I just recently returned from hosting my first Yoga Retreat in Tulum, Mexico. It was an incredible experience and it reminded me of how powerful stepping away from life to go inside and take a spiritual vacation can be. When we channel the full power of our energy into connecting deeper with ourselves, magic can happen.
On the final morning of the retreat I stepped away from the group and took a few moments for my own practice. At the end of my asana, I sat at the water’s edge in a short meditation. My eyes were closed so my other senses became more powerful. I could hear the waves gently crashing and I could feel the water as it would periodically wash over my legs. I could smell the salt in the air and feel the sun beaming down on the crown of my head. I could feel the wet sand underneath my legs and hear the sea birds as they hunted for fish. As I began to go deeper, away from my senses I began to feel almost overwhelmed with emotion and a word began forming in my mind. The word got larger and brighter; flashing like a billboard in my psyche. The word was GRATEFUL. As I sat a little bit longer the letters in the word started to shift. I began to see GRATEFUL change into GREAT-FULL.
As I arrived home and re-joined my regular life I wanted to share with my students the idea of a spiritual vacation. It is so valuable to connect deeper into ourselves and we have the opportunity to use the feeling of gratitude to do just that when we are on our mat. When we commit to being GRATEFUL we are FULL OF GREAT.. we get the chance connect to our inner greatness when we are grateful.
Therefore, on our mats this past week, I asked my students to use the feeling of being Grateful as thier guide to channel their energy and focus into one place…inside themselves. When we connect to being grateful then we find we are full of greatness.
As part of the practice of channeling energy we focused on all of the muscles of the pelvis. We did many of the same poses we often do but with a special focus on how the poses were strengthening and stretching the different muscles that attach to the pelvis. We worked both the superficial and deep core muscles with bicycle curls and walking the plank. We stretched and strengthened the Hamstrings and Gluts using long bridges, Revolved Triangle and Parsvottonasana. We did the same for the Quads using Warrior 1, 2, handstand hops and low lunge quad stretch. The hip flexors, QL and TFL were further strengthened with side planks and the Gluteus Medius with Half Moon. We even paid extra attention to isolate the pelvic floor (mula bandha) with bandha lifts (pictured above). During our practice I periodically reminded them to channel their physical energy into their pelvis and their spiritual energy into cultivating their own gratitude.
Off the mat we also possess the power to channel our energy into a single focus. Focusing on the power of being grateful is one way but truly whenever we focus all of our energy into any one thing or moment we have the opportunity to go deeper. That really is what meditation offers, using a single focus to go inside and listen. When we listen to our spirit, our heart and our soul, that is when we truly grow.
At the end of our practice on the mat we took a final moment to sit together with our feelings of gratefulness and we got to take in the greatness inside each of us. I shared with them how grateful I was to have the honor of guiding them and recieving greatness from each of them. Then I reminded them that we have this power with us all the time; the power to go inside and connect to what we are GRATEFUL for and from there we become FULL of GREAT. Namaste.