A walk in the forest. Watching waves crashing against the shore. Breathing in deeply just after the rain. That golden hue before sunset.
The Greek physician Hippocrates said: “Nature itself is the best physician,” and his wisdom rings even more true today. Humans have evolved in communion with nature – indeed, we were never separate from it, despite today’s buildings and computer screens that seem to suggest otherwise. It is this very suggestion of separation that makes intentional connection to the natural world that much more crucial to our health and well-being today. It is easy to underestimate the benefits or forget to get outside regularly, but the latest research shows that taking the time to forest bathe or bask in the effects of blue mind (the calm, meditative state which comes from looking at or experiencing bodies of water) has numerous measurable benefits. From boosting the immune system, mood, energy levels, focus, and sleep quality; to reducing blood pressure, stress hormones, and symptoms of depression, the answer is clear – if you’re feeling caught in a pattern that doesn’t serve you, going for a walk can help calm the mind, connect to the rhythm of life, and maybe offer a shift in perspective that will get you out of that negative cycle. Even surrounding your indoor space with plants can boost mood (and productivity), offering a way to reap the benefits throughout our daily lives.
Many indigenous cultures practice animism – the belief that we are all part of a spiritual ecological system, that the world is vitally alive, and that there is a consciousness that underlies all things. In particular, animists believe that all of nature – the trees, the mountains, the earth – has a conscious spirit. There may be more truth to that than we think. On a macro-level, our planet is a living, breathing, interconnected organism that is – depending on your definition – vitally alive and conscious. Just as the collective living cells, bacteria, and other organisms in our bodies form a complete whole made of up individual, constantly interacting components, so too do all living things on the planet form a “whole” – a complete ecosystem that is continuously interacting with and reacting to its various component parts. Humans represent a significant part of this whole, and separating ourselves from it – physically and mentally – is detrimental to our health, and the health of the whole. We have evolved in a two-way relationship with the rest of our planet, and the further we disconnect, the worse it is for the well-being of all. Conversely, when we connect with the rest of life, it is there we can find the soul-lifting and powerful communion that many of us desire and spend much of our time and energy trying to find.
In the Taoist philosophy, one often seeks guidance and inspiration directly from Nature, through the quiet observation of her truth in action. A Taoist approach towards dealing with volatile or heavy emotions (fear, guilt, anger, sadness, etc.) would be immersing oneself into natural surroundings and elements such as clean air, clean flowing water, plants and trees, sunshine or moonlight, and simply sitting quietly while practicing deep abdominal breathing.
Whether your approach is scientific, spiritual, or otherwise, Nature has your back! Recognized in many parts of the world as a pillar of preventative healthcare, we are pleased to advocate for this deeply healing medicine at Soltara. Referred to by National Geographic as “one of the most biologically intense places on Earth,” our center’s home of Costa Rica also houses more than 10% of the world’s wildlife (while comprising only 0.03% of its landmass!). Join us on excursions to one of the many local nature reserves, or enjoy the calm and expansive view of the Gulf from our sundeck. Among the various nature trails around our property, we offer an immersive experience connecting to Mother Earth and her awe-inspiring bounty.
The Gulf of Nicoya
Embrace the Blue Mind! Enjoy relaxing on the beach, swimming, snorkeling, or kayaking in the beautiful Gulf of Nicoya that is our front yard! Whether up close on our semi-private beach, or relaxing and taking in the view from the Soltara sundeck or your oceanview balcony, there is something about the expansive horizon and calm waves that is sure to inspire and soothe.
We are lucky to be surrounded by the mountainous jungle of the Nicoya Peninsula, a protected natural haven teeming with wild birds, monkeys, butterflies, and coati, among others. As such, all around our property are carefully tended nature trails where you can immerse yourself in the flora and fauna that comprise the unique ecological beauty of Costa Rica. You'll find nooks and crannies where you can take some space in quiet meditation, and perhaps a hammock or two!
Local Islands and Migratory Birds
Once mountainous terrain, the Gulf of Nicoya is an incredible example of Mother Nature at work. After a volcanic fault line plunged the land into the sea thousands of years ago, only hilltops remained to form the Gulf's many speckled islands. Today, the aquatic wonderland is a beautiful combination of marine habitat and coastal wetlands, dotted by its numerous protected islands.
Not far from us are several natural reserves with abundant hiking trails for all levels. At the end of each week, celebrate with your newfound community by joining us for a mild hike, and enjoy bathing in a cool, refreshing waterfall to round out your days of healing, medicine, and growth.