Friday, September 18, 2015

My Yoga Present to Myself: Sukhava Bodhe 2015

My planning for my 50th birthday retreat seemed to go on forever, but my trans-formative weekend went by in a flash. Planning is one thing, but the experience is something completely different. What surprised me was my full immersion in the weekend. So much of my planning time was spent worrying about being away from my family. My kids would tell you that they were thrilled I was leaving! This left them the entire weekend to do guy things. Had I allowed myself to really think on that, it may have stung, but I know that they, too, need time, just like me, to rejuvenate, explore, and just have fun.

Our cozy yurt
This is exactly what I got. My retreat, Sukhava Bodhe, was amazing. The yurt my friend Jen Vincent and I stayed in was delightfully cozy: right smack-dab in the middle of the festival. We had people stop by and talk with us, and a couple of people even sat and shared food with us. The atmosphere was one of complete trust with all of the people there. I have never experienced so much of that concentrated in one place before! We were asked to trust the practice of yoga, each other, our space, and we didn't even have a key to our yurt. I was assured that the people at the retreat were all good/trustworthy people. Jen and I even left our windows open when we slept. Anyone could have peeked in, but I doubt there was enough light to see us tucked in and snoozing. Truly this comfort and trust was remarkable for me. What I found out about myself surprised me. I had anticipated becoming completely altered after this retreat, and that frightened me, but I had a wonderful conversation with an instructor (one of the people that stopped by and shared watermelon I had on our picnic table) that changed my thinking about this. He said roughly this: Yoga doesn't necessarily have to change you, it allows you to release and let go of all the accumulated stuff that sits in our bodies and minds. How right he was. And the pictures below illustrate this concept perfectly for me. My yoga practice looked very different compared to those pictures below. I have used words in my discussions with people about my body's limitations. No longer! I used those words with an instructor saying, "My knees won't do that." Her response, "Not yet!" How true. I learned that my mind can be my biggest enemy or my greatest gift. I learned to trust that a base can hold me up. That I can hold up a flyer! Even a 190 lb. one! I learned that I can do an inversion. While I haven't (yet) stuck a handstand without assistance, I will. I will. I experienced Kundalini yoga for the first time. What an experience that was. I had what some might refer to as a Kundalini awakening. It was a bit frightening, but I was assured this is perfectly natural and expected in the beginning. I have now begun to incorporate some of the Kundalini teachings into my own practice. Little by little, starting my 50th decade (November), I'm filled with hope and excitement for more trans-formative experiences. I am open to what is coming my way. AND I just may return to Sukhava Bodhe next Labor Day weekend. Who knows? I'm keeping my options open!

Jen and me

Me as a flyer
Ready for lift off

Great stretch...
Flying again with a wonderful base

Jen taking Paddle board Yoga (SUPyo)

Getting ready to go into supported handstand...didn't quite make it!

Me as a base

Me as a base
We were without an instructor, so we just played

Me flying in throne...Now this was exciting!
Slacklining...this was fun!