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Carrie Asby fuses mindfulness and the natural environment through upcoming adventures. 

COURTESY PHOTO - Carrie Asby works to dehorn a rhino as a way to make the animal less susceptible to poaching.

Lake Oswego resident Carrie Asby believes the interlocking power of mindfulness and nature can help humans feel more at peace.

In turn, Asby is facilitating safaris in South Africa, as well as a trip to Wyoming, in the coming years centered around meditation, engaging with the natural environment and seeing species like lions, elephants and leopards.

Further, the South Africa trip, at the Phinda Private Game Reserve in 2024, will include removing the horns from rhinos to make them less attractive to poachers and, hopefully, save them from being killed. In 2021, 451 rhinos were killed by poaching in South Africa according to Savetherhino.org. The horns grow back over time. COURTESY PHOTO - Asby

Asby began meditating around 20 years ago. It served as a refuge during a difficult time in her life marred by partying and toxic relationships. At one point her purse was stolen and she had $5 to her name. She attended a free yoga studio and that helped her reorient. Eventually, she began teaching at a studio in New York City.

"It turned my life around. That's why I started teaching. I know without a doubt it helps people enhance their lives and makes their lives better," she said.

Asby thought of the idea for the ecotherapy-based safari while volunteering at the reserve in South Africa. There, she learned of the practice of forest bathing, which involves connecting with the forest as a form of healing. Asby said that modern society puts people constantly into fight-or-flight mode and that nature is a way to get a reprieve from that.

"We are always living in intensity and we don't know how to counter that. The best way to get into a negative ion (which are typically in abundance in nature and are said to improve mental stability and clarity) and a lower wavelength is to get into nature," she said.

Asby said that conservation efforts are low on funding and that guests paying money to perform dehorning is a way to help them save a species that is considered to be critically endangered. The reserve is 66,000 acres and includes 436 bird species, as well as the aforementioned large mammals.

"They're going to be dehorning rhinos even if guests are not paying for it, but right now they don't have the money. So it's really important for guests to come down to help fund the cause," she said.

The trips also will include meeting with healers and vendors in the local community, learning the philosophies of yoga and staying in luxury resorts.

Asby's goal is for these retreats to help change people's perspectives and, in turn, work toward saving the planet.

"I know it's going to change people in a really good way," she said. "My overarching goal is to help this planet. We're disconnected from the Earth and that's harming us. Having the connection with the Earth is going to help."

For more information, visit https://www.natureheartsafari.com/. Asby also offers private yoga lessons. For more information on that, visit https://www.carrieasby.com/yoga.


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