I've been working non stop for a couple hours... WAIT... The whole day has gone by!
As I emerge from a work spurt, which I thought was only a couple hours but come to realize that the WHOLE day has gone by, I start to ask myself "what are you doing with your life, Elizabeth?"
I've been preparing for this year's Yoga by the Lake - A Yogarific Cottage Retreat, and the tasks consume me. I dive right into my pile of work and relish my to-do list. Communicating with the registrants, organizing room sharing, coordinating ride sharing, building a menu plan, setting some scheduled activities. It's all so fun and interesting!
With this kind of passion for my work, I feel the need to reflect and explain on "what am I doing with my life?". Not the "what the heck am I doing with my life?!" but more of a "this might actually be too fun to be considered work" kind of way. Don't get me wrong, there are parts of my workday that I like less than others. Instead of boring you with the administrative details (will we have enough clean bedsheets at the retreat? Have I sent a reminder to my private client about their appointment? Ugh, is it time for the bookkeeper and accountant again? What allergies do I have to accommodate for? Wait, that last one is fun... I like thinking up some fabulous recipes with replacement ingredients!)
In short, I do this because someone did it for me and -cliché alert- it...
changed my life.
Cliché but true. When I found yoga I had already decided to be happy and healthy. I wasn't yet, but I decided I would be. I had taken the first step, and the people I met after I made that decision helped me achieve my goal. I will always be grateful for the friends and family I have made within the yoga community. They listened to my sadness and help me find joy. They introduced me to good good food (that's code for delicious healthy food). They helped me find my inner child and continue to be playful. They helped me to see that what I felt was real, but it was temporary, because all things, good or bad, come to an end. They might not have directly told me so, but somehow they created a space that I was able to learn the lessons I was ready and meant to learn. Many of these cherished life lessons were learned on Juniper Island during my teachers, Vishva-ji's, annual yoga retreat.
So what they did for me, I hope to offer to someone who needs it. Maybe that's you.
Let me share with you, why I LOVE yoga retreats and why I offer this little yoga escape.
I love the therapeutic effects of nature. There's an inner serenity that is evoked by gazing at the lake mirroring the sunrise. A playful liberation when you cannonball into the refreshing water after playing in the hot summer sun. An ease in letting go of past and future as you enjoy the present moment in your yoga practice by the lake. A simple joy, bliss, in sipping your bedtime tea as you watch the ducks waddle along the beach and the little ducklings scurrying on after mama.
Meditation or contemplation is almost spontaneous in nature. Effortless.
I love the fun. It's easy to have fun when you leave your responsibilities and worries back home and head to the cottage. When you wake up and you have zero obligation. You could wake up early and practice yoga, but you don't have to. You usually end up doing it anyway because you want to. Cooking together as a family, and even cleaning up after meals is fun. Let's not forget the impromptu seadoo and tubing rides!
Yoga retreats - just like yoga - don't have to be so serious!
Meaningful connections, meeting new likeminded people, helps you to grow your network and make new friends. After all, a stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet! This new friend might know the best place to get an introduction to meditation or the registered massage therapist that will be able to fix that pesky tight spot in your tush. Perhaps you'll meet a kindred spirit and plan yoga or walking "dates" to keep you body and mind healthy. The people I met through yoga have come to be family, because friends are the family you choose!
Friendship is easy when it feels like family!
And of course what I love about yoga retreats is the yoga! The twice daily asana practices are completely optional because you could chose to stay in bed, skip the yoga practice and go for a meditative walk or stay in bed for a savasaNAP. We practice various styles, such as, Akhanda Yoga®, Hatha yoga, Raja yoga, Power (slow and strong flow), Yoga Tune Up®, and Restorative. The practices are inclusive and designed to be suitable for every body.
The time spent at the retreat will help cultivate happy thoughts, loving action, and blissful play.