I was so thrilled this last week to take part as a student in a yoga retreat here in Eleuthera.
It was organized by Kalin Griffin of The Lighthouse Center – she lives in Governors Harbour and is developing a wonderful business and following her life’s path of holistic health. She teaches yoga herself as well as being a very talented masseur and Reiki practitioner.
So she organized this retreat and invited Kerri Verna and Irene Pappas – both from the US – to teach the classes. They are both experienced teachers and have a good following – so much so that there were participants from as far afield as California as well as New York and various places on the East coast of the US – plus some from Nassau and right here as well…..
The standard of yoga was very high – but not competitive in any way – so even though my own practice has been woefully neglected over the last few years it was a real joy for me to take part in all six sessions and feel my body responding to all the stretching and hard work.
At best yoga is a true mind , body and spirit practice – it is not just about the fitness and flexibility. Your mind is stilled and concentrated during practice so that meditation is a natural state to slip into at the end of the class. And doing the practice on the beautiful beaches of the island both lifts the spirit and awakens your awareness of the spiritual nature of the beauty of life that surrounds us.
Meditation is a daily practice for me – if you would like to try a wonderful guided on -line meditation then do try Headspace – it is an app that you can download to your phone or laptop and it is really catching on around the world….
The retreat took the form of an early yoga session in the morning – about and hour or so – followed by breakfast. Most of the students stayed at Pineapple Fields and meals were provided by Adell – of Briland Soul in Harbour Island.
We did one session in the morning on Tippy’s deck, another at Receivers Beach and the last one on French Leave Beach – each one offering us it’s challenges – but most importantly reminding us that things that we can perceive as obstacles are actually the things that teach us the most. Trying find perfect conditions – especially for meditation – but all yoga practice as well – is both futile and a waste of time. We need to be able to work in the surroundings we find ourselves in. Try finding a place of perfect calm, quiet and peace and you will be searching endlessly – instead – embrace the intrusions that threaten to interrupt what you are doing and learn to acknowledge them and continue with your concentration.
I left after the morning sessions and continued with work – until it was time for the afternoon sessions. Thursday and Friday were at Receivers Beach – perfect to watch the sun go down and have fun – did you see my Facebook post of Kali – the Hindu goddess portrayed with many arms – the girls did a fantastic line-up against the setting sun ….
The final evening practice on Saturday was the most challenging – making me really take note of what I have said about embracing the conditions we find ourselves in – the mosquitoes bit me badly – and through my yoga pants !! – All the bits I had sprayed were fine but I find it really annoying that those little creatures laugh in the face of Spandex and manage to get you anyway !
The final session was followed with a delicious meal and a lovely time saying farewell to the friends we had made during the retreat.
The level of friendship that you meet people on at a yoga retreat is deeper than on most other normal social occasions. Having seen each other at our most vulnerable – struggling to attain certain poses – or feeling joy at someone else’s accomplishment – means that you feel a closeness very quickly…..
So thank you to all my fellow yoga students for what you taught me – and especially to Kerri and Irene for your inspirational teaching – and finally to Kalin – for being brave enough to follow your heart and arrange this your first yoga retreat in Eleuthera. Please keep them coming -I will be signing up again as soon as you announce it…..