In partnership with The Community Services Center, Parkbus Taiwan is hosting The Yangmingshan Yoga Retreat; a rejuvenating day when we can enjoy the sacred earth energy, the biodiversity, as well as the history of the mountain. Jaap Van Etten, a Dutch scientist, has measured that the subtle energy of Yangmingshan is similar to the renowned Energy City of Sedona, where it is conducive to deep healing and meditation. We will take this opportunity to bathe in the energy field to better balance our body-mind complex and strengthen our immunity.
We start the day at Juansi Waterfall Trail. It is a gentle hike with some steps for a total distance of 2.7km and 200m elevation gain. The trail is alongside a water channel constructed between 1895-1945. While taking a stroll on the path with stone steps, we can admire the spirits of the pioneers who developed the land for irrigation. Pay attention to the biodiversity and see if you can spot some flowers only local to the area.
We will also encounter a flight of stone stairs along the bamboo forest. Bamboo plants have long been a favorite amongst artists and meditators. Let’s try to breathe meditatively and connect to the quality of the bamboo. We stand straight with the spine and breathe deeply and thoroughly as if we were bamboo. With each breath, the air flows through the spine like a hollow tube into the base of the pelvis and then all the way down to the feet.
When we are approaching the Grassland, you might see some cattle which are part of an education center that shares the history of cattle grazing at Yangmingshan, whose operation has already ended. On this grassland with an expensive view, we will do some more stretching synchronized with breathing to further relax our body.
Upon exiting the Grassland, we meet the Earth God Temple. Behind the main temple, there is another Shrine made of stone dating from over two hundred years ago. Travelers along the trail often pray for peace and protection when passing by. We can also pay our respect to the Earth God before we board our bus again.
Lunch takes place on a mountain leisure farm. We will take in locally sourced and slow-cooked food for nourishing our bodies. Then we have free time to explore the farm and personally collect our favorite fresh herbs for making tea. Herbal teas are mostly known for their calming properties. Many are also packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that will improve our digestion and immunity.
Our afternoon session takes place on the farm. We will connect to our body through movement and breathing. When we connect to our breathing consciously, we also connect to our physical body and may notice our holding patterns and tensions. Breathing exercises can help to change the breathing patterns so that we can let go of tension and relax, or they can also purge out lethargy and energize the body.
At the final circle, we will have some time to share and integrate together. It is a ceremonial closure of our retreat. Then we can enjoy some tea and snacks before saying goodbye and heading home.