4 reasons why to go on a yoga retreat

There is something special about traveling, even just a little ways from home, and embarking on new adventures. A yoga retreat can offer many new and exciting experiences but true to the spirit of yoga, it can be the much needed refreshment and rejuvenation that one needs in our fast paced lives. After my first yoga retreat experience, I was immediately inspired to host my own and offer this incredible gift to those that I love and teach. A yoga retreat can truly be a life changing experience and one I hope you get to know. Here’s a few reasons why yoga retreats are so wonderful and why I think you’d like them:

1. It’s about rejuvenation. 

However long or short, a yoga retreat gets us out of the familiar: patterns, surroundings, habits, and offers us the chance to slowdown, breathe, to look at what’s truly important and to be. With this new perspective, we find appreciation for the simple and a refreshment from the everyday, only to gain the reminder just how amazing every day truly is.

2. We meet new, like-minded friends. 

I’ve traveled alone to nearly every yoga retreat I’ve attended and I’ve made some deep and lasting friendships, friendships that are some of the most special and important to me now. A yoga retreat brings together people who care about growing in the yogic principles of compassion, truthfulness, giving, awareness, equanimity, purity, contentment, cleansing/health, consciousness, and celebration of the spiritual (this list is of the yamas and niyamas: part of the yogic path developed 1000’s of years ago). Coming together, with people you know or don’t know and sharing in this beautiful growth, can be very impactful and lasting.

3. We can take our yoga practice deeper. 

A retreat offers the opportunity to dive in and focus and practice meditation, pranayama/breath, and asana/physical postures without the distractions of kids or work or our spouse or the laundry. We can go deep and build new habits, all while a safe and supportive environment, and usually in a beautiful(!) setting. During a yoga retreat, we can truly experience, yoga: union.

4. A yoga retreat is a time for you. 

We can only be as strong for others as we, ourselves, are strong. You work hard and give a lot. A yoga retreat is a much needed and restorative break, so you can go back, able to give more, ans be healthier and happier for those you love and work with on a daily basis. A yoga retreat is just as much for you as it is for those around you.

I host several retreats a year. Join me, or find your own, and enjoy this rich gift.

xoxo

The journey: yoga retreating

Life: so much easier when we figure out that it doesn’t have to all be be figured out and we embrace the journey as the destination. This past weekend was this practice for me, in depth.

My meditation this Monday morning was on the truth: “I can stand on my own two feet.” This weekend, I attended a yoga retreat and it was challenging. Challenging for me in many ways, none of which was (really) tied to the yoga asana. A friend and I were going to go together, but she had to cancel at the last minute because her boyfriend’s mom died, which is horrible and yucky anyway, but this also left me driving the 5.5 hours to Yosemite National Park alone, to a retreat with complete strangers. Usually, this is fine, I do things by myself all the time, but it hit me this weekend, and it hit me hard. Given the circumstances, I felt sad, upset, and irritated. Then my left leg, which has been hurting pretty substantially off and on for the past 3 years, gave me excruciating pain and limited my movement to a slow crawl, unless I took pain meds. The pain was so severe, I was physically exhausted and had to skip most of the yoga classes because I was in tears, drained to the point of unable to speak coherently, even with the pain medicine. 

My personal meditation today is a continuation of the truth’s I learned at this weekend’s yoga retreat and shows me again that we may think we have xyz skill or quality or belief all figured out, but that’s a lie. We are always on a journey of growth, healing, and enlightenment. If we don’t believe we are, we are severely deceived and self righteous. 
More often than not, it’s only when we get into uncomfortable (slightly or severely) positions, that we grow. Otherwise, we humans are smart, and there’s no reason to change!

Have you been on a yoga retreat? I’ll be going on another April 29 – May 1, 2016, but this time, I’m leading it. It’s a Hot Springs, Yin/Yang Yoga Retreat in Cedarville, CA

Just imagine: relaxing, recharging, and doing yoga at a luxurious resort, surrounded by high mountains, breathing in the crisp, fresh air, and soaking in your own private hot springs hot tub. 

Registration and full details are under the Special Events tab.

Growth is sometimes hard, but really, it’s not about me, anyway. My pain, is your gain, and this is true for all of us. The more that we grow and get outside our familiar surroundings, the more that we will change not only our own internal environment, but we will change the environment around us, and in this world.

Growth happens when we step outside the familiar and plus, it’s a whole lot of fun to getaway and meet new and like-minded people. I’d love to see you at the Hot Springs Yin/Yang Yoga Retreat in April. Let me know if you have any questions and namaste my friend, I bow to you. We are all in this together.

