Category Archives: Education

Journeys to the Sacred Sites Around The World

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We don’t have to travel around the world to visit sacred sites – we can create them in our own homes but until we are prepared to do so – how about visiting a site that inspires or connects with you.

Ancient stones and Sacred sites

Many ancient sacred sites are on the island of Great Britain and are connected it is said by invisible “ley lines” that carry a mystical energy around the world.  And while their mysterious origins and exact ritual purposes are lost in those mists of time there is no doubt that these sites with their careful construction and astonishing astronomical positioning have been focal points of the sacred to the societies who built them. To be able to witness firsthand, to run your hands over and touch the ancient mystical symbols carved into solid rock gives you a brief powerful ways of the magic crossing the centuries from eons gone past.

Stone circles, crop circles, an ancient burial chambers are part of the spiritual heritage of many countries where strong cultural groups tell the legends and stories of their history.  Let us take the small journey to sacred sites around the world.

There are sacred sites all over the world, each with their own unique structures and legends, where invisible world connects with the mystical.  What stopping you from taking a trip to those you feel most attracted to and connect their magical energy to yours? Here are some examples from around the world but there are so many that this article would be an entire book! (Note to self – new travel book idea!) I invite you to do your own research to determine if you have a connection or need to visit a certain one or a selection of a few. I encourage you to discuss with your yoga/meditation instructors and to check various travel sites to determine the best time to visit based on festivals etc.

Europe Highlights

Stonehenge (England) the most famous stone circle in the world.(see above photo)

Glastonbury (England) this town is no end for its magical energy, and it is overseen by an ancient tor, St.  Michael’s Tower.

Avesbury (England) the second most famous stone circle in the world.

Silbury Hill (England) this 4000 year old giant ceremonial mound rises out of the plains of the English countryside.

Les Eyzies (France) these cave paintings and ancient artifacts date from the time humankind began to express its mystical connection to the world.

Lascaux (France) these splendid cave paintings are possibly the most significant prehistoric expression of the spiritual known to exist.

Newgrange (Ireland) this megalith is an ancient Celtic structure.

Hypogeum (Malta) a 5,000 year old site used by many different cultures for Goddess Worship

The Neolithic Temples of Malta (Malta) Holy sites that are dedicated to the Goddess

The Palace at Knossos (Crete) a spectacular Minoan palace complex honoring Goddess culture

The Temple of Delphi (Greece) Home to the supreme oracle in ancient Mediterranean world and also believed to have been the seat of the Earth Goddess Gaia

Middle East Highlights

Oracle Shrine of Didyma (Turkey) this pre-Greek goddess sanctuary was finished in the 6th century B.C.

Aphrodisias(Turkey) an ancient goddess city that predates Greek culture

Yazilikaya(Turkey) a prehistoric ceremonial sanctuary dates back to 15th to 13th century B.C.

Asia Highlights

Mt. Fuji (Japan) this highest peak in Japan is also said to be the home of a Shinto goddess

Temples of Bali (Bali) Everywhere is sacred as is the splendor of the Balinese temples

Angkor Wat (Cambodia) this is one magnificient 1,000 year old Buddhist city is set deep in the forest

Banaras (India) Goddesses and gods abound here and devout saddus wander the streets in India’s holiest of holy city

Mt. Kaliash (Tibet) acknowledged as “The Center of the Earth” in many traditions, this is home to the Hindu god Shiva and the seat of the sky goddess Sipaimen in Tibet’s pre-Buddhist Bon religion

Australia Highlights

Uluru (Ayers Rock) the colossal outcropping rising out of the earth in the outback of Central Australia that is sacred to the Aboriginal people

Megalithic Stone Alignment (Central Australia) these “stones” are dated between 10-15,000 years old

Lake Narran (Australia) according to an Aboriginal myth, the creation story of the world was imparted to its inhabitants here 10,000 years ago

Africa Highlights

The Great Pyramids and the Sphinx/Giza ( Egypt) the Great Pyramid of Giza was one of the ancient wonders of the world, and even most travelers today would not consider a trip to Egypt complete without seeing the pyramids and the mysterious Sphinx

Luxor ( Upper Egypt) the Temple of Karnak, which was used in ancient times for major religious ceremonies. The temple is known for its massive towers, some of them 70 feet tall.

