Thank you President Kennedy

As a former Peace Corps volunteer, I honor President John F. Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his assassination. I am so grateful for his vision to create such an amazing mission and that I got to be a part of it. Thank you!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y2mZH1dVeA

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Traveling with Purpose – Part II – Quimixto

As I mentioned in Part I, there is a small town next door to Xinalani called Quimixto, which is also only accessible by boat. On our last morning at Xinalani, one of the men who works there that we had gotten to know well, and lives in Quimixto, invited us to meet him at 5:00 a.m.  to witness and be a part of the early morning mass that was being held in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

He was kind enough, along with some of the friendly local dogs, to escort us through the darkness along a small dirt path with only the light of our headlamps, across a shallow river where we saw enormous toads, and through the cobblestone streets into his quaint town. It was so picturesque; almost like a small Mexican village you would expect to see as a backdrop for a movie. I immediately felt drawn to this small town, and wanted to see more and learn more about it and its people.

 Quimixto             Quimixto Isais and India

A few gunshots were fired to wake everyone and call them to church. We were honored to learn about this town and its people. 

Quimixo Churchquimixto virgin of guadalupe

1. Limited Access to Education

We learned that there is no high school, so in order to attend high school, the children must take a boat to a neighboring town. Therefore, many do not complete their high school education. This is not uncommon in developing countries.

2. Limited Access to Healthcare

We learned that there is one small clinic, where a nurse from the city comes and holds clinic hours once a week.

3. Opportunity through tourism

We learned that in addition to a fishing village, Quimixto is a tourist destination as many come to visit it’s waterfall.

It has been my vision ever since beginning my journey with yoga and the launching of India Bee Yoga to design retreats that would be nourishing to our bodies, minds and spirits and that would include a service aspect to give back to the countries and communities that we visited. 

It is our plan to include a day of service working in the town and with the people of Quimixto in our retreat that will be held at Xinalani in 2015! Thank you so much for taking the time to learn a little about this town. I can’t wait until you experience it for yourselves!

Salud y Amor! ~ IB

Are you paying attention?

Good morning! Happy Sunday! It’s my favorite morning, because my husband and I wake up and watch Super Soul Sunday with Oprah and it “wakes us right on up!” 😉 It really does. We love it!

Speaking of waking up. I wanted to share a recent experience I had while resting on the beach outside of the jungle at Xinalani.

I walked down the beach with my sarong wrapped around my waist and my book, Yoga Wisdom At Work, in hand to find the perfect spot to rest and renew. It was a moment I was taking for myself to just be. Sigh. I found my spot. A place with soft sand on the edge of the trees with flowers and butterflies and oh so many sounds! I layed out my sarong, closed my eyes and and began to settle in. Buzz. Buzz. Buzzz.

What is this? Some sort of sand wasp was buzzing all around my head and getting particularly close. I lay my head back down and try to not be bothered. Buzz. Buzz. Buzzz. Wow! This little wasp was persistent. I got the impression that he wasn’t going to give up.

So, I sat up and took a look around. Oh! What is that small little hole in the ground close by? I wonder if that is where this wasp lives; his home. At that moment, I realized, this wasp was communicating with me! He was telling me I was a little too close to his home and he obviously was asking me politely to find a new spot. Because let’s face it, he could have just landed right on my cheek and given me a sting.

So, I picked up my sarong, and moved it only a few feet away from this small hole in the sand and sat down. The wasp flew over to the hole, crawled in and never bothered me again! It was a beautiful moment that we shared. It was not the first time I have had encounters with nature in this way, but for me, they are always magical. Nature and our world are magical!

I share this story with you only to point out that there are signs all around us at every moment of every day, and that nature speaks to us in this way. We are part of this system of nature; part of the whole. We are all connected. One. 

After this experience with the wasp, it occurred to me that many people I know would have immediately swatted the wasp, maybe even killed it. Other people I know would have jumped up screaming, scared to death. No judgement. It just is. You see, it’s our “knee-jerk” reaction to things that come in our lives. Our practice of Yoga on the mat, helps us to see these reactions and gives us the space to notice and if we want, choose to react differently; with more awareness, rather than automatically. live more from intention and less from habit

The wasp most certainly did not deserve to be killed. He was probably just protecting his queen and maybe soon to be off spring developing inside their home. And the wasp was not even scary. He was politely asking in the only way he knows how, “Could you please step away from my front door? You’re a little too close for comfort, and you are very large!” So, I obliged and we both went on sharing this beautiful space in time with relaxed awarenessThank you my little friendImage

Wishing you all a day and week filled with relaxed awareness.

xo ~ IB

Traveling with Purpose – Part I – Xinalani

You’ve heard me talk about showing up on purpose. Well, now, we’re traveling with purpose! Are you starting to see a trend?

