By Elly Rotheim
Back in the ‘80s, I had taken a smattering of adult education yoga classes, and I actually thought I was really “doing yoga.” It wasn’t until years later, when I lost my only sister and fell into a deep depression, that I began to realize the true power of yoga and retreats.
Here’s what I discovered:
Jump In–Ego Out
I do find there is a difference between going to a retreat in a yoga center or ashram, and staying at a hotel. It would be like comparing apples to oranges. But I enjoy being with like-minded participants in either setting. In the beginning, I was worried: Could I keep up? Then, slowly, my ego was set free. I never wanted to do anything that I thought I couldn’t achieve. And when I forgot the negative and concentrated on the posture, I found myself saying, “I tried,” and finally “I did it!”
This feeling of “I did it!” expanded away from the yoga mat. I began to walk a bit taller and began to give voice to my feelings and opinions. Friends began to tell me that I appeared more relaxed and happier.
Health Benefits: Learning to Listen to Your Body
I am very proud to say that at 73 years young, I can do most poses presented at most retreats. But when I can’t, I listen to my body and stop. It is important to realize that perhaps not everyone’s definition of “beginner” is the same, so if there is pain, I stop. With arthritis in my hip, I find yoga keeps me lubricated like the Tin Man. Also, when in a painful or difficult medical situation, I mentally go to my happy yoga place, do deep breathing and manage to get through everything that is thrown at me.
At the Yoga from the Heart’s Sanibel Retreat, the restorative yoga classes were just what I needed. They offered poses that relaxed my hip and back and made my body feel at ease.
Never Feel Guilty
If finding time to participate in a retreat seems daunting, think of the benefits for yourself and to those around you. Now, my husband says he actually likes when I go away, because I come back more mellow than before. Prior to my retirement, retreats centered me and brought me a more positive mindset for dealing with the hassles that presented themselves at work or with family.
Affiliation With Yoga from the Heart
Now that I have participated in their retreat, I am definitely going to fit more classes into my schedule. I feel Lynn Burgess is open to honest feedback and it’s really nice to do yoga where people know who you are!
Blog contributor Elly Rotheim is a student at Yoga from the Heart who experienced her first Sanibel yoga retreat in October 2013.