The beauty of this Yoga within You retreat is its accessible on different levels. At the core, the yoga sessions themselves have been taught with options. Brooke and Jenny often cue up a pose with a statement like ‘…and if this feels right for your body today, stay here. Or if you want a deeper stretch, you could… .‘ They have encouraged us to listen to our bodies and move into positions without judgment. We are to stay focused on the ongoing practice and mind-body-spirit connection. We are not to place energy in feeling bad about not doing something right. I love that!
The retreat schedule also has options. There has been regular ‘free time‘ of an hour here or there. And there has been planned activities. As the week has moved along, I’ve opted out of the planned activities. I’ve made every yoga class but I’ve skipped some of the group events. In my day-to-day real life, I’m very scheduled. With the recent website launch and other hoopla, I’ve had limited time for self care. This retreat has been a wonderful wind down from being busy all the time. I’ve chosen to fill my ‘extended free time‘ with writing and walking and reflection.
Saturday kicked off with an early morning yoga class with Jenny. It was the chilliest morning yet. And Jenny reserved a fitness studio at the Sage Springs Spa. It was a tight squeeze for the 16 or so of us. Yet, it felt more familiar than previous morning’s conference-style meeting rooms. Jenny took us through a vigorous sequence of stretches. I’m following along easier and I’ve learned some techniques from both Jenny and Brooke to move with a little more fluidity from pose to pose. We did another partner pose. This time it was a modified dolphin on the wall. I placed my forearms on the floor, my head on the ground, my bum in the air and Kat held a block between my shoulders and the wall to work on my alignment. The more experienced yogees went into handstands. This pose was enough for me especially because I have a weird dolphin hesitation. In the past, I’ve had trouble getting into any pose that specifically uses my forearms like this. That I was able to easily maneuver it was very pleasing to me.
For Saturday, the optional activities were taking a stand-up paddleboard lesson in the afternoon and a canoe moonlight picnic at night. I made my own alternative plans. During the day, I walked to the village and did some writing there. And then I walked some more taking in the beauty of my natural surroundings. I ended up at the golf course cafe with a local summer brew, Croix and a chicken panini. Writing in view of the snow peaked Mt Bachelor got my creative juices flowing. Nature inspires.
I joined Brooke’s afternoon gentle yoga class. By 3:30, the temperature was warmer so we could have the class outside. The tranquility of the resort grounds is a lovely backdrop especially for a more restorative session. I’ve learned the trick for doing yoga outside for me is shade. And so I plopped my mat down under a big tree. Brooke took us through several poses. Throughout this retreat on some poses I’ve never done before, like when a calf goes one way and the twist goes the other, Brooke and Jenny have been very attentive and helpful in getting me in the proper stance. They are constantly observing and quick to get a block as a prop to me as needed. I’ve immensely enjoyed their teaching style and wish they taught classes within Chicago city limits.
Towards the end of class, the sun had shifted and my shade was gone. The timing was perfect because I was on my back. I kept my eyes closed for the last few twists. And the sun on my face was ideal for my final pose, shavasana.
I ended my last full retreat day cheering the Blackhawks to victory! 🙂 It made me a little homesick for my hometown.