“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.” – John Muir

For me, happiness lies in feeling connected to nature. Nature has the power to alter any mood. Yoga and wellness retreats must rely on the healing power of nature to enhance the overall experience.

I think of days when I am tired and how a barefoot walk in the garden, with my feet upon the earth, wipes any troubles away and shifts me into “just being” in the present moment.

“I think of days when I am tried and how a barefoot walk in the garden, with my feet upon the earth, wipes any troubles away and shifts me into “just being” in the present moment.”

I think of times when my children were young, after a long day at school, and we would go to a secluded spot of raw natural beach. Their school-day mood would unravel with the rhythmic strokes of the tide. Wave after wave, releasing tension. I would watch them calm down, let go and then immerse themselves in the freedom and happiness that the sea can bring.

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” – Native-American Proverb

The beauty of Lebanon’s nature is unique due to its diversity and small size. There are all kinds of shorelines, from yellow sand to white, to pebbles and rocky cliffs. The mountains are bare and desolate, and the valleys are lush and green. You often see trees and flowers growing in seemingly rocky soil with little to no water. You wonder how.

There is a welcoming presence in Lebanon’s nature. It is accessible and you feel a deep connection to it.

Moments like watching a sunrise over the mountain range in the hours before the world wakes up.

Deep red sunsets that set fire to the color of skin. Watching the moonrise over the hills, the large soaring birds migrating, the comforting aroma of jasmine and gardenia.

These phenomena nourish us on a deep level. They are the fundamental aspects of feeling well. They are not separate from us, as we often think. We take them for granted and therefore do not value and respect them as much as we should.

“The art of healing comes from nature and not from a physician. Therefore, the physician must start from nature with an open mind.” – Paracelsus

Immersing yourself in nature is accepting an often overlooked aspect of ourselves. We tend to look for complicated answers to feel better but they are things that we add on to who we are. Nature is about flowing in unison with who we are. The course of our daily lives is busy with trying to get somewhere, to be something or to get something. This is exhausting. Being exhausted weakens your immune system and opens you up to many possible problems that are not born of wellness.

“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.” – Alan Watts

For me, Lebanon is a wonderful place to be immersed in yoga and wellness. After all, the meaning of yoga is to unite. Uniting your physical self with your emotional self and with your environment can be a part of this process. The idea is that unity leads to harmony. Harmony is a foundation for health and wellbeing.

I live in the northern hills of Lebanon. I find it one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Nestled between the Mediterranean and the multicolored, snowcapped mountain range, the North is also a place where there are many holy shrines and monasteries, lending themselves to quiet contemplation.

“In Lebanon, there are some places in the mountains where you almost feel cradled by the mounds, and others so barren that you face yourself effortlessly.

Many of them are open to let you stay peacefully overnight.

In Lebanon, there are some places in the mountains where you almost feel cradled by the mounds, and others so barren that you face yourself effortlessly. For a different vibe, there are also some lovely seaside spots.

My top picks for yoga and wellness resorts in Lebanon:

Eddé Sands Hotel and Wellness Resort
In the quiet months of winter, silence sets an extraordinary atmosphereat Eddé Sands. The resort’s website describes it as a beachfront bungalow by the sea, a private garden, sleeping in the open air of the rooftop to the sound of waves, delicious food, an Ayurvedic spa and beautiful yoga classes.

LipHe Wellness Center
“LipHe is located on a stunning piece of land in our family’s native village Kfarhata, in northern Lebanon, where we made custom eco-friendly cabins and a pool. We wanted this place to be fully in harmony with nature. This is why we also incorporated sustainable energy processes,” said owner Samar Saba.

For more info: http://www.yogasamantha.com

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