Meet Jolinda Cath, In2Jordan’s travel consultant for spiritual, holistic, and wellbeing trips.

If you were to ask In2Jordan’s Yoga & Spiritual Retreat Consultant, Jolinda Cath, where her favourite place is in Jordan, she wouldn’t be able to tell you. After six years living in the small coastal town of Aqaba, choosing just one to top the list is still a challenge.

“Wadi Rum is amazing and has a special energy,” explains Jolinda. “But the Dana Nature Reserve is breathtaking and perfect for hiking. The canyons of Wadi Mujib with its stunning walls and waterfall that you can abseil down is such a thrill. Then again, Aqaba is so close to the desert and at the Red Sea. See, picking just one place is impossible!” she laughs.

Credit: Jolinda Cath

Jolinda says it was an opportunity to work in Jordan that lured her from her native Holland in 2010.

“My story in Jordan began 10 years ago while I was working as a worldwide tour-leader for a Dutch travel company. I had a degree in social cultural development and a degree in activity therapy under my belt and I was running my own photography company at the same time,” says Jolinda. “I liked that my job as a travel guide allowed me to combine my two vocations and introduce photography trips in Jordan.”

A few years later the opportunity to join a new tourism company in Aqaba arose and Jolinda settled in for a desert sea-change.

“We wanted to provide holistic wellbeing and mindfulness retreats that were not yet offered in Jordan.”

Over the next few years, Jolinda recognized the demand for spiritual-based trips growing as a global tourism trend. Aligning to her expertise and passion for yoga, Jolinda joined In2Jordan as a travel consultant and worked to develop a broad offering of wellbeing and mindfulness trips in Jordan.

Credit: Jolinda Cath

“Our aim was two-fold,” explains Jolinda. “We wanted to provide holistic wellbeing and mindfulness retreats that were not yet offered in Jordan. We also wanted to create a platform whereby we could tap into the expertise of local yoga and meditation coaches.”

Today, Jolinda leads In2Jordan’s meditation, mindfulness and yoga retreats for travellers as well as offering reiki and massage experiences.

“After all these years I am still so passionate about introducing guests to the variety of landscapes this country has to offer, and exposing them to the kind nature of the local people. It is a blessing to be part of someone’s journey and extra special that I get to guide spiritual journeys, as well as physical ones,” concludes Jolinda.

Credit: Jolinda Cath

To find out more about Jolinda’s private and multi-day yoga, mindfulness and meditation retreats, visit https://in2jordan.com/weekend-trips/

Meet Sandra Jelly, travel consultant, yoga teacher, and equine-assisted coach at In2Jordan.

When most people ready their bags for a holiday to a foreign country, paintbrushes and horse riding boots are rarely essential items to pack. But Sandra Jelly is not most people.

As a yoga teacher, equine-assisted coach, social entrepreneur, chakra & crystal lover, and artist, Sandra believes in seizing the moment; but such is the life of a true adventurer.

“I was born in the Netherlands, but home for me was always where my heart is,” says Sandra. “One day I saw an article in a magazine that read: “To Petra on horseback”. It inspired me to go and explore this magical desert land.”

In 2009, Sandra exchanged advertising in Amsterdam for a world of Bedouin horses. Her plan: to undertake a sabbatical in Jordan to paint and ride the endurance race in Wadi Rum. “It was a dream of mine to fully dedicate myself to my passions of art and horses. What better backdrop than the vastness, peace and light of the desert?”

When Sandra’s horse, Gamar (meaning Full Moon) became pregnant, she decided to settle in Jordan permanently for a new desert lifestyle.

Using her powerful intuitive skills, Sandra is passionate about guiding clients on a voyage of self-discovery and transformation.

Today, Sandra and her four horses are based in the ancient valley of Little Petra. Here she leads In2Jordan’s yoga retreats and offers equine-assisted coaching with her own Arabian horses. Using her powerful intuitive skills, Sandra is passionate about guiding clients on a voyage of self-discovery and transformation.

