Curious about eastern methods of holistic medicine, health and well-being? We asked Fred Tsao, the man behind Sangha Retreats and the Octave Institute to tell us more about the thinking behind the retreat's wellness programs. His China-based company, which he launched in 2017, melds eastern practices with western science at a 47-acre wellness community on Suzhou Yangcheng Lake, 70 miles west of Shanghai in the Yangtze River Delta region. It focuses on well-being and personal transformation with extensive programming around mindfulness, self-care and optimizing health through its state-of-the-art clinic and immersive treatments. Here, he talks with Indagare about the mission of his Octave Mindful Living programs and Sangha Retreat and what guests can expect on a visit. Contact Indagare to learn more about booking a stay at the wellness program that is right for you (or, when travel to China opens up, a stay at Sangha Retreat, in combination with a trip to Shanghai, the Yangtze River and beyond).What was the inspiration behind Sangha Retreats and how have you brought this to life?Sangha is a large-scale wellness and mindfulness community that is the embodiment of the Octave Mindful Living system. For those who might be unfamiliar, this system integrates eastern wisdom and western science, provides people with a new comprehensive health experiences and guides them through the practice of the seven habits: diet, breathing, sleep, exercise, meditation, mindfulness and self-development. At Sangha, people can immerse themselves in mind-body cultivation, enhance their inner awareness and discover a happy life.How is Sangha different from other wellness programs?Sangha is not just a wellness retreat. It is also a school of life. We have developed a series of courses around the seven habits to help people better align their minds and bodies, develop good routines and become the best version of themselves. Ultimately, we hope guests experience an awakening and a change of consciousness, and of course, adopt good living habits. Whether you are an experienced explorer of mindfulness or a city dweller who wants to improve his or her health, the integrated mind-body training and immersion exercise programs will bring you unprecedented changes and help you gain a joyful, healthy and free life experience. In addition, Sangha regularly organizes cultural and artistic activities centered around traditional music, games, calligraphy, painting, tea ceremonies, aromatherapy, flowers and also celebrations of traditional Chinese culture and festivals. So, we hope guests also come away with an appreciation for Chinese culture and some of its traditions. Sangha is a place where western guests can learn about traditional eastern culture and discover how to apply their findings to the modern world. We have a series of classes and activities that offer insights into the essence of eastern wisdom, including the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon, Chinese acupuncture, food therapy, traditional eastern practices and more.What is your favorite part of the wellness experience at Sangha?My favorite is the Mindful Living program, which we started last year. It is a semi-closed program lasting eight days and seven nights that teaches you how to eat mindfully, how to breathe, how to sleep better, how to exercise and so on. This year we also designed courses on mindful eating and cooking as well as mindful emotions and relationships. We are slowly building a curriculum of mindfulness courses, which will be very advantageous to our guests.
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