It’s hard to believe that this weekend retreat has already come and gone.
I feel like I’ve spent the better part of 6 months with the logistics, menus, attendees, accommodations, schedule, or class themes running through my mind on over drive. And honestly, before the weekend was even over I had started musing and making plans for next year.
Now to say the retreat went off totally without a hitch would just be plain ol’ lying and the weather was certainly not on my side, but all in all I feel really good about what I was able to create and the energy brought together by these 14 incredible souls.
I feel so good about it in fact, that I thought I would write a little blog post about it and give you all a little sneak peak at the magic we made.
Building up to the retreat was a doozy for me at least. I made about 1,000 lists of things I needed to bring and do and organize and work on.
I wanted the ladies attending to feel as confident and comfortable walking into the weekend as they could. So I organized a Facebook Group for the participants where they could introduce themselves, organize car pools, share packing tips and just generally get to know each other before we all jumped into a 3 bedroom cabin together.
I also created packing lists, itineraries, menus, and direction sheets for the group so everyone could be prepared for the weekend.
A little Swag never hurt anyone.
All of our beautiful guests received a small welcome back with items very near and dear to my heart. Jill Waldrep was so kind as to create custom #JillGivesATit cards for each woman as well as offer a 20 Minute Goddess Portrait Session to everyone. They also received a special Balance Blend Oil Roller that I created using Young Living Oils from Hey Y’all It’s Lindsey, a hand made lavender eye pillow, and some sweet Deepen the Heart sunnies! Mostly I just did it as an excuse to show off how talented and incredible my friends are, but I also really wanted to show how much I appreciated each of these beautiful women sharing their time with me and trusting me on this journey.
I mean that’s what this whole thing was about right? (Wrong, but I did spend a great deal of time creating these classes).
It was really important to me that my yoga offerings throughout the retreat were well balanced, thematic, and accessible to everyone in attendance while still offering a little challenge.
The very prominent rain meant that 3 of our 4 classes had to be moved to the covered area under the cabin. But mosquitoes aside, it was really nice to be practicing and savasana-ing withe sounds of the rain, wind, and sea all around you. Honestly, as cranky and anxious as I was about the very wet forecast, by the end of the weekend I began to love our stormy practices. They created such a cleansing energy, perfect symbolism as we roll into Autumn which is all about shedding what you no longer need.
Our Friday evening class was all about Intention Setting and Goddess Energy. We took a long mediation and then rounded out the evening with some sweet and slow movement to really allow ourselves to settle into retreat mode and shed all of those other worries and cares waiting for us back home.
Saturday morning we participated in a Mini-Mala to celebrate the Autumnal Equinox. A Yoga Mala is an ancient yogic tradition of doing 108 sun salutations. It is usually done in connection with a change in season and is an auspicious day to take stock in your life and set new goals. Now because I still wanted these women to like me and be able to walk up the cabin stairs after this practice, I decided not to do the full 108 Sun Salutations, but to do 1/3 of that (36) instead. This practice is the ultimate moving meditation. It has a repetitive, steady rhythm that helps transcend the purely physical form and move us closer to the unified Self through mind, body, and breath.
Saturday evening we honored the upcoming Harvest Moon with a Chandra Namaskar inspired flow. This practice is the perfect balance to our morning Saluting the Sun and as the Autumn Equinox is equal parts day and night, it felt perfect to take these two practices on the same day. A Moon Salutation focuses mainly on the lower body, opening through the hips and pelvis as you travel around your mat to symbolize the waxing and waning of the moon.
The sun made an appearance just in time and we were able to have our last practice together on the beach. It was so incredibly beautiful and peaceful and I can’t think of a better way to seal our time together. Sunday morning we focused on Self – Care and Restoration. I really wanted everyone to take a moment to solidify the energy and intentions of the weekend before heading back into their daily lives. This slow, yet powerful, deep – stretch class reminded us be proud of exactly where we are right now, to allow our selves to be supported when we need too, and that sometimes we don’t need to work quite so hard – and instead we can let what ever it is we are looking for come to us.
I absolutely loved creating and guiding these practices and I cannot wait to add some of this sequencing into my weekly classes.
Not going to lie, this was 100% the best part. Hands Down.
Alicia Huber, featured chef from The Avenue Coffee and Cafe was our hostess with the most-ess for the weekend and she did not disappoint.
I mean just take a look at that menu and tell me if you don’t start drooling immediately.
I honestly couldn’t pick a favorite if I tried.
She kept us well fed and happy with meat loving, vegetarian, and vegan options each meal and even created her own Bloody Mary Mix for our Waffle and Bloody Mary bar Brunch on Sunday.
Ok, I know I said the food was the best part of the weekend. And I stand behind that statement. But the single greatest element of this whole adventure was this group of absolutely incredible women! The energy and love they cultivated throughout our short time together honestly amazes me. Watching their respect and support for each other in what could have been a very vulnerable and uncomfortable situation made my heart soar. I loved seeing old friendships deepen and new relationships blossom and witnessing a group of women spanning at least a couple decades, demographics, and counties come together so openly.
After the retreat one participant said “I was most impressed with how everyone was very accepting and kind to each other. I knew no-one going in and was hoping I wouldn’t feel like an outsider, but that was never the case.” And honestly, that is the greatest testament and compliment for this experience I can imagine.
Thank you so much to everyone who joined, showed interest, or sent us good luck vibes along the way.
Keep your eyes and ears peeled for 2019 dates coming your way.
I’ll be finalizing those right after I finish my application for the OFF – Deep Woods sponsorship.