Alaskan Retreat


The Healing and Connective Power of Retreat

These days it seems like everyone is talking about the Mind-Body-Soul experience, whether they are seeking this out from experience, teaching it, or writing books about it. When our mind, body, and soul work in harmony with one another, we have a perfect recipe for optimal health. How someone decides to embark on this experience will be a journey of personal growth and discovery. One road we have found for ourselves and others to have a total Mind-Body-Soul experience is to go on “retreat.” 

The Meaning Of “Retreat”

Retreat, in this context, is defined as a quiet or secluded place in which one can rest and relax, or as a period of seclusion for the purposes of prayer and meditation. When you add nature to the mix of this experience, we allow ourselves to become more in tune with our true nature, our primal being; to shed the layers in which we have built around us because of cultural and societal influences and pressures. In essence, Stress! Stress is a major contributor to many aspects of disease and physical and emotional ailments. By removing ourselves from the rat race of life and learning how to better understand ourselves and others, we open new pathways for our mind and body to connect with our soul.

Is There Science Behind It?

Science is now catching up to what we all know to be true: immersing yourself in nature is good for your health. How long does it take to get a dose of nature high enough to make people say they feel healthy and have a strong sense of psychological well-being? In a study of 19,800 people, a group led by Mathew White of the European Centre for Environment & Human Health at the University of Exeter found that people who spent two hours a week outdoors, such as in local parks, green spaces, or other natural environments, either all at once or spaced over several visits, were far more likely to report good health and psychological well-being than those who didn’t. “It’s well-known that getting outdoors in nature can be good for people’s health and well-being, but until now we’ve not been able to say how much is enough.

Two hours a week is hopefully a realistic target for many people, especially given that it can be spread over an entire week to get the benefit.

– Dr. Mathew White

The study found a clear threshold though; a minimum of 120 minutes per week. No real benefits were found for those who did not meet that threshold. So there you have it! Evidence shows that getting outdoors is beneficial to your health and wellbeing. But how can we enhance this in a way that benefits our whole being, mind, body, and soul?

How Retreats Change Our Perspective

What if you invited a group of people to retreat from their lives for 4 or 5 days and in the process removed the constant stimulation of their external environment? This includes all of the subtle cues that remind them of who they think they are as a distinct personality? If you separated them long enough from the people they know, the places they go, and the things they do every day, they would be reminded of who they really are: unlimited human beings.” According to Joe Dispenza, in his book Becoming Supernatural, this has a direct correlation to becoming more heart-centered individuals, and by teaching individuals how to repeatedly practice and create this heart-brain coherence, this relationship can happen freely and proficiently.

Connecting with nature, with yourself, and connecting with other people is a powerful thing and can have many benefits for your personal health and psychological wellbeing. This is the heart of the Retreat. I’ve seen these changes in action time and time again; shifts in career paths, transformed business relationships, new outlooks for employers and employees, discoveries in how we communicate in our personal and romantic relationships, new approaches to how we live our lives through personal fitness and health, and even smoking cessation has happened. The opportunity for growth and change is limitless. 

We at Retreats Alaska are regularly reminded of how small and insignificant we are once we spend a morning gazing out at a 20,000-year-old glacier, miles away from the nearest building, and forced to reflect on how unimportant so many things are in our lives. Waking up in the morning and taking a dip in a glacier-fed lake amongst floating icebergs only feet away, feeling the sun on your skin as it rises over towering peaks has the power to put many things in your life into a clearer perspective.

Being able to listen to your body, recognize and be open to areas of improvement, whether it be in your personal or business life can do wonders for overall health and stress reduction. Combining all three aspects of mind, body, and soul is the ultimate restorative property that many of us are seeking these days. Whether the battle is currently raging or you have conquered that which ails you, going on retreat can be a perfect catalyst for further self-discovery and wellbeing.

Grounding and Heart Opening

Connecting to the earth is how we strengthen our relationship with it. Take off your shoes and socks, feel the grass, the rocks and allow the energy to flow through you. Wiggle your toes in the dirt. Clint Ober, the pioneer of the modern Grounding movement, in his book Earthing, speaks about how our physical connection to the earth is naturally anti-inflammatory and can reduce a whole number of health issues.

The earth itself is the original anti-inflammatory. And the planet itself is the biggest electron donor on the planet. Just imagine a mighty unseen calvary of free electrons, galloping up through your body from the Earth and mopping up outnumbered forces of inflammatory free radicals.

– Clint Ober

Ober continues, “Electron deficiency, created by a lack of grounding, is eliminated and a healing process unfolds. The inflammation, sickness, and pain in your body are but a manifestation – in large part or small- of an electron deficiency. The remedy is as close as the Earth you live on. When we can do all of this in the presence of others and allow our hearts to open, listen to our bodies, and learn to quiet the chatter in our minds, we become fully aware of how others feel and where we can all better serve one another, our families and ourselves. Being in this space is critical to overall growth.” 

The collective powers of a nature retreat focusing on the mind, body, and soul as a whole package, is undeniable. You will experience reduced stress, increased physical and mental health, improved communication, and feelings of closeness with yourself and with others. You may also find new and lasting friendships with those whom you connected with on retreat. Human connection, connection to nature, and connection with our true selves; that is the healing power of retreat.

Learn more about Retreats Alaska here.


Disclaimer: The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any products or treatments mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult a licensed medical practitioner for medical advice.

At Innovative Medicine, we believe in transparency. We want you to know that we may participate in affiliate advertising programs pertaining to products mentioned herein.


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Meet the Author

Ben Lavigueur

Ben LaVigueur is a Backcountry Guide, WFR, UESCA Certified Ultrarunning Coach, and Founder of Pathways Alaska, LLC. Born and raised in Alaska and having spent well over a decade living in the Colorado foothills, the outdoors is truly where Ben feels at home. When he is not on the trail running, Ben also enjoys cross-country skiing, backpacking, packrafting, juggling and most of all- traveling and adventuring with his beautiful partner, Stephanie.
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