On & Off The Mat – A Yoga Blog

by Christy DeBurton

 

Seven retreatants came together for a Day of Mindfulness at The Yoga Room this past weekend. They came for a variety of reasons: Two couples attended–one of which have a 7-month old baby, so they were looking forward to some peace, quiet and relaxation; a middle school principal wanted to deepen her own mindfulness practice so that she could bring mindfulness into her school; one woman is a caregiver for a friend in the last stages of cancer so she needed the retreat to re-center and ground herself; others were looking to deepen their meditation practices in a supportive setting.

 

After some brief introductions we began observing Noble Silence as a way to deepen and intensify our mindfulness experience. We did a Yin yoga practice to prepare our bodies for the 20 minute sitting meditation that followed. After a short break we enjoyed a simple vegan lunch of lentil soup and bread, where we continued our Noble Silence practice for 20 minutes to be mindful of what we were eating, where it came from, and all the effort and love that went into it, and then chatted for 10 minutes while we enjoyed our cupcake dessert. We then shifted back into silence for a mindful walking meditation to a small, old cemetery down the road where a Civil War soldier is buried, spending a few minutes in contemplation there. Upon our return we did a longer, 30 minute seated meditation, and then closed with a group discussion where we each shared our experience of the day.

 

Some of the most important things we tried to keep in mind during our Day of Mindfulness: connecting to our inner stillness, shifting into the witness/observer role, practicing present moment awareness, and practicing non-judgment toward ourselves when our mind wandered off. 

 

Everyone agreed that having a full 4 1/2 hours to commit to our mindfulness/meditation practice was very beneficial. (In fact, I shared some information on a recent study on meditation that showed that although a short, daily practice is good, the most beneficial effects to our brain occur during more intensive meditation retreats. So…needless to say, we are all looking forward to more Days of Mindfulness here at The Yoga Room. Stay tuned and join us for the next one!

 

Here is what a one retreatant shared about her experience:

 

“It was a wonderful day. I enjoyed the Yin Yoga to start the session. It got me back in touch with my body and also relaxed and loosened my muscles so that I could sit still for the first sitting meditation of the day. The sitting meditation was easier than I had expected and the time seemed to go quickly which surprised me. The Mindfulness Walking Meditation was enjoyable and helpful. It is something that I can see myself practicing even as I walk my dog. Probably the most enlightening and surprising experience of the day was the Mindful Eating we practiced at lunch. What an eye opener!! There was quite a bit of discussion about that. BTW–the lunch was wonderful!! I also appreciated the Noble Silence. It was something that I had been looking forward to. I hope that you will  be repeating this workshop in the future. I will definitely be there. Just a little story about the day after the workshop. That next day I found myself in a very frustrating situation. It started to get the best of me. Then I said to myself, “Look you were at a meditation workshop yesterday–for heavens sake use what you learned”. So I found a Deepak Chopra  meditation on YouTube, sat down, closed my eyes and settled into it. It had a tremendous affect on me and allowed me to be open in a different way to the experience. I had a dramatic shift that day and was very surprised by all the positive moments that ensued just because I took the time to be still and meditate.”

 

You can click on the pictures for a slightly larger view.

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I just wanted to share a few pictures from our Fall Yoga Retreat at Inn at the Rustic Gate in Big Rapids this past weekend. 

 

A lovely group of 10 joined me for Yin, Kundalini, Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga classes, as well as a Yoga ‘Potpourri’ Workshop that consisted of meditation, a Posture Clinic/Ask the Teacher Q&A Session, and even a little Thai Yoga Massage! 

 

During our free time, some people ventured out to the local Amish communities to buy apples, baked goods, sauerkraut and more, while others enjoyed sampling the local microbreweries in town. A few of us stayed behind in the cozy Inn to read and nap. ;)

 

While we didn’t have the best weather this year, it was still good enough to be able to get in some mountain-bike riding at Hungerford Lake Rec Area, and take some short hikes on the Inn’s 150 acre property. And of course, take my annual labyrinth walk. 

