This newsletter will be short. Primarily because I have been so busy this month. I started teaching a new Early Morning Yoga class at The Yoga Lounge in Canmore. I attended the Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance Alberta's spring convention. However, the crown jewel of the month was by far having the privilege of playing host and guide for seven remarkable people at the first ever Yoga & Ski Restorative Retreat at Sunshine Village.
For two years I have been dreaming about offering a unique mountain getaway that would combine the body restoring benefits of Hatha Yoga tailored to the needs of skiers and snowboarders with a guided moving meditation experience on snow drawing from both eastern philosophy and my twelve year experience Ski Instructing. I am so grateful that the team at Sunshine Village believed in the concept and me enough to support it's development ultimately resulting in this past weekends terrific success.
The execution was nothing short of spectacular with absolutely perfect weather, mouth watering healthy gourmet food, luxury boutique mountain lodge accommodation, world class service every step of the way and a transformative program of spirit elevating practices if I do say so myself. Both on the mat and on the mountain we laughed, we played, we pushed our perceived limits to find the spiritual within the sublime of that awe inspiring Rocky Mountain setting.
I was really moved several times during the retreat but especially during the closing. We gathered in circle at the top of Standish Mountain under a bluebird sky for a smudging ceremony and mind like sky meditation practice. As I sang the Mangalya Prarthana Mantra, taught to me by my dear teacher Krishna, each guest took time to smudge with white buffalo sage to purify and express gratitude to the mountains. That mantra is all about extending your most heart felt positive wishes to people and animals throughout the world. I could feel the sentiment of that mantra was being amplified by the seven remarkable guests. For that moment we made Standish mountain into a sacred space so as to reconnect with mother nature. I could not have imagined beforehand that it would feel so natural and therapeutic do so. This was powerful medicine.
As a Yoga Teacher I have been learning that so much of the success of any lesson has to do with me trusting that the power of the practice resides within those who show up to partake. After many years of teaching movement I am starting to understand that my role is to prepare the setting with meticulous attention to each students unique needs. Then I need to get the heck out of the way in the sense that I remove my ego and expectations from the equation. When I get this part right I as the teacher witness the most brilliant gems of insight emerge from within the student him or herself. It makes me remember what another of my dear teachers in India, Roshan, once said to me about the Sanskrit expression Hari Aum Tat Sat. He said he uses the expression at the end of each class to say "I've done my part the rest is up to you." By you he means you the student and nothing less than a manifestation of the divine.
I can't wait to see what beauties will emerge at the next Yoga & Ski Restorative Retreat this May 2 - 4. Some spaces are still available. If not for yourself this time around please tell a friend or family member who could benefit from a retreat into the Rockies.