Let 2017 be the year you celebrate you and what makes you unique. Let this be the year you embrace your body for all of the amazing things it allows you to do. And the year you stop chasing after the “perfect” body.
I posted this quote to Facebook in 2010. I’d spent most of my life punishing my body for not being perfect. Yoga allowed me to (finally) celebrate my body. Celebrate, not only the way I look, but more importantly, celebrate what my body can do and the way I feel about my body.
This is my story of how I overcame shame about my body. Maybe you can relate. If you’re struggling with acceptance for any aspect of yourself, join us for our Love Yourself Retreat. Begin the journey of love, acceptance and compassion for your body and every aspect of yourself.
I started hating my body when I was eight. My dad and brother called me fat and constantly made fun of me. I look back at photos from that time, and while I had baby fat, an 8 year old should NEVER be called fat. Over the next couple of years, I grew taller and slimmed down. But I STILL felt fat. I started hunching over as I grew taller – so nobody would notice me. My dad admonished me, “Stop slouching. Stand up straight. What’s wrong with you?”
Ha. I felt like so much was wrong with me. Not just with my body, but me. It’s interesting how the two are related.
In fifth grade, my best friend “unfriended me”. This was way before social media, so of course that happened in person, right before class. The reason? My boobs weren’t big enough! Who even has boobs in fifth grade you might wonder. My former best friend and her new best friend, that’s who. I heard a lot about my non boobs for the next several years.
It was especially challenging through middle school and high school. I didn’t want anyone to notice that I was fat (I wasn’t) or that I didn’t have any boobs (I did). But I thought I was fat and boobless, so that made it true. I hunched over even more. I wanted to disappear. I felt too ugly and too fat to be out in public. I was 15 years old.
As a teenager, I found the more I obsessed about what not to eat, the more I ate EVERYTHING. That continued through college. Except instead of just eating, I was eating AND drinking. In my early 20s, my “exercise” was to take the stairs instead of the elevator and park my car far away. I experimented with running…once or twice…and then realized it was pure torture and gave that up. Looking back at the photos during those times, I was more curvy than fat. But I still felt fat, so that made it true.
Isn’t it interesting how our perceptions shape our reality?
If you were ever teased or made fun of or called names about your body, you know exactly what I’m talking about. And you know how difficult it is to shake the voice in your head, even as an adult. At that point, your actual body size and capabilities don’t matter, because you’ve been conditioned to think of yourself in a certain way.
“There are all different kinds of women at a retreat and you’d think we have nothing in common. But we really have everything in common,” Dionna, a frequent retreat guest, sharing with her sister what makes our women’s yoga and wellness retreats so special.
I have found that’s so true. Even though our guests travel from across the country, have different backgrounds and experiences, we are ALL women. And because of that, we have so much in common.
Our mission is to support and empower EVERY woman. Yoga and meditation are a crucial part of our retreats, but women gathered together, sharing laughter and stories and supporting each other in community is where the real magic happens. Just ask our guests. Our yoga classes suit all levels, perfect for women of all ages and body types, with absolutely no yoga experience required. Yoga is breath-based movement. I tell guests at the beginning of every retreat, “If you can breathe, you can do yoga.”
Take that much needed break and join us for a retreat, discover exactly what you need here. We offer a Retreat Assistance Program and strive to keep our retreats affordable, so we can really serve as many women as possible.
It’s an Adventure! When I traveled with my kids when they were younger, my common phrase when things didn’t go as planned (which is quite frequently when you’re traveling with children) was “It’s an Adventure!” Of course they grumbled and made fun of me (and still do!), but now I know when things don’t go the way I plan, it is indeed an adventure. Whether in travel or in life.
My favorite adventure is solo travel. The absolute best place to travel to by yourself is Retreat in the Pines. Find your tribe at a retreat. View our upcoming retreats here.
My divorce was messy, I was stressed, I needed to do something for myself. As I pondered my future, I knew I needed to do something to challenge my comfort zone and give me fresh perspective. I decided to take a trip by myself.
I started to plan. I was thrilled when I bought the plane ticket, excited as I booked a room with Airbnb (Airbnb is my first choice when I travel) and feeling proud of myself as I figured out the details of a trip to San Francisco for the Yoga Journal Conference with a few nights in Napa.
You know the voice in your head saying…I got this…This is my dream…I deserve better than this. Great news, your voice is right. You’re right. When you hear it, stop what you’re doing and listen. Learning to listen to your intuition, is the first step on your journey to bliss.
If you’re like me and have struggled with listening to your intuition, join us for a retreat. Being away from your daily routine will clear away the clutter. Your voice will come in loud and clear.
I could tell you about the times in my life (disasters – truly) where I had an intuitive feeling about something and I RATIONALIZED it away. Big mistake, every time. Then I can tell you about the times I LISTENED to my gut…and things went amazingly right.