P.S. my leg doesn’t hurt much at all today. #worthit

xoxo

wheels, chakras, the universe, dancing shiva, creation

This is another spoil/pic from this weekend’s Hot Springs Yoga Retreat with my friend Shiva Reinhardt in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. I am forever changed by this epic retreat and am now seriously contemplating getting my 300 hours of yoga teacher training to become a 500-hour RYT with the same woman that Shiva trained with for her 500 hour. The style of yoga Shiva teaches is unlike any I’ve experienced and it spoke to my heart and spirit like living water for my soul. It brought a wholeness my yoga practice has been looking for. My friend Shiva has a wide influence of training, but this weekend we specifically practiced Prana Vinyasa Flow: Prana meaning the vital-life-force or creator or God, Vinyasa meaning movement synchronized with breath/energy, and Flow meaning a state of unified awareness or consciousness/enlightenment. This awareness on Prana (God) combined with a lunar (meaning of a feminine quality, gentle, beautiful, graceful) and solar (meaning active, strong, a masculine quality) asana focused practice was delicious! I want more!!!

Besides my now newfound love for Prana Vinyasa Flow yoga, I wanted to briefly share my knowledge about the sculpture behind me called Nataraja or Shiva, the lord/king of the dance.

Primarily from the book “Myths of the Asana: the Stories at the Heart of the Yoga Tradition” I’ve learned that the Shiva is one of the god’s in the Hindu trinity. Shiva is often depicted in statue form (pictured here), dancing on a dwarf, with snakes around his neck, dreadlocks sticking out from his head, and encircled by a ring of fire, as an image to convey compassion: a contradiction for those who hunger and thirst for understanding/rightehousness (Matthew 5:6). Shiva represents the ability to turn ages to moments, so that although the days may sometimes feel long and difficult, they are but a passing glimpse in eternity. In one of Shiva’s hands, he holds a drum, signaling death and rebirth, which he beats fast. Shiva dances to his own music within a circle of flame known as samsara. Samsara is likened to the cyclical pattern of birth, life, death, and thus, reincarnation. Another way to describe samsara is: patterns and habits in our live’s, some of which can inhibit us. For Shiva, dance serves to help him find the rhythm amidst this spinning karmic cycle of samsara and he is unafraid of this building wheel of fire and flame, he in untroubled.

The snakes around Shiva’s neck are metaphors for the power we humans have, being made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and as such, our divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) to overcome. The yoga tradition recognizes that our misunderstanding as something other than Divine will poison us with ignorance. We practice the yoga tools of asana (poses), meditation, and pranayama (breathing exercises) to remember our enlightened state of Divinity.

The dwarf that Shiva dances upon is the demon of ignorance/ego/selfishness who causes us to become caught up in our own personal and daily life and goings on, busy-ness and drama. Shiva demonstrates that we humans can use the demonic for good (Genesis 50:20) and crush it with our heels (Romans 16:20). Shiva takes a higher gaze (Psalm 123:1) and uses this dwarf as a pedestal for his dance, elevating his consciousness, rising himself above his daily life, dancing with the rhythm of the universe/God, as if lead by Holy Spirit.

Shiva shows that life is cyclical and all that is born also dies. With the understanding that destruction makes the way for rebirth and in rebirth and growth, compassion comes. Shiva is the destroyer so that the Hindu god Brahma can create and rebuild new and fertile life.

The story of Shiva is that of freedom: going with the flow of life (Holy Spirit) and the truth that nothing is permanent. Shiva dances out of liberation and shows us that we can overcome fear. Shiva rides the wave of change, attaining bliss. The scientific law of conservation of mass states that matter can neither be created nor destroyed, meaning that to make something new, something old must be destroyed. Shivas demonstrates that to create change, new life and freedom, we have to destroy social norms, old ways of thinking, and patterns that no longer serve us. So, if we truly want change and growth, we must embrace a little death and destruction.

Coincidentally, I chose to take a deep backbend for this picture. Backbends are very opening, vulnerable, and they can be scary. We often hold fear in our hearts. As we open our hearts, physically and emotionally, we have an opportunity to let go of fear and grow. This retreat was much of that for me and this Shiva statue serves to remind me of my divinity, my humility, my power, and that as I look toward heaven, I can dance with the rhythm of the Holy Spirit and have fun on this journey called life, while holding compassion for others in each of their’s.

Dance on my friends. Maybe I’ll see you on the dance floor….

Namaste!