Binu Shrines of Mali (Mali) these are the sacred mud shrines of the ancient Dogon people, who revere the spirits of their dead ancestors

Tshipise (South Africa) Mapungubwe Ruins, recently declared a World Heritage site as one of 24 new global sites inscribed on Unesco’s World Heritage List. Mapungubwe developed into the largest African kingdom before it was abandoned in the 14th century as the people moved, according to some scientist’s, to establish Great Zimbabwe

Matobo Hills (South Africa) Known as “Amalindidzimu” – the dwelling place of the spirits, it was known by the ancients as the ‘burial place of kings’

The Great Zimbabwe Ruins (South Africa) The Great Zimbabwe Ruins known as the place of the ‘Sun People’ is a mysterious and sacred ancient city. Your journey will take you along the sacred pathway, travelling northward above the great subterranean river known to the ancient African Priests as – ‘Lulungwa Mangakatsi. Of special note is that the Great Zimbabwe Ruins are situated on the sacred Nilotic Meridian (associated with Zep Tepi – the beginning of time on earth) and due north of the birthplace of the White Lions of the Timbavati – the star beasts

The Americas Highlights

Machu Picchu (Peru) a stunning Incan city is set on a remote mountaintop, its mystical significance shrouded in mystery

Chichen Itza (Mexico) this is a sacred center of the Mayan world that has been wonderfully restored

Palenque (Mexico) a magnificent Mayan city in the highland jungle is full of ceremonial sites and ancient temples

Chaco Canyon (New Mexico, USA) the greatest architectural achievement of the northern Native Americans is the site of a great Kiva, which was the circular sacred den of the ancient Anasazi people

Mt. Kilauea (Hawaii, USA) this sacred volcano is said to be where the mountain goddess Pele dwells

My guest post on Vallarta Escapes :: Meditation, Mother Nature and Father Time

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As we come to the pass between the recognized days of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day it strikes me to be present and to being respectful to our global mother and father – Mother Nature and Father Time.

Do you ever feel as though you are out of step or out of tune with your life? Do you find yourself moving left when the events of a normally hectic day unexpectedly move to the right? Most certainly each one of us in our modern society learns how to juggle the many tasks that allow us to meet the demands of our busy lives. This we are told should bring us happiness and personal satisfaction but no matter how skilled we are to tackle the day to day that present themselves we often realize that we might have missed something really important…a child’s accomplishment, a loved one in need of some comfort or a beautiful sunset.  One thing I can confirm is my ability to better manage life’s events has been embellished by my meditative travels – so this begs the question – why add this helpful life tool to your physical travel journeys?

There are so many amazing reasons to meditate including reduction of stress, eliminate fatigue, ease pain, cultivate inner peace and expand our awareness.  Regular practice of meditation improves our memory and concentration so why wouldn’t you want to incorporate it into your regular travel planning. Imagine being able to start your day “fresh” and with clarity while you take the moments to listen to the ocean and watch the sunrise – wouldn’t the travel memories you bring home seem more vivid? Meditation can be done in almost any posture and some, like me, enjoy utilizing a sitting posture on the beach or on a mountain or cliff top like the Gros Piton of St. Lucia or the mystical ruins of Machu Picchu, Peru. The only important thing is to be as comfortable and as balanced as possible and try to breathe through your nose with a smile across your face.

Meditation is a skill as old as humanity itself. There are a handful of different kinds of meditation and while each was designed for a specific purpose, some work better than others. It is noted that regular practice of meditation promotes happiness and uncovers our individual source of bliss that lies within each of us and can be achieved simply and especially on a relaxing and refreshing holiday, whether it be the beach, the mountains or the great divides in between. Imagining yourself meditating in a beautiful natural setting (a vacation spot is perfect for this!) this has a profound nourishing effect on your entire bodymind and spirit. The outdoors is where we can naturally take a moment to recharge our batteries, returning to nature is a root experience for any human being.

Take a deep breath and breathe in the wonders of the most beautiful natural setting in world – the restorative place in your mind created with imagery from your physical journeys.  The goal of meditation is to bring harmony to your thoughts and not to stop them altogether – use them to make your life and our world a better place.

