Disclaimer: I’m a hardwired introvert. As a child, my solitary tendencies were so severe that they led me to avoid school events, birthday parties, and especially (gulp) team sports. Fast forward 30 years, and my reserve has eroded into a softer, more socially acceptable version. I’ve still been called “distant,” “hard-to-know,” and—one of my personal favorites—“pleasantly reserved,” but I now traverse the meandering path between poised conversationalist and social escape artist.
“The beginner’s mind is the mind of compassion. When our mind is compassionate, it is boundless.” – Shunryu Suzuki
Everyone, even airport managers, recognizes the stress flying generates these days. In their quest to improve the customer experience, some of them have opened dedicated yoga rooms. Instead of striking the warrior pose in the waiting area amidst staring travelers, you now have a quiet space to center yourself.
It’s been one week since I returned from my amazing three-week vacation in France. It was both everything I had hoped for and so much more than I could’ve ever expected. There are so many aspects of my trip that made it special—from being in a country I love, spending time with one of my best friends, to the endless lazy days spent on the beach drinking rosé. But the true gem of my trip was what all of these things offered me, and that was the gift of space.
France is my happy place. I don’t know if I can even describe it, but France just has a certain je ne sais quoi that makes me feel at home.
Signing up for a yoga retreat can be one of the best gifts you can give yourself; or, according to some online reviews, your time away might become your worst nightmare. To make sure that spending time practicing yoga in another environment is a positive experience, visit “Is a Yoga Retreat Right for You?”
A guest post from Jenniferlyn (JL) Chiemingo of The Travel Yogi.
Oh sweet bikini, I love you so much. You are now faded and sand-worn and it’s time to retire you. I don’t want to let you go because you hold so many memories; memories of great beaches, experiences, and even crazy close-up animal encounters. I have grown and changed while wearing you. I have laughed and cried while wearing you. These experiences reside in my heart, but I still associate them with you.
Standing in the presence of the unbelievably immense, monolithic slabs of stone in Zion National Park is an experience that is not soon forgotten and, I’d argue, even spiritual. Gaze up at those massive sandstone cliffs as you hike The Narrows and you’d swear you’ve entered an alien world where 2,000-foot-high gods of rock rule. If you’re brave enough, you can even trek on the shoulders of those gods, by walking on the aptly named Angels Landing Trail. And since 84 percent of the park is designated as wilderness, there are scores of other spots where you can commune with nature and find solitude.
But now imagine that you’re in Zion walking that precipitous pathway — with sheer drop-offs on both sides — and a drone buzzes close by your head. Not only does that distract you and make you feel unsafe, it suddenly changes your great outdoor and unplugged experience.
Similar scenarios in our national parks have caused some of them — including Zion National Park — to ban drone use. While some applaud the move, others feel that their preferred way to photograph the parks is being unfairly singled out and prohibited. But is attaching a camera to a drone truly similar to other forms of photography?
On a wild, remote island in Lake Superior called Isle Royale, gray wolves have lived and thrived for more than 60 years. In the forests on this island — which encompasses the majority of Michigan’s Isle Royale National Park — a wolf population that grew to almost 50 individuals once contributed to a biodiverse, healthy ecosystem.
In recent years, however, the number of wolves on Isle Royale has plummeted. In 2009, scientists from the Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale project — begun in 1958 and now the longest continuous study of a predator-prey system in the world — documented only 24 wolves living on the island. As of February 2014, that number had dwindled to nine — the second lowest total for the island ever recorded.
Some blame climate change for the decrease. Others say it is just the natural order of things for species to come and go in a particular area. But whatever the cause, the question for the future health of the island and the park is: should we intervene to save Isle Royale’s wolves?
Wildlife conservation campaigns often focus on the needs of endangered species, asking you to donate money in order to save their habitats, fight poaching of them, stop illegal trade in them or build refuges for them.
But at a recent seminar at the Royal Anthropological Institute in London, Professor Catherine Hill of the city’s Oxford Brookes University suggested that such campaigns may be doomed to fail unless an added, important issue is addressed: the attitudes and feelings of the people who live in the threatened species’ ranges.
According to the results of a recent study conducted by Dr. Hill, residents of communities in Uganda felt that they were being treated as though their lives were worth less than those of the animals that surrounded them.
Can conservation efforts, then, no matter how well intended, ever succeed if the local populace feels that their needs come second?