It’s aim is to share life-enhancing mind and body education and practices, designed to combat the addictive-ness of modern day life in all its manifestations; from drugs to video gaming, from gambling to workaholism.
Unique Programmes and Retreats have been developed to explore the usefulness of practices such as yoga, mindfulness and meditation, in partnership with a robust, yet accessible, understanding of human biological systems.
A L L – S L A V E S – T O – S O M E T H I N G
“In the chaos of our modern lives, we are all slaves to something,” says co-founder Gail Stephens.
“The Araucaria Project recognises the 21st-century addict in each one of us, and strives to provide mind and body sustenance for those who are ready to emerge from confusion and grow into their true potential,” Gail says.
Araucaria’s flagship course, The Human Alchemy Programme, begins in London in January. It invites the stressed and overworked to relinquish old habits and learn how to become effective, embodied leaders through development of mind and body skills.
Running over 10 sessions, with additional dedicated online support, the pioneering course is suitable for any person who ‘holds the space’ for others; therapists, healthcare professionals, mind and body teachers, recovery workers, coaches and corporations that wish to promote emotional wellbeing within their workforce.
F R O M – T U R M O I L – I N T O – R E C O V E R Y
But the project’s Social Enterprise ambitions do not end there; as a portion of investment made to The Human Alchemy Programme will fund a scholarship programme for people with addiction.
The Araucaria Scholarship will part-fund four people per year, who are in sustained recovery from addiction, onto the Pilamaya Yoga Teacher Training Course – our 220 hour Yoga Alliance Professionals accredited training programme.
Graduates of our Yoga Therapy & Mindfulness for Addictions (M.A.R.K) training will have the opportunity to nominate their clients for the Scholarship. It will cover more than 60% of the costs, with the remaining money being fundraised by the individual’s sponsor, in return for 108 voluntary hours in the recovery sector.
The initiative is rooted in a compassionate desire to offer support from personal turmoil into recovery and leadership.
The Araucaria Project holds a belief that the world needs embodied leaders, but argues that it is first essential to understand how human biological systems are at odds with the modern environment, and then learn how we must adapt to be able to come to a place of personal peace and higher functionality within society.
“As humans, we can observe the passage of time through philosophical, analytical, numerical, scientific, and artistic lenses,” says co-founder Shaura Hall.
“We are amazing creatures, yet, as our society is gaining ground at exponential rates in the ways of business, information, and technology, our brains are being asked to hardwire behaviours that are not intrinsic to our wellbeing,” she says.
“Our minds are becoming relics of a bygone era in our own present-day society, and whether we realise it or not, a yearning is arising to recall and reclaim our true, natural, and intuitive selves,” Shaura says.
M A K I N G – P O S I T I V E – C H A N G E
In response, the Araucaria Project is running 4-7 day Mind and Body Leadership Retreats in Portugal’s eastern Algarve, as well as a curated 48-hour remote (RE)Boot Camp for those who would benefit from an ‘at home’ retreat. And for those just looking to dip their toe, the MakingSpace Programme is a free online resource that explores how the human systems work and shares tools to enhance health and overall life.
Both of the Araucaria Project’s co-founders have personal histories that contributed to its creation; Shaura experienced a painful ten-year cycle of addiction in her early years. Fortunately she found recovery through a restorative practice of working with the breath, mind, and body to make positive change. Shaura is now a yoga teacher, therapist, course developer and trainer.
Gail brings 20 years’ experience of working in the private, public, and third sectors and has first-hand knowledge of the damaging impact of anxiety, burnout, and meltdown that can result from highly stressful working environments. Gail is now a hatha yoga teacher, trainer, and mindfulness practitioner and coach.
The initiative’s unusual name is inspired by the evergreen ‘Monkey Puzzle’ tree Araucaria Araucana, in that the tree would “puzzle a monkey to climb it.”
“Society today is much like the Monkey Puzzle Tree,” says Shaura. “It is truly puzzling to climb and we will get stuck on one or more of its branches in our attempts to ascend.”
The launch of the Araucaria Project marks the first day of its progression into becoming a social enterprise that strives to make positive change to people’s lives. It is asking its supporters to help by donating to its Crowdfunding page, and by raising awareness through word of mouth or connecting to their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.