Take the time to be mindful when on a journey…

Namaste

“All Good Things Will Be Yours” – an insight on YogaGurl

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As the mantra says above…”all good things will be yours” With a creative twist on the traditional you are welcomed into a long, simply decorated, calm and peaceful place by the Uma-ish Yoga Goddess Alex, its here that your journey into bliss begins.
Alexandra Leikermoser is the founder and owner of Yogagurl™, a Toronto based life style company with its latest transformation as the Yoga Studio based in the heart of the newly opened Ritz Carlton Toronto. http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Toronto/Spa/
The Yoga Studio is part of a 5th floor “Urban Sanctuary,” a 23,000 square foot space that has a pool, professionally-equipped fitness facility, kinesis centre, relaxation area and a walk-out, wrap-around terrace, plus a 13,000 square foot spa complete with 16 treatment rooms, including 2 Couples Suites, private Ladies’ and Gentleman’s wet lounges, steam/sauna areas and dry relaxation dens.

Yogagurl™, the company, was born in 1996, out of this one woman’s desire to inspire herself and others.

The company had its initial roots in one of the first Eco-Design Studio’s and Stores in North America. As quoted on the Yogagurl™

website “I intend to empower women to discover their unique gifts & share them with the world – Alexandra Leikermoser”.

This new home is centered around providing opportunities for others to attain clarity and balance in their lives such as the recent event hosted on Earth Day, specifically a candlelit, cedar scented yoga class which I had the pleasure of attending. Everyone attending was very peaceful and of all different levels of fitness and relaxation. I myself am currently recovering from the second shoulder to fall prey to “Frozen Shoulder” and have limited movement in my left currently and during the event I trusted that Alex had a watchful eye on me, “Breathe love into that shoulder” she said to me once more during our class.

Alex, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing informally and appropriately so, on a yoga mat in studio, has been a teacher (classically trained in Hatha yoga) and student of yoga for more than a decade and also teaches workshops,seminars and retreats about with a basis in creating a balanced conscious lifestyle. Well-known for her enthusiastic teaching style, open and creative twists, she has been able to create unique class environments that foster both personal transformations and inspiration. Alex has been featured in a variety of international newspapers and print and online magazines, and has been interviewed multiple times on television and radio.

Of the many products you can find from this fantastic woman and her inspirations, you might have seen one of the hand-printed t-shirts with their renowned cheeky sayings such as: “Whine less, Breathe more”, “Kiss my asana” & “I’d rather be in savasana” around and you can definitely order them from the website, http://www.yogagurl.com .She has also released a Spoken Word: With Music CD, Whine Less, Breathe More, that can be downloaded from http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/Yogagurl

Yogagurl™ recently teamed up with Grail Springs founder and WISE leader Madeleine Marentette to breathe, and connect with nature and ourselves in the beautiful indoor and outdoor setting of the Grail Springs this past February 18th to 20th. The retreat was an amazing and empowering experience for all. Alex is known for her summer monthly inner goddess retreats where she takes a small group of women up north and playfully illustrates through yoga, hands on food demos how to make daily rituals and habits that make lifelong habits of health and wellness! You leave with your own mini recipe book! She has led retreats internationally in Hawaii and abroad as well as at various private locations. Perhaps you’ll see a retreat with AYA Life in the future! In the meantime check her website for updates.

When discussing the idea of Yoga as a trend “I think it’s great that more people are doing yoga which means they are finding and achieving their balance and becoming more in tune with themselves.”says Alex. This is definitely a woman who is geared to sharing her insight and knowledge to empower others and personally I look forward to the days that I can spend on regular basis in her energy. Take the time to try out a yoga class with Yogagurl™, Alexandra Leikermoser and your world will seem so much more peaceful and you will be on the path to be better in tune with your life. Alex is making it easy for us to try our first class at her studio until May 15th,2011 and  bring a friend to yoga and your friend is complimentary! RSVP today and come and experience Yogagurl™ at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto: http://www.yogagurl.com/schedule.pdf

Coming soon take your mom to Yoga on Saturday, May 7th, 2011 for this upcoming Mother’s Day!

Namaste

TraveliciousDee

Join Us on our new adventure…Words N Wisdom with Dwayne Morgan

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This Trip has now been postponed until November 2011….Look for updates soon!!!