I found Xinalani (pronounced she-nah-lah-knee), an eco-luxe resort that’s off the grid, over a year ago, in early 2012, while doing research of where I would like to host my own dream transformational yoga retreat some day. I even put together a Prezi presentation for this one-day-to-be dream retreat. Of course, I had no idea when this would be, but you see, I believe, we have the ability to create our experiences of life! I didn’t think much of this mock retreat after as I was busy putting together the final details of our wedding, which was held in Sedona, AZ on 11/11/12.

Around the same time, I also happened to learn of a woman called Kim Anami, when I was fortunate enough to stumble upon an article called “The 4-Hour Sex Date” she had written in www.MindBodyGreen.com, one of my favorite online newsletters. Well, c’mon, how could I not read that one! You’ve got to admit, the title is intriguing…and so is the article.

So, imagine my excitement, when I realized that Kim Anami was hosting a retreat called the “Orgasmic Enlightenment Retreat” at Xinalani right at the time of my husband’s and my one year wedding anniversary! We registered for the retreat, packed our bags, and hopped a quick flight from Phoenix to Puerto Vallarta! Why not? Life is about experiences! And those experiences that push us out of our comfort zones…well, you see, those experiences are the best! That’s when the real growth & magic happens!

When we arrived at the airport in Puerto Vallarta, there was a car waiting for us that took us to the port, where we boarded a small boat that would take us to Xinalani, as it is only accessible by boat! Doesn’t that just add to the adventure of it all!?

Xinalani boat ride arrival  I had no idea how beautiful Puerto Vallarta is! We were taken aback by the lush jungle covered mountains that came right down to meet the blue sea. We were greeted by some of the resident dolphins, and we just never stopped smiling during the approximately 45 minute boat trip!

When we arrived, this is what we saw!

  Xinalani arrivalXinalani Suite 3

Our home for the next week! I could already feel myself becoming lighter; at ease. Returning back to my natural state of being.

Xinalani private beach

One of the many life-changing experiences we had over the course of this week was the opportunity to swim & interact with wild dolphins. What I want you to understand is that these dolphins are wild and free. An organization called Wildlife Connection has a team of biologists that has been working with one of the three resident Banderas Bay dolphin pods for 16 years and have known some of the dolphins in this pod since they were born. They offer the opportunity to visit these fabulous animals in their natural environment and to participate in a research project that helps us understand and protect our dolphins.  Please do not contribute to capturing more dolphins! Visit them in their own environment because FREE DOLPHINS ARE HAPPY DOLPHINS!!! Watch video of our dolphin experience here!

Over the course of the week, we connected deeply with nature, nourished our bodies with meditation, yoga and delicious organic food made by our private chef, and absolutely fell in love with the people and essence of not only Xinalani, but the small town next door called Quimixto, which is also only accessible by boat, and just about a 10 minute walk away.

Part II of this blog will be coming soon with more about Quimixto!

Finally, I’ll leave you with this video farewell we were given from two beautiful hump back whales. 

Steve and I are working with Xinalani to design our own retreat in November 2014! We hope you can join us next year!  

Until next time. xo

Xinalani Steve and India

11-11. My wish for Veterans Day.

Today is Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2013. It is a day that we, as a country, have set aside to honor the men and women who have gone to battle and/or served to protect our country. Unfortunately, for many of our veterans, the war is within.

I honor this day, all of the women and men who have served, and the family of our military. However, I do have a hard time with war; and especially the lack of tools and resources that are offered to our current service members and veterans on healing and working through the inevitable trauma that war leaves in one’s body, mind, and spirit.

Soldiers undergo physical training before deployment, but they often lack emotional tools to cope with trauma.

The statistics available on the number of service members and veterans committing suicide daily and suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are staggering and heart breaking. PTSD can manifest as depression, severe anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks, anger and overall dis-ease.

Our country has chosen to treat many veterans with medication, but medication does not heal the wounds, and sometimes creates dependency, which creates more problems to overcome.

meditation is the medication

One simple and very accessible resource available now, due to the internet, that I hope you will share with anyone you know who may be suffering, is Yoga Nidra. At some VA medical centers, veterans take classes in Yoga Nidra, an ancient practice that resembles guided meditation. The technique uses relaxation and breathing exercises to deconstruct the thoughts and emotions which trigger PTSD.

“In combat there’s trauma and you feel helpless, and then you go to the VA and you’re on medication and you feel helpless,” said Lynch, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. “Yoga gives control to the vets, allowing them to take charge.”

Therapists suggest that yoga and meditation can be preventative measures, not simply therapies.

The definition of Yoga is ‘to yoke’ or unite. It is my wish, the we can work together to support our veterans in helping them to re-unite with their health and happiness that we all should have access to.

Below are a few links that give information on the use of Yoga Nidra as a healing modality for veterans with PTSD. If you have any questions or need assistance with finding additional resources, please feel free to reach out to me directly!

1.  iRest Yoga Nidra has been developed over the past twenty-six years by Richard Miller, PhD, a clinical psychologist, author, researcher and yogic scholar, and is uniquely suitable for a Western audience.  http://www.irest.us/projects/veterans

2.  The Give Back Yoga Foundation is committed to offering free yoga and meditation resources to veterans nationwide.  http://givebackyoga.org/

3.  Listen: To be guided into yoga nidra by Richard Miller, listen to the audio at:  yogajournal.com/livemag.

Most yoga studios offer complimentary Yoga Nidra to veterans. If you are in the Phoenix area, please join me for Yoga Nidra on Fridays at 12 Noon held at the Sunnyslope Community Center, located at 802 E. Vogel in Phoenix, AZ.                                                   http://phoenix.gov/parks/centers/sunnyslopecc/

One Day- Matisyahu lyrics – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sl9voSKJmEU

Donate $1, $5, $10 or more to Help Preserve the Amazon Rainforest!

“We are part of a bigger life — Mother Earth. We are cells in this gigantic body. Being at peace with one another is being at peace with oneself. We cannot hurt others without ultimately hurting ourselves. By spreading love and peace to everyone we know we can contribute to the peace and well being of the Whole Organism — Our Beloved Mother Earth.”  ~ Master Stephen Co

Help us preserve millions of acres of Pristine Amazon Rainforest, the plants & animals that it houses and protect the rights of its people! 

DONATE HERE NOW:  https://otmseva.fundraise.com/india-benedetto?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=f&utm_campaign=iqyz

I have committed to raise funds that will help to support partners in Ecuador who are strongly:

1. Defending Rainforest Ecosystems

2. Standing for Environmental Justice 

3. Reclaiming Indigenous Rights 

Please help out by donating however little or much you’re able. If you want to watch a movie tonight, I highly recommend a documentary called Crude, which may help you to understand more clearly what has happened and is currently happening in the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest. Thank you!! 

Where would you want to go on a Yoga Retreat?

Good morning y’all and Happy Friday! The weather is starting to shift and fall is in the air. This is just about the time of year when we start dreaming about visiting a beautiful sandy beach with crashing waves and feeling the warm sunshine on our face. Or maybe it’s just me!

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I’m so excited I can hardly contain myself. I will be visiting a Yoga Retreat over the next week in a Top Secret location. I’m taking a site visit to scope out the digs in hopes that it will be a perfect place to host my very own yoga retreat along with 10 other adventurous souls!

I want to keep the details private for now…HOWEVER – I can tell you that Yoga Journal called this location one of the 7 most spectacular places to practice yoga in the world!!!

These days, I view vacations differently than I did in my younger years. Now a days, I want to come home truly rested, re-charged and inspired. I want to feel good about my choices and come back feeling better than when I left; rather than packing an extra 5 lbs around my bum and a hangover.

This is the way to travel! Let me tell you, an experience like this can really be life-changing and transformational.

Hey, I admit, it’s not for everyone! Some people enjoy staying in their same ol’ routines of doing what they’ve always done and knowing exactly what they’ll get in return.

But, I’ve always been one to push boundaries, to explore, and see what else is out there. It’s worked out pretty well for me, but I definitely had to approach these experiences with:

1. No Expectations

2. No Attachment to Outcome

3. A Smile

The thrill of letting go and feeling FREE! It’s my favorite way to BEE! 🙂

Tell me – Where would YOU want to go on a Yoga Retreat? Please share! What’s your dream location, ideal setting, wildest dream for a week-long journey of soul exploration and self care? I can’t wait to hear from you!

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