move energy and to release stress. Not only is dancing great exercise but it’s super fun too! One of my favorite ways to clean house or cook is to put on a playlist of songs that inspire me.—Mandy Roberts

BREATHE

When you breathe deeply and fully, you stimulate you body’s own self-healing mechanism. Balanced breaths slow our often frazzled heartbeat, stabilize out blood pressure, and lift our mood. So why do we get stuck in patterns of breathing that don’t support our wellbeing? Harvard Medical School tells we don’t breathe naturally because we’re conditioned to keep up appearances and suppress strong emotions by restricting the flow of breath.

Try this now: Inhale and exhale, without trying to change anything. Notice how far the breath moves into your chest, ribcage and belly with each breath and if you feel more relaxed after just five conscious breaths.

Why we love it: (It’s free!) And it feels so good.—Shari L Fox

bowl of egg, lemon, greens, pasta against a blue watercolor print How to nourish your soul intentional mealtime mindful eating photo Brooke Lark Equally Wed

INTENTIONAL MEALTIME

Mindfully preparing a nutritious and delicious meal is one of my favorite ways to deeply nourish myself. Each week I try to dedicate at least one meal to pure gratitude. The entire meal is spent in gratitude of the food from its origins of the earth through its journey to our plate. I offer gratitude to the seed, the tree that grew the seed, the farmer that watered the tree, the gardener that planted to tree all the way up to the workers who picked the produce and the driver who drove the food. Thinking about our food this way invites a sense of connectedness to Mother Earth and everyone who had a hand in our food’s journey to our kitchen.—Mandy Roberts

GIVE TO OTHERS

An unexpected way to give to ourselves is to be of service to others. Science tells us that altruism stimulates the parts of our brain linked to pleasure. On retreat we see the affect of this firsthand when our retreaters help build sustainable gardens in Mexico or bring much-needed sanitary products to teenage girls at an orphanage in El Salvador. Seva, or selfless service, is the foundation of nourishing our souls.

Try this now: Offer a gift to whomever is around you with this common Buddhist meditation that scrambles our senses for the better: breathe in whatever negative emotion you notice; breathe out a positive emotion. For example, you might breathe in fear and breathe out love. When we’re breathing out love or calm, it has a positive affect on our hearts. When we’re not denying or fighting our own discomfort, we get a great feeling of peace (and often new solutions).

Why we love it: Giving lifts us all up, strengthens us, and reminds us we are connected. It helps us harness the collective power of our presence.—Shari L Fox

LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH

Spending meaningful time with those you love is a wonderful way to nourish your soul. Whether it’s your friends, a pet, your kids or a significant other quality time spent together is an instant soul soother.—Mandy Roberts

How to nourish your soul ; Maui, Hawaii, Soul Nourish yoga retreat Equally WedHow to nourish your soul ; Maui, Hawaii, Soul Nourish yoga retreat Equally Wed
Soul Nourish Retreats
Maui, Hawaii

DO THE OPPOSITE

Do you feel like you’re not so adventurous? Try something daring and new! Are you always on the go? Commit to an activity that invites relaxation. It’s challenging at first, but so rewarding. Our individual personalities create deep, patterned grooves in our minds and bodies over time. The good news is these ruts are not hard-wired, so thanks to advances in neuroplasticity we know that there are actual mind-body practices that can rewire our brains and change the way we age.

Try this now: Notice how you’re sitting. Are you hunched over? (That’s a common one!) Are you clenching your jaw? (Even though there’s nothing in it?) Does your body seem low on energy? (We know that, too.) Move in the opposite way—sit up tall and lift your chin, soften and invite gentle movement into your jaw and neck, dance and shake your limbs.

Why we love it: You never stop getting to know you. (We can’t think of a better person to spend our time with.)—Shari L Fox

LONG WALKS ON THE BEACH

Taking time to be out in nature is stimulating, grounding and energizing to the body. Not only is nature absolutely stunning but being in nature offers connection to the energy of creation and renewal. Walking barefoot on the earth connects you deeply with all of life. Taking in the sights, sounds and smells of creation enters you into a reciprocal relationship, a sense of connection and belonging. Energy medicine practices understand the reciprocal relationship and recommend energies of the earth, the ocean and the air to reset and balance the energy centers of the body. A walk in the woods, taking a dip in the ocean, watching the sunrise or sunset, breathing in the cool mountain air or sleeping under the stars are all great ways to deeply nourish your soul.—Mandy Roberts


Soul Nourish Retreats focus on igniting & transformative soulwork, finding balance in your life and a healthy mind-body connection. Visit soulnourishretreats.com for their upcoming schedule for the remainder of 2018 and the year ahead in 2019.

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