Ahimsa – the Key Principles of Wonderland that make for a Sustainable, Community-Based Life, by Franciska Bodnar
It’s no secret that the ancient practices of yoga, meditation, detoxing and fasting, underpinned by a balanced, plant-based diet, make for the foundations of remarkable vitality and wellbeing.
Wonderland Healing Center is grounded in philosophies and practices that lead their community to live a healthy and harmonious life, offering a supportive space and transformational opportunity for everyone, whether they be a part of the group for days or years.
So what are their key principles that make for a sustainable, community based life?
Ahimsa – Non Violence
The core principle that is at the heart of Wonderland’s ethics is: Ahimsa, which is a Sanskrit phrase from the religions of Hinduism and Buddhism, meaning no-harm or non-violence. Essentially, it’s the principle of not causing harm to other living things and beings.
Wonderland offers daily vegan buffets and 100% plant based meals. These meals are served not only with the intention to increase the health of their people but also as a leading example of Ahimsa, showing that a vegan lifestyle is the solution to reducing and eradicating the harm that the meat and dairy industry is causing to animals.
Do no harm to yourself or other living beings. Lead by compassion and embody the practices and principles that allow for the wellbeing of all living beings on Earth.
Samadhi – Union & Solidarity
Through the practice of meditation, blissful states of harmony and union can be discovered inside of one’s self that is referred to, in Sanskrit, as Samadhi.
Throughout Wonderland’s offerings, people and practices, Samadhi is ever so present and inspiring. The center is a supportive space that welcomes those who may be looking for a refuge from the often noisy world where Samadhi can be hard to find. Here, they are given an opportunity to connect to themselves and find solidarity within one another.
Satya – Truthfulness & Trust
Wonderland is a unique place that you’ll truly understand when you experience it for yourself. Staying here is not like a regular center where you simply ‘check in’, enjoy the offerings and then ‘check out’, but a welcoming world of its own that revolves around the principle of Satya, meaning to be truthful and therefore leading to trust.
Here, you are welcomed into a family space where trust and truth guides the way. You are trusted to do as you please and to speak your truth. A formal treatment, as often seen from resorts and centers is replaced by education on discovering, embodying and living your truth and finding trusted connections among a like-minded soul searching community.
Citta – Mindfulness / State of Mind
This is an important principle that encompasses a large part of the Wonderland experience. Citta, is another Sanskrit term that refers to one’s state of mind and thus our mindfulness.
There are members at Wonderland who truly dedicate themselves to sharing mindfulness in ways that are educative, explorative and experiential.
Whether you’re just beginning your mindfulness journey or joining their community to advance your practice, there are daily meditation, movement and yoga classes by highly experienced, inspiring individuals who have done the work themselves and are now committed to sharing the principles of Citta to improve and empower our states of mind.
To live by these above principles is to experience a life of health, harmony and community that is sustainable and attainable. Why? Because you’re choosing a path that is in alignment with your highest self. The one who knows that living in solidarity and truth, mindfulness and non-violence is the best that you can do not only for yourself, but for the World that we live in.
Come join us and experience a life led by these principles, together.
We all want to live, experience, develop, grow and share. But how do we do that?
What tools are going to help us live a balanced life – to live our full potential?
Wellness activities are a combination of experiences through: Health, Mindfulness & Spirituality (Mind, Body & Soul).
There are constantly new activities and techniques being developed, but which ones are a must to try?
Which ones, with the right guidance, will give you that empowering experience?
Here are 5 activities that will for sure give you a fresh perspective on yourself and life:
1. Animal flow – Alternative movement style combining body weight transitions and functional mobility. Inspired blend between martial arts and yoga.
2. Inner dance – A music-based journey, taking you into expanded states of consciousness. As you move through the sleep cycles (otherwise known as The Circadian Rhythms) you will come into REM. It’s like you’re conscious dreaming, allowing you to access different levels of your being.
3. Yoga Nidra – A yoga meditation technique that allows us to relax, recharge, rejuvenate and awaken higher consciousness.Yoga Nidra is done in Corpse Pose (savasana).g.
4. Sound healing – We create vocal sounds in order to experience sound and it’s healing effects. This simple yet powerful technique is accessible to everyone regardless of vocal ability, and allows you to immediately experience the effects of sound on your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.
5. Rebirthing – During the guided breathing practice, you may relax into an expanded state of consciousness, allowing all sensations, feelings and emotions to flow, which can result in release, processing or resolution. Everyone experiences things in a different way.
Therefore these 5 activities were chosen by trying to mix and match as many diverse activities to get a proper rounded experience.
Curious to hear how you feel after trying these 5 activities…
With her art she inspires love for animals and raises awareness about the impact humans have on different species. Through the connections they feel when they gaze into the animals’ eyes, she intends to awaken the viewer to how his or her actions affect the environment and animals.
What is body positivity?
Body positivity means accepting your body just the way it is–easier said than done.
We all know we should love ourselves no matter what our shape, size, age or skin color, but living in a heavy media-consuming world can make it tricky. We see the slogans: ‘beauty is on the inside’ and ‘love your body,’ but often other subconscious messages and social expectations overpower these.
We’ve all heard the proverb that laughter is the best medicine, and more people are beginning to realize that this may actually be true! Something called laughter yoga is quickly becoming a worldwide phenomenon.
What is laughter yoga?
In 1995, a family physician in Mumbai, India, Dr. Madan Kataria, wrote an article titled “Laughter – the best medicine”. Impressed by the findings of his research, Dr. Kataria decided to start a “laughter club” in his local community. Over time, and with the input of his wife, a Hatha Yoga practitioner, the “laughter club” evolved into a new form of yoga, one which integrated laughter and yogic breathing exercises: laughter yoga.
With so many styles of yoga on offer, it’s hard to know which to choose. The best way to find out might be to just try them all, but here’s a breakdown to help get you started. The word ‘yoga’ means ‘union’ or ‘oneness’ and is an ancient Indian practice involving physical, spiritual and mental practices. It can promote good health, wellbeing and help raise self-awareness and consciousness. Teachers often have vastly different approaches, even when teaching the same style. If one doesn’t work for you, then maybe try another until you find a class that suits.
A detox is a way of clearing the body of toxins. It can be hard to avoid toxins in the modern world–they can infiltrate our bodies in many ways such as via contaminated food, medication, and even cosmetics. These toxins can make it more difficult for your body to function properly. A detox retreat can help clear your body of harmful parasites, chemicals, acids, mucus and even negative emotions. Your body then has the chance to rebuild its cells: a fresh start, as it were.
Here at Wonderland Healing Center on Koh Phangan in Thailand, simply eating vegan food and doing yoga and meditation classes is a detox for some, but for others who choose to fast or limit their food intake, help is available throughout the whole detox retreat.
Don’t worry, we’re not here to tell you to go vegan but there’s no doubt there are benefits to a plant-based diet. Here are five reasons to give it a go:
1. Nutritional value
Taking meat and dairy products out of your diet may seem like you’re limiting the nutritional value, but that needn’t be the case. A vegan diet can offer all the goodness you need for a healthy life, especially with the addition of nuts, seeds, grains and legumes. Vegan diets can provide more fibre and antioxidants, plus a higher potassium intake. Plants contain nearly no cholesterol, so they can lower your risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol and decrease blood pressure. A plant-based diet can even work out easier on the wallet! Support your local greengrocers and get your seven-a-day for a fraction of the price offered at a supermarket.
2. Cancer prevention
Eating too much animal protein has been linked to heightened risk of cancer. Research shows that eating seven types of fruit or vegetables every day could reduce the risk of cancer by 15 percent. Seven a day may seem like a lot, but there are many ways you can slip some extra veggies into your diet. How about a casserole packed full of vegetables? Don’t forget both fruits and vegetables can be slipped into a salad – carrots, mangos, seeds, garlic, spring onions and more. Get creative and try out different recipes. Green juices and smoothies can also be a tasty way of filling up between meals.
3. Possible weight loss
Eating a healthy, plant-based diet can help you find your natural weight. With the modern-day emphasis on fad diets and fast weight loss, it’s important to find a diet that’s easy to maintain on a long-term basis. Diets are often designed to fail, if they didn’t, the diet industry wouldn’t make any profit from us. A vegan diet for most people is primarily chosen due to their ethical values towards animals, but it can be a healthy option for all, with the emphasis being on giving your body what it needs to be healthy instead of focusing on losing weight.
4. Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
Eating more fibre can help reduce your blood sugar. Type-2 diabetes comes from the body’s ineffective use of insulin and is caused by being overweight, poor health and lack of physical activity.
According to the World Health Organisation, the number of people (globally) with diabetes in 1980 was 108 million (worldwide) but it increased to a whopping 422 million by 2014. Type-2 diabetes can be avoided by eating a healthy diet rich in fibre, low in cholesterol, and keeping physically fit and active.
5. Better mood
Plant-based foods, especially those grown in organic soil, are the best sources of vitamins and minerals your body needs. Calcium is great for the nerves, while also keeping your bones healthy, and vegans aren’t missing out by not eating dairy so long as they have a good intake of soy, almonds, broccoli, chia and leafy greens. Omega 3s can help boost your mood and are in foods like walnuts, pumpkin seeds and spirulina.
The digestive system is known as our ‘second brain’ and can be the cause of many mood difficulties. Ever had a nervous tummy? Our stomach knows so much! Root vegetables, soaked grains, raw nuts and seeds are a great way to help your digestive system. Avoiding any kind of processed, sugary foods and alcohol will help too. Our stomachs have a lot of work to do, and anything we can do to reduce any difficulties in processing food, the better it will work.
A plant-based vegan diet may take some getting used to and will need some creativity when it comes to meals, but it can be fun! Why not invite some friends over for a plant-based ‘potluck dinner’? Get everyone to bring a dish and see what a wonderful, diverse buffet you end up with! For some great vegan recipes to start you off, check out The Vegan Society.
Wonderland Healing Center offers yoga and detox retreats on the beautiful island of Koh Phangan in Thailand. Our restaurant is completely vegan. Find out more here.
Written by Mel Ciavucco
Written by Aly Hazeltree
Rise and Shine
For some, a 90-minute vigorous Therapeutic Vinyasa Yoga class is the perfect way to wake up the body. For guests looking for an easier start to the day, there are plenty of gentler options to choose from, including a 90-minute Hatha Yoga class, Pilates or gentle Yin Yoga. All of our classes are suitable for beginners, with mindful guidance given by expert teachers on variations of poses, suited to all levels of practice. All classes are also optional, so you can build the perfect yoga retreat for yourself.
After class, guests can head to our restaurant for a delicious vegan breakfast buffet that offers daily favourites such as homemade toasted granola and dried fruits, fresh breads and spreads; not to mention a varied salad and fruit bar for those wanting to stick to a raw diet. Additionally, we add a daily specials dish, such as our renowned vegan banana pancakes and maple syrup, traditional Thai rice soup, or vegan shakshuka and turmeric bread. Our guests seem to particularly enjoy creating colourful chia seed and coconut milk breakfast bowls garnished with fresh tropical fruits, nuts and seeds.
1. Always have a phone with a local SIM card for making emergency calls and using the internet, and remember to keep it topped up. This has saved my bacon on many an occasion.
2. Take screenshots of map locations and hotel reservations in case the Internet won’t load or you can’t access email confirmations on your phone. read more…