I love this quote by Marianne Williamson: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be Brilliant, Gorgeous, Talented, Fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”
To think that each of us experience a shift of energy within our bodies, minds and souls, a belief that we are connected to the seasons, is something that resonates with me. Call me a tree hugging flower child, but I know you’ve felt it too. Winter is heavy and dark, a time when we withdraw and go inward, while spring is fresh and light, a time for renewal and rebirth.
Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga, teaches us how to live in harmony with nature through a practice of balance. It is a Sanskrit word that translates as “the wisdom of life” or “the knowledge of longevity.” If you’re interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us for one of our Detox & Yoga Retreats.
In withdrawing and going inward this past winter I discovered a great deal of fear, confusion, discontentment and restlessness. Unwilling to face the truth of the matter, I distracted myself by planning what was to be the greatest adventure of my life: farming. It’s not nearly as glamorous as my hopes of backpacking through Europe, or as noble as my intention of going on the World Race, but I was convinced that it would change my life.
Do you ever find yourself wondering “how did I end up here?” You look back at the zigs and zags of your life and wonder should I have stepped left when I stepped right? Should I have skipped a few steps (partners, jobs, ideas) entirely?
Out of necessity we may find ourselves doing things we didn’t plan. Or even losing sight of our hopes and dreams. It’s called reality. If you need a break from reality, join us for a retreat. It will change your perspective and maybe even your life.
Perhaps you’ve spent the last 5, 10 or 20 years raising your children. Or working in a career that didn’t suit you. Or in a relationship (with a friend, partner or even co-worker) that was sucking the life out of you. If I’ve learned anything in my life, “It’s never too late… to turn back, start over, press the reset button.”
And never say never.
- Get Organized
- Lose Weight
- Stop a Bad Habit
- Start a Good Habit
- Save Money
- Get a Better Job
- Find Love
Not only are these all really overwhelming…some are just simply unattainable. Plus, New Year’s Resolutions are known to fail. Don’t set yourself up to fail. A perfect way to change your perspective is at a retreat, we have so many options to choose from, see them all here.
If you are unhealthy I encourage you to get healthier, taking baby steps.
Whatever you do, don’t try this at home: eat only vegetables, stop drinking and run 5 miles a day. I guarantee you will probably eat a lot of junk, drink MORE and you won’t want to walk anywhere, let alone run. Baby steps would be add more veggies to your diet, drink only on certain occasions and walk out the front door and keep going. And if you relapse by staying in bed all day and eating potato chips (close to a vegetable!) and drinking wine (staying in bed can qualify as an occasion, right?), don’t be too hard on yourself.
Start again the next day. Don’t give up on yourself after getting off course one time.
This year, live life. Joyfully. Passionately. Confidently. Just as you are. Because you are wonderful and lovely and perfectly imperfect.
Happy New Year. May this be the year of YOU!
“Pampering yourself is addictive!” Lisa’s comment to me following her recent retreat. One of the founding ideas behind Retreat in the Pines is my hope that every woman will take time to pamper and care for herself. It was a lesson I learned the hard way (of course!), but as I type this I’m preparing for my own pampering: a vacation consisting of all the things I love – riding my bike to yoga, walks on the beach, delicious food and good company. I can’t wait; taking care of myself allows me to take care of each one of you when you attend one of our retreats.
My dream is to make yoga retreats available to as many women as possible, with our recently introduced Retreat Assistance Program we are able to do just that – offer a life changing retreat to women who need pampering, but lack the financial means to do so.
Meeting Lisa, our first scholarship recipient, was a joy! She is intelligent, compassionate and kind-hearted.
We’d like to honor ALL women. Regardless of roles, labels, accomplishments or setbacks… one thing we know for sure: YOU are an incredible woman. Enjoy time in a community of encouraging and supportive women at one of our retreats. Book here.
As women, we’ve enjoyed the good times. The joy of getting together with friends laughing so intensely we’re snorting, the exhilaration of a new haircut and getting dressed up for a night out, the empowerment of using our gifts and talents, the rush of doing what we love – playing sports, writing, practicing yoga, building, teaching – whatever feeds our souls.
And we’ve endured the bad times. Starting our period at the most inopportune time, a bad hair day or a giant pimple on the day we see our crush, an outfit we just knew we were rocking that, in retrospect, was a clothing faux pas, finding toilet paper stuck to our super cute shoes. You know those moments.
Through the good times and the bad, being a woman can be so freeing. No need to worry about adjusting our parts (unlike some men who even adjust in public), no judgement for finding blessed silence in bathroom breaks (from children, work, spouse!), no awkwardness in crying, hugging or discussing our feelings. This is what we do!
Last year Nina treated me to the Give More Than You Take art exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art as a Christmas gift. While I loved the exhibit (it was one of the most unique and interesting installations I’ve ever seen), what really struck me was the concept: “give more than you take.” While it might seem contradictory to one of my favorite topics, self-care, I believe they’re quite complementary.
Jim Hodges, the artist, transforms everyday items, often overlooked, into breathtaking pieces of art. I came across a quote that describes the installation perfectly: “Delicate art that conveys a sense that everything is precariousness, everything is fleeting, so embrace this lovely moment.” ~ WBUR The ARTery