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Come Find Yourself • May Retreat

Understanding Yourself:

To bring about balance and harmony in our body, mind and lives the yoga we practice has to be a perfect blend of asana and meditation. This relaxing yoga retreat is aimed at just that.

When

May 1 to
May 7
2016
12:00 pmto12:00 pm

We have another retreat on 9th - 15th May.

Price

£350

All inclusive ( not including flights and transfers)

Full Description

During this week of yoga and meditation we will try to dig a little deeper to get a little closer to who we are on the inside as opposed to the persona we reflect to the outside world. The better we know ourselves the more peaceful and happier we become.

As we stretch in our morning and evening sessions we will be building strength, and releasing tension.

By accepting our limitations on the yoga mat graciously, whilst patiently working day by day to extend those limitations.

Your Teacher: Deborah Richards

I have practiced yoga off and on for most of my life due to a father who practiced in the 60’s, although the full impact and realisation of the shifts that this thing called ‘yoga’ can create only dawned on me in the last few years. Like a converted smoker who sings the praises of non-smoking, I now do the same with yoga and wish I had taken it more seriously before. I find our wonderful bodies amazing in the way they work and reflect our mental and emotional states. I base my teaching around what is important to me - emphasising practice with both awareness and an open, enquiring mind, and ultimately trying to have calm and joy in life.

Prior to training in 2013 and becoming a Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance, I graduated as a homeopath in 1999, practicing over a number of years and that knowledge certainly benefits my yoga allowing me to be more insightful with my students.

The aim of the wonderful yogi who taught my Yoga Teacher Training was to significantly deepen her students’ knowledge and understanding of this ancient tradition. In turn we can help our own students start to unravel and understand yoga for themselves. I no longer operate as a homeopath as my passion for yoga has taken over. I continue to study, and amongst other things completed a 60 hour teacher training as a Yin Yoga teacher. I’m drawn to Yin Yoga, (briefly outlined below), seeing it as a ‘slow stretch into stillness’, balancing out the more Yang, energetic aspects of most other yoga. I am told I have a gentle, strong presence and I love to laugh, lie in the sun, am a big ‘kitchen’ dancer and am not averse to the odd vodka and tonic in my not so yogic moments.

Styles of yoga to be taught:

The yoga will vary slightly from morning to evening. In the morning we will practice a more dynamic Hatha style, Hatha being the yoga that most other yoga styles stem from.

Every morning we will start with pranayama* and practice asanas** in a vinyasa*** flow incorporating a range of movements to strengthen, stretch, fold, unfold and twist ourselves, stimulating both physical and energetic bodies whilst using the breath to steer us through. To be able to stretch and extend one needs a good connection to the earth. Therefore, we will initially focus on our foundations so if you are a beginner of any age, you will learn from the ground up, moving within your own range of movement, and if you are more experienced you will recap, take yourself to your own edge, focus more on the spirals in the body and energetic lines.

As the week progresses we will build towards a Dragon Dance – a graceful yoga flow with a Chinese influence – which brings in core strength and balance. Also as the week goes on you will be able to incorporate some of the workshop information into your practice. The morning session will finish with a silent meditation for as short or long as suits each person.

In the evening we will slow it down and depending on how people feel we can break down postures and really understand the nuances within an asana. This can be beneficial to all levels of ability as every ‘body’ is different and if you are following instructions in a yoga class that don’t quite fit your bone structure the movement can feel awkward. Knowing what the pose is about may help. Or we can bring in a more Yin style class. Or we can do a bit of both.

With a Yin Yoga practice we hold the poses for a longer, relaxed, traction to help to deeply mobilise our joints and stretch our tissues. It is amazing how the body slowly and gently releases long held tension! In a full Yin yoga class we may only do 5 poses. For anyone who has not experienced this unique form of yielding yoga, you will hopefully come away a fan. The session will end with a guided meditation and pranayama.

* ‘pranayama’ relates to breathing exercises
** ‘asana’ or ‘posture’ the formation of the shape we take with our bodies
*** ‘vinyasa flow’ means to align a breath with a movement, although positions may be held for longer than one breath as we explore and feel our way into the shape

Sample Daily Timetable (times will vary slightly on each retreat)

07.30 Pranayama or morning meditation
08.00 Morning Yoga practice
09:30-10.15 Breakfast
11:00 Workshop (practical/theroretical) or free time
13:00 Lunch
15.00 Free time
19.00 Evening Yoga practice
20.30 Meditation or yoga nidra
21.00 Evening meal
*There is one workshop a day, it may be in the morning or afternoon. There is also the option to visit local markets on Wednesday and Sunday.