“I really enjoy hosting visitors from foreign countries in Little Petra because I get to introduce them to the incredible beauty of the landscape, and help them tap into the power that can be drawn from the silence found here.”

Through the practice of Vinyasa Flow yoga, Sandra invites guests to develop a deep relationship within themselves where listening is cultivated, the body is honored, and playful, creative exploration is welcomed.

“Just like life, if you let your yoga practice flow and be fully absorbed in the breath; you will discover the beautiful gifts of the present moment,” says Sandra.

According to Sandra, any traveler who wants to be captivated by the beauty of Little Petra; explore beautiful desert trails; immerse themselves in the culture of the Bedouins; and, connect with their true-self; there is no better place than Jordan.

For more information on the yoga or equine coaching tours led by Sandra, visit  https://in2jordan.com/intineraries

In 2017, In2Jordan was thrilled to host National Geographic Traveller writer, Emma Thomson, at our Horse Wisdom Retreat in Little Petra. Now, Emma has shared her experience, led by In2Jordan’s resident equine coach, Sandra Jelly. 

Enjoy her article, which was originally published on National Geographic Traveller: http://www.natgeotraveller.co.uk/destinations/middle-east/jordan/petra-horse-meditation/ 

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Petra: Horse meditation Horse wisdom

Getting up close and personal with horses proves emotional in Little Petra, as they deliver a dose of equine enlightenment

When I was told we’d be trying horse meditation, I immediately thought of the film, The Horse Whisperer, and conjured up images of me cantering across the desert, hair flowing in the breeze, accompanied by a denim-shirted Robert Redford. Luckily for us, Sandra Jelly — described as ‘the horse whisperer of Petra’ — is far prettier, with a pair of cobalt-blue eyes, wide white smile and the jangle of rings and bracelets. Horse Wisdom

She gave up her advertising career in Amsterdam after she saw an advert in a magazine about horseback riding in Petra, Jordan. “I thought — that’s my call! So, I took a sabbatical and, with the last of my money, I bought Gamar (a brown mare), some riding boots and a set of paintbrushes.” Eight years on and Sandra now resides here, offering yoga and horse meditation classes to travellers to help them reconnect with nature and themselves.

A small group of us sit cross-legged on the floor of a Bedouin tent, nestled near the Wadi Baad’ja mountain range, behind Little Petra. We’re in a rich farming valley, surrounded by fields of alfalfa, barley and olive trees. The gentle wind flaps the fabric walls, as flies dance around the rim of the teapot. Three horses are corralled in a simple sandy paddock in front of us. “The grey gelding is Nour, he’s a bossy little man,” remarks Sandra, rather proudly. “Then there are the two mares, Gamar and Remaz, and the foal Zahir over in the corner.”

“Pick a horse you feel you resonate with and approach it without the purpose of interacting — just sense their energy.” We all look a bit confused. “It’s just like observing a candle, you focus the mind but don’t touch it,” she explains. So, I hop over the simple fence and stand with my eyes closed. Nour moseys over and starts nipping at my sleeve and arm. “Ah, that’s a sign you’re emanating masculine energy,” comments Sandra. “The horses reflect your inner feelings. For example, they’ll rear if we’re holding anger.” It’s starting to make sense: I always wear my ‘in charge’ hat when travelling on my own.

About 10 minutes later, we form a meditation circle in the paddock. “Leave room so the horses can weave in and out,” instructs Sandra. Immediately, Nour comes over and starts nibbling my trousers and playfully chomping my arm. I close my eyes and try to let go of my ‘masculine’ feelings and embrace my nurturing side. I feel something unlock inside me and the minute I do, Remaz — one of the mares — wanders straight up and starts nuzzling me affectionately. I’m so shocked by the immediacy of her reaction and sense of sisterly caring that, quite out of the blue, my eyes brim with tears.

“Horses are in their true nature, whereas we get separated from it. They guide us back to our authentic bodies and help us to become fully present,” whispers Sandra. She’s taught me more than Robert Redford ever could.

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in2jordan.com

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