a pretty in the city gal on her way to debt freedom & healthy living a day at a time, who fills her time with yoga, music, books, baking and much much more. won't you join her?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Yoga Retreat :: Celebrating Goddesses

There is nothing like getting away on a yoga retreat to get oh so excited and rejuvenated about yoga again!

clockwise from top left: decorations from nature!, prayer flags at the entrance of the gathering room with the fire, toe socks and thongs - practical and warm, the yoga room

I made it to my first yoga retreat in over a year (oops) this past weekend and honestly feel like a different person! Friday night we headed to Vijayaloka Retreat Centre in Minto Heights (under an hour out of Sydney) for a whole weekend of yoga, yoga and more yoga, and what a glorious time it was.clockwise from top left: shoes outside the rooms, the beautiful alter in the practice room, greenery outside the dining room, i found a spot of sunshine to write all my thoughts in my journal!

Friday night was a welcome, dinner (yummy vegan ayurvedic food supported our practice throughout the weekend) and meditation + chanting practice. We got to meet everyone (there were about 16 of us) and then quickly settled into bed for the night. It was freezing but oh so cosy with wood fires and many cups of tea.

Saturday morning we continued with the chant we learnt on Friday night as we commenced out 7.30am practice. The weekend was all about Celebrating the Goddesses, so many of the chants were about calling them to mind. Singing together as a group is really lovely – especially when it just doesn’t matter how in tune (or out!) you are. Closing your eyes and singing along is a forgotten art, I think! Seriously – when did you last sing with others??

The morning class led by Katie (director of Samadhi Yoga) was so glorious and just what I needed after a sick day off work on Friday with the never ending cold. We followed that class up with yummy porridge, fruit and more cups of tea, before having some free time to explore, go on bushwalks or read… me, it was all about settling in front of the fire to read! Shortly after we all came together again to have a lecture and workshop on Ayurvedic principles and to discover our very own Dosha (I’m a strong pitta/vata girl). (Want to find your own dosha? Check out this site - but note that this is a guide only!)

buddhas, buddhas everywhere! all around the gardens, as well in pot plants : )

Next up it was lunch – and let me tell you, after three days of brown rice, yummy vegie and bean dishes, salads and fruit, I have never felt so bright and clean. My skin is glowing – my eyes are getting comments! – and then more free time (what else to do but have a great nap?!). A Jivamukti class with chanting in the afternoon was up on the cards next, and then more free time. It was so great to be surrounded by like-minded friends, who were all excited to try new poses and meditations, to talk about our own yoga practice and just find things in common with.

After dinner that evening there was a chanting workshop but whether it was the fresh air or emotions brought up during the days of practice, I instead had a hot shower and snuggled up in bed with my journal and a book.

Sunday morning rolled around WAY too fast and again it was beautiful brekky, then another class with Katie. This time, it was a restorative practice – so lots of Yin Yoga, holding poses, meditation and a phenomenal savasana. I definitely had ‘yoga brain’ after this – I was all blessed out and on another planet! But sure enough it was time to come back to the land of the living, and enjoy our last meal together as a group. Lunch again was yummy and wholesome, and then it was time to go home.

Driving just 40 mins back home was an experience in itself! We weren’t too far from the ‘city’ at all but the I think it all took us time to adjust. We were very noise-sensitive, as you would be after a weekend of no phones, no radio, no tv and no traffic! Sunday night it was more journal writing for me and planning all the classes I want to go to this week! I am also completely hooked again on the study of yoga.. and am looking forward to getting online for a few moments to explore these options.

Have you ever done a yoga retreat? Whether it’s a simple day (Body Mind Life have a few day retreats that look interesting) or a week, taking some time to dedicate solely to this life-altering practice is so worthwhile. It gives you time to STOP and to BE PRESENT, which is something in our technologically advanced age that we rarely find time to do. So how about you make a commitment to yourself to do a retreat over the next couple of months? You won’t regret it – and I look forward to hearing your stories : )

**Want to go on one? There are many available, ranging in price and length. Head to and look at just some of the upcoming events & retreats.

I’m also holding a yoga workshop in about a month’s time, encorporating many elements I experienced this weekend. So stay tuned!


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At 6:40 PM, Blogger Julie said...

Hey Shiny
Julie (yinyogi) here, long time no comment!
I spent 10 days on a christmas/new year yoga retreat one year on a wild island off the west coast of Ireland.( was hardcore, 6 hours a day, up for 6am, lots of naps, wild walks and yummy veg ayurvedic food.. felt amazing after it! The trick is to find how to keep up that feeling.. hmmm!
ps.. have moved to


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