Jabulani Wellness Journey: A Healing Yoga Retreat

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Go on an inner journey using the healing energy of nature with Life Coach & Yogi, Denise Sohandev.

Reconnect to yourself through nature at an intimate Jabulani Wellness Journey tailored to foster connection, peace and restoration in the home of the elephants. This experience includes the wisdom of the elephants, ancient yogic practices, transformational breathing techniques, silence and intentional rest, massage, mindful eating and fire rituals.

Book now as space is limited: res@jabulanisafari.com

Meet our Wellness Retreat Leader, Denise Sohandev in this Q&A

Please tell us a bit more about yourself. What inspired you to start teaching yoga? And what processes do you follow as a life coach to help people transform their lives?

I worked as an executive assistant in the financial sector in London for 8 years. I was in my 20s and it was a fun and exciting place to be but I could feel the toll it was taking on me, physically and emotionally. And when I looked around at my colleagues, working long hours under stressful conditions I knew this wasn’t the life for me. I was doing yoga to support myself at this time and when I decided to move back to South Africa I knew that I wanted to help people live fuller, more meaningful lives. I went to India and trained as a yoga teacher and a few years later I studied to become an NLP Master Coach. My passion is the body and using the coaching alongside the yoga gave a new dynamic to what my clients were able to achieve. This fascination with mind-body connection led me to the work of Gabor Maté and I eventually trained in his technique of Compassionate Inquiry. Using these elements my clients are able to heal themselves from the bottom up, using the body to understand themselves physically and also, crucially, mentally and emotionally.

What are the goals of the retreat? What will participants learn from this personal journey?

The purpose of this retreat is to take some time out of the norm to get to know yourself a little better. Instead of focusing outside of yourself, turn your attention inwards and see what lies within.

Do you think this kind of wellness journey is necessary in the current times we are living in? Why?

Contemporary lifestyles are all go go go. We are constantly bombarding the mind with stimuli from work, family and other commitments. And even when we are in “downtime” we are so often in front of a screen or just getting things done. This retreat is an opportunity to step out of the busyness and to notice what we are carrying. What are the coping mechanisms I employ to make it through the average day? Once I understand what I’m doing and why I’m doing it I can start to do things more consciously. Taking the tools from this retreat into my everyday life.

How do you incorporate the wisdom of the elephants into the retreat?

Elephants can’t help but inspire awe and wonder and yet there was so much else to be learnt from these majestic creatures. Elephants are curious, they have incredibly heightened senses and wonder through the world with the curiosity of an infant exploring the world for the first time. Everything they pass is something to be explored, smelt and observed. Their commitment to community is something that has been lost from contemporary society. We’ve forgotten how to ask for help, how to protect the vulnerable and how much we gain from leaning into each other.

I was awestruck at how the herd moves at the pace of the youngest. When the littlest members of the herd need to stop and play everyone stops and waits for them. Which brings me to play, elephants play. They frolic. They enjoy life. Watching the herd at Jabulani frolicking in the water reminded me of how long ago it was that I frolicked.

Elephants are intuitive, they sense what’s coming and they don’t doubt themselves. I read a story once about a rescued herd, when their rescuer died unexpectedly 100’s of kilometres from their reserve, they gathered near his home. And every year after that they gathered to remember him. The compassion intuition and compassion that elephants show towards each other is something we can all learn from.

And finally elephants are graceful. These enormous beasts tread so lightly that they are able to sneak up on you in the bush. If an elephant with all its bulk can tread lightly through the world, respecting their environment then surely we can find a way to do the same.

Being in the African bush can be a journey of senses – how do you integrate nature’s role in our lives into your work and into the retreat?

Getting out into nature is a vital part of being human but something we get less and less of an opportunity to do. Being in the African bush gives us the opportunity to hear, smell, see, taste and feel life with the curiosity of a small child learning to navigate the world for the first time. We use the bush as a tool for transformation. Which may mean leaving the camera behind from time to time and experiencing life through our own senses fully and completely.

What is the benefit of mindful eating?

Mindfulness is the action of being present. When we are present to what we are eating we are able to do so with gratitude and love. Nourishing the body rather than just feeding it. If we are mindful of our food, we become mindful of our thoughts, if we are mindful of our thoughts we become mindful of our actions. One leads to the other.

What is a fire ritual and how does this help us with our inner journey of getting to understand ourselves better?

In many cultures fire carries the symbolism of cleansing. When I think of fire I always think of the African bush fire. It passes through seemingly causing destruction and a few days after the fire has passed, the ground is blackened, it appears to be dead and then we see tiny, succulent green shoots weaving their way back into life. At a fire ritual under the African night sky we offer to the fire that which we are ready to let go of. This symbolically creates space within us for those green shoots to come back to life. A fire ritual under the African Sky is an opportunity to start fresh.

How do you include intention setting in the retreat? How does one apply this to day-to-day life?

Carl Jung said “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

Intention setting allows us to consciously create our lives in a way that keeps us in the drivers seat. We will learn about setting intentions that leave a little space for the magic of life. Goal setting can be limiting in certain circumstances, we will tap into our intuition so that we know when to keep going and when to let go. A skill that serves us so beautifully in our daily lives.


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