Hosting yoga retreats is, by far, one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. The dynamics differ from weekend to weekend, but there is almost always an energy of change and transformation in the air. By letting go of negative thoughts, bad habits and other forms of resistance, guests are able to open up their hearts, minds, and yoga practice to new possibilities.
It’s So Much More Than Yoga
The most recent Strength and Healing Retreat was a weekend for breaking through barriers and reconnecting to our true selves. While the yoga and meditation were a powerful part ot the weekend, the connections and friendships were what really allowed us to find new possibilities and reflect on our lives with a renewed perspective.
Listening to their stories and observing their yoga practice, I could see unbelievable inner and outer strength. Over the weekend several of the women experienced physical breakthroughs in their practice, but I’m almost positive that every guest experienced a renewed sense of mental and emotional clarity. During the individual pose alignment sessions, each guest chose a pose or two to practice. I rejoiced as I saw the women transition from thoughts of “There’s no way I can do that,” to, “I’m really doing this!” With encouragement from one another, several guests were able to float up into seemingly effortless arm balances, embracing their outer and inner strength.
Life Changing Weekend, Life Changing Women
The women, as always, were unique and beautiful in their own wonderful ways. My retreat assistant was a great help, her big smile and generous heart were the perfect compliment to the weekend, and her help allowed time for me to establish a deeper connection with the individual guests.
I loved watching the fun family dynamic between a mom and her two daughters. As they interacted with each other, their love was evident and so sweet to witness.
I found great encouragement from a guest who journeyed from Chicago for the weekend. Facing a crossroads in her life, she expressed wanting to pursue the life she envisions, but pressure from friends and family to pursue a traditional lifestyle left her feeling trapped. Her final comment at the closing breakfast was, “I know that no matter what I do everything will be OK. I want to pursue a life that’s meaningful to me, not conform to other’s expectations.” I know that she will be much more than OK.
I was inspired by one guest who shared her struggle with health issues. Facing the roller coaster of working on getting back on track, she was concerned she wouldn’t be able to keep up during the yoga practice. Not only did she keep up, she went deeper into her practice – attempting and holding crow pose.
It was a great honor and joy to have several yoga instructors in attendance. One, a beautiful strong yoga instructor who has lived in Costa Rica and pursued her passions, still finds herself struggling with a marriage that ended. Aware that the man she is happily dating is a much better fit for her, she finds herself second guessing the relationship due to their age difference.
I was humbled by a guest who came from Louisiana. During the retreat she received news that her job will be eliminated in 2014. She told the group that the weekend of healing, along with the inspiring stories from the group, allowed her to see the upcoming transition as a positive change in her life.
I was so grateful to experience the presence of another guest. You won’t find a more gracious or kind soul; even though she struggles with a recent heartbreak and a challenging job, she puts others first. Looking up information to help a woman she met on her morning commute, she discovered Retreat in the Pines. It’s true, what you send out does come back to you – she is living proof.
Of all the guests, there was one that seemed to have the biggest breakthrough. Admitting she felt stuck in her life, she had left a high paying medical career to care for her children and found herself wanting something more. Her friends were in disbelief that she would go out to the woods and share a room with a stranger for a weekend of yoga. She actually found herself doubting her decision on the drive.
Luckily, she made it to the retreat and inspired all of us. By the end of the weekend she had made the decision to pursue getting certified as a yoga instructor. She has already reserved a spot for the New Year’s Detox & Yoga Retreat.
So Many Lives, So Many Rewards
I believe that we are all stronger than we know. I believe these women will go out and do amazing things in their lives. I believe (and know) that choosing to do something that doesn’t meet the expectations of those in your life has great challenges, but even greater rewards. I have witnessed many women make the journey from “I can’t” to “I can,” and break the walls they’ve built.
Isn’t it about time you started breaking down the walls in your life?