What a wonderful day I had at the first Zen Yoga Retreat in Sedona!
For the group I chose the theme Fall - letting go, rest, and rejuvenation.
We started our mindfulness journey at breakfast with a morning gratitude reflection. The ask was: "before you begin your day, list 10 things you're grateful for (big or small).
When we arrived at our starting point of the hike, I shared with the group the next station of our mindfulness journey. List 3 challenging situations, people, or other obstacles and what good thing you're learning from this challenge. Little did we know that the hike was going to be a challenge! ;)
After our beautiful hike, although much longer than anticipated or time allotted for, we all responded with a yogic mindset and went with the flow. Michelle (Teal Wheel Tours) suggested to directly go to lunch, then to the Spa and practice yoga at the end. We all enjoyed our lunch on the beautiful patio observing ayurvedic principles (enjoying your meal in silence*). Ayurveda is an ancient Indian system of medicine that emphasizes the importance of a balanced diet and mindful eating. According to Ayurvedic principles, eating in silence can help you focus on the food and improve digestion. It is also believed that eating in silence can help you connect with your inner self and promote a sense of calmness and relaxation.
The Spa was a much-needed place to refresh and recover, although we could've spent more time there.
Our driver John took us to the most beautiful area (although at first, we thought he was going to take us on another surprise hike! :)
We found our space where we decided to practice yoga.
The sequence was based on above mentioned Fall theme. We physically and mentally arrived on our mats, enjoying the breathtaking view of the Red Rocks.
My opening remarks beginning our yoga practice:
The long days of summer have wound down and autumn has arrived. The leaves start to turn and then fall away. Rather than fighting to hold on, the trees let them go, with faith that after a rest period, new growth will appear. We also can embrace the cycle of letting go, rest, and rejuvenation. You may have heard during Yoga "let go of what no longer serves you". Here are a few ways you might shed 'your leaves' or letting go:
letting go of grudges
be easier on yourself
taking a break from self-improvement, spending time being in love with yourself exactly as you are
simplify your schedule
clearing up your clutter - weed out what's weighing you down
We can use this season to let go of what no longer serves us so we may create space to grow, change, and transform.
We also talked about the 5 Elements - Fire, Air, Space, Earth, and Water, and practiced breath of joy along with the beautiful song Om Namah Shivaya (by Jonah Kest and Mike Warren).
Our practice allowed us to let go, create space, and be open to receive! And brought us to the next step of our mindfulness journey: People I'm Thankful for: list 5 people who made your life a little happier today. They could be friends, family or even strangers!
We had one more stop on our itinerary suggested by John. One more stop to take in the breathtaking views of the Red Rocks. This was the perfect place for the final piece of our mindfulness journey. I encouraged the group to think about 'the best part of my day' - to choose one moment of your day that made you happy and focus on it for 5 minutes before you go to sleep. I called this 'The Homework'!
Making our way back home, tired, but overall, the group had an overwhelming feeling of joy and gratitude.
It was an honor and privilege to lead a group of women on a mindfulness journey and yoga practice in such a magical place - Sedona/ The Red Rocks. If you would like to learn more about the places mentioned above, I put the links at the bottom of this blog.
I will leave you with one of my favorite poems:
I hope I can be the Autumn leaf, who looked at the sky and lived. And when it was time to leave, gracefully it knew life was a gift - Dodinsky
Yoga with Oma
PS: In case anyone would like to know some of my answers for the mindfulness journey:
1. Being alive
2. Being healthy
3. Having a roof over my head
1. My shoes for the hike - forgot the insoles. I'm learning that you can be as prepared as you want, there's always an element of surprise. You can't prepare for every scenario possible; you just have to go with the flow! Luckily this flow worked out and my feet were happy, no blisters and all!
2. The strap of my brand-new backpack breaking the moment I put it on! I'm learning that I can overcome and adapt. Utilizing my McGiver skills to repair and move on!
3. The LONG hike. I'm learning that expectations set by myself can sometimes create a rigid mindset. No one was hurt, we managed the 5-mile hike, and we have a story to tell!
People I'm thankful for:
The people who made this retreat possible, and the ones who attended.
The best part of my day:
The moment we verbalized how special this small group is and how we feel connected through this experience!
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