BREEMA in the Sacred Valley of Peru Post 3

Tuesday, August 29, 2023 4:10 PM

So many of our gatherings during the Sacred Valley Breema Retreat were welcome food on many levels. We communed together over delicious, nourishing meals again and again. The gatherings themselves were nourishing and so were the soups, grains, fruits and vegetables - all of the individual, fresh ingredients. In fact, we were blessed to have local chef, Julian, at Luna Rumi Hotel, creating meal-after-meal for us that I took in like edible poetry. The colors and flavors were to be savored, and I did my best not to gobble it all down in the sheer exhuberance of so much wonderful and surprising variety. Each day, there were "new-to-me" surprises, pastel purees, vibrant juices and many natural treats that I had never known before. I approached it all with the aim to do as wise mamas and grandmamas say - “To eat one bite at a time.” Sometimes I succeeded...

One day while talking on the phone with Alana, I told her how wonderful the meals were. I told her that Julian and his kitchen crew (consisting of two talented young women) created what I recognized as a sort of Peruvian version of her own style of food preparation. By this, I meant that both ways of meal-making were like meditations or a process born from such clarity. Although many of the flavors were different, there was a similar approach. Both Alana and Julian are skilled at allowing the natural flavors of vegetables, fruit and occasional meats to shine by simply being themselves. This sounds obvious and simple, and on some level, it truly is, but it takes a certain skill to actually do this consistently. In Julian’s kitchen, just as I experienced back home at True Nature, there was no over-doing it just to be fancy or covering over foods with spices. Instead, spice was used carefully and naturally as a synergistic compliment and in cooperation within each dish. Without force, food was medicine. 

Like Alana, Julian also had a knack for choosing and using only the freshest and most vibrant ingredients and combining them symphonically, and without repeating the exact same dish. For me, this helped each meal to be familiar and simultaneously brand new. Also similar to Alana’s kitchen art - there was a purity throughout the whole offering, from its creation to the final presentation that arrived on the table in the dining hall as a simple gift. Often, I began by stopping for a moment to just look and registering a single breath as I gazed over the whole spread. This helped me not just bumble into a hurried shoveling in of the meal! I can say that I received those first impressions and the actual meal in a way that was both purifying and even supportive to my body’s adjustment to life in the mountains. 

In Breema classes, I also experienced a sort of purification, a movement from complication to simplicity. With each class, whether I was in the instructor or student role, I was supported to take a break from being so involved in random thoughts and associative feelings. Interest in the past and future dropped away. As I kept coming back to body-mind connection, tension diminished without force. Gradually, the chatter in my mind went to the background, and I could taste simple moments of knowing I existed, experiencing nourishment in moving naturally and having a clear mind. Ah, delicious...

Then, back at mealtimes with the support of a recent class, I savored Julian’s creations. They tasted so good, I was sometimes reminded of my wish to be present as I chewed or sipped warm soup from a spoon. What a relief to be just doing this one thing, and how lucky I was! I began to see how class time and meal time each included opportunities to be present, moments when I saw that I could take a step towards being fully here. Then when we ventured outside the nest of Luna Rumi to travel through the lively village of Urubamba, in a way it was no different. There were just different opportunities to be present: As I walked along a bubbling stream; discussing the price of a sweater with a shopkeeper; hiking along the stony street beside a town plaza; standing in a doorway listening to a friend talking. In each of these moments I was now and then being served an opportunity to be present, to taste life - to just come back to the breath or the weight of the body, to listen fully without an agenda. Again, I can sum all of this up in a word - delicious.

Thank you for reading,


To see some of Alana’s beautiful meals, click here.

David Pratt is the co-founder of True Nature Holistic Retreats in Holmes County, Ohio, which has been supporting guests to lead more balanced, harmonious lives since 2010. He first experienced Breema: The Art of Being Present in September of 2001, and has benefitted from practicing and teaching this holistic system for many years. The simplicity of Breema allows students to take simple, practical steps to being present and bringing that nurturance into everyday life. The next Breema Retreat in Peru’s Sacred Valley is August 1-12, 2024. Get all the details here.


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