Re-connecting to Nature
Vastness and openness are defining features at Future Found Sanctuary, home to a sense of abundant space and wellbeing. Set in the foothills of Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain, this hotel hideaway is the brainchild of a burnt out New York executive who found peace and reconnection in South Africa.
Future Found Sanctuary was created to make everyone—from guests to visitors to team members—reconnect with their wellbeing. It is the ultimate antidote to a fast-paced, highly demanding corporate life. Every space at the sanctuary was designed ontologically, that is, considering the very nature of being. The idea is that everyone feels better while here, whether they come for a hotel or villa stay or a fully tailored retreat, because every space is immersed in nature.
Future Found Sanctuary’s name itself is about returning to ancient practices and honoring ancient wisdom to live in reciprocity with the Earth. The hotel’s belief is that currently we don’t live in a way that’s conducive to our overall wellbeing and productivity. Since we are ultimately cyclical beings just like the Earth, Future Found Sanctuary seeks to plant the seeds for us all to live in alignment with ourselves and with nature to reset and reignite our wellness.
Wellness as a Symbiotic Relationship
Future Found Sanctuary’s Whole-Being concept is at the heart of the brand’s philosophy and refers to their whole systems, regenerative thinking. The property’s dedicated Director of Wellbeing, Romy Paull describes how wellness used to be an idea related to escaping your life—doing yoga, drinking juice, and then going and getting burnt out all over again.
She highlights that whole systems thinking inherently includes both regeneration and wellness. “My wellness depends on the people around me and my environment; it’s a symbiotic relationship,” says Paull, “so we must look at things holistically and recognize that new intersections are arising.” This is how we can create transformational and meaningful travel experiences; by recognizing that we are part of a bigger, beating body—the rhythms of Earth itself.
An experienced yoga, meditation and mindfulness teacher and coach, Paull also studied biomimicry and focused on the design principles of nature and what that means for human beings. She uses her expertise to create retreat experiences that aren’t simply an escape from everyday life but that act as a springboard back into life to help reshape and restructure life patterns to help guests optimize their wellbeing for the long haul.
Why Sleep, Nourishment, Movement and Mindfulness Are Key To Wellbeing
There are four pillars that make up the hotel’s Whole-Being concept and they touch on the mind, body, heart and spirit, and how they relate to nature’s rhythms. Days at the hotel, whether part of a short stay to experience Cape Town in a natural setting or a full blown retreat, are designed in accordance with nature and its cycles. The four pillars are: Sleep, Nourishment, Movement and Mindfulness.
To propel these four pillars and help guests reinstate their wellness, Future Found Sanctuary has a team of notable experts. There’s the Sleep Scientist, Dr Dale Rae, an expert from the University of Cape Town who fuses ancient wisdom with modern science to help guests return to their natural Circadian rhythm. Then there’s the Dietician who’s also a Kundalini yoga teacher and has previously worked with Olympic athletes, who possesses a holistic understanding of why personalizing mindful nourishment is so crucial; there’s a lot of healing to be found in joyful eating and nourishment.
For the Movement pillar, there’s a dedicated Biokineticist and Exercise Scientist who conducts an entire assessment of the body. Each body is entirely unique and carries its own story, whether it’s injuries, traumas or proportions, everything plays a role in making our anatomy unique which is why assessments are highly tailored to the individual. This helps the team to recommend what will work and what won’t on a personal level; it’s important to work with individual likes and dislikes to ignite a positive momentum spiral, starting with one or two simple things that can create long-lasting change.
Reconnecting with Nature in the Foothills of Table Mountain
Coupled with the experts are plenty of outdoor activities, all connected to the land. Guests can embark on guided forest bathing journeys as well as daily yoga, meditation, Tai Chi and ontological coaching sessions—all to be enjoyed in the hotel’s 5 Elements Garden or in the yoga studio brimming with natural light, thanks to floor to ceiling windows. Ontology is a philosophical concept—it’s a branch of metaphysics—and looks at the whole being. An ontological coach can help people step out of their existing stories and create new ones by taking into account emotions, language and the body. It’s about how we carry ourselves and working with that, Paull explains.
Thanks to its unique location just outside Cape Town, guests can enjoy refreshing hikes directly from the hotel onto Table Mountain. There’s a waterfall to venture to or a tea house tucked in the foothills, with exceptional views of the area. Every route provides an overwhelming sense of calm and reconnection.
There are also carefully curated experiences in the property’s Sensorium Spa, sound healing studio and natural immersion pool as well as a set of unique fragrances and a tea range expertly crafted using Indigenous plants from the sanctuary’s surrounding lands. The idea is to connect to the elements through all of the senses, whether you’re staying for a few days or a few weeks.
All guests coming to enjoy a Whole-Being retreat experience are interviewed by Paull herself to establish what is important to them and what their intention is for coming; she works with guests to hone their intention throughout their stay. She refers to the pre-arrival process as Whole Awareness, during their stay the process becomes Whole-Being and once the stay ends there is the Whole-Living phase where guests are encouraged and supported to integrate the various elements into their daily lives long after leaving Future Found Sanctuary.
Simple Ways to Reunite Wellness and Nature in Everyday Life
When asked why we as humans have forgotten, or become distanced from, the idea that wellness and nature are inherently linked, Paull says she believes it came with industrialization, urbanization and the evolution of technology. She believes that we as human beings became distracted and lost the connection with our own inherent ancient wisdom that was taught and experienced through cultural traditions and working with our environment and community for the benefit of all. This has also influenced us to value ourselves based on what we achieve and gain in terms of status and wealth and not who we are or what meaningful contributions we make towards the wellbeing of ourselves, our communities and environments.
Too often, we base our value on external things such as jobs, money and output, as opposed to internal things like how we live in integrity with ourselves and others, and our general state of physical and emotional wellbeing. As money became more important than anything else, we started to pillage the Earth for our own gain, perhaps distorting our understanding of wealth. We started to take instead of giving and living in reciprocity with nature like Indigenous people have always done and ultimately it has contributed to us falling out of balance, with ourselves and the Earth. It’s fundamental that we understand and remember that we are nature—we are not separate. We have biological impulses, we feel better in nature and we can learn from nature.
Reuniting nature and wellness in our everyday lives can be as simple as connecting to the elements in meditation. Exercising and practicing movement in nature is ideal if possible. At Future Found Sanctuary, they have the privilege of growing and tending to their own food supply. As individuals it’s important that we become conscious of our food and where it comes from. Eating a plant-rich, seasonal, locally sourced diet can help to reconnect our wellbeing with nature and the land that surrounds us. Saying a prayer of gratitude over water as an element can also reinstate this connection. Paull highlights that connecting nature and wellness in our everyday lives is very personal to each individual. We simply have to believe in the butterfly effect of looking after our own daily routine and taking time for ourselves, which will in turn reconcile humanity with nature.
The land on which Future Found Sanctuary sits is a pocket of abundance. Its potent energy is spurred on by Table Mountain’s incredible biodiversity and the belief of the once burnt-out New Yorker, Jim Brett, who firmly believes that the ancient wisdom of nature as our guide is our future found. Future Found Sanctuary represents a lesson in stripping back all the external, stressful, unnecessary drains in life and reconnecting with the natural elements who are our lifelong teachers and companions.