Having just returned home from leading a beautiful yoga retreat in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, I am feeling deeply inspired and very much at peace. I think that what I love most about leading yoga retreats is that I am able to be present to watch as layers of accumulated stress peel off of people, day by day.
Something very simple but very profound happens while on retreat. For just a few days, people set their cell phones aside, choose not to “check in” on Facebook, and take a break from reading emails. The result? People eat meals together, look each other in the eyes, and have real conversations in which they listen to each other attentively and truly feel heard. People walk down the beach without a destination in mind, simply to admire the beauty around them. They notice the sounds of the night’s creatures and the feeling of breeze on their skin, and they take time to experience the magnificence of a sunset and to savor the sweetness of a freshly picked fruit.
These things are so simple but also so easily forgotten when we are constantly “connected” to our devices and social media. It seems that to genuinely re-connect with ourselves, each other, and our world requires that we sometimes take periods to “dis-connect,” or retreat in some way. Think of your yoga mat as your retreat center and let each time you arrive on it be a mini-retreat of sorts. If you take this time to be quiet and still with yourself, you will find a vast well-spring of love and peacefulness that resides within you. When you leave your mat, the real practice begins. Can you carry those qualities with you as you move through the rest of your day and week? Make it be a daily practice to look people in the eyes, to take time to listen to them with care and attention, and to appreciate the beauty that is all around you. This is truly yoga.
"In this life we cannot always do great things. But we can do small things with great love." ~ Mother Teresa