Breathe In Retreats- Meditation, Ski, Surf, Hike.

28 January 2019

From the mountains to the valley and across to the ocean, one can find solace, thoughtfulness and peace. At Thrillism, we are firm believers of incorporating sport and activity into a connection with nature and when companies meet with a shared philosophy, something awesome can happen. This is the story of Thrillism meeting Breathe In. Fellow Stockholm locals, we bonded over a love for Cervinia, a little ski town where not only Angelica, Thrillism's head of content and Mike the CEO met and became friends, but also where Breathe In created the Breathe In Ski Out retreat. We talked hiking, surfing and most importantly, breaking down barriers that meditation is synonymous with privilege and hierarchy, but rather meditation is for all.

Now Breathe In are well underway with their retreats, skiing, hiking and surfing, we spoke to them about their brand, their story and why their retreats are so unique. If you and your friends, partner or indeed alone, want to discover yourself and get in touch with nature, Breathe In retreats are for you. Grab a coffee, sit back and read our interview below. 

1.) So Axel, Josefin & Gustav, Introduce yourselves a little, we would love to learn more!

Axel Wennhall has been working as a marketing consultant for over 7 years. He started to meditate 3 years ago and is now working as a meditation coach. Through meditation Axel has been able to vastly improve his quality of life as well as some of his closest relationships. His philosophy is that the best kind of knowledge is the one you experience for yourself.

Josefin Dahlberg works as an influencer, blogger and entrepreneur. She recently also released 2 books. Josefin uses meditation as an essential tool to retain a healthy balance in her hectic daily schedule. She has tried a lot of different meditations as well as guiding her own meditation groups. Her philosophy is that one thing doesn't have to exclude the other and that meditation gives her strength to work smarter and pursue her dreams.

Gustav Nord is a media producer and journalist running his own production company in Stockholm. Adventure is always top of his agenda. With Patagonia, Alaska, the Himalayas and Eastern Africa in his backpack he can't wait to pick up his bag again and explore the world. As an entrepreneur, Gustav has discovered that meditation is an essential tool to stay present in a life on-the-go.

2.) What exactly is the Breathe In Philosophy?

It's always now. Nothing is more important to understand than this- if we want to be happy. The best moments in your life have one thing in common. You were completely present, without being lost in thoughts about the past or the future. Even though on an intellectual level we understand this simple truth, we tend not to live it. It's not because we don't want to - it's because it's difficult.
Our minds are constantly distracted by what has already happened or what we think will happen in the future.

As we mentioned, it is not easy to stay present and mindful, but it is a skill, just like playing the piano. And like any other skill the more you practice, the better you will become. We have found three paths that help us to live more present lives - nature, meditation and adventure and that’s what our retreats are about. Nature is always present and so can help us to return to the present moment. Adventure can bring us into a state of flow, where the past and future fade away, and we become fully present. Meditation is merely training the mind. It's a tool to bring us back to the present moment.

It doesn't matter if you've never tried meditation, or if you meditate every day. Our goal is for all of us to learn how to be more present, and we hope to achieve this by practising different forms of meditation.
Breathe In is for anyone who wants to experience, and live in, the present moment, both on our trips and when you get back home.

3.) What came first for your guys, personally, was it love for the sport and outdoor pursuits and then meditation or the other way around?

Both! It’s obviously a selfish thing we’re doing - we wanna go on these trips ourselves :) The other thing is that nature and adventure are two things that help us come to the present moment, almost like a short cut. They both help us in our mission to make our guests more present through meditation.

4.) What is your personal advice for people looking to get started with meditation, how can one incorporate it into their lives?

We could write a book about this. The hard part is not the actual meditation, it’s remembering to do it regularly. Realise that falling off the wagon is something we all do. Meditation is about starting over again, again and again. So if you missed a few days, well just start over again. Be kind to yourself and celebrate the times you actually do it instead of blaming yourself for not doing it - that’s just another thought. Remember it might take time to feel the benefits, but they will come if you practise (it’s usually those around you who’ll notice it first). And perhaps most importantly - 1 minute counts. In the beginning, don’t care about how long you meditate for - just have an intention to do it daily-ish and the rest will follow. And oh, explore and see what works for you and have fun.

5.) Okay, controversial question. . . Meditation... Isn't it just for people with privilege, what would you say to people who argue it’s only become stylish for certain demographics or even, dare we say, an Instagram fad?

Quite the opposite. When something becomes trendy, it might look so. But the real hardcore meditators are monks who given away all their privilege. Meditation is really about training your mind and learning to become more present and aware of what takes you away. Other core components are concentration, insight and compassion. And the best part of meditation is that it is so easy and accessible, you can do it anywhere and anytime. We believe that meditation and mental training is our next health revolution because like physical exercise it really benefits us all.

6.) What are the most profound self-discoveries have you experienced through your journey of outdoors adventure and meditation?

G: Meditation makes me less mad, the outdoors makes me gladder.
A: Can I copy Gustav on that one? Another profound discovery for myself is that we’re not our thoughts. The mere fact that we can witness them, as well as our sensations and our feelings, proves that. When we fully connect to the present moment - everything is ok - and sometimes even more than ok - it’s actually good, really good - Nature is a short cut to get there, but meditation teaches us that we can get there any moment, anytime.
J: For me, it’s kind of same. I feel more calm and connected when I’m meditating and when I’m out in nature.

7.) Breathe In is born of love for nature and the outdoors but what made you specifically choose the current destinations you have?

It’s important for us to have a long term relationship with our destinations. To achieve that we look for very friendly hosts. In addition to that, healthy food and a cosy and genuine place where our guest can feel safe are also required.

8.) What can a guest expect to experience when joining on any of the trips? More than just a holiday right?

In short - you will experience a lot of wonderful meditations, that will help you to be your true self and stay more present. However, we don’t want that to end with a Breathe In trip. That’s why we give away our tools and tips so that everyone can continue when back home. The risk is that our trips will change your behaviour upon return though ;) We have a few examples already.

9.) If someone had never meditated before, how can they prepare for the trip, equally for those who meditate regularly?

They don’t need to do anything. Come with an open mind and be ready to explore for yourself, that’s all. The meditations are adjusted for both first-timers and more experienced meditators, and you’ll get to try a smorgasbord of meditations.

10.) What's in the pipeline for Breathe In, as you grow what we can expect regarding the adventures?

Atm, we’re looking into weekend retreats closer to home. Both because it’s not always necessary to fly and that the Nordics have so much to offer. We’ve also released a podcast on meditation called Meditera Mera, atm only in Swedish. It’s very exciting, especially when since guests are great and the response has been super.

You can view and book the Breathe In retreats right here, search, browse and book your dream retreat. 

Related articles