The first time I went on a yoga retreat was in January 2012 to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, about a year after I started practicing yoga. Little did I know how much that retreat would change my life, and set in motion what would later become my vision for the future. My friend, Stephanie, did all of the research, selected a retreat and asked me to come along. While I was still fairly new to yoga, I was excited by the prospect of a week on the beach practicing yoga in the morning and exploring Costa Rica in the afternoon. Those moments of self-inquiry gazing out at the ocean from the yoga shala triggered something inside of me, and brought things to the surface that I had long ago buried. The sacred space, and the comfort that came with opening my heart to a group of mostly strangers, who lovingly accepted me and all of my human flaws, exposed me to a deeper aspect of yoga.
It was only a few months later that I started yoga teacher training, and less than a year later I was on my next retreat to yoga’s motherland – India. India was never on my bucket list until I started teaching yoga, when I began to feel that it was a right of passage to visit the place where yoga was born. India was an assault on the senses, and land of paradoxes - peace within chaos. One minute we would be walking along a street full of people, cows, cars, bikes and noise, and the next, we were meditating inside a tranquil temple. While I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into, I left feeling more certain about my love for yoga and the spirituality that it provides me. I realized that I don’t have to give my faith a label – it is enough to believe in the interconnectedness of all beings, and how I celebrate that belief is completely up to me.
Less than six months went by before I was on an airplane to Mexico for yet another yoga retreat. This retreat took me to a part of Mexico I hadn’t experienced previously, and into a small village where there wasn’t much else to do but practice yoga and enjoy the company of my fellow yogis while lounging in hammocks along a beautiful, remote beach. The other women who were on the retreat inspired me to continue to pursue my dreams wholeheartedly, and never stop believing in myself.
A little over a year later, after teaching yoga for a while, I decided it was time to lead my own retreat. I began searching for the type of place that I would like to go, and after coming up empty in Colorado, I set my sights on my next favorite place – Costa Rica. In April 2015, I guided 11 people on the Bliss, Balance and Beach Yoga Retreat, at Blue Spirit in Nosara, Costa Rica. Buoyed by the fact that everyone had a great time and at least a few participants expressed to me the life-altering affects of retreating from day-to-day life, I quickly booked two more retreats.
I also began searching for land in Colorado to build the retreat center of my dreams. It’s been a long, slow process, but with each step along the way I feel more connected to my vision and more certain that this is my path in life. And it all started just under five years ago when on a whim I said yes to stepping out of my comfort zone and into life. In a few weeks, Stephanie and I will be retreating together again, for another first, this time on a silent retreat in New Mexico. Four days of silence, meditation, and yoga will be challenging, yet mind-opening. Each time I have participated in or guided a retreat, it has opened my eyes and heart to all that yoga (and retreating) has to teach us. Experience the benefits for yourself, by joining me on one of my upcoming trips. See the Events/Retreats tab for details.