July 20, 2009

Yoga and spiritual retreat!

This recap will be long, be prepared!!! ^_^
This is definitely my best getaway this summer!!! The experience was unique in every sense. I'll write it as a dairy, you can skip it or just read the highlights and/or see pics.

I took me 3 hours to get to the place because of the terrible traffic. I would have imagined that I'd be pissed off and not enjoy the night. Fortunately that didn’t happen. Once arrived, everyone else have already finished dinner so I just grab quickly some food and joined the group gathering. We are 12 including the 3 instructors. Quite intimate! The first yoga session was designed to attract energy from East, South, West and North and used Earth elements as theme. It was really energetic and from the first time I felt a connection inside me to the place and to myself. The place is just amazing. Second floor of a sanctuary, with diamond shape. We put our mats in circle and there was a spot with candles in the middle. Just few minutes after we started, it began to rain and that was a perfect natural music to our practice. And by when we finished, the rain stopped, perfect timing for us to go to the fire. Live music played by two of the instructors. The smell of woods, the stars, brighter than I’ve ever seen and ENERGY among us was just incredible. One of the girl suggested everyone to say something that she/he is thankful. Everyone said something different…. Thankful about their family, their friends, the opportunity to be here and do this. And even thankful to all the people and difficulties that pissed him off because they made him stronger and challenged. I was the last one to speak because I have so many things to be thankful of that I couldn't’t just pick one. I’m thankful of everything that I have in my life, everything that I’ve gone through, everything that I’ve accomplished and not accomplished and most of all, thankful to have aged and learned the lessons of life. I used to read other woman saying that they’re not afraid of aging because they became wiser and happier. I never believed them because I thought it was just a lie that they tell themselves to justify being a old lady. I was sooooo wrong!!! I can actually feel that right now. I’m turning 29 by the end of this year and I can assure you I haven’t ever happier than what I am now. I don’t think everything else have changed, I’ve always been lucky in life, with my studies or with people, but I never really appreciate them and always just looked at what was missing. Yes, no life is perfect, even the most perfect person you can find, there’s always something missing. And my all focus was on that little tiny thing that was missing. But now, I feel that my life is perfect, everything is in the right place and happened in the right moment. Whatever obstacles and failures that I had to face, they were totally necessary, without them I am not who I am right now. Happiness is not just a moment of excitement that you get when you get a high score in the exam, not when you buy a new pair of shoes. No, they used to be the way I define happiness. Now happiness is a state of peaceful mind: peace with your inner yo, peace with people around you, peace with the place. And that kind of feeling lasts longer. Of course it’s not the case that I can be that way 100% of the time and I think it’s not the idea either. You need to be unbalanced to feel the balance. One thing that I’ve learned yesterday during the practice is when Scott (one of the instructor) made us to stand with one leg and begin to move, move as much as we can, in whatever form we wanted, enough to begin to lose balance, to get out of the comfort zone. What’s the point of being 100% balanced if you never felt unbalanced? That’s exactly what I meant by not always be in peace.
We ended up pretty late, around midnight but I really enjoyed gathering with these amazing group of people. We came for different reasons but we all shared something in common.

I shared a big room with 2 others woman. I’ve never lived in a dorm so this was my first experience sleeping in a room with strangers. A year ago I would be stressed out simply because of that (loosing privacy; noise that would disturb my sleeping, etc). How I changed!!! I felt so open to new things, different things, things that I wouldn’t be able to do.

