Forest Bathing at Cabo Serai

“If you are quiet enough, you will hear the flow of the universe. You will feel its rhythm. Go with this flow. Happiness lies ahead. Meditation is key.”

Gautama Buddha

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Surrounded by lush tropical forest, rapidly flowing streams, rolling hills and cliffs that plunge into the Arabian Sea, Cabo Serai is an eco-conscious nature retreat in South Goa; a sanctuary that provides the opportunity to engage with nature through a truly immersive experience.

28th day of August 2019

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I wake up to the purple haze of dawn and the expansive sea stretched out in front of me while I fix myself a glass of warm water in my cottage. The sound of chirping birds is all the invitation I need to get into my walking shoes and head off aimlessly into the wilderness. No phone, no camera; I just take myself.

The tropical air and the scents it carries immediately captivate me. Walking by I start trying to identify the different scents mingled together with the saline smell of the sea breeze. Aah lemongrass! Jasmine, frangipani, mild fragrance of kachnar, cashew apples, dew on the grass, moist tree trunks, maybe lantana (hmmm.. I didn’t know we had lantana on the property. Must look for them and ensure they’re kept in check, I make a mental note. Lantana if not contained can take over the flora of the area and is considered a weed. I do love the flowers though. Absolutely gorgeous!).

With every step I see myriad colours of nature. Blossoming flowers, red laterite earth, blue sea and shades of the sky fast changing with the rising sun. I am blown away. I think to myself, “I see this everyday and yet everyday it seems as breathtaking as the the first time I saw this beautiful piece of paradise.” I am reminded of Van Gogh’s words, “If you love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” So true. Nature teaches you to recognise and appreciate the beauty of all things.

Wait! What did I just see? A flash of yellow in the cashew tree. A Common Iora. Woahhh, sunbirds too! An Ashy Drongo, Blue Faced Malkoha and in the distance a Brahminy Kite circling for prey. What a peculiar call they have, like that of crying baby but much louder. On a coconut tree trunk, a Lesser Goldenback is enjoying a breakfast of insects. A beautiful roufus Indian Paradise Flycatcher glides past and perches on a branch. This is heaven I say!

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Walking uphill, I reach the top of the secluded hill that Cabo Serai is situated on. Treading on, I reach the headland. I am surrounded by sea on three sides. On the right side I can see a long beach strip and to the left, the historic Cabo de Rama fort as it extends into the sea. The breeze is stronger here and its murmur is coupled with the sound of waves crashing against the rocks. Bliss absolute.

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It’s beginning to get warmer so I head down to the stream that flows through a canopy of thick foliage. Just listening to the sound of flowing water makes me feel at peace. A sudden long sound breaks my stupor. Not complaining, as it is the beautiful white throated Kingfisher. A very common bird all over India, its beauty is difficult to describe in words. Walking upstream for a short distance, I pause to listen to the stream and trees. They talk and you only hear them when you are silent. After spending a few moments in stillness, I make my way back downstream through our coconut grove towards the picturesque beach. Here I decide to get rid off my shoes and step into the water where the stream meets the mighty Arabian Sea. I kid you not, no coffee can wake you up like this crisp cool water flowing on your feet. I feel energised and ready to take on the world!

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A few glorious moments of walking in the water, I step on to the beach. Breath in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out. Slowing my breath, I find my spot on the white sand. Perfect for meditating. The immersive experience of the past one hour makes it easier for me to slide into deep meditation.

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I open my eyes slowly and take in the views. What better way to start my day, I ask myself?Can’t think of one. I walk back uphill and I am greeted by our adorable resident dog, Que Sera. We wish each other a good morning with hugs and cuddles. She follows me up and then realises that the langurs are here! From up on the trees they tease her and she chases after them. I leave them to their game and head to the restaurant. Once I reach, I plonk myself on a planter’s chair facing the sea. It is almost 9 a.m. and I lie back, completely relaxed. One of the team members brings me a cup of cardamom chai; they know what my morning fix is. Aahh, what a wonderful world!

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I have always been a wanderer. Nothing brings me more happiness than exploring the wilderness. We visited many wildlife sanctuaries and national parks as a family in my childhood and I always insisted on walking in the woods. My travels, through the years, have taken me to many jungles in India and a walk in the wild is one experience I never miss. While in the jungle, one has to be silent if one has to witness wildlife. So silent walks became something I indulged in frequently during my time off. A few years later, I read that the Japanese refer to this practice as Shinrin yoku or forest bathing.

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Many scientific studies have shown that forest bathing has an impact on your immune system by improving it. This is because of the various essential oils that trees and plants emit to protect themselves from germs and insects. Physiologically this experience promotes lower concentration of cortisol, lower blood pressure and pulse rate, greater parasympathetic nerve activity (that controls the rest and digest system of the body). Psychologically, it relieves stress, reduces the effects of depression, increases liveliness, is an effective tool in the treatment of attention disorders in children, promotes a feeling of wellness and positivity.

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So my walk this morning has inspired me to add this experience to our list of activities for guests at Cabo Serai. Forest bathing is an opportunity for guests to slow down, relax and connect with nature. A guide will accompany guests on these walks. It is advised that one doesn’t carry phones or cameras with them as this is a time to simply be in nature and bathe in the sounds, smells and sights that nature offers.

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Pictures in this blog were taken at different times of day, year and by different people but are all on the route I took this morning.

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For reservations and more information on the resort, contact,

Reservations Cabo Serai : contact@caboserai.com
+91 78878 82414
‎+91 74991 61229

Source – https://thewanderingparty.wordpress.com/2019/09/05/forest-bathing-at-cabo-serai/

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