My first day of vacation started at before-the-crack-of dawn. My adventure from O’Hare to Seattle to Redmond, Oregon launched at 6:15am. So, I got up at 4am. Yowza, that’s early! It’s definitely easier to get up in wee hours for pleasure than business. But 4am is 4am.
Aside from some TSA antics that made it feel like it was O’Hare’s first day of operations, the trip went smooth. Alaska Airlines has outlets at each seat and wifi access. Classy, Alaska! I’d pick you more often if it worked with my travel plans. Once I arrived in Redmond, Oregon, it was a leisurely 45 minute trip to Sunriver Resort . Nestled in Central Oregon, Sunriver Resort is a large campus of golf courses, rustic lodges, and bi-leveled multi-dwellings. It’s surrounded by a mountain ridge with snow-capped peaks. I can see Mt. Bachelor from The Cove. The Cove is the pool-bar a mere 1/2 block from my dwelling. I kicked off my stay with a turkey wrap and Pina Colada pool-side for lunch. The staff here is very friendly and quick to serve. What more could a guest want?
The setting is the definition of serenity. All the buildings are painted in earth tones to blend into the natural settings. Tree-lined paths add to the quiet aesthetic. They go in rambling circles which add to my confusion. There is a village just outside the resort with several stores and restaurants. I unintentionally visited it twice. I’m still not sure how I ended up there the second time. Needless to say, I had all my steps in at 2:30 because I literally had been walking in circles. I’ve determined my place is between the tennis courts and The Cove. The campus layout is sinking in.
The Yoga within You retreat officially started with a yoga class at 5pm. Brooke and Jenny tag teamed it as the instructors. The setting could have been on the cover of a yoga magazine. We were on a grassy knoll aside a brook. The grass was lush and green. I could hear birds and insects tweeting and buzzing about their business. The sun was beaming on my face. And a light breeze was gently blowing. Anyone would have wanted to drop a mat and practice yoga here.
Well, all these factors added challenges for me. I already knew that I might be novice to yoga retreat pros. My yoga practice continues to get better. And I’m more and more in tune with my body. I went in prepared to make modifications as needed on poses. I was ready for all that.
What I wasn’t ready for was doing yoga in my sunglasses. They kept slipping off my face during poses. I kept taking them off but my eyes are extremely sensitive to sunlight. Tears would just pour down my face and then I’d put them back on. On and off. Off and on. Sometimes, I just did the yoga sequence with my eyes closed. It helped my focus but it also made me dizzy. Then, standing on a mat on plush grass is weird. My mat kept shifting underneath my feet. It doesn’t stick to the ground. I’d bring my feet forward and the mat came with me.
Next, I am used to my own instructors cueing up poses. They have specific phrases and methodologies for a class. Brooke and Jenny served up a great class but without my usual routine, I got befuddled. I’m horrible at left and right in general. In my Chicago studio, I’m aided in this disability with cues like ‘go towards the green wall‘ or ‘face Ganesha.‘ That I get! Well, when there aren’t any walls and you’re blinded by the sun and the grass is moving under your feet, it’s going to get messy. And it did.
I like fluid motion from one pose to the next. That didn’t always happen. But I think this is a marvelous challenge for me. I’m pushing myself. I’m learning new techniques. And I am not thinking about anything but yoga in the moment. My mind certainly isn’t wandering. I am completely transfixed on getting the sequence right or at best, half right.
The day ended with a dinner at the Great Hall. We had a break between class and dinner. I agonized over whether yogees dress for dinner or just sport their yoga clothes all the time. Well, on this retreat, they dressed for dinner. And I thankfully guessed and packed correctly.
If you’re wondering the type of people who go on retreats, I’ll analyze the demographics. There are about 24 people. Probably 18 women and 6 men. I’d say 66% are between 20s-40s. And then, I’m in the 34% 50s-70s. There are three mother-daughter pairs, 6 or so married couples, some gal pals and a handful, like me, of solo gals. Ironically, the majority hail from the north shores of Chicago. Jenny and Brooke teach there and their students have followed them. The group is very welcoming. Despite my exhaustion from time travel (not exactly an accurate descriptor but fun to say) and the time change, the get-to-know-you dinner was fun.
At the end of the evening, Brooke and Jenny gave an overview of the retreat itinerary and handed out goodie bags with Lara Bars, teas, epsom salts and a souvenir plastic glass. I do love free prizes. I took my weary body home by way of the tennis courts. I was asleep by 9:45 with 18,527 steps in… on a day I spent 6 hours in planes. Sweet!