 

Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the food. It is always a highlight, especially the Stuffed Squash for Saturday dinner and Tower of Power (if you’re curious, ask me what’s in it–or see if you can figure it out from the pictures below!) for Sunday brunch!

 

Feedback from one participant: “I wanted you to know I enjoyed the weekend and learned some things that will help my practice and improve my poses. Your skill and thoughtfulness made it all a great a experience. I enjoyed meeting and talking with all of the participants. It was a warm and friendly group……and the innkeepers were wonderful, too!”

 

(You can click on the pictures for a slightly larger view.)

 

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We had such a good time at our first ever R&R 1/2 Day Retreat here on The Yoga Room grounds. The morning Yin yoga class set a peaceful, relaxing tone for our day. Afterward, everyone enjoyed a lovely plant-based lunch al fresco (prepared by yours truly, with help from my awesome husband!). Then there was time for hanging out by the pool, reading and chatting with friends before getting into the warm 85 degree water for a fun Aqua Yoga session. I think everyone would probably agree that the floating Savasana at the end was the best part. So relaxing! 

 

Want to join us next time? Sign up soon for our July 22 R&R Retreat HERE. There are only a handful of spots left–don’t miss out!

 

(Click on each picture for a slightly larger view.)

 

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SATURDAY, JULY 22, 10:30AM-2:30PM
My first R&R 1/2 Day Retreat of the summer is sold out and students have been asking if I’m going to host another ‘spa day.’ The answer is yes! As a complement to our active ‘Yoga for Your Summer Activities’ session, we are going to immerse ourselves in rest and relaxation during this 1/2 Day Retreat:
*Light-hearted Aqua yoga class with floating Savasana*
*Free time to relax by the pool*
*Light lunch on the patio*
*Meditative Yin yoga practice*
This retreat only has 7 spots available, so click HERE for more details and sign up soon to reserve your spot!

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Finding Time for Rest & Stillness:

A Half-Day Retreat

Saturday, June 24, 2017

10:30am – 2:30pm

**SOLD OUT**

 

It’s not ‘how do we make time for rest and stillness’ but ‘why are we not committed to that, and what stands in the way of that?’ As a complement to our active ‘Yoga for Your Summer Activities’ session, we are going to immerse ourselves in rest and stillness during this 1/2 day day retreat.

 

Relax, de-stress and enjoy an oasis of calm away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You will create space to show yourself compassion and lovingkindess so that you may leave here feeling a greater sense of well-being and be more in touch with what really feeds your soul.

 

Our retreat will begin with a light-hearted Aqua Yoga session and relaxing floating Savasana (bring your own floaty) in the heated pool. Afterwards, enjoy time for poolside relaxation and a light lunch on the patio. Our retreat will close with a meditative Yin yoga practice.

 

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This past October 14-16 we celebrated our 6th year of traveling to the Inn at the Rustic Gate for our Fall Yoga Retreat. The Inn, in the countryside outside of Big Rapids, is a lovely B&B setting for our annual retreat. We were spoiled once again by the innkeepers, who treated us to delicious and healthy vegan meals throughout our stay, as well by the warm weather that afforded us the opportunity for walks through the woods to marvel at the fall colors and our traditional Saturday evening bonfire (with the added bonus of listening to some sandhill cranes flying into the nearby wetlands to roost for the night!). And of course, there was yoga: Yin, Energy Flow, a combo Thai Yoga-Meditation Workshop, and Ashtanga! The group was a mix of my students from The Yoga Room and others who found out about the retreat online, but we were all fast friends by the end of the weekend. :)

 

Take a look at the pictures below (you can click on them for a larger view), and mark your calendars for next year’s retreat: October 13-15, 2017. I hope you can join us!

