13 Jan My Favorite Eco-Village in Hawai’i!
Deep within the jungles of Big Island, Hawai’i lies a place of untouched beauty – the Hawaiian Sanctuary Retreat Center! This place has been incredibly healing for me. I came to Hawaii with the intentions of releasing some limiting thoughts and beliefs, energetic blockages, and trauma. That is exactly what I am currently experiencing. LOTS of releasing and crying. The Pele energy here (the goddess of volcanoes and fire and the creator of the Hawaiian Islands) is INTENSE. They say Pele either embraces you and or completely kicks you out. Well she definitely has embraced me… but she has made me face my biggest fears and suppressed emotions. There is no hiding from emotions here, which is why I am grateful to have had the experience of staying at the Hawaiian Sanctuary Retreat Center so I could integrate into this new. version of myself. I’ve gotten to know the staff and community extremely well, and I am grateful to call them brothers and sisters! f you’re looking for something transformative, few places on Earth can offer the life-affirming experience found here at the sanctuary.
A Rejuvenating Atmosphere
The Hawaiian Sanctuary Retreat Center is in the Puna district, which is home to perhaps the last remaining vestiges of Hawaiian culture. A large part of Puna is still undeveloped, giving you the opportunity to experience the raw, unrefined beauty of nature. Picture this: it takes about 30 minutes to get to the grocery store, you live off-grid on propone, wifi and service is limited, and there are wild goats, mongooses, boars, and tons of other wildlife…. everywhere! However, the sanctuary offers wifi to all guests, and there are no natural predators on the island so it’s very safe to hike on trails! This is a relief for me coming from Florida. It’s nice not to worry about rattle snakes, crocodiles, alligators, panthers, bears, and water moccasins! Yup… that’s a thing in Florida.
The Sanctuary landscape formed out of fresh lava flows; you can literally feel the Earth’s energy beneath your feet! #NEWEARTH
What I Participated In
Aside from peaceful recluse and uber-comfy accommodations (the tiny-home, off-grid cabins are SPECTACULAR!), the Sanctuary offers a variety of activities to enhance one’s personal development and spiritual growth.
I picked up so many new skills staying here, met some amazing people, enhanced my body’s capabilities, and discovered a facet of my personality that was previously hidden from view. That, my friends, is what detoxing and integration does.
1. Yoga Classes
Regular yoga classes happen Monday through Sunday at the sanctuary (I teach here, too!), and the sessions are open to guests, interns, and local residents as well.
The Hawaiian Sanctuary believes that a regular physical discipline is necessary to one’s well being and happiness, and their classes are conducted by only the most experienced instructors. I am SO GRATEFUL to have been selected to share my teachings here.
What I really love about the Sanctuary is that they focus on helping the community through their outdoor gym and yoga studio. Gyms aren’t really a thing here on the Big Island, which is actually super epic since people do all of their exercise outdoors, connecting with the Mana (spiritual life force energy or healing power). The word ” ‘aina” means “that which feeds,” and “maka ‘ainana”, a term for the common class of people, means “eyes of the land.”
2. Plant Aloha
Every week I had the option to attend ‘Plant Aloha’ – a free educational class on sustainable farming practices! The classes takes place between 9 AM and 12:30 PM every Thursday and involve practitioners employing various methods and techniques of farming. I learned about mushroom foraging, bee-keeping, Korean natural farming methods, and more! Every class starts with a Q & A after which participants are given a hands-on, sustainable farming experience guided by local and visiting experts.
The first is the regular type, where you book a room for a fixed number of days and enjoy all the activities they have to offer. The second involves special retreats organized by the sanctuary where participants sign up to a program offered by them! Hint- I PLAN ON HOSTING A HOLISTIC RETREAT HERE IN THE FUTURE! YIPPPPE!!! It will include permaculture, plant-based eats, yoga, earthing, star-gazing, bee-keeping, mushroom foraging, hiking, waterfall finding… and so much more.
4. Permaculture Immersive
The Sanctuary also offers a Permaculture Design Certifications (PDC). I already got my PDC from Florida Gulf Coast University, but this is a great place to come if you want a full on immersion. You’ll have the pleasure of working alongside a permaculture team, learning skills in nursery care, grafting, propagation, composting, and other sustainable farming practices.
And you can roam around the orchards and gardens on the 44-acre property, which is absolutely breathtaking. Earthing & soaking in the sights and sounds, bearing witness to the abundance of fruits and veggies simply bursting forth from the land. I love picking fresh soursop and surinam cherries from the treeeeeees!
The best part? The daily plant-based meals are made from some of the most exotic fruits and veggies, freshly-picked before meals and cooked in a manner to retain the freshness. #LivingOffTheLand
The holistic chef at the retreat center, aka my BFF Sabi, is dedicated to providing wholesome, nutritious meals. I’m talking organic, gluten-free, minimal ingredients, and she even does a raw vegan day every Wednesday! My personal fav is her raw carrot cake and carrot seed bread BLT. How amazing is it to know you are getting optimum nutrition while giving your tastebuds the kind of satisfaction you probably won’t find elsewhere?! It’s next level.
If you’re signing up for their AirB&B’s (you can use my link here and get $40 off your first booking on AirB&B), you’ll have access to the other events and amenities present at the sanctuary. You can attend their dance and hula events along with the regular yoga classes and sustainable farming sessions.
They also have a ozonated hot tub and UV infrared sauna that is magicallll. And there’s nothing like a hot bath or a steam session after a long day of intense physical activity. And if you’re an instructor like myself and you’re looking for the right place to host a retreat, the center even offers up their space so you can host your own event.
6. Bee Dance
Bee Dance happens every Friday between 7 PM and 11 PM, and it’s a dance event designed to fit the vibe of the place. The intention of Bee Dance is to bring together the community to promote a sort of ‘hive consciousness’, where everyone attending is in sync with one another. That’s what I’m talkin’ abouuttt!!
The dance is usually preceded by mindful movement like yoga, breath-work and qigong. These activities help to get in touch with the body, loosening up the limbs, and allowing you to explore a wider range of movement and fully immerse yourself in the dance experience. At these dances, I’ve danced like I never have before. It’s a sense of freedom I didn’t even know I could feel.
For those looking to occupy themselves in a wholesome, enriching way while focusing on growth, the sanctuary offers internships and work-trades.
As an intern, you’ll be required to assist with the permaculture and farming practices, provide guest services, and assist the kitchen with preparing meals.
Yes, the work is intense and challenging, but you get to truly connect with the food you eat and meet a variety of conscious individuals, many of whom may even become friends by the end of the trip. If you’ve got skills with media and marketing, you can even help out the sanctuary by promoting their efforts digitally!!!
In exchange, you’ll be exposed to a whole new way of life, where you’ll learn to live in a real community and to adjust to the moods, wants, and needs of everyone involved.
And, you’ll also have the privilege of regular yoga classes, snorkeling trips to nearby beaches, fresh organic food, and a beautiful, untouched landscape waiting to be explored. And you get to experience all of this in exchange for your time and energy (both of which will be spent on learning new skills!).
VISIT THIS PLACE, FRIENDS!
Whether you’re taking a break from the hectic life in the city, trying to reconnect with nature, looking to learn a new skill, or simply meet a few conscious individuals, the Hawaiian Retreat Sanctuary Center is the place to be. I cannot say enough about this place… it has changed my life forever.