Glamping on one of the most desirable pieces of real estate in the Caribbean is truly a luxury, but there is a far deeper purpose to our glamping wellness retreats. Right now, as we brace ourselves for a second wave of COVID-19 we have begun to appreciate the value of being outdoors, and how much we’ve become strangers to nature. At Wild Lotus, we believe that the best way to live longer, healthier lives is to re-wild ourselves by returning to nature whenever we can. That’s why nature based therapies are a core element of Naturally Wild Wellness retreats.
Nature based wellness - Space to breathe
In our previous blog we touched on the sound scientific evidence that proves the health benefits of coastal ecology and being close to water. But as we said, the beach is just the beginning. Our retreats are outdoors where we immerse you in nature, on both our stunning beaches and in our majestic rainforest. With a population of less than 100,000 people and with 22% of the land mass covered in lush rainforest, Antigua has plenty of green space to breathe.
Naturally Wild Wellness - Forest Bathing at Wallings Nature Reserve
Journey with us along Antigua’s Green Corridor, further down Valley Road and on to Fig Tree Drive, past quaint rural villages and up into the rain forest. Here we guide you to practice a Japanese eco-therapy, Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Bathing in English) and share your skills with the people of John Hughes village who are the stewards of Wallings Nature Reserve.
The Nature reserve is integral to the Naturally Wild wellness retreat. Here you can get away from it all and delight your senses taking in the sights and sounds of the rainforest. Take a long slow walk and practice the Japanese art of Shinrin-Yoku or forest bathing. In Japanese, Shinrin means forest, and Yoku means bath; Shinrin-Yoku, then, is the idea of immersing oneself in the forest’s atmosphere.
Wild Lotus had its first glamping site in Montserrat, where we pioneered tropical rain forest bathing in the Caribbean. Forest bathing has been proven to boost the human immune system by increasing the number of killer cells in our blood. Trees emit chemicals phytoncides into the air. These chemicals are designed to help them fight diseases. It is these same phytoncides that have this positive action on our own blood cells.
Donny Rousseau leads our Naturally Wild wellness retreats and is also our rainforest guide. Take a slow walk, or a long hike. Practice your yoga. It’s your time to unplug from technology and slow down. Forest bathing will bring you into the present moment to de-stress and relax you. Smell the flowers, taste the fresh air, look at the changing colors of the trees, hear the birds singing and feel the breeze on your skin. When you are intimately connected to the forest through all six of your senses, you feel restored and refreshed. The forest can bring you back to health and life.
Naturally Wild Wellness - Eco-volunteering helping you to make a difference
Wallings Nature reserve is the first community-managed National Park in the twin island state. Built in 1890 the dam was designed to hold 13 million gallons of water to supply the surrounding villages. Long since abandoned, the community has now taken ownership of this piece of heritage. Through volunteering their own time and expertise they have turned the dam and surrounding area into a historical reservoir, a popular picnic area, and a series of rainforest hiking trails.
Share your skills with local villagers in their ongoing quest to beautify the landscape, maintain the trails to make the rainforest accessible, repair the reservoir and re-build the trenches that bring water into the area. At the same time, you will be contributing towards an International case study, funded by the Cherie Blair foundation, to document how empowered women leaders like Refica Attwood, CEO Wallings Dam, can make a difference in adapting to Climate Change.
Transformative volunteering is a core element of our wellness retreats. Through immersion in mindful tasks, deep in the rainforest, we create space for participants to reflect beyond their own immediate circumstances and be guided to consider their potential to become increasingly pro-social human beings, with a greater capacity for empathy and connection.
…because life is all there is
Today, in the midst of a global pandemic that thus far has taken over 1 million lives, we desire well-being more than anything else. Here at Wild Lotus, we believe that in order for us to be well, the environment in which we live must be well. Naturally Wild Wellness is a skillfully curated experience that allows you to connect with local communities through a shared appreciation of the natural world and its healing powers. The energy this connection creates is joyous, it makes you smile.
There’s a new appreciation that possessing a tick box inventory of luxury items is not a symbol of a life lived well. It’s people and places that matter. If COVID-19 has taught us anything it is to live each and every moment as if it were our last. Stop, and smell the roses. Because, life is all there is.