I retreated with an incredible group of 11 women last weekend (12th- 14th Nov 2021). Being my first solo retreat venture, I could feel the buzz of nerves ripple through my body from my belly as I turned into the drive of Holwell on Friday afternoon.
I paused for a moment to sit with these feelings. Just gently noticing, with self compassion, before winding down the window to inhale the North Devon air, and waiting for the sheep to amble off the long drive that swept through the fields to our home for the weekend.
I arrived. They arrived.
We gathered in the lounge, tea and energy balls at the ready. Spacious silences between strangers hung in the air. Sitting with it all, we began to land, orientate and allow new experiences to unfold.
"I was worried about doing something so out of my comfort zone and when we were sat having coffee when we all arrived on Friday, I started to feel panicky and like I wanted to pack my things up and leave. It didn’t take me long to settle into it and I’m so thankful that I did!"
The studio called us in. A circle formed. Brave voices began to emerge. On the mat, hand on heart, hand on belly. Noticing and being with all that was there. A shake out and brush down, long exhales, sighs and all the sounds bubbled up and out. Easing in.
Invitation to move and rest, with self-compassion. Options and opportunities, to explore and (re)connect to body and breath. Unwinding, we began to explore a little more lightly. Shaking off the weight of expectations of what yoga ‘should’ look like, and allowing a deeper connection to all to be felt.
"The yoga was so empowering and like nothing I have experienced before. I felt entirely comfortable to do whatever my body felt comfortable with and not put pressure on myself to do it in the ‘Instagram’ way!"
Just as we can gradually discover authentic values that support our unique family-units to thrive, and support us to feel at ease on this wonderfully messy parental journey, (and yes, this is hard, there is so much influence, but it's all a process right?) - so we can find our way on the yoga mat, practicing with authenticity and curiosity, with awareness and play, light and shadow.
The weekend unfolded and emerged, as did bodies and souls that had felt lost, disconnected and consumed by the 24/7 job of Motherhood. Stories, life experiences, honest feelings, laughter, energy, tears and nourishing food was shared. After 274 nights of no more than 2 consecutive hours of sleep, one mama literally came back to life with colour in her cheeks and a smile in her eyes. This yoga really works I thought!
"Just another thank you for this weekend. It was truly magical and incredibly, profoundly healing. Do you know the waves of energy/relaxation/prana that wash over you during shavasana? I still feel those today. I continue to unwind and unfold. I was in a huge amount of pain and I just can’t believe how loose and at ease my body feels now, as does my soul. What a gift."
It's hard to put these experiences into words but these are my journaled reflections and words of some of the humbling feedback received. Thank you to all who shared the weekend, you made it what it was too.
So let's keep lifting each other up with connection, honesty and community, and keep investing energy in self care and self awareness. Looking after ourselves is not selfish, it is part of showing up for our families, and each other.
P.S. Rested Mama 2022 is booking now! ;)
P.P.S. If a retreat is out of reach (I am aware of the privilege) please check out my accessible online and in person offerings.