Winter Solstice Reflections and 2019 Healing Retreat to Peru

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Winter Solstice Reflections and 2019 Healing Retreat to Peru

I hope this finds you well. As we rapidly approach the winter solstice this week (December 21st), nature offers us an opportunity to take a deeper look at the inner layers of our being. The winter solstice marks a sacred time in the seasonal cycle; it is the longest night of the year and offers us many symbolic and earthly blessings. For centuries, indigenous societies have revered this poignant turning point. Rituals were practiced, and in places like the high Andes of Peru, sacred temples were constructed in perfect alignment with the rising and setting sun, or other celestial bodies.

Winter lends itself to inner well-being and balance. Self-care becomes paramount, as we are given nippy nudges to promote nurturing activities, eat warming foods, and quiet down the buzz of life. We are reminded of the importance of parasympathetic nervous system regulation. This is the part of the autonomic nervous system that supports the “rest and digest” function, therefore aiding in relaxation, self-care, and relational connectivity. To learn more about relaxation and the nervous system, view my last blog post to read a presentation by polyvagal theory expert, Stephen Porges, Ph.D. Presented at Pacifica Graduate Institute, November 2018.

This time of year, our coats become literally and symbolically thicker, as we protect ourselves from both the elements, and from the negative thought patterns that often accompany darkness. One can imagine how important fire was back in the days of old, when people huddled together by warm hearths, preparing hot stews for life-saving nourishment. Moving into present time, most of us reading this newsletter are lucky enough to have food on the table and heaters in our homes. And yet even with our basic needs met, darkness may still penetrate the emotional and psychological field. When this happens, the lighter aspects of the self need additional tending. For a quick tip article on self care, click here.

Right now can be a sacred time to pause in quiet reflection, slow down, and find your own proverbial nest of light and warmth. Give yourself nurturing through healthy activities and nutritious foods. Visit a beautiful site in nature, book a massage, or take a yoga class. If darkness has a bit of a hold on you, being present with sensations in the body for just minutes a day can help clear negative emotions.

And lastly, accepting nature’s law of impermanence can lend much comfort during times of stress, grief, pain, and limitation. As the short days begin to stretch open with each beautiful sunrise, we are given the opportunity to experience the transience of darkness. And no matter how much that darkness feels all-encompassing, we can always make a choice to move forward and towards the light.

Healing Retreat to the Peruvian Andes
June 27th-July 4th, 2019
with Romi Cumes LMFT, CMT


Join me this June for a special travel opportunity that will guide retreat-goers through Cusco, Machu Picchu, and the Sacred Valley of Peru. For the last twenty years, Peru has been like a second home to me, and is where my mother Carol created one of the most beautiful retreat centers in South America, Willka T’ika. I have been leading yoga a cultural retreats to Peru since 2014 and am excited to facilitate the next journey this June. Located in one of the most stunning places on earth, the beauty of Pachamama (mother earth in Quechua) radiates throughout Willka T’ika’s grounds. From the hand-crafted guestroom design, to the breathtaking Chakra Gardens, organic vegetarian farm-to-table meals, Andean ceremonial spaces and devoted service by the local Quechuan staff, WillkaT’ika is a model of authentic artistry and sustainability.

Below you’ll find a brief overview of what we have to offer. For additional information, contact Romi

Retreat Overview

• Total Days: 8 days / 7 nights
• 2 days and 1 night in Cusco
• 1 day at Machu Picchu
• 5 days, 6 nights at Willka T’ika
• 7 days guided service
• Quality buses and tourist train
• Guided tour and enjoyment of the Seven Chakra Gardens
• Gourmet vegetarian meals
• Daily Movement and Meditation
• Authentic Andean offering and fire ceremony with Q’ero Pakko healer
• Visit to an Andean Mountain School (Willka T’ika Children’s Fund)
• Hiking the P’isaq ruins, ceremony, and shopping in the famous market
• Visit to Urubamba’s authentic market, Seminario Pottery Studio, and alpaca factory store

Total Cost Excluding Airfare: $3000

• $100 off if you register with deposit by February 1st, 2019
• $750 additional supplement for single-room accommodations

Peru 2014 from Romi on Vimeo.

Happy Holidays,



Just Say ‘No’ and Other Ways to Live Your Best Life

healing, somatic, somatic healing, somatic psychology, yoga, santa barbara healing, somatic psychology

Just Say ‘No’ and Other Ways to Live Your Best Life

By Brad Krause

“Just say no” is a popular mantra when it comes to walking away from drugs, alcohol, or peer pressure. However, this sentiment flies straight out the window when it’s time to deny other activities that can harm our health. Keep reading for insight on why you should put this handy two-letter word, as well as other self-care practices, to good use in your daily life.

The Power of ‘No’

It doesn’t matter if you’re a man, woman, business executive, father, mother — your time is rarely your own. Between work, family, friends, and other obligations, it can be difficult to find time to participate in our own self-care. When you learn to say “no,” however, you give yourself the power to tend to your own needs instead of everyone else’s.

Full Body Relaxation

Once you say “no” to the things cluttering up your day, you will have the time to focus on your own health and well-being. One way to do this is to relax your muscles and mind. Spend a day at the spa once a month, or book a massage.  Better yet, create a spa-like environment at home. For example, if your job involves being on your feet all day, a warm Epsom salt bath can help relax your muscles. If you have children, you could take them out for some fun at a nearby park or spend some time shooting hoops in the backyard. Whatever you do, it’s important to take these moments to enjoy life without the daily stress and headaches. Yoga is also an excellent way to offer your mind, body, and spirit some healing.

Sleep on It

Sleep is such a simple thing, but it’s one we often overlook as we get wrapped up in our busy lifestyles. Unfortunately, without ample sleep, our bodies are unable to function properly. Sleep deprivation affects your body and mind in many ways, including amping up your appetite and changing how you display and perceive emotions. Sara G. Miller, a staff writer for Live Science, further reports that chronic sleep deprivation may cause delirium, which is a state of complete disorientation. Take steps to ensure that your bedroom is set for sleep. Install room-darkening curtains, add a sound machine, and outfit your bed with warm but breathable covers to help you relax through the night. If you can, exercise during the day, and consider adding a sleep-inducing yoga session to your nighttime ritual.

The ‘Do It’ Diet

It’s no news that you have to eat, but Western diets, which often include fast food and pre-packaged snacks, aren’t going to give you the right kind of energy. If you want to truly care for yourself, you have to pay close attention to the food you put in your body. Start by drinking enough water — approximately 60 ounces per day — and include plenty of green, red, and yellow vegetables into your diet. Eliminate foods that are not in their whole and natural form. By changing your diet, you give your body the fuel it needs to do what it must each day.


It may seem counter-intuitive, but giving more of yourself in more meaningful ways can be an effective part of your self-care routine. Volunteering for a cause near and dear to your heart has a positive effect on your mental health. Not only can it satisfy your need to be needed, but volunteering also gives you an opportunity to have an impact on the world and to be proud of something you’ve done to help others. Taking control of yourself care needs doesn’t mean you have to leave everyone else out in the cold. It simply means that you need to restructure your time – and your frame of mind – so you can be the best version of yourself and enjoy your life.


Brad Krause created to share his own knowledge and the many great resources he has found on his self-care journey. For one-one one support and healing, contact Romi Cumes for a somatic bodywork or counseling session. Online somatic counseling sessions also available. Email or call us for upcoming information on Romi’s Healing Retreat to the Sacred Valley of Peru June 27th -July 6th, 2019.