We woke up early Saturday morning to prepare for our yoga and meditation session. The heat was already raining down from above as the sun made its way up. We prepared for another hot day. The gentle sounds from the ocean across the street have a cooling effect, if only mentally. Our 7:30am yoga class was exactly how a class should be when you attend a relaxing beach retreat; both gentle and invigorating. Lydia led us through a series of warmup exercises perfect for easing the body into movement for the day, along with some more invigorating stretches and poses and some relaxing meditation.
It feels amazing to start the day with yoga followed by a refreshing and invigorating healthy breakfast. All of our meals during the retreat were so simple, clean and fresh tasting. Coffee was also available for those of us with the craving.
Chinese calligraphy is an ancient and beautiful writing tradition, that is of course held in high esteem in the Chinese cultural sphere. It takes tremendous skill, control, and awareness to master, but is also seen as a meditative practice—many Buddhist monks will practice calligraphy for up to 4 hours a day as a way to improve their meditation abilities as well as their calligraphy skills. Lydia led us through a short guided course in calligraphy and we learned to write our names with grace and beauty; in intention at least.
Our trip to the herb garden was by far the one of the best highlights of the weekend. A master herbalist led us through a fascinating introduction to a variety of herbs and their fragrances and showed us how the addition of other herbs into our "bundles" worked to modify the scent and change it over time as we continued to add many other types to the mix. We were also given a very special "herbal reading" in which something about ourselves was revealed through a number of herbs we chose on our own. These herbs also became a delicious tea we were able to take with us.
Around the Garden
As we wandered around the herb garden we noticed something else special about the area; a fascinating and beautiful landscape of fields, gardens, and trees.
We headed to the beach to catch the breathtaking sunset and practice ocean therapy and meditation before heading in for a quick dinner and preparing to hit the luxury hot springs.
Unfortunately due to the private nature of the hot spring baths we were unable to capture many photos of our trip to the luxury hot springs in Yangmingshan mountain. Just one. But we can say, it was amazing, and the best way to end a long day, bathing under the stars. We slept like babies.