Namaste Retreat Amenities
"I like the idea of interactive experiences such as labyrinths and reflexology paths and Zen gardens. Interacting with these ancient paths in our modern times can bring peace and calm to the body, mind, and soul. Below find more information on each." Becky
A garden style unique to Japan, which appeared in the Muromachi period (1392-1568). Using neither ponds nor streams, it makes symbolic representations of natural landscapes using stone arrangements, white sand, moss and pruned trees.
Zen gardening helps clear the mind of the chaos associated with everyday life. The rocks represent mountains and the sand represents water. The patterns you create by raking the sand around the rocks will provide you with serenity.
A recent suggestion by Gert van Tonder of Kyoto University and Michael Lyons, of Ritsumeikan University, is that the rocks form the subliminal image of a tree. This image cannot be consciously perceived when looking at them; the researchers claim the subconscious mind is able to see a subtle association between the rocks. They believe this is responsible for the calming effect of the garden and is also made to have a quiet place for meditation, however their comments are speculation and not supported by Japanese traditions.
The labyrinth is a maze-like walking path, a sacred space, to think, gather your thoughts, ask for courage, etc. It is a place to look inward but to also survey progress and movement. It is a symbolic ritual that involves walking. Due to this walking as part of the ritual, Dr. Artress calls this a "body prayer." The labyrinth is not a maze, as mazes usually have more than one path, and the labyrinth is one path, winding around. You cannot get "lost" in the labyrinth. It has one path, that leads to the center, and back out. The general idea is to quiet your mind, and use the walking inwards toward the middle to think about releasing and letting go of things that are in the way of your health, progress, success, etc. Then when you reach the center, you meditate and pray and stay as long as you want, absorbing energy and gathering strength and peace. Then you take the path out, becoming empowered to make changes, yet this is also the path you took in, which is symbolic. You start to have a sense of growth as you come to the labyrinth with different issues, different things you walk in and out with.
Labyrinths have supposedly existed for at least 3500 years, and they come in both square and circular patterns. Most have one path in and out, which winds around towards the center. Ancient/historical labyrinths have been found throughout North Africa, Europe, India and Indonesia, the American Southwest.
Reflexology paths exist all over Asia, among other places; in China, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, and in the U.S., as well. Apparently in China, people walk on the cobblestone streets in a similar way to the way reflexology paths are functioning. Current reflexology paths in China are made of thousands of stones, in patterns ranging an entire block, laid out to walk on for healing. Some say the stones drive toxins out of your system, improve circulation, and bring peace of mind. These paths are similar to a good foot massage and can feel like the bottom of a riverbed.
In 2004, Bastyr Naturopathic University in Seattle, installed the first public reflexology path in the U.S. The University says using the reflexology path is preventative medicine, and they label the path the "Walk of Health." You can make your own reflexology paths in your backyard, at a local park, or even by just using different textured mats in your house! Read more about how to make your own reflexology path at http://www.reflexology-research.com/howtoreflexpath.htm.