As I’m reflecting on the Seven Senses retreat experience I had at Habitas Tulum, Mexico, last month, I’m reminded of the Forrest Hayes quote, “We have two minds. One thinks, the other knows. The mind that knows goes back many lifetimes. This is the mind of the one heart, of all things: the trees, the plants, the clouds, the rivers, the mountains. The more time you spend with this mind, the more you will see Spirit around you.” With a week in Mayan paradise, led by a duo of healers, surrounded by beautiful people, the ocean, organic food, and lots of fresh breaths, it was the perfect summons for a journey inward, complete with wafting copal and carefully curated vibrations and tones in daily sounds that bathed us.
I first met Eduardo Castillo at an event in Los Angeles, I was deeply moved by how he went out of his way to make everyone at the event feel at home. He is an internationally recognised musician and instrumental in the creation of a community for healers, creators, and big lovers in the world. It is no surprise then to feel this sense of community, of at-homeness, and of sincere welcome at Habitas Tulum where Eduardo is the co-founder, and they call it their “first home in Tulum.”
One of my very favourite things about Habitas is how subtle the luxury is. The grace with which the story of this property is told is artful. The façade is unassuming and private and as soon as you walk through the doors you are invited to take a deep breath and trust that everything will be perfect, and it is.
It was clear to me that the location of this retreat was deliberate and the magic of the pairing of a week of healing and learning in this paradise made it an experience like no other. Located on Tulum beach, near the Mayan ruins, there are five Oceanfront rooms, and the property is sprinkled with Jungle Rooms that measure 400 square feet and are made of canvas and palapa. Feeling completely connected to the natural environment, but at the same time protected from it – it was the best of both worlds. I shared my Jungle Room with three other guests for the retreat and we often commented that it felt like summer camp. The accommodations were ample, luxurious and beautifully Boho chic.
Our room had a main area with beds and space for our things and a vanity with a sink. The outdoor bathroom and shower was a refreshing, natural, experience with modern luxuries like coconut and honey organic bath products and plenty of hot water.
The front porch of our room was a cozy place to sit and read and our room was tucked perfectly on the property with a winding jungle path connecting us to the community spaces and beyond.
Experience Seven Senses
Led by Dr. Erica Matluck, the holistic healer and creator of Experience Seven Senses, this retreat is unlike any other I’ve ever attended. It is very openly an invitation to dive deeper into yourself with guided daily movement, sound baths, breathing techniques, community time, and reflection. The experience is crafted to encompass all of Erica’s wisdom not only as a licensed Naturopathic Doctor and Nurse Practitioner, but also as a Reiki master, yoga teacher, clairvoyant, and holistic healer with a lifetime of studying and sharing her gifts and wisdom with the world.
Erica’s partner Paul Kuhn, enhances the experience with his wisdom and expertise facilitating an integration of sensory stimulation which includes sound, breath, and mediation. Together, the two healers are passionately in their flow and co-create the space and experience beautifully.
The Retreat Program
Our days were inspired by the seven chakras and themes which we were invited to dive into. Every morning we were led by Erica in an hour-long vinyasa yoga practice followed by a sound bath and guided breathing and meditation exercise by Paul. We practiced in an open-air space, two stories above the main communal area at Habitas; with a memorable view of the Caribbean and a warm, sunny breeze surrounding us, always with the smell of copal welcoming us into the space and plenty of room to flow.
From savasana we were gently taken into a breathing exercise with Paul, followed by a delicious sound bath healing that inspired me to wander within myself in the most beautiful ways. The craft by which he played every single note and vibration was a perfect symphony and composition. Using a combination of live instruments seamlessly blended with audio tracks, the medicine of sound could be felt throughout my entire body and it left me blissed out for hours afterward.
Each session ended with a community circle for sharing and this was the most special part of the retreat. To sit in the community with other open-hearted men and women, they’re willing to dive and journey with courage and honesty, was something that left a mark on me. In a short time together we laughed, cried, screamed, lifted each other, and made great shifts towards the individual intentions we came with. It was incredible to watch Erica’s skill facilitating the group for healing on multiple levels – something she has many, many years of experience doing. I felt safe, loved, and fully supported in this environment which made all of the difference to each of us in this time together.
Each afternoon we were led into a guided mediation and more community time. We were invited to journal, reflect, wander, connect, question, and just be with all that we were discovering both in ourselves and in others in the group. With the ocean, ruins, beach, pool, and impeccably designed property of Habitas, we were surrounded by inspiration to breathe deeply and be present.
I loved learning that this experience wasn’t just about reflecting on where we are and want to be, and about listening to ourselves more, but about designing our lives moving forward to better suit where we want to be going. I felt like I left with a handful of powerful ideas for making daily changes in my life to live more intentionally and more connected to myself. These are practices that I still engage into this day.
Food as Medicine
I could write about the food at this retreat and Habitas Tulum all day long, it was absolutely incredible medicine. All-natural, locally sourced, and prepared with love by Chef Federico Cappi and his staff each meal – so much love that you could taste it. The menu at Habitas is full of locally-inspired cuisine and each meal we ate was a work of art. The pre-set retreat menu for the week included strictly vegetarian dishes with options for vegan and gluten-free dishes as well. The days of feeling like I was missing out by not eating meat were over here, Chef Cappi wowed us each time with his innovative use of local fruits, grains, vegetables, herbs, and flavours.
Among my favourites were the ginger yoghurt and papaya and coconut chia puddings which were served in small glass containers and the never-ending, piping hot skillets with mushrooms, squash, potato, grains, sauces, and flavours that were so savoury and delicious that it was easy to want to be overindulgent.
Our meals were served at one big community table which I loved, it gave us yet another opportunity to connect and also aligned with the Habitas Tulum philosophy. Several of our dinners were hosted on the beach around low tables of big slabs of wood on carpets with pillows and lanterns that cast cozy light. We dined under the stars in paradise and chatted about things that mattered to us, just like family.
I think the extras are always thoughtful and they go a long way with regard to any experience. The thought put into this retreat was felt in every detail, from the canvas branded bags and journals to the daily menus, room placements, extra activities, and enrichment. Erica and Paul made themselves available to the group which was meaningful to me; I felt as though my experience with them mattered greatly and I was given plenty of opportunities to follow up with them after our retreat for future work, healing, and opportunities.
The Take Away
It isn’t often in all of the hustle and bustle and moving of life that we can take a week to sit still, to discuss things that matter, to learn more about ourselves, to connect with other dynamic people, to be treated to daily movement, sound baths, and guided meditation. This was a week of major growth, downloading, and shifts for me and I will never forget it. I am giving serious consideration to attending their next retreat.
Related: Where to Eat Stay and Play in Tulum
Carretera Tulum-Bocapaila km 4.5, Zona Hotelera, 77780 Tulum, Mexico
The Fit Traveller was a guest of Erica of Experience Seven Senses and Habitas Tulum for this retreat. As always, the opinions, words, and images are authentically our own.
Pat Bailey is a certified Bhakti Yoga Teacher, published poet, writer and entrepreneur with a passion for exploring the globe. Pat is also the founder of The Hell Yes Life, where she has created her own branding academy helping to elevate brands and students through authentic and intuitive coaching.