I couldn’t have dreamed up the magic that took place this last weekend in Ojai, CA on my Yoga for Pelvic Health: Retreat to Your Root. I could have never guessed that the perfect group of eleven powerful women could assemble for a weekend dedicated to yoga and pelvic health and come out of that weekend forever transformed. I had this little vision less than a year ago of creating a retreat experience for those with interests in the pelvic floor. That vision manifested this past weekend and I’m still in awe of what that all means.
Yoga ceremony often begins by acknowledging our teachers and those that have walked the path before us. I’d like to pause and express my newfound and deepest gratitude for my teachers who have led me in retreat over the last few years. Without each and everyone of you my ideas would have never manifested, the seeds might never have been planted, and I wouldn’t have you wise teachings to pass on. I thank Claire Mark and Quinn Kearney from Yogaview, Govind Das from the Bhakti Yoga Shala, Jaya Lakshmi and Ananda, Diana Oppenheim and Amber Cook. My respect for you all has deepened as I have experienced what it takes to run a retreat and hold space for a group. I also recognize my teachers Liz Acklinar and Stephanie Prendergast at the Pelvic Health and Rehabilitation Center, Tami Lynn Kent author of Wild Feminine, and Dustienne Miller of Your Pace Yoga for passing on your incredible wealth of knowledge, much of which has shaped my career and my offerings to my clients.
As my amazing retreaters have most likely found, it’s difficult to put into words the experience of a yoga retreat. Add on to that the highly charged emotional, spiritual, and energetic components of a weekend dedicated to the pelvic floor, chronic pain, and an exploration of what it means to embrace our bodies and femininity... you are easily left speechless. So this post will do it’s best to decipher and unpack all the wonderful moments of the retreat (along with some of the amazing photos!) to shed light on the “Retreat to Your Root” experience and spread the word about the powerful events that took place over the weekend. Here we go!
We weren’t more than 2 people into the opening circle before I realized how impactful this moment would be for me and the 10 other women in the circle. It was clear that the idea of community and women supporting women would emerge as a major theme for the weekend (and hopefully in our lives from now on!). There’s so much isolation, fear, shame, misunderstanding, and confusion in regard to pelvic floor dysfunction. I had underestimated the sheer power of providing a completely safe space for communication, commiseration, and honesty related to such a deeply weighted topic. I was blown away by these women’s stories, their bravery for showing up for a weekend of self-care related to a tough topic, and how kind and open they were all to each other. There was an instant sense of knowing that filled our circle and in that knowing the ability to connect to the idea that we are all one and can truly feel each other’s struggles, pain, achievements, and successes. It was all very yogic!
As the retreat unfolded we danced, we cried, we sang, we ate (A LOT!). We told stories, we let things go, we breathed, meditated, and fell into being supported (by each other and yoga props). We practiced receiving, cheerleading, empathizing, and we played! I offered discussions where we could all chime in on topics ranging from anatomy and physiology to yoga asana and meditation. We shared our ideas about what it means to embody the Divine Feminine and hold energetically the source of great creative power within our pelvises. And we shared what inspires us, how we create, and how we might invite more creative flow into our lives as a way of healing. We formed a little family and by and large the greatest feedback I received about the weekend was about how great it felt to be in community and have that connection going forward.
I hope you enjoy these pics and consider joining us on our reunion retreat we already started planning for Winter 2017 (stay tuned for details!). The next few weeks’ blogs will be dedicated to all things retreat related including personal stories and testimonials from retreaters and the highly anticipated retreat recipe collection from our one and only Gabriella Cook who nourished us all weekend with her amazing food!