I did somethingLotus Shrine this weekend that I’ve never done before and that was spending it at an Ashram. A couple of girls from my yoga class and me attended a retreat at Yogaville located in Buckingham, Virginia nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Quite a beautiful spot and definitely an introduction to a way of life that is far from the life I lead now, and that’s OK because I really enjoy my life and having said that there are always things to learn and incorporate. The center describes itself as more than an ashram, Yoga Teacher Training facility or Yoga Retreat Center; it is a vibrant spiritual community built on the precepts of Integral Yoga as taught by Sri Swami Satchidananda; blending the power of the various branches of Yoga into one complete practice.

I went and merely experienced fully what I could and then gave thought to what I took away from it when I returned home.

  • Each morning we awoke to a swami playing the violin – what a wonderful way to ease from dream time into consciousness. I’d love to continue this practice but no one in my house plays. Surely there must be an app for that!
  • The accommodations were austere – We were in a dorm and I had one of the top bunks in a room of four (thank goodness there was a ladder!) and the bathroom was shared with the floor (and gee that’s been a while…). It made me appreciate my home and be grateful for the comforts I experience on a daily basis there.
  • The food was vegan, gluten free and organic – a bit of a change for me since I enjoy my meat but prepared with love and as much as possible grown on site (great salads and homemade dressings!).
  • Multiple daily mediation options which strengthened my practice and I was so relieved to learn that most people’s minds wander and they have to bring it back!
  • Multiple daily yoga classes with our instructor from Erie, Michael Plasha, who received his teacher training at Yogaville and led the retreat for our group. The daily yoga combined with the 3rd floor walk up dorm room has me feeling muscles in all kinds of places!

I experienced a lot of thoughtfulness and intention this weekend and although the practices at Yogaville are different, it connected me to my own practice of Hawaiian Huna because there were similarities (the lessons, metaphors, connection to the elements, chants, and intention).  I enjoyed being fully present in the fall season, the distinct smell, seeing the deer, feeling the crisp air in the morning and the warmth of the sunlight in the afternoon. I made friends and deepened friendships and each of the experiences this weekend reminded me of all I have to be grateful for.

The weekend also served to deepen my confidence. To drive multiple states and experience something I’ve never experienced with people I don’t know well (although that’s not the case now) even eating food I’ve not tried before – all serves to create more confidence because it is different. It’s out of my comfort zone and to move out of my comfort zone makes me grow as a person. For that I am exceedingly grateful.

Have a great day and I wish for you the confidence and clarity you deserve!