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simplicity is the new luxury

There is a place where heaven and earth meet… suspended above dazzling waters…
A sanctuary nestled between the ocean wilderness and a lagoon shining its aquamarine glow.

A bungalow above the sea, or a villa with pool on the beach, a restaurant feet in the sand or floating among the trees, everything here is a beautiful blend of local materials giving it all this lovely island flair. Bamboo, wood, stones, shells or mother of pearl, woven leaves, coconut fibers or “tapa”, the sophistication drawn from Nature’s elements is unique.
Like a yin-yang dance, harmonious, balanced…

Like in many places now, the staff had to work with a mask… But it did not matter… They smiled with their eyes, from the heart, radiating genuine kindness and care. 

Each moment spent there brought me back to the essence, the beauty of what is… The simplicity of days lulled by Nature’s melody.
Try to remember… When is the last time you paused to contemplate and just be?

I loved the evenings filled with stars and milky way, making me feel small, yet infinite…
I loved the soft lagoon’s carress and the breeze on my face, the inspiring sunrises and the heart-warming sunsets. I loved being away from it all, nurtured in this heavenly eden.

And in today’s world, it all felt pure, authentic, suspended in time. Not one of those big resorts where you could just be anywhere in the world and they’d look the same.

This one definitely has a sense of place and personnality. An architecture that is the epitome of island living… A cocoon where simplicity is luxury and kindness a way of life.

Once a favorite and still a favorite, thank you for all the magic Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa! 

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women are like coconut trees…

It was an early Sunday morning in Moorea (small island located a quick 30-minute ferry ride from Tahiti.)
We were on a mission to gather all the deliciousness possible for our Sunday brunch. Sunday brunch Tahitian-style is a feast of our local “poisson cru” (our own version of the ceviche marinated in coconut milk), “firi firi” (think donuts shaped in the form of a 8), roasted pork, “poe” (local fruits pureed and mixed with sugar and corn starch, oven-cooked and then covered with coconut milk), coconut bread, and of course French baguettes. After that, you definitely want to keep your day open for siesta!

On that Sunday, we arrive at the grocery store, final stop before digging into our feast.
We get our supplies and as we exit the store, an older man is standing there, long hair and tattoos, greeting customers and asking for a few Pacific francs (our local currency in the Islands of Tahiti). He comes to us and starts: “women are like coconut trees.”
We smile and he continues: “yes, women are like coconut trees. You see, women are up there. When the coconut falls, it gives birth to another tree. Women give life, women are up there, the top of the coconut tree, they are the life. And us, men, we are here, at the base. We are the rock, right at the bottom and we look up at the coconut tree. That’s how it is.”
He stares at us even more deeply: “you know, I speak to God, I speak to the Universe. I speak to our “tupuna” (the long-gone ancients.) The “tupuna” are in the Universe, they are always there supporting us. They are always there for us, they are watching us. But we have to speak to them and listen! Because if you speak to the “tupuna” and the Universe, they bring you the diamond and God.” And you know what the diamond is? The diamond is here, between your eyes. That’s why I speak to the “tupuna” ; and if you do that, you will also see the diamond.”
And on that, he started serenading us with his “ukulele…”
It was just a perfect little morning in Moorea. A moment shared, of culture and kindness, the genuine kindness of Polynesians. The kind of moment that will be your best memory when you return home, and remember that man and his words of wisdom.

And moments like this are one of the many reasons I feel so grateful and humbled to be living in such a place! In islands that have remain so unspoiled, so genuine, so pristine and beautifully wild, and where people always greet you with a smile and a “ia ora na.” These little dots in the middle of the South Pacific, 118 of them to be exact, spread on a surface as wide as Europe and where all the land put together would be hardly the size of Connecticut… Yes, visiting the islands of Tahiti has a cost… But what you will find here, if you come with an open mind and open heart, is the diamond. You will reconnect with your essence, and in these jaw-dropping landscapes painted with colors beyond imagination, find yourself again and again… And for that, there is no price.

