Personal Retreat Reflections

Personal Retreat ReflectionsI’m on a personal retreat right now and have been diving into my practice. I’ve wanted to take an inner-teacher sabbatical during the holidays for years. I feel blessed to have an abundance of uninterrupted practice time. It puts me back into alignment with my own rhythms. And my inclination is to find ways to share this bounty with others. So here goes…

Winter is a time for hibernation.

The life-giving source of energy that comes from the sun is in short supply. Winter is also the season when apana, the downward current of energy is most prevalent. Apana is the force of energy that governs elimination in the body (excretion, urination, menstruation). Psychologically, it’s best described as a state of introversion. In nature it’s the force that draws sap down into the tree’s roots.

The holiday season presents an interesting counterbalance, which typically requires a great deal of output – emotionally, socially, financially, and physically. These cultural pressures don’t necessarily align with the laws of nature. Being extroverted can be very challenging when we’re disconnected from our natural rhythms. And with so much emphasis on externalization it’s easy to fall into the mental trap of thinking that we are not enough.

We might try to power through the season like a marathon runner but that’s a great way to make ourselves sick. Eating foods that we don’t typically eat, drinking excess amounts of alcohol and running around in the cold can take a significant toll on our physical health. Over stimulation and stress can make us feel like we’re wearing an invisible suit of armor.

While it is possible to cultivate energy through the holidays, it’s very important that we have enough gas in our tanks. So how to do this? Here are some simple suggestions of ways to practice “refilling your cup.”

  • Stay hydrated – drink plenty of room temperature, filtered water.  Add a little fresh lemon or lime juice if you have them on hand.
  • Eat the most beautiful food.
  • Be mindful of CATS (caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, sugar).
  • Turn off your television.
  • Avoid violent movies and fear-induced media hype.
  • Go outside and spend time in nature.
  • Don’t read the news when you’re eating.
  • Go to bed when you’re tired or take a nap.
  • Slow down.
  • Meditate. Light a candle or sit by a fireplace (the ultimate television).
  • Exercise. Move in ways that your body enjoys.
  • Breathe. A lot.
  • Relax in the sunshine.
  • Play, laugh, love.
  • Drink tea.
  • Sing your songs.

What are some other ways to nourish your spirit during this time of year? Feel free to leave a comment in the box below.

Tandem Yoga FAQs

Yuki BirdWhat is Tandem Yoga?

Tandem Yoga is an umbrella term for partner, contact and acrobatic Yoga.  Tandem means a group working together, and Yoga means union, as in a pair of opposite forces uniting.  In Tandem Yoga we work together to understand and experience this balance of opposition through our shared Yoga practices.  This playful, heart-centered practice takes yoga to the next level.

What are the benefits of Tandem Yoga?

There are many benefits, some of which I talk about in a previous article (read: Tandem Yoga – Inversions).

Do I need a partner?

No, it really isn’t necessary.  Many practitioners claim that it can actually be more challenging to practice with their significant other.  It’s best to come with the idea that you’re going to have fun playing with friends.  Of course, if you and your partner want to attend together that’s fine, but you should know in advance that you’ll have the opportunity to practice with a variety of people.  Tandem practices are a great way to get to know a person for the first time.

Are there any Tandem Workshops just for couples?

Yes and they are advertised that way – example: Valentine’s Day.  I also offer private Tandem Yoga sessions.

Can you recommend any videos?  

Yes, you’ll find that there’s a lot of free material online if you search for ‘partner’, ‘acro’, ‘contact’, etc.  For our purposes, I’d recommend that you start by watching the video “108 Seconds of Aero Yoga.”  This includes a lot of the basic floor poses that are taught in Tandem Workshops:

 

Other questions?

Feel free to post them here or send an email to mindbodymandala@gmail.com