While pregnant with my first, I went to nearly weekly acupuncture appointments, got regular massage and saw a chiropractor or PT when needed. I was also teaching 10 yoga classes a week and regularly walking around the lake near our Seattle home. I had what felt like an easy pregnancy, with relatively little discomfort and pain. Granted, I have also been teaching prenatal yoga for over 10 years and have seen students truly dealing with the aches and pains of pregnancy and myriad of issues that can arise from debilitating sciatica to hop pain that kept them from sleeping to discomfort walking more than a ½ mile. So, I also set my expectations low for what my experience would be, but also made it a point to do as much self-care as I could.
This New Year's Yoga Retreat at Doe Bay was my 7th year leading this wonderful retreat. At this point, most attendees have been in past years because folks just keep coming back. The nourishment we create through practice, community, yoga and food during this weekend is unparalleled and I love coming back again and again as a touchstone to the start of each my new years. This year, with the snow moving through the San Juan islands day before, we practiced a great deal of non-attachment as the weekend approached, debating whether the retreat would go forward. Luckily, the weather behaved and the roads were cleared and we came together again for 3 days of reflection, insight and connection. Our focus this weekend was being present. So often the new year holds plans for the coming year or reflection on the past but it felt potent to simply sit with what is, moment to moment and that was our practice for the weekend. Below you'll find quotes and poems that were part of the weekend. I hope they inspire!
For many of us, the first month of 2017 has been one of great challenge. At for many more, the past week or so has been a time of grief, anger, hurt and dispair. It is an incredibly challenging time to navigate and can leave us feeling depressed, depleted and exhausted.
While it may seem that there are so many things outside of ourselves calling for our attention, our action and our energy, we also must recognize the importance of maintaining self care routines. If we push ourselves to the bring of exhaustion or worry, we have very little to give and may find that moving forward becomes increasingly difficult. I encourage you to take time to set practices and space for self care. Now is the time to lean into your yoga and meditation practices and to ensure that you are doing things that nourish you in both body and spirit.
"Let your beauty manifest itself without talking or calculation.
You are silent.
It says for you: I am.
And comes in meaning thousand fold,
comes at long last over everyone.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
While the throat chakra is most often associated with sound, as our vehicle for communication, our ability to listen is also inherently connected into this energy center. We tend to be a culture of stimulus, we are constantly plugged in--to our TV, to our phones, to music and to our computers. Its hard to get away from stimulation and noise in our busy lives. I sometimes forget how much noise I have gotten use to experiencing. When my partner and I take a weekend away out of the city, I am always amazed at the sheer expansiveness of being in an environment without all the bustle of the city. Its amazing how it shifts my energy and my mood simply to find a quieter space in my life.
Yoga teacher, sound healer and explorer of the inner landscape. Join me!