As the world is still navigating the maze of this 2020 coronavirus, maybe it is time to reflect on how we live our lives. And stop looking for the irrelevant, the unnecessary, change the way we consume, and that includes how we travel. Travel is beautiful! Travel, that is, not tourism and mass consumption.
So be a traveler, not a tourist. Honor the countries and cultures you visit. Honor those who welcome you in their country, for you are the foreigner on those lands… Be respectful, be humble, always…

With love and gratitude,
Rani

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our land is our strenght, you know

It was a beautiful Tahitian morning, at Point Venus beach. This public black-sand beach was named after planet Venus as it was there that Captain Cook had set up his observation camp a few centuries ago.
It is one of my favorite places on the island of Tahiti because it holds such great energy from the mountains and the volcanic black sand, known here for its healing properties. It is also my open-air yoga studio and where I love to teach, on this lovely wooden deck right by the water and nicely protected by ‘aïto’ trees (iron tree).
Today, as I am about to go for a swim when this man comes to me. “I see you giving yoga classes here,” he says. “It is very beautiful to watch all of you doing yoga. The body is such a great tool. And bodies in yoga are so harmonious, you can feel the peace.”
So we start talking. I love exchanges like that, so genuine, so raw and honest. I ask him to tell me more about his story. “I work the land. I work the land and I teach my son what life is about. I teach him respect, I teach him that whatever the situations in life, it is how we deal with them that matters.” He adds: “you know, I speak to the trees, because they give us so much. Here, in our islands, we have so much and I am so grateful for nature’s abundance. I respect nature and I teach my son too!”
My heart was in such gratitude listening to him. It was just so beautiful!
He continued: “what we eat is so important, what we eat is your health. You know, I have understood how what we eat is our energy. And that’s also why I love to work the land. Because it gives us food and nowadays, the young ones they don’t want to work with the land. So I teach my son. We are so blessed here in Tahiti. It is eden. I love my land. Our land is our strenght.” I could see tears blurring his eyes as he was speaking. It was so touching! I invited him to join my yoga class next time he sees us practicing. He replied: “I see you do a lot of breathing exercises. Breathing is so important. I know breathing can help in so many ways. You are helping people and it is a very inspiring work you do.”
Well, he was very inspiring! Polynesians have always been very in tune with nature. After all, they were amongst the greatest navigators, the stars and the sun were their compasses then!
Yes, the islands of Tahiti have so much to offer! Not only beauty but also such uplifting wisdom and knowledge. Every single day, I wake up with immense gratitude for all these gifts, these encounters and the universal power of love.

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the best medecine is love, my dear

It was a cab ride in Sydney. I was visiting for work and as we were heading to the airport, the driver asked: “Do you know what the best medecine is? I am going to tell you… The best medecine is LOVE! Love is all we need and it is within each of us. It is contained in our fountain of youth: our heart! Our heart is our fountain and we have to protect it. It is our responsibility each day that god makes to water it and repeat within ourselves that we are happy, that we are healthy, that we are beautiful, that we are faithful, honest and that we are perfection. Each, we have to talk to ourselves and maintain that state of love within. This is the secret to a long life of joy and love. So tomorrow, Rani, tomorrow is Friday. And tomorrow, you will shine even brighter and louder, a little happier than you are today. Love is the remedy against stress and depression. Stress is like a terrorist that attacks our fountain of youth. So you see, we have to do our best to live happy and in love, always. Because love is the best medecine.”
Yes, that was just a day at the office… That one day, on a cab ride in Sydney. Lovely memory, humbling moment, beautiful wisdom and reminder that we have that power to shift our energy and state of mind!

gratitude

Gratitude is one of the highest forms of yoga.
There is always something to be grateful for. Something as simple as that breath you just took, that hear beat that makes you alive. There is so much we take for granted! Bring more gratitude to your life and let it blossom into your heart.
Let love flood your heart! Gratitude is so powerful. It is magnetic, it is love in such pure form. Learn to say THANK YOU, learn to have gratitude and reverence for Life, Nature, to this majestic play all around us!