To Retreat or not to Retreat - That is the question.

On retreat, we have the opportunity to connect. We create new friendships and bond with the ones we love, whether it be on a hike, while sharing a meal, or in our morning yoga practice. Then we memorialize our experience on social media, by sharing the bliss we felt through mindful movement, wholesome eating and new friendships.

But somewhere beneath all the social gathering and sharing, are the sacred moments of solitude. That sweet silence where there is just you, your heart and the earth beneath your feet. There is space where you are no ones’ parent, partner or sibling, and you are not defined by your professional goals. You are just you. The same you you have always been. The you that has arrived at this very moment.

We need to retreat sometimes. We are crying out for it! Although we can thrive on the unity of action at a bootcamp, or the wholesome community we experience at a studio, we need to reconnect with our sense of Self in order to stay healthy and whole.

With hectic commutes, busy children and demanding work weeks, connecting with your authentic Self can get lost in the mix. It is however there for us at the head of the trail or in our final Savasana, if we can remember how important it is to be connected to You.

Invest in your wellness. Join me on retreat August 8th - 10th at Harmony Dawn. More information is available here: http://www.pathtonature.com/healthyandwholeretreat/

Toronto’s Lululemon Ambassadors Do Muskoka

As far as professions go, teaching yoga is a pretty awesome one. But sometimes even as yoga teachers, we need to recharge our batteries. In July, Drishti Yoga Centre collaborated with Lululemon to offer the Toronto stores’ ambassadors the opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city. Once the details came together, 9 beautiful teachers, 3 awesome Lemons (1 of whom is an amazing cook!) and 1 gifted thai massage practitioner, met in Muskoka for 3 days of bliss. Here are a few take aways from our time together...

Blissed out after some quality time with mother neater and each other.

When we arrived Monday afternoon we were warmly greeted. The personal touches and wild flowers that Adam and Lisa carefully laid out, made the place feel like home right away. After everyone settled in, we walked to the locks and took a swim to wash away the city. Actually, we all jumped off a bridge into the water! It was exhilarating and terrifying. Our bodies flailed through the air before landing in the water, which was beautifully warm. Finally, we landed.

After our adventure to the bridge we settled in for a quick round of popcorn practice. (This is when each teacher guides a posture or two, then passes the lead on to the next person)... Two and a half hours later we emerged! The practice was fluid, “juicy” and magical. We all wished we had filmed it to capture its essence. Prior to our practice we opened our sacred space by sharing 3 things about ourselves as well as a former nick name. Some stuck more than others : )

Sitting down for a divine meal together.

When it was time to come together for our first meal, Lani prepared an incredible spread which included grilled corn, fish, tofu, summer salads, stuffed peppers, and sweet potato gasm (an instant favourite). It was incredible! AND we had wine!! Officially the best retreat ever! Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, we had ice cream and yogurt parfaits with grilled pineapple, chocolate covered almonds and cookies for dessert. The campfire down by the dock was the perfect end to the evening, and with no alarm to set for the following morning, the bliss was officially settling in.

After morning coffee, smoothies and fruit we moved down to the dock to practice. The weather turned chilly and it began to rain, but it was so beautiful. The sound of the rain on the water and lily pads was enough to keep us all out there, and eventually the sun came out again. We shared some of our favourite assists and practiced them on each other. Afterwards we feasted for Brunch and spent the afternoon relaxing. Drew Hume, creator of Navina Thai Yoga Therapy, offered each of us 30 minutes of thai massage, and every second of those thirty minutes were pure bliss. Later in the afternoon we returned to the dock to meet our future selves through a visions and goals exercise.

We shared another beautiful meal together at dinner and before digging in, we each shared a word or something that we were grateful for. Following dessert we settled into the yoga room for a delicious restorative practice. It was the perfect end to a beautifully healing day.

Morning self practice on the dock.

We began our final morning in silence. It was wonderful to be away from the city, sipping on tea and smoothies, sitting by a crackling wood fire (yes, it was cold enough to make a fire in July!), and simply BE amidst the company of other beautiful people. After a peaceful Mysore style self practice on the dock, we broke the silence and came together for our final brunch. Breakfast nachos anyone!? YES PLEASE!! As I acknowledged that I need to do this more often because of how important it is to refuel, I wished so badly that I could stay for another day.

The teachers in this community are so wonderful and have so much beauty to share. We all love what we do so much that we’ll do it to the point of exhaustion and forget (momentarily) about the balance we preach. We’re human and we aren’t perfect, but it’s our vulnerability that makes us true warriors: brave and determined, albeit fragile and sometimes apprehensive. We will continue to forge our path and support others, knowing and trusting that there are others who will assist us when we need it most. I feel full of gratitude and blessed to belong to a group of people who value community and who believe in the importance of nurturing it.