This year marked the second time I co-hosted the Elements and Alchemy Yoga and Acupuncture retreat with the beautiful Steph Wall in Yelapa Mexico. Each time it has become more and more clear that this is an essential piece of how I want to work with people. Creating a situation that calls for an intense and focused look at one’s self is the reason I love running Yoga and Acupuncture Retreats and it it is the reason you should consider attending next years retreat.
I haven’t been to a Yoga retreat before, or an Acupuncture retreat for that matter so I can’t speak to how this one compares to what else is out there. What I can tell you is that we focus heavily on integrating your experience in life into your body. We also strongly encourage everyone to look at what is arising in their physical body from a bigger perspective. When I say physical body I intend it to include the emotional body and our mental capacities.
The Dao – which is what TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) is based on – highlights a move away from separateness and into holism. In other words, bringing those pieces of ourselves that we perceive as separate – pain in the body, a traumatic experience, physiological disruption etc. – back into the body, mind, spirit, emotional complex that is us. THIS is holistic health.
This idea revolves around the natural flow of The Dao or The Way.
1. Phase one of the Dao is the emergence of something out of nothing. That seed of potential that exists as the impulse in every moment as life spontaneously bursts forth. As this seed – one – emerges out of the unknown it rises up to heaven and experiences itself as separate from itself. The Dao is no longer one, it has become two.
2. In phase two of the Dao, our Ming Men or our contract with heaven is bestowed upon us.
3. Phase three of the Dao considers us – humans – as the conduit between these two polarities. The human form is the vehicle that fulfills destiny and this phase marks a moving away – far away from the one.
4. The next phase, phase four of the Dao moves farther and farther away until it eventually returns back to itself and becomes one again. This is the death phase or the letting go phase. It’s that moment when it is time to let go of the separateness we have just experienced as it is integrated back into one.
All pain in the body/mind complex can be considered separateness.
At the Yoga and Acupuncture retreat this year we were fortunate enough to add in and begin with a traditional Lakota sweat lodge and two Amazonian medicine ceremonies. The ceremonial component of these enabled the participants to delve deep into their psyche and take a step outside of how they would normally perceive their reality. It was an opportunity to really look inside their hearts and listen to it with new ears. The ceremonies in and of themselves are incredibly transformational.
We spent the rest of the week integrating their experiences into their body through acupuncture and yoga. We also helped each person to understand their experience by examining what was showing up for them.
What really sunk in for me, is how every pain experienced in the body and/or mind is alerting us to a separateness that inherently wants to become whole again. This is homeostasis. This is the bodies inherent wisdom speaking to us. It astonished me that I have spent years saying this over and over again thinking I understood it only to have it really sink in during the Yoga and Acupuncture retreat. I became a better practitioner this week.
Steph and I work well as a team. We are without-a-doubt sisters on many levels. We laugh and do everything in our power to go as deep as we can with everyone. We want to drudge up the gunk, the shadow, the darkness to illuminate it so that every person feels a little lighter when they leave. I used to say ‘We go deep so that we can lighten the fuck up’…but I’m trying not to swear so much so you didn’t hear that from me.
I love how Acupuncture and Yoga are the microcosm to the macrocosm that is our life. It’s an opportunity, when we are in a tough pose to examine how we want to give up in some area of our lives. How when a strong sensation is felt at an acupuncture point it is the body inherently drawing attention to an area of the body and our lives that needs some reintegration. It’s powerful stuff and neither one of us take it lightly. We are both focused and dedicated to our craft.
The other reason I love running Yoga and Acupuncture retreats and why you should consider attending
The community that is created. How often do you get to experience a group of people all coming forth with similar intentions? For me, not often enough. I have it with certain friends for sure, but to have a handful or two of people in the same boat all chatting about what’s important to them and all the while wearing a bikini – or trunks for you out numbered men – is pretty rare. The kinship that is formed is undeniable and the laughter is contagious. I think this year, like last, one of the biggest things that people took away from the retreat was understanding that they aren’t alone in any of this. That people care and that people are there to catch you when you fall – or in my case trip over anything and everything. Check out this video to see what I am talking about.
People are wonderful and life is good and this week is a great reminder of that.
With love from beautiful Kelowna, BC.