Words N Wisdom with Dwayne Morgan May 14th – 21st, 2011

Includes:

  • All Inclusive 7 nights accommodation at the Iberostar Costa Dorada
  • Return airfare and transfers from Toronto
  • Workshops, performance,writing materials,2 excursions,volunteer experiences and publication in E-book
  • Two Suggested Excursions (weather permitting):Mount Isabel de Torres & Pico Isabel de Torres (Cable Car) plateau similar to Brazil Christ Statue atop as well, with amazing views and Damajaqua Cascades a series of waterfalls (27 Waterfalls)

Click below for a more detailed itinerary and keep checking for more updates or email us directly or call 647-347-6693.

Words N Wisdom

Micato Safaris – A Pinto Family Affair That Warms The Heart

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A while back I asked for a review of an amazing experience I wish I could have been a part of because well – time and planning are ever crucial when going to Africa and who better to ask then another passionate traveller and Vice President, Norm Feferman, of my affiliate agency, New Wave Travel.

Norm Feferman’s Experience in Africa with Micato Safaris

Micato is very proud to have been named “World’s Best Tour Operator and Safari Outfitter” by the readers of Travel+Leisure an unprecedented 7 times! The Pinto family has lived in Africa for several generations and run safaris for the past 2—actually 3 generations, if you count the young Pinto grandchildren who are already experienced safari hands! Suffice it to say that Micato has a long family history of safari, and of treating guests, as Travel + Leisure put it, as “well-loved, out of town relatives.”

#1. Name the top 3 things about your experience with Micato Safaris?

#1    Service excellence. The Micato experience starts from the moment you make your reservation. The pre trip planning is extrodinary: from guide books, a DVD (Out of Africa), reading material, gifts, and even a duffle bag for travelling. They were in constant contact to answer any questions you had.

The Micato team made this trip personal.  With photos of the family, an invitation to have cocktails and dinner at the Micato family home in Nairobi and their ever presence during the stay.  The properties we stayed at were the best of the best, and because we were Micato guests, we experienced a special warmth and hospitality.

#2. Would you do the trip again? Would you add more or less to the experience?

#2 On-site excellences.  From the moment you arrive in Nairobi, you are greeted at the airport and your luggage magically gets into your transportation to the hotel.  You are greeted with both car and driver and a tour escort.  In a matter of minutes you feel comfortable (even after a very long flight).  Arrival at the hotel and check in is seemless.  You are escorted to your room in minutes.  In your room, once again, a welcome gift, and a refreshment.

Next morning, is the Micato briefing, a day at leisure, then the following day-the safari.  Each jeep has a driver and licenced guide.  Vehicles are stocked with ice-cold water, soft drinks and beer.  And a selection of dry snacks.  Only 4 guests to a 6 passenger vehicle, so you have lots of room for extra clothing and camera equipment.

Guides are well educated and exceptionally knowledgeable about the history, culture, language, flora and fauna, and most importantly the Big 5 animals we are about to find and photo.  Because all the jeeps communicate with each other, if one spots a leopard, for example, the others will redirect to that place.

The guides are most eager to share their knowledge and they have some facinatinating stories about what they have seen and experienced.The accommodations used by Micato were excellent: the Fairmont Norfolk in Nairobi, the Fairmont ‘tents’ at Masai Mara, and the historic Fairmont Mt. Kenya Safari Club which sits on the Equator.

#3. Who would you recommend this type of travel experience to?

#3. Micato cares about the poor. They partnered with AmericaShare to build a school and create a food program in the Mukuru slum just outside of Nairobi. In a country struggling with AIDS and disease, there are over 100,000 children orphaned or living in abject poverty.  Micato has been a leader in trying to help educate as many on these children as possible, most between the ages of 6-13. to enable them to get jobs and find new opportunites outside the slums.

And they have been successful.  Micato also makes a donation to the Mucuru Project on behalf of every guest they have.  And, through AmericaShare, match all donations made by guests.  It is a truly amazing effort:  I was there, at the school, feeding the children, seeing the slum conditions and leaving, thinking how blessed we all are for what we have.

Would I do this trip again?

Yes: I would go in a second. This is truly a life experience and each day, you see diffferent things.  I might just be something simple like an elephant staring into you eyes.  Every day is a diifferent and wonderful experience.  My only regret is that we did not plan to stay longer on safari and visit the other areas of Kenya and Tanzania

Would I recommend this trip?

