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Spring Mini Yoga Retreat Recap

This month, I hosted another yoga retreat at my home. This retreat was focused on helping us to breathe deeper this spring (gotta kick those seasonal allergies somehow!) and finding more balance - in our practice and in our daily lives.

Like the previous retreat, the weather wasn't looking too hopeful. It was pouring rain as attendees made their way inside. Maybe at the next retreat we will get to do our yoga practice outside! But for this one, we would be hopping on our mats inside.

We began our practice in a bit of an odd way - I asked the attendees to start by having really bad posture. We slumped over and tried to breathe deeply, which proved to be a difficult task. Then, we improved our posture and worked on stretches to open up parts of the body around our lungs. We did heart opening and side body stretches to help release tension in the chest so that we could breathe easier.

After our practice, we enjoyed some down time while we ate refreshments. During this time we discussed how we can create better balance in our lives. We briefly brought up gunas (the natural qualities that can be identified in anything we taste / hear / smell / touch). Gaining awareness of how gunas qualities are manifested in food, weather, seasons, lifestyle, etc. enables us to understand how these qualities from outside ourselves influence our wellbeing and emotions. Equipped with that awareness, we can recognize what is and isn't balanced and easily identify ways to create balance.

After enjoying our snacks, it was time for our mindful art activity. I had so much teaching this - I'm actually thinking of offering mindful art classes! We made mandalas to continue promoting the idea of balance, and I asked the question "What does living a balanced life mean to you?" It doesn't have to mean that you are calm, relaxed and content 24/7. Achieving a balanced life isn't a final goal, but rather an ongoing process we practice.

So we started our art project with a moment of mindfulness - we picked a word or quote that inspired balance in our lives, and wrote it over and over on our page. I shared a quote from Jana Kingsford....

"Balance is not something you find, it's something you create."

Writing our word or quote repeatedly helps to calm the mind and bring us into a more meditative state. It also serves as a positive affirmation - a new seed of positivity planted in our mind. After that, we added watercolor to our page to bring some vibrancy and color to our project. Once that dried, we began to draw our mandala on top.

At this point in the day, the clouds had cleared and the sun started to shine. So, we took advantage of the nice weather and opted for a short hike outside. Anytime I feel out of balance, some time in nature can help restore me back to a feeling of harmony. Getting to spend that time in nature with good company makes it even better!

It was such a pleasure to host y'all for a day of yoga and mindfulness, and I am really looking forward to the next retreat - you can join me in Winston Salem on Sunday May 29th from 1p-3pm!

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