Yoga Retreat in the Mountains

I wake up feeling emotional – some of my old sad thoughts have visited me this morning. I get up and start my morning routine. All I want to do right now is to go back to bed, curl up in a ball, pull the blanket over my head and have a good cry – it’s one of those days, – but I take a shower, dry my hair and get dressed instead. I am going to the mountains with one of my yoga instructors and a group of other students to do some yoga outdoors. I know I’ll feel better afterwards, so I continue getting ready while wiping away a few escaped tears…

When I park my car in the previously-agreed-upon parking lot, in a short distance I notice a group of people wearing white clothes – “There they are!” I think. My Kundalini yoga gang is gathering across the street! I know where I’m supposed to be…

The teacher arrives, we spend several minutes figuring out who is driving with whom, and then follow her to the mountain in an orderly caravan.

My carpool peers are having a lively chat about a wide array of topics. I sometimes jump in and share an opinion or two or add another question, but mostly just go within and stay silent, feeling an undercurrent of sadness…

Having arrived at the destination, everyone parallel parks their cars on the side of the road and starts unloading yoga mats, backpacks, water…, chatting loudly.

We slowly walk across the bridge, to a big valley with several tall trees on the sides. By the time I reach the place preselected for the yoga class, most mats and blankets are already unrolled and stretched out nicely, parallel to each other.

I find an empty place in the center and add my own mat, blanket and sheep skin to the ensemble of colors, shapes and textures. Then I quietly sit down and close my eyes.

Listening to the sound of the gong that the teacher is playing to clear the space, I begin taking deep slow breaths – inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale… I notice that I start feeling calmer and more grounded…

After everyone settles down, the teacher begins the class. “Yes, I know it’s dusty, but just like in life, – if you can overcome your expectations of how it’s supposed to be and choose to be OK with the dust, some discomfort or other challenges, you can have an amazing experience.” “So true!” I think. “If we ignore this tiny inconvenience, then we get to enjoy the beautiful nature all around us, breathe in the delicious air full of oxygen and pine tree aroma and practice yoga with this amazing community!..”

The teacher asks us to introduce ourselves and tell everyone what’s brought us here. Several people open up and share intimate details of their lives; several others compliment their dear friends who’ve brought them there, express gratitude and appreciation. The bonding and sharing of love has commenced…

By now I know the Kundalini yoga class sequence by heart: we tune in, chant the protection mantra, do pranayama (breathing) and then a kriya (a set of exercises). It’s a different one every time. I notice that there is a lot of Breath of Fire and movement of the spine this time. Then we are finally relaxing in shivasana while the teacher is playing the gong…

I start drifting away, resting in some space between sleep and awareness…

I don’t know how much time later I wake up from the sun’s kisses on my forehead. The sun has moved during our practice and now it’s shining straight onto my face. I become aware of the pleasant sensation of the warmth on my skin. The mischievous breeze is playing with my hair. I notice strong, delicious pine tree scent. My body feels heavy, it has completely sunk into the ground, my mind is still and I am in peace. Breathing… Being…

“Start deepening your breath and gently wiggle your fingers and toes…” my brain registers the teacher’s instructions… I take another minute for stillness and then reluctantly begin to wake up my body…

We end up the class with a meditation and a beautiful Irish song/blessing: “Long Time Sun.” In closing, the teacher reminds us to be kind, loving and giving; she reminds us that we’re all one, and I feel it. I feel myself dissolved and merged with the other students, with the nature, with the moment. I am timeless and spaceless…

We have a delicious vegan lunch that the yoga instructor and her family have thoughtfully prepared. Fresh vegetable salad, quinoa, strawberries, watermelon, apples and bananas… While our bodies are being nourished, our souls are too… People are meeting each other, mixing up, sharing experiences, offer words of encouragement, exchange hugs… I feel my heart being bathed in love… My whole being is being nurtured…

On the way back, while waiting for several wild donkeys to cross the road, I am trying to remember why I felt sad in the morning and can’t. My energy has shifted. My tanks have been refilled. My wounds have sealed up…

“…and may you always remember that we are all part of a community and always share your gifts with others, lift up those around you, help and support those who are struggling, be the lighthouse for other people because we are all one! Sat Nam!” I remember the teacher’s words from this morning.

“Sat Nam!” my joyous Soul echoes in response…

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1 Comment »

  1. Perhaps, Diana, there is a reason for you to feel less than ideal at times. Knowing you casually and for a short while, you perhaps could let my distant but real admiration for you walk away any lack of self appreciation. Be happy and well.

    Liked by 1 person

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