I have done many amazing and wonderful things throughout my life.
The yoga retreat I went on at the beginning of this month in beautiful Ojai was one of them. First of all, I won a 50% discount on the cost of the trip in a drawing at the yoga studio. How cool is that?! And…how could I NOT go? Of course, I went. To make it an even sweeter trip, one of my close friends decided to go as well. That was a big bonus. The retreat was being led by one of my favorite yoga teachers. Double bonus.
We arrived in Ojai, unpacked and enjoyed a completely healthy and delicious lunch. It was seriously good. Let me tell you…the food on this trip was like nothing I have ever experienced. Our every culinary need was tended to with the utmost of love and care. I marveled and yummed my way through every morsel of food I ate. That afternoon we attended the first yoga session and I felt amazing afterwards.
The next several days were filled with yoga, time for introspection, journaling, meditation, naps, creativity, music, a fire ceremony, the above-mentioned delicious foods, and wonderful company. I experienced a depth of connection, love, and personal learning during the retreat that was rejuvenating and restorative in every way.
Over the years, I have partaken in a variety of personal growth workshops. I have learned and grown from them all. However, there has been a certain amount of challenge or struggle that seemed to be part of the experience. This was either self-imposed or a built-in part of the workshop.
In the past, I bought into the belief that if I wasn’t “working hard”, then I wasn’t growing, learning or doing enough. This yoga retreat was the easiest, most lovely experience AND I learned and grew so much personally. I don’t want to bore you with all the details, but I will share a little.
The biggest lesson I learned through my time in Ojai is that deep, profound shifts and learning can occur in a peaceful, relaxing and loving environment. I don’t need to be pushed or prodded by myself or others. Personal, emotional, physical or spiritual growth doesn’t need to be hard. Life is not meant to be hard. We are not meant to struggle. While I have known this cognitively for a long time, I experienced it with every fiber of my being at the yoga retreat.
Coming back from the retreat my mantra has been “Ease & Grace”. It is an inner reminder that my life can be simple and easy. The sweet irony of my mantra is that I am co-leading an online community of women called The Ease & Grace Circle. There is a saying that those of us who teach…teach what we most need to know. I am grateful that this is my focus for this year, both personally and professionally.
I learned some other things at the yoga retreat. They include:
1. I am fully capable of sharing a bathroom with 7 women.
2. Doing yoga everyday ROCKS.
3. Naps are under-rated as a self-care tool!
4. Laying in a hammock under a tree is absolute bliss. (see above photo)
5. Chanting a mantra is powerful.
6. Being cooked FOR is a HUGE blessing. (At home I am the cook. Receiving in this way was a true gift.)
7. Everything is always perfectly working out for our highest good, even when it may appear otherwise. Trust is a quality to embrace.
8. My friend Rene’ makes an awesome travel companion.
9. Go on a yoga retreat whenever I have the opportunity. They are incredibly healing and restorative to my body, mind, and Soul.
I would love to hear from you. How can you create more ease and grace in your own life? Please share your comments below.
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