Connection with nature
Updated: Jun 11, 2021
– with yoga teacher, holistic coach, nature lover and empowering force Caroline Willebois
A heart to heart connection, a story about a vivid soul who has helped me in impactful ways. I admire her a lot and wanted to share her and her knowledge about nourishing the mind, body and spirit. We share a mutual passion for food, healthy lifestyle, and learning from her has been a privilege.
Our first encounter is a pretty astonishing and funny story. August 2019 in a magical Estonian forest eco-retreat space. I was there to recharge and breathe in new possibilities. Caroline was there as a yoga teacher and to share her magic.
The morning we met had an idyllic atmosphere with birds singing and fresh forest air with a starting Yoga class. I was immediately connected to Caroline, as soon as I saw her. Once the class was over, I felt the call to go have a chat with her and say thanks for the grounding morning flow. But here come the fireworks!
The moment she gave her business card and I saw the name and logo, I paused and many thoughts started to connect, followed by a number of things said: “Elemental Yoga? Are you the Caroline? Do you know Isadora (our mutual friend who connected us)? The person whom I have blindly been talking to in Whatsapp briefly for future possible collaborations?” What were the chances… And Caroline responded: “Are you Birgit, the photographer?” “Heck yes I am!”. Wow..
You should have seen our eyes light up with the connection discovered at that very moment. The feeling was overflowing with joy and our loud laughter woke the entire forest! You could sense the celebration in that Yoga-tent. We clicked instantly and I’m so glad we captured a few shots of this unbelievable encounter just 10 minutes afterwards, having the feeling we’d known each other for a long time already. It still warms my heart whenever I see the captures we took that day.
Meet Caroline • a powerful guiding force! nature lover, free spirit, foodie, traveller, writer, yoga teacher, holistic coach.
Founder of Elemental Yoga Retreats. She is passionate about health, elemental wisdom, hormonal imbalances, energy work and regaining the harmony within mind, body and spirit as well as supporting people to reconnect with themselves and with nature. On top of that, she is a wizard in knowing how to change your lifestyle, find missing puzzle pieces\root causes and how to maintain it.
Raised in Tanzania and Kenya, a deep sense of respect for Nature was instilled in her at a young age. She is so much fun to be around, a person who has a very positive and lighthearted view on life but can also reach deepest layers easily when needed.
Having a space in Italy as well, she has been organising Elemental Yoga Retreats as a place for the soul to recharge through Elemental Yoga, nourishing food and laughter. Its mission is to give the visitors a nurturing, relaxing and fun getaway.
Mother Nature & Childhood
How does nature contribute to the balance in your life? Tell me more about your connection to nature.
'' Nature is my teacher, my medicine, my therapist, my religion, my nourishment, my daily dose of sanity. Yes, it’s a massive part of how I find balance in life! But it’s the conscious and mindful living with Mother Nature and her cycles which I have gotten really into these past years. Like making herbal medicine and sauerkraut according to the moon cycle, or listening to the wind rustling through the leaves and standing still for a moment to absorb their message. I believe there are always teachings and messages present in Nature, we just need to be present enough to see and hear them. So my connection to Mother Nature is also always growing, expanding. Every day I’m excited to learn more from her! ''
'' Nature reminds us that everything is perfect as it is. Everything unfolds in divine timing. The plants grow on their own terms, at their own speed, without rushing or comparing. ''
What was your childhood like? Describe little Caroline with a few words and tell me, what are your most cherished childhood memories?
'' My childhood was pretty special. Growing up in Tanzania and Kenya I was raised with a deep respect for Mother Nature and all her creatures. My mom used to encourage us to admire spiders and scary looking insects, appreciating the beauty and purpose of all living things. I grew up running barefoot and climbing trees with my older brother and sister. Little Caroline in a few words: active, bouncy, curious and very talkative! I was nicknamed Kasuku – the Swahili word for parrot.
My most cherished memories are going on camping trips in safari parks and spending a week at the beach in Mombasa each year. That was when we really immersed in Nature! Camping and then going on sunrise wildlife drives or spending cosy days snorkeling and drinking coconuts. I’m really grateful for my childhood. ''
How did you get immersed by holistic wellbeing and what sparked that fire within you?
