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Yoga

10 Reasons to Start a Yoga Practice Today

nina yoga colorado 2014

Who knew I’d be able to balance on a rock and do “dancer” pose? Not me.

Yoga is intimidating. Even after the first couple of classes it can be intimidating. You may not think yoga is for you, I certainly didn’t think it was for me. But that’s where I was wrong.

I’m thrilled we offer a safe place for beginners at our yoga retreats. If you’re like me, uncomfortable in a room of strangers who you think are judging you (they’re not!), a Yoga Nurture Retreat is perfect for you.

Five years ago if you would have invited me to a yoga class, I would have laughed and replied, “You’re kidding, right? I can’t even touch my toes.” I thought I knew what it took to do yoga, and I was certain I had none of it. I was wrong.

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How to Relax the Tightness in Your Neck

Does your neck feel tense and tight? Maybe these stretches will help. I was recently asked to submit information for an article about stretches that yoga instructors use for themselves and teach to their students. I frequently get neck discomfort and tension from working on my laptop. These neck stretches work beautifully.

Yoga Retreat at Retreat in the Pines

Neck & Shoulder Stretching at a Yoga Retreat

I plan to incorporate these stretches into upcoming yoga retreats. These feel especially good if you’ve been driving for awhile, with your neck and shoulders hunched and tight. It’s a perfect complement to our Friday evening hip opener class. Learn these soothing neck stretch when you join us for a retreat.

Read the whole article here.

Finding a Yoga Retreat with Relevance

When looking for a yoga retreat, it seems like there are endless options to choose from. Writing and Reflection in the Woods, Burlesque and Bliss on the Beach, Strength and Healing Yoga Retreat in the Pines (my personal favorite), Men’s Nude Yoga in Hawaii (..really!), and anything you could imagine in between.

The Perfect Retreat…for You

The thought of a perfect retreat, you know where you come home transformed physically, mentally and emotionally with clearer skin and shinier hair on top of being free from all negative thoughts in your mind, aches in your body and fears in your heart…might seem over reaching (and it is)…but there is a retreat that’s relevant for where you are in your yoga practice, in your life and in your energy. It’s just a matter of ruling out the choices that aren’t right…until you’re left with the opportunity to go on a retreat that will take you to exactly the place you need to be.

Considerations when Choosing

A few things to consider as you think through finding the retreat that is right for you:

Budget – Yes I know, reality check, but don’t look at the $5000 international option when your budget only allows for the $500 retreat. Nothing is more stressful than amassing credit card debt to go on a yoga retreat; you’ll come home feeling like you need another retreat just to deal with the financial stress! Remember, take into account ALL costs and do your research-while some retreats are all inclusive, others aren’t. Keep in mind things like: transportation to and from the location (air fare, gas, shuttle, rental car, etc.), meals and/or accommodations (if not included) and additional materials you may need (this may include a cute new yoga outfit).

Length of Retreat – Do you need a couple of days to find clarity or are things so wound up that a week or longer is needed to actually unwind? If you’re just dipping your toe in the waters of retreats, a weekend is a good place to start.

Yoga Retreat Sunrise

Sunrise in the Pines

Location – Do you love the beach or the mountains? While practicing yoga in the sand or the snow may not be ideal, a yoga studio steps overlooking the beach or the mountains may be a perfect fit. Consider ease of travel, as it will make some locations more attractive over others. Accommodations – Maybe you need your own space with a private room and bath, or maybe you’re interested in sharing space with sleepover style bunk accommodations. Or maybe you’re craving alone time, while enjoying community with others; look for properties that will give you both. Do what’s best for you, but don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new. It really is true that the good stuff happens out of your comfort zone. Food – If the thought of forgoing coffee and wine, with a strictly vegan menu and a strict “no sugar” policy is enough to make you shudder in despair, be sure to thoroughly investigate the menu options. If you have dietary restrictions make sure that the retreat center will accommodate you before reserving your spot.

Yoga for Strength and Healing

Strength & Healing Yoga Retreat

Yoga – What kind of yoga do you like or are you interested in exploring? Maybe you’re looking to try adventurous nude vinyasa, or maybe you’re not quite there yet and looking for something a little tamer like fully clothed restorative. Know that there is yoga for every body type and every level out there. The fun is finding what speaks to you.

Other Activities – There are so many choices of activities, from Exotic Dance, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Surfing and beyond. Do you want to deepen your practice? Explore new poses or new possibilities in a more yoga-centric retreat? Or maybe you’d enjoy yoga as part of a smorgasbord of activities.

Helpful Hints

Thank goodness for Google! You can search for your ideal yoga retreat while doing a pose at your desk. Use keywords like “yoga retreats,” “women’s retreats,” or “wellness retreats,”  and include the location you’d like to visit or a key word like “affordable,” “all-inclusive,” or “vegan.” Or, for one stop shopping peruse the retreats listed on RetreatPlace, the easy to use platform for finding retreats around the world. Another good option is to ask around at your studio. The students and instructors may have a personal recommendation, and first hand review, to share with you.

