For weeks, I’ve thought about sitting down at the computer and typing up everything that the retreat means to me. But I wasn’t quite ready. I needed to take this time to really reflect on the weekend away, so that I could best share my thoughts. Now, as we approach Thanksgiving, I realize that the time is right. That’s because the word that’s been on my mind since leaving paradise is “gratitude.”
This year’s yoga retreat was the best one yet (ok, ok, I say that every year, but it’s true!). I love having the opportunity to offer this mindful getaway, because it gives us all a chance to step away from the daily grind, and truly immerse ourselves in an experience we choose. Students and teachers, alike, are encouraged to focus and push themselves, while connecting with the sky and earth. And the backdrop sure doesn’t hurt: a pristine 85 acres, with palm trees swaying in the breeze and ocean waves lapping at the sand.
The retreat has grown over the last few years from about a dozen participants to up to 40. I began offering the getaway because I was inspired by the yoga retreats of my own teacher, Rodney Yee. I remember leaving his retreats with a deepened relationship with yoga. The longer classes allowed me to focus on areas where I needed improvement, and the getaway let me dive more deeply into meditation and restorative yoga. I would come home from these journeys completely revitalized, glowing with a new energy. I love offering that same wellness travel experience to my own students.
Every year, we get together and steep ourselves in daily sessions interspersed with relaxing spa treatments, lounging by the pool (the Marriott has facilities that are second-to-none) and basking in enlightening conversations. Participants represent all levels of interest and practice. Some of the faces I see two to three times a week at the Yoga from the Heart studio. Others travel from as far away as Ohio, Massachusetts and New York, seeking sea breezes and new experiences.
The retreat gives me the satisfaction of watching people push themselves beyond what they thought they could do. Some rejuvenate a yoga practice that has fallen by the wayside. Others deepen and go further in their practices. Seeing students excited about yoga always inspires me, and I view the retreat as a chance for all of us to really delve into who we are and where we’re headed. It’s a way to connect not just with our bodies, but our souls. Everyone needs a break like that, at least once a year, and I’m so grateful to share those times with you.
Thank you for all of the gifts you’ve given me in 2013. I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings.