Monday, June 29, 2015

Women's Summer Solstice Retreat on Nantucket::2015

I'm fresh off of hosting my 3rd annual Women's Summer Retreat on Nantucket! This was my 2nd year in a row leading it with my oldest and dearest, Steph Zabel, to combine our passions for our Poses & Plants theme of Yoga and Herbalism woven together to provide deep nourishment for the heart. 

There truly aren't many words to describe the power and beauty that comes from this experience. Each year the group changes and each has its own qualities to be exactly what we all need. The magic is real and potent when we listen in to the rhythm of nature with the change of the season, and when we connect to each other in that cycle as well. 

Here are some photos that I was able to capture. You can view more via Instagram through #summersolsticeretreat…just look for the ones from Nantucket! 

Wade Cottages

Our view from the cottage where we dined

Steph and I just before arrivals

We practiced outside 3 out of the 4 times. Heaven. 

Sconset, Nantucket view

The beauty of homemade food and love for it.

Power in the Energy of all of us. 

Plant ID class

Herbalist Goddess

Steph and I cooked most dinners!

Puja Power. Kuan Yin Goddess Love.

Flower essence crafting

Foraging for wild beach roses

Steph teaching us the art of making Wild Rose tinctures and wine!

Kenzie the cat was our friendly ambassador for the weekend!

Wade Cottages has now created this fantastic and sweet indoor retreat space for use on rainy weather days! It was nice to have a practice in here after a full day of storms and rain. 

Emily's brilliant lomi lomi hands for our healing.

Our brilliant group post-practice!

Gratitude selfie

Herb Blending Tea class with Steph

Our portal to the sea

Poetry, crystals, plants, intentions...

Closing circle and final practice

Women Power

Solstice Ritual

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Yoga Teacher Mamas/Papas-- On leading retreats

Maybe I'm just in my mid-30's now and so I notice more yoga teacher mamas...or maybe it's because there are so many more yoga teachers now, and so there are more teacher mamas? Either way, it's cool to see more dedicated yoga teachers becoming parents and making it work.
Being a dedicated yoga teacher while also being a dedicated Mama (or Papa) is great because it's typically a welcoming job environment and a flexible schedule. I'm super grateful and lucky in that regard. But at the same time it's not all flowers and meditation. wink emoticon
It takes a lot of discipline to fit in your own practice, continue to study, read, learn, in order to offer space for the students you teach, for yourself, and for your family. It's much harder now with a baby and a 4 year old, too. And luckily I have a supportive partner in so many ways (emotionally, spiritually, financially...) to help this all work.
This is why I only teach one public class a week. The rest of my teaching stuffs have been private prenatal session, special workshops or events, and my big love are my retreats!

Word on retreats for all my fellow Yoga teacher mamas with tiny kiddos who want to make retreats happen:
-Yes, my boys come along. They are not part of the classes or any intimate moments (unless it calls for them, which sometimes the moment welcomes them), but they are nearby/included for meals and adventures.

-I feel it's super awesome and important that while they are young and not tied down by school that they are getting to experience travel, see their mama doing her work that she loves, getting a wide array of contact with all types of humans, and learning to be adaptable. When they are both over age 5, then I will most likely not be bringing them as much, and/or not leading as many retreats that require long distance, as they will need me home. So, I'm soaking it in now while I can and planning my retreats with care.

-I let my retreat participants know that they will be along. I'm grateful that my peeps are welcoming to the kid energy.

-That said, this is also why I've developed my retreats in places that I've been to so many times, that I know well and that I feel comfortable with. Less surprises. More people and contacts.
On Nantucket, it's part of my husband's family and so there's usually always family around to help with the kiddos. In Iceland, my husband is always there too and we know what to expect with the kiddos (it will be Isak's 3rd trip soon!).

-I keep my retreats small and manageable and I have a collaborator/co-teacher, plus help in the form of my husband and/or a babysitter.

-I breastfeed and am dedicated to this art. I go as long as needed for my child and myself. SO my baby must come along for the ride! I didn't leave Isak overnight until he was 2.5 when I went to Mexico for retreat once we had weaned! With Gus still less than a year, it's a no brainer that my whole family would be coming with on retreats. In a few years, this probably won't be the case and so I savor it for now as stated in all reasons above. smile emoticon

*In general, loves, know that all of us parents, whether yoga teachers or not, struggle during these first years with tiny babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. It takes much more discipline in your own practice and self-care to manage your time, much more attention to your partner and family as a whole, much more dedication to your art and work. I am the first to admit that I do not practice or meditate every single day. Do I aim for just a little something, yes. I try to fit in at least 5-10 minutes each day to breathe by myself, hold a yin pose, or do a few rounds of salutations. Does it always happen? No. But the mindfulness of over 15 years of practice and almost a decade of teaching remains in my spirit and I do the best I can. We all do the best we can. We do have extra responsibility during these delicate years and it's important to move slower, honor this stage, and release all of the expectations. Oh those pesky expectations. Many days my yoga ends up being holding my cranky baby while he naps because that is what works. Or holding my own cranky self in a long bath or a long savasana because that is what works. I learn so much in these moments and it can for sure translate onto the mat when you practice and teach.
As my peer/friend, Nancy Alder, says: Parenting is Yoga! For sure.

So, go get 'em Yoga Mamas!! Know yourself. Take on what you can handle, allow for mistakes and learning experiences, and have fun keeping up what you love and who you are.

My 4 year old joining in for yoga.

Sometimes popsicles and ice cream are had just before dinner.

Slowing down on gorgeous days to nurse my baby and lay in the yard.

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