Yoga Retreat May 2011

Margaret on Meditation Deck

Find the Retreat for You

Finding the retreat with relevance for you right now is relatively simple, once you determine what it is you’re seeking. Sometimes it’s helpful to set a retreat intention for yourself as you search. The choices are wide and exciting, and maybe even a little overwhelming. Just know that there is a retreat out there that will change your life in more ways than you can ever imagine.

This post originally appeared on Retreat Place website.

Today Matters

This post is written by Kay, who recently found relief from a chronic headache at a Yoga Nurture Retreat. She’s since been back several times.

“Inside that lit stillness
we drank in the swelling breath that would
unfold on its own for months.”
from “Quiet of the Mind” by Naomi Shihab Nye

An acquaintance of mine recently returned from a two-week overseas trip that most of us would consider a dream vacation. When I asked her about it, she said, “Well, it was really nice, but I’m just so tired. We all got pretty cranky because we just had so much to do, and we had so many friends to buy things for, and it just was so stressful.”

Finding Peace

Preparing for Meditation at Yoga Retreat

Wow.

But isn’t that the way many of us—and by “us” I mean Americans—live our lives?  We tend to plan events so that we can “check in” on Facebook, take pictures, and say we were there. Sometimes we’re so focused on taking the picture that we forget to actually experience the thing we’re photographing. Once our event is thoroughly photographed and Facebooked, we move on to plan the next one.

The lines quoted above come from a beautiful poem about enjoying a moment and letting it carry you through months of everyday life and stress. It’s easier said than done.

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Resolve to Take Care of You

Tonya - Taking Care of Myself Does Matter

Tonya – Taking Care of Myself Does Matter

This morning, as I lay in quiet Savasana, I thought about how well I treated myself during 2011. What I was really thinking was that I could treat myself better.

Sure, I went on a few yoga retreats to the beautiful piney woods of East Texas. I’d also trained all year for triathlons, pushing my body to new limits. I’ve stopped to enjoy some stillness but I’ll also admit that December flew by in a rush, leaving my head spinning and illness looming.

I used to be that person who did yoga 3 – 5 times a week. I used to be that person who ate more vegetables, meditated often, got massages and dry brushed my skin to make sure my lymph nodes kept my body toxin free. As I struggled through my yoga practice this morning, I recognized the effects of pushing myself too hard and neglecting the healthy practices I used to do diligently. I’ve been fighting illness for the second time in two months. I’m weak, achy and sore. My mind has been so scattered that I’ve had trouble concentrating.

On my mat, I slowed down to start 2012… or at least the 2nd day of the year. I let go of thoughts of a lingering To-Do list. I breathed in the peace and breathed out the stress of 2011.

Resolutions, I find, are usually broken. I’d rather commit instead of comply to something I feel I have to do. So, instead of resolving that I HAVE to take better care of myself, I will commit to myself and my family that I will get back to what makes me feel good. When I take care of me, I am better at taking care of my children, my house, and my business. It’s all connected.

Bring on 2012. And bring on the warmth of a healthy body, glowing skin and many more mini-retreats in the day-to-day busy-ness of life.

Thank you for the stillness of my yoga mat to remind me that quiet moments are when the good stuff happens.

Just Breathe

I tell my students all the time, “Just breathe through the discomfort…let your breath keep you anchored in the present moment…only breath…letting the sound of your breath calm your mind.” Oh the list goes on.

Now as my life takes another crazy turn…teenagers and their issues (it’s true what they say about small kids, small problems; big kids, big problems…those of you with young children…Enjoy!)…now I’m faced with problems that I used to believe wouldn’t happen to my kids and now the act of staying calm…seems completely impossible.

Seated cat/cow streatch

My yoga teacher,  readily tells our class that yoga is… “Learning to be comfortable in an uncomfortable situation.” That of course applies off the mat, as well as on the mat.

Comfortable?!! How about not freaking out?

Give me one of those hip stretches, where I feel like I’m a wishbone and my only wish is to come out of it…not this mess that I have to figure out. Give me two hours of dripping wet yoga, where I collapse at the end into a beautiful savasana, feeling like a sopping wet dishrag…not this feeling that these problems are bigger than me.

When things get hard for me, the only place I can find solace is on my mat. It’s my time…. away from the train wreck that it seems like I’m facing.

My mat…a place to find comfort, calm, peace amidst the storm of my reality.

My practice…a place to just breathe.

My breath…my anchor when I feel overwhelmed.

How does your yoga practice help you get through the ups and downs of your life?

Need help catching your breath? Physically or figuratively? Join us for a retreat and take time for you. You’ll find your breath and so much more. Book here.