Despite of staying late last night, I woke up at 6am anyway. It was such a fresh morning. I could smell the humidity and felt the beginning of a great day. I sit on the bend that we had outside the house, contemplate the place, the view and listen to birds.
After breakfast we had our morning yoga session which ended up in a hike to the river. Then I came back for some reading before lunch time. We had a three hours intense yoga session in the afternoon and we did Acro-yoga. It was sooo fun! Even though the poses look really challenging, they were not hard at all if you’re willing to surrender and trust your partners. I’m definitely better receiving than giving. I fly better than hold others. It was interesting to see how we are naturally a receiver or a giver.
Dinner came along. I enjoyed all the meals there because of the company. We chat whatever it crossed our mind. We were totally opened to each other and there was no taboo among us. That was the first time since I came to US that I felt close to Americans and realized that Americans are not so distant as I thought.
After dinner another amazing yoga session began. This time each instructor leaded us to embody animals. Greg was the snake, Kim the cat and Scott the bird. I was able to free myself to the moment, to immerse to the spirit of those animals. It was wild and fun.
We ended up with a guided meditation lead by Greg. I was really tired and fall asleep a little bit. After that, some people went to the fire again with wine and chips. I was totally out so I went to bed and slept as a baby.

I woke up at 5.45am, perfect timing to be prepare by 6.30am to help the Sweat lodge lady to prepare the place. Sam, Scott and I helped Darling to build the fire. It was my first experience building a big fire from scratch. It was easier than I thought, although without Darling’s precise instruction, we wouldn’t be able to do that. We first lay some big chunks of wood, then each of us invite some spirit when we put the stones. After an hour, the fire was built. We were so proud.
By 10.30am we were in the lodge already. It was dark, muddy and hot inside. But I wasn’t afraid. I kind of enjoyed the darkness, the silence, all those spiritual words, thoughts and songs. Darling’s words were touching and very deep. I am normally hard to be touched because I’m too protective to my inner-yo, but this time I know I was more opened and ready to surrender, that’s why I could feel what she said and feelings that she described.

Okay. Pictures and video
our yoga studio is in the upper levela mini video of the yoga studio

Girls room
the view from my bed
the kitchen
the dinning room
outside of the dinning room
Some pictures of the food which was great (organic and healthy)
Some animals
Some pics of me doing acro-yoga
and finally the amazing group of people
me and Scott after we built the fire

It was definitely an amazing self-discovering experience. We were there not to look for anything specific, but to dig from the deepest part of us the truth us. This is not the end of the retreat, but the beginning of a new way of feel life and most of all, to know ourselves better and to be able to love.
On my way back, the sky was bluer than ever. I felt PEACE. I was FULL. Namaste.


Emily said...

sounds like you had a great yoga trip. the food looks amazing, too! :-)

ttfn300 said...

what a great journey!!

VeggieGirl said...

Such an enriching, rewarding, calming experience!!

Gina said...

Oh I loved that post. I am not much for yoga, I'm more of a pilates girl, but the more I read and hear about yoga, the more I Want to start doing it! Honestly, I would love to go on one of those retreats. What was the name of the retreat and do they have a website?

The Dainty Pig said...

what a wonderful experience!! It looks like it was just what you needed. It is a great thing to be in the presence of a bunch of people who share similar values and like doing similar things. :)
Glad to see you had a great weekend!

Krista said...

The retreat sounds fabulous and so peaceful! Love the photographs. What a great view you had from your bedroom! Way to go on that acro-yoga! Too cool...

just me said...

awesome trip!!!

Alison said...

Acro yoga looks way cool!
I'm surprised you think of Americans as distant. I would think that foreigners would often view Americans as too forward, too revealing. How do you think most people are distant?

Erica said...

Wow- so jealous- this seems absolutely incredible from the yoga to the food. Glad you enjoyed yourself

abby said...

wow...how i wish there is also a yoga retreat here...the yoga club that I am in here at my school have taken an off for this school year. sooo sad ;(

Maggie said...

Oh my gosh, what an awesome retreat. I definitely need to do one of these sometime. I'd love to do one with a group of people I know... next time I'm on the east coast we should do one together :)

It sounds like a similar experience to what I had with YogaFit, but even cooler.

Anonymous said...

What a great trip!! I like how trips like that (not that I've taken any!) make you reflect on all the good things in your life!

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