'' Hmm I think I was already immersed in holistic health and wellbeing for years before I actually embraced it as my soul-work. But the spark was definitely going through my own health issues in my early twenties and learning how to heal myself through nutrition, supplements, yoga and meditation.
'' I did a lot of self-study and seemed to just naturally slip into a kind of coaching role for people around me struggling with similar things. ''
'' Teaching yoga happened like that too, I always did my practice on the beach and people just started coming to me asking for me to guide them. It’s like it found me, it just took me a few years to gather up the courage to quit my job and make the permanent shift to holistic coaching and running yoga retreats. That’s when my passion project emerged, after doing several trainings it was crystal clear I needed to combine all my passions for nutrition, yoga, travel and love of Nature in one place of healing: Elemental Yoga Retreats.''
Your ‘ahhaa’ moment in life?
'' This is a hard one since I feel each day comes with an ahhaa moment! Sometimes big, sometimes small. Yesterday my ahhaa was discovering a new use for cashew butter. But one of the biggest was the first time I really tapped into a meditative state and realized how much more is beyond what I think I know. Being filled with such humbleness. A feeling of blissful expansion and connection and love. The feeling and memory of that awakening moment is what encouraged me to meditate daily ever since. ''
''Also that magic is totally real. ''
You wrote so beautifully how you were called to write your first book and really embrace your own voice. Tell me a little bit about these feelings and how you felt once you held your very first written book? Congratulations again on your second upcoming book! So exciting!
'' Thank you ☺ I’m super excited to share Nature’s Calling this summer! Both books actually manifested in a very similar way of just knowing it was time to write what was going to be written. I would sit down behind my computer and the words would just pour out on the page. Often I woke at 3 or 4 in the morning and needed to jump out of bed to write. It often felt like channeling. It was such an intense creative flow and very personal journey.
When the book was complete, it felt exciting yet also scary to share. It’s like exposing a part of your soul in print. But the message and intention behind both books is one of supporting others in their journey. This helps me stay focused on why I wrote them and allows me to trust that they will find the readers who need their message. ''
When hit by self-doubt, how do you recharge yourself?
'' A long walk in Nature usually does the trick. But sometimes when the self-doubt hits hard I just allow myself to feel it, to cry or dance it out. I might roll out my yoga matt and just lie in Savasana or Child’s pose. I talk about it with a close friend or write about it in my journal, this always has a releasing and relieving effect. Then, when the self-doubt begins to soften I embrace myself with self-love instead. Accepting these moments has become part of my self-care routine, so I might take a relaxing bath or make something delicious in the kitchen to nourish myself.
'' I’ve learnt that it isn’t so much about how long you can stay balanced and confident, it’s more about how smoothly you can return yourself to a healthy, calm, self-loving state after having these inevitable moments of doubt, worry, fear, frustration or whatever else life throws at you. Developing more self-awareness and using my personal practices always helps recharge and realign me. ''
What is a skill you would like to learn and why?
'' Permaculture gardening. To grow my own food in a sustainable and ecological way, and perhaps one day offer yoga retreats that incorporate food harvesting and preparation. I feel so many of us are disconnected from the soil and land where our food is grown. This is where the reconnection to Nature can begin at a very personal level. ''
Of course, I could have asked a hundred more questions but that's for another time & story. I found these words on a post of Caroline's recently, I knew they were going to be the natural sign off for this piece and to remind us how empowering Spring really is".
'' Spring 🌼 The season of rebirth and awakening. A time of vitality and new life, as the sunlight lengthens and color returns to the earth's cheeks in blossoming flowers and sprouting leaves. It is the season associated with the element of spirit/space/ether, a mysterious element that expands into the unknown and invites us to have faith in new beginnings. As our energy shifts from the inward focus of winter, to an expansive vibration that welcomes new projects and plans...what is the spirit of spring calling you to create?''
Here’s to you, Caroline. Namaste.
Aitäh! Thank you! Birgit •