2014 Spring Retreat

Space Element – Where Creativity, Freedom and Awareness Dance
Chesapeake Bay Beach Club, Kent Island, MD

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What a beautiful day it was – literally! The weather, for once, was absolutely perfect for this, our sixth retreat, held at Chesapeake Bay Beach Club on Kent Island, MD.

The day began with a playful ice breaker led by fellow teacher Angie. Participants formed a revolving line, facing each other, with thirty seconds to share their yoga journey and experiences. Next, we moved onto the lawn overlooking the Chesapeake, to begin exploring the theme of this retreat, the Space Element. Everything that lives, breathes and is, requires space. The arena of space is everywhere, its source is awareness. Participants built awareness of space through the sense of sound in a 20 minute Sound Meditation. With the sound of the gentle waves lapping on the beach below the lawn, we opened the inner ear, quieted the mind, and brought in a sense of space.

Moving indoors, we went from a quiet meditation of listening to a very noisy practice called Lion’s Space Vinyasa. We flowed through postures centered around three breathing techniques: Simhasana, or Lion’s Breath, Cleansing Breath, and Bhastrika, or Bellows Breath. The enhanced breathing along with flowing postures created heat and energy to start the day. Back outside again, we headed up to the terrace overlooking the water, the perfect spot to practice the next segment called The Element Dance. In the matrix of space, all the other elements dance. In this Ananda Tandava, or blissful dance, we explored the four denser elements below the Space Element as they relate to different parts of the body. We linked the postures with a creative flow that incorporated the form of two deity shapes, Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna. This creative flow opened up the students to being self-expressive creating a sense of playfulness and freedom.

Our special guest Jeannine Dietz invited us to explore with her the sense of sound in a segment called Tune In and Tune Out, The Power of NAAD. With her array of singing bowls, we practiced Mantra, the chanting of the bija mantra, or seed sounds, of each of the seven chakras (energy centers). As we chanted, the bowls were placed near the body with the vibrations creating a cleansing or purifying effect. We then rested in a meditation immersed in the vibrating sound of the bowls and a gong, creating a restful and healing state of balance.

After a good rest, we moved back outdoors trying not to waste one minute of enjoying the beautiful sunny day! The final segment, Stand in Your Truth, was a slow moving flow connecting us to the home of the Space Element, the Vishuddha Chakra or throat energy center. Creating balance in this energy center allows us to have the ability to say what we mean and mean what we say, to express ourselves authentically to the outer world with truth and confidence. To start, students were given peppermint oil, activating the sense of smell and creating clarity to enhance the practice. We explored exercises that released tension in the neck and shoulders incorporating back bending postures to stimulate the thyroid to bring balance to the throat.

The day ended with a relaxation on the terrace under the warmth of the sun and the sounds of the water below. The feeling of gratitude was strong as the retreat came to a close – grateful for the continued support of my fellow yogis and the opportunity to give them the gift of Yoga!

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