 

 

 

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Last month I held my annual Fall Yoga Retreat at Inn at the Rustic Gate in Big Rapids, MI. We had absolutely perfect weather for it this year: sunny and highs in the 70s! Because I know how busy all the attendees are with their work and family obligations, I made a point to let everyone know this weekend was “for them to do whatever THEY wanted to do.” That ended up including things like taking a daily yoga class, going on a silent meditation walk to the Inn’s labyrinth, going for a run on the trails at nearby Hungerford Lake Recreation Area, enjoying a bonfire under the stars, and partaking in lots of delicious meals! Here are what a few attendees had to say about the weekend:

 

“I really needed to get away from ‘real life’ for a while and this was a perfect opportunity. Perfect blend of yoga and free time for myself. Thank you!”

 

“Thanks for another amazing yoga retreat! Even after going for years, I’m always impressed how much I learn about myself and the sense of peace I bring back into my real life after a retreat!”

 

“That was just the peace & quiet I needed!”

 

Mark your calendars: next year’s retreat is scheduled for October 14-16, 2016!

 

Here are some pictures from the retreat. (Click on each photo to enlarge slightly.)

 

 

 

 

 

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This past August I hosted an intimate yoga retreat for those in helping & healing professions in Glen Arbor, MI. Participants included school teachers, massage therapists and medical professionals. All were treated to the opportunity to unwind by enjoying outdoor yoga classes overlooking Lake Michigan, farm-to-table ‘al fresco’ meals (that they didn’t have to cook!), and free time for wandering the beach, biking and enjoying other fun adventures the Lelanau Peninsula has to offer. A few highlights from participants:

 

“I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Perfect blend of yoga and free time. Lovely setting too.”

 

“The ability to practice and meditate on the deck overlooking Lake Michigan provided a unique experience rich with tranquil memories that I will treasure for a lifetime.”

 

“The free time afforded me the opportunity to ride my bike to the sand dunes and check out the lovely town of Glen Arbor. I was able to have the quiet time that I needed for reflection and enjoyed nourishing vegetarian meals that were delicious.”

 

“I would recommend this retreat to anyone who is looking to get away, unplug, & invest in themselves, the beautiful locale was just icing on the cake:)”

 

Click on the pictures for a slightly larger view.

 



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At the beginning of March I had the good fortune to be able to get out of cold Michigan and attend a yoga retreat in Vieques, Puerto Rico–as a student instead of a teacher! The weather was perfect and the scenery was beautiful. Highlights included staying in a gorgeous house right on the north shore of the island with an ocean-view room, eating delicious food (in particular, lots of fresh, tropical fruit), doing yoga on the beach, and flying over the blue-green waters of the Caribbean in a 6-seat puddle jumper. 

 

Yoga retreats like this are not cheap. You can plan to pay $1300 and up for the week, plus airfare. But for those who want to combine their love of yoga with an opportunity to experience another part of the world, they are well worth it! If you have an interest in attending a retreat like this please let me know. If enough people are interested I will look into planning one. (For those of you who were not aware, I led a retreat to Costa Rica in 2007; you can see some pictures HERE. And for those of you who might prefer to stick a little closer to home and not put such a big dent in your finances, don’t forget that our annual Fall Weekend Yoga Retreat is already scheduled for September 25-27, 2015. More details on this retreat can be found HERE.

 

Click on the pictures below for a slightly larger view…

 

 

 

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The Yoga Room’s annual Fall Yoga Retreat was another success this year with beautiful weather, delicious food, great yoga and wonderful hospitality from the innkeepers at Inn at the Rustic Gate in Big Rapids, MI. Highlights this year included Yin, Energy Flow, and Ashtanga Yoga classes, plus a Partner Yoga class outdoors! We also enjoyed a bonfire under the stars, hiking and biking in the Hungerford Recreation Area, relaxing massages and gourmet, locally-sourced vegetarian meals. Take a look at the pictures (click on them for the full view), and mark your calendars to join us for next year’s Fall Retreat, September 25-27, 2015!

 

 

 

 

 

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