 This trip should be in the top three on the “Bucket List”.  It will change your life: inspire you, help you understand your relationship with nature and this planet. and evoke the best feelings inside you. 

The Pinto Family & Their Sustainability Ethos – The Pinto’s respectfully and proudly takes a stewardship role in the land they love. They are committed to protecting Africa: the breathtaking landscapes, the remarkable creatures and cultures. The Pinto Family wants all future generations—including the many generations of the Pintos to come—to experience the wild beauty & incredible awe and majesty of the land they call home.

How they give back:

Micato’s new initiative One for One Commitment, 1 book = 1 child’s education

http://www.micato.com/about-micato/how-we-give-back/one-for-one-commitment/

AmericaShare is changing outlooks—and lives—in the slums of Nairobi

http://www.micato.com/about-micato/how-we-give-back/america-share/

Harambee Centre for Women and Children built by Micato Safaris and AmericaShare and a generous donation from Micato travellers Bernard Wharton and Jennifer Walsh

http://www.micato.com/about-micato/how-we-give-back/harambee-centre/

 Lend a Helping Hand on Safari Program

http://www.micato.com/about-micato/how-we-give-back/lend-a-helping-hand/

Download the current brochure for these amazing, life-changing experiences from Micato Safaris here: http://www.micato.com/images/stories/pdf/MicatoBrochure2011_02.pdf

Haiti – A Year Later…

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One year since Haiti’s tragic earthquake and is it still top of mind? Do you know what is going on in this ravaged country? Last night I had the chance to have a special viewing of the W5 Documentary on Free The Children’s efforts and specifically the interaction between the inspiring Craig Kielburger who travelled back to Haiti with actress and humanitarian Mia Farrow, to see first-hand how the country is recovering. This was the 3rd or 4th time I had watched this documentary since it aired and finally I could watch with somewhat drier eyes as I knew that I personally was taking action to create a project from passion and want to do something long with more permanence to help a nation I have grown attached to. When you feel like you must do something so deep in your soul, you need to action it and having someone inspire you to pursue that action even more…well there are no steps backwards…only forward and my heart and soul are aligned.

http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/WFive/20101230/w5-haiti-a-year-later-110101/

  As the most impoverished nation in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has been plagued for decades by political instability, devastating poverty and as we now now, natural disasters. The earthquake of 2010 left Haitians in a very desperate need of immediate international support.

Fast forward to today – the need still continues, with the attention that now needs to be turned to reconstruction of this country over the many years to come. Truly the support of the global community is going to be the only way to promote sustainable, long-term development, and will assist the Haitians be freed from the cycle of poverty they now endure in their country.

Free The Children has and is working in partnership with communities in Haiti to create new opportunities for education by building schools and implementing other programs that empower the community. The power for growth and revitalization will come from the children, the most resilient of us all.

I was fortunate to actually meet and speak with Craig himself and his fantastic right-hand gal in Haiti, Erin Barton- Chery and her husband Lucas Chery. My first question to Erin after the presentation was “How do you decompress?” The initial answer – an unwavering smile with the realistic eye contact telling me “when you are immersed in it, you live it.” This couple is so invested in ensuring they do their part to make, impact and to action what needs to be done with what they have to work with. As Lucas said to me “we work to make it happen” and truly how can that not be more accurate when your heart and mind is in the right place.

Erin Barton-Chery and I at MeToWe Store Toronto

  I was so warmly welcomed for my interest and passion towards my own project with my company, AYA Life that is soon to launch to take place in May 2011 with my fantastically talented friend, local activist and social entrepreneur, Dwayne Morgan. The power of thought and then of follow through is guiding us to places with this journey we had our initial doubts on but now with the guidance of Free The Children and their fantastic staff we are “seeing the light” to propel us further than anticipated. With great partners like Air Canada and other alliances soon to be named we hope to do our little part in bringing the attention back to where it is needed, back to Haiti, to help those that we can and stick in for the long haul as we are so blessed to live in Canada.

Look for updates soon on this amazing journey Dwayne and I are putting together, bringing creativity and heartfelt passion with action and intent to bring as much aide as we can to the people of Haiti and to bring back ever-changed hearts and minds of all those who will be joining us on this creative and empowering journey.

Find out what you can do, add it to the resolution list of life! Let’s Make The World A Better Place – One Step At A Time!

www.aya-life.com

www.freethechildren.com