Retreat Overview

During this week of yoga and meditation we will try to dig a little deeper to get a little closer to who we are on the inside as opposed to the persona we reflect to the outside world. The better we know ourselves the more peaceful and happier we become.

As we stretch in our morning and evening sessions we will be building strength, and releasing tension.

By accepting our limitations on the yoga mat graciously, whilst patiently working day by day to extend those limitations, we see and accept ourselves truthfully. By looking at how we feel about not only giving but also receiving, a Thai Yoga Massage can be an insight. Through merging yogic philosophy with a physical practice and most of all relaxing and stilling our minds with daily meditations we can start to understand ourselves a bit more.

As with everything at beautiful Bagend, meditation is optional. Our morning sessions will be a silent meditation, where we anchor the mind to the breath. If this a new practice to you it can be slightly daunting but to sit quietly and get under the chatter noise that invades most of us, pays huge dividends. There’s no time limit and if 5 minutes is enough, that’s fine – those who want to stay longer can.

The evening sessions will take the form of a guided meditation, where you are led by the spoken word, step by step towards relaxation of the body, and calming the mind. To quote the Buddha:

“The mind is everything.
What you think you become.”

Your Workshop Programme

1. An Exploration of Hip Opening

The pelvis is the centre of movement and gravity, the seat of primal energy and power within our body. It holds some of the strongest muscles in the body that bind us up, literally physically and emotionally. In our western culture it is not uncommon for this area to be tight, partly due to our desk-based life-style. Tension and tightness restrict movement and circulation, create lower back pain, impinge on our ability to breathe fully and weaken our whole structure.

During this workshop we will look at how and why fundamental yoga postures, yogic breathing, Bandhas and awareness of energetic flows help to keep our ‘power-house’ physically and energetically mobile.

If you are too tight in this area it might mean that although the muscles and tendons need stretching, they might also need strengthening. If you are very open it may indicate over-stretching! Notice how your hips feel and what your mood is like after a hip opening session, It’s a mine-field. By understanding why you are moving, safely, into these strange postures/asanas that yoga asks of us, you will be taking away knowledge that may help you for life.

2. Why a ‘Warrior’?

This will be a bit like story time. Have you ever wondered where the names for yoga postures come from? Why Warrior III when standing on 1 leg with an arm pointing up and King Dancer again on 1 leg again but that same arm is now horizontal and your knee bent?

Well, here we’ll go below the surface to the deeply symbolic story from the Indian mythology behind a few well-known poses. When we approach these asanas with awareness it can enrich our understanding rather than just doing something by rote. They will more have vitality and energy and knowing the story may enable you to call up that intention in your own practice, or your interpretation of that emotion may rise unbidden, which may surprise you as not being what you expect!

We can use these stories as a vehicle for reflection, self-examination and healing – both on and off your yoga mat.

3. A Mudra for each Chakra

What are Mudras? The Sanskrit word ‘Mudra’ is translated as gesture / attitude. They are subtle physical movements that can alter moods, attitude, or perception and can develop or deepen awareness and concentration.

We perform mudras in every action and each action is a symbol of our physical and mental condition. Often if you hear something sad you will, without thinking, take your hand to cover your heart, or maybe walk differently depending on your mood. These are non-verbal gestures or ‘Mudras’ that communicate mood or attitude.

This workshop will look how they work, and how hand-mudras can be incorporated into a yoga practice with a positive, conscious attitude. Our main focus will be to learn a mudra to enhance each of the 7 main chakras and core qualities within us.

4. A Taste of Traditional Thai Yoga Massage

A little History: Traditional Thai Massage has its roots in the Indian systems of Yoga and Ayurveda and was brought from India to Thailand about 2000 years ago with Buddhism. Since then it’s been practiced, developed and handed down through the generations and has never been seen as just massage. There has always been a spiritual element in so much as the ‘Giver’ does so with Metta – meaning ‘love and kindness’ – and the ‘Receiver’, well… very relaxed.

Thai Yoga Massage is well known for its balancing and restorative qualities, it works with the meridian lines that Chinese Acupuncturist access. It is normally practiced on the floor by using the weight of the ‘Giver’ so no fancy equipment is needed. Through massaging others, you’ll become aware of your own breath and learn about the relationship of giving and receiving. We’ll look at basic skills and techniques to give a simple and effective massage to feet, some applied yoga leg stretches and massage techniques for back, shoulders, neck and face.

* * * * *

You will be taking home knowledge and experience from each workshop that you can incorporate into your practice and your life, be that daily, weekly – or once in a blue moon!

By the time it came to the edge of the Forest
The stream had grown-up, so that it was almost a
River and, being grown-up, it did not run
and jump and sparkle along as it used to do when it
was younger, but moved more slowly. For it knew
now where it was going, and it said to itself,
“There is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”

Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne