Friday started with an early morning yoga class. This time, Brooke and Jenny broke us into two groups: level 1 and level 2/3. Brooke took the advanced group. Jenny took the more novice folks. One of the questions I’ve been asking people this week is how long they’ve practiced. Our group has a range of expertise. Some have practiced daily for decades. Others have practiced a couple times a week for years. We even have a spare instructor amongst us. If Brooke or Jenny were unable to fulfill their teaching obligation, Sarah could step in or, probably more accurately, lunge in. And rumor has it one guy has never done yoga before but wanted to give it a try since his wife was going.
There was a morning wrinkle. Sunriver didn’t prepare the rooms as requested. The rooms were cold. And our makeshift studio was set up with linen-draped tables and chairs in a U-shape. It was a little disconcerting. It felt like judges were going to assemble to rate our poses. Jenny made it work. We put our mats in the narrow middle. And she taught on the floor and also demonstrated on top of the tables. She is a spunky survivor! Which brings me to a cool factoid, Jenny was on SURVIVOR in 2006. She shared with me the experience significantly influenced her yoga practice, her story. To me, she is the epitome of peaceful warrior, shanti.
Going with Jenny and the rookies provided an opportunity to get more personal attention to move into a pose more accurately. Jenny demonstrated, closely observed and gently adjusted limbs and hips for optimal benefit. Her focus for the day was the throat chakra. Each day has focused on a different chakra and the energy surrounding it. This emphasis on chakras and learning new poses makes me want to study yoga. I have so much to learn. Jenny even had us do this partner pose. Classmate Jenny kneeled on my toes and held my calves‘ muscles while i lifted my chest off the ground. And then I held her down. It was like most of things this week. These are all new experiences that whet my appetite to deepen my yoga practice. I’ve been musing on what brought me to this retreat at this time, at this place… besides google. Yoga brings me such strength and peace. And by committing to a deeper level of practice will ultimately deepen those outcomes.
Today was also my ‘treat yourself‘ day. My mantra yesterday for climbing up the mountain was ‘spa service tomorrow.‘ The night before I left for this adventure my gal pal Jen and her hubby Scott gifted me. While I’m away, they are staying for a few nights at my place while their floors are done. So to thank me, they gave me a gift card to Sage Springs, the spa at the resort. It was such an unexpected, amazingly thoughtful indulgence. And it was fr#cking awesome!
I selected a dual package because I’m a bit of a spa whore. I don’t pamper myself on a regular basis. But when I do, I like to go all in. I chose the Sun Up. The two parter was a 45 minute grapefruit sugar scrub in a vichy room followed by a 50 minute deep tissue massage with Shawna.
The vichy part especially intrigued me. The scrub is done in a wet room. My imagination conjured up all kinds of weird visuals. I thought maybe it would be in a whirlpool or tank. I envisioned the massage therapist in diver’s gear. Not at all.
The room looks like a clinic meets massage room. The low lights and tranquil music is certainly present. It’s just that the room itself is floor to ceiling tiled and has a sterility about it. Overhead is a long metal rod with multiple spouts. It looks like something you would see it a mini car wash. There is a bed in the middle with rubber sheets. Shawna is wearing blue scrubs. They look like they could be hospital-designated attire. A slight squeaky rustle indicates it’s not cotton-based. Apparently, there are garments a guest can wear for modesty and to repel the water. I lost my modesty at some point in my 40s. A washcloth placed in the right locale is all I require.
I started on my back and Shawna scrubbed my limbs, my shoulders and belly along with belly button. She asked first if I was okay with the belly button scrubbing. I guess some people freak out about that particular area getting the deep cleaning.. And to be honest, it was an odd feeling. Once she had me scrubbed up, she placed a cloth over my head and pulled the rod of spouts directly over me. The water was warm and plentiful. And it rinsed away the grapefruit sugar scrub. It seemed like a lay-down shower under a massive shower head. I turned over and she scrubbed down my back and limbs and left the shower go on longer as she washed my hair. It was refreshing and invigorating. The water sounded like a rain shower cleansing and rejuvenating me. Before she applied the body butter sealant, Shawna ran a cool rinse. It was delightful. I’d definitely do that again.
Following my scrub, I went back to the relaxation room for water and to flip through a magazine while Shawna prepared the massage room. Sage Springs has these terrific heavy, comfy robes ($110 in the store… too steep for a souvenir) that I easily lounged around in waiting for my treatments.
I chose a deep tissue massage because it has a longer lasting impact. A regular massage feels great in the moment and for the near future. A deep tissue massage hurts initially but benefits the body for longer. Josh, my personal trainer, encourages me to get massages. He explains that the process of lifting weights breaks down the muscles. And massage promotes blood flow, which helps the muscles to repair.
So, the second half of my pampering was a little rough. Shawna kneaded and prodded my muscles with deliberate intention. Initially, she asked if the pressure was too much. I’m trained to endure. Another Josh-ism is to breathe into the pain. So, as she rubs vigorously into a spot, I focus my breath in the direction of the discomfort. I continue to breathe through the muscle stimulation.
And at the end, my body feels fantastic. My mind is serene. My spirit is bursting with a desire to create. Thank you Jen and Scott!
I spent the rest of the day writing at the local coffee house and by the pool. The retreat itinerary had a biking beer pub crawl for the afternoon. I opted out. I spent the day in my writing zone. I went into the evening having a glass of red on the terrace. And then I joined some yogees for dinner. What a day! Namaste!