Words are hard to come by when trying to express what a month at Yogaville meant to me. It was beautiful, simple, mind blowing, insightful, accepting (ok, maybe I found a few words); a place I didn’t just stay at for a month… a place I kindly called home for a month. I found peace there. I found my purpose there. I found a connection to a part of me that I didn’t know was there.
I took this journey with 8 other people; Lisa, Monica, Gwen, Francesca, Tia, Nancy, Leela. I love them all for helping me grow. With a large group you get many different personalities and perspectives, and when you are required to accept them into your life for a month you learn a lot about yourself. I became close to a few and butted heads with a few, but it is the people I did not relate with that gave me the best insight about myself. I very easily could have kept my distance and stayed in my bubble of comfort, but after a few days I realized I was missing a chance to grow by building a barrier just because my perspective was different than theirs. I learned that, even though we may have different viewpoints, it is about respect, and when I am centered in respect I can counter with my viewpoints without being defensive, aka an adult discussion which we don’t see enough of lately. When I drop my barrier and allow myself to truly listen whether or not my values align with theirs I give myself the opportunity to learn something new.
The question I get most is, “what did you all do there? Just yoga?”. Well, yeah, but what most people don’t realize is Yoga is more than your typical yoga class. It’s a lifestyle that integrates the relationship between your mind, body, and spirit. I meditated 3 times daily to remain focused on my goal and connect with my Inner Self. I did a daily physical practice (alternated between yoga class and running) to stay strong in my body. I read the ancient texts and went to discussions to deepen my understanding of Yoga Philosophy. I worked (Karma yoga, aka selfless service) 24 hours a week in the kitchen, farm, and guest services to learn to give without expecting anything in return. Doing this for a month helped me realize that there is more to me than just my body and mind. I tapped into something deep within me, an energy that is constant, never-changing. PEACE. I have never felt as content as I did living in Yogaville.
Wanna hear something crazy? (if you don’t think I am already, lol). EVERYONE has this constant, never-changing, peaceful energy within them. We just cover it up with thoughts, to-do lists, material items, things we are told from a young age are important. Yes, we need these things to live, but… we can also have this serene sense of contentment as well. THIS is what I did for a month.
I can hear you already… “I don’t have time to do all that stuff”. Being home now I don’t either, but I’m slowly making changes to have time for SOME of the practices that I used while at Yogaville. I am letting go of some of the old to make room for some of the new. Is it easy? NO! But nothing worthwhile is easy. Yoga Sutra 1.14 states, “Practice(change) becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break, and in all earnestness”. In other words, change will not happen over night or in a week, it will come with consistency over a long period of time and with enthusiasm.
Was it hard to come home? YES. Do I yearn to go back? YES. But, my path isn’t at an ashram, not yet at least. I am here to empower others, YOU! my students and clients, to find peace in mind, body, and spirit.