Sometimes in the middle of a busy Havana street with Old Cars and the pollution, I have to wonder if Cuba is the perfect place for true wellness and for wellness travel. My answer is always, “YES!”
Why?! I usually have to think about this, a few times on a trip. 🙂 It is a wild place where the conversations, music and colors are loud. So what is the health and wellness that always shifts and transforms our participants again and again?
When I was in my yoga teacher training, I would get frustrated that the bamboo floors and soft lighting didn’t calm me down residually. I could breathe in class. I could feel peace while I was practicing, but I would still feel stressed when I was out and about. And, then I would feel worse about being mad or stressed because I was supposed to be practicing yoga. One of my ex co-workers said during a deep frustration that I was experiencing, “It seems like that yoga is really working.” *Insert sarcastic grin
If we need our superfoods, 2 hour practice, and soft music to find the quiet place, we won’t be able to find it in a crisis and when we really need it. The goal is not to hold a 10 minute handstand and still be a ass in the rest of our lives. The stress about wellness and idea that health is a goal, is often making us sick. We will be loving when…happens. We will be ok when our bodies are stronger, leaner, etc.
This is what Cuba teaches me on every trip and this is why our participants often say that they see more beauty after our trips. There is a radical self love. A radical self-acceptance. If you are large, old, young, skinny, put on some lycra and dance. Love yourself. If your power is out, make your neighbors laugh so everyone feels better. Feel joy now and celebrate now, amidst the chaos and challenge. Eat the flan. Smoke the cigar.
Sometimes it has felt deeply meditative to go on a dusty hike in Pinar del Rio and smoke a cigar with a few cups of coffee. Sometimes it has even helped me to feel more well and more at peace than a traditional yoga retreat in a retreat center. When we can practice with each breath if it’s by a 57 chevy or a water feature in a studio, that’s where the magic happens.
Yes to the run, yes to the superfoods but yes to loving yourself and feeling peaceful when you are doing something else. We asked about who defines wellness with our latest post. We would love to hear from you about some of the unconventional health practices in your life. Please click here and enter share your magic in the comments of the picture with a couple smoking a cigar and dancing barefoot. We all benefit from the collective wisdom and making our definition of wellness, large enough to fit our lives and experiences!