For those who have been staying in the loop, I must say that July’s retreat certainly exceeded my no expectations… what a beautiful month of travel and rest! The Francis Lucille ‘Eternity Now’ retreat at the Omega Institute was truly profound, yet somewhat indescribable. I’ll be happy to share my experiences and learning during the classes in the upcoming Yogaheart Fall schedule that is being finalized this week.
But some things are describable thankfully! If you’ve never been to Omega, you might want to put it on your list because I was astounded by the amazing and beautiful campus for spiritual learning located in NY state off the Hudson River. It’s nestled amongst trees and nature on rolling hills dotted with several large halls and cabins that host teachers and students from all corners of the globe. Walking around, it seemed like a world gone happy! Even the rabbits and the deer were calm and unafraid as they sauntered amidst the people going to and from the cafeteria, or to their workshops and cabins. I made my way to the Omega mid-July to attend a week long retreat, as I’ve been intrigued with Francis’ teachings for quite some time, and to have this opportunity to sit with him for a week was a dream come true.
Besides the beauty of the campus, what I didn’t expect during the retreat that the actual practice of yoga was a big part of what Francis was offering, since I had only observed him in dialogue and inquiry. This was an amazing surprise. Francis’ main teaching is to help one see the universality of consciousness, and although my preferred method of accessing and deepening this understanding is through the physical, I expected the retreat to be focused on a mental approach of inquiry and meditation. That we practiced a form of yoga that helps release identity in the chronic tensions of the body astounded and delighted me. Even after 14 years, the dimensions of yoga just keep unfolding… wow.
As I’m sure you know, there is a distinction that can be made between yoga and exercise. Exercise is obviously a very good thing to do since it can keep us physically well balanced and healthy. And yet our attitude in yoga is sometimes different than our attitude while exercising, and we often go home feeling not only physically conditioned, but mentally and emotionally peaceful and content as well. Yoga is generally taught using with beautiful uplifting instructions and in ways that are often more gentle and supportive than other forms of exercise. This is All Good.
And yet still, yoga practice can reveal an even more profound difference between yoga and exercise. Actual yoga, as it’s name suggests (‘yoga’ translates as ‘union’), or the deep understanding of it, yoga is not time-bound nor goal-oriented. It can be a revelation. The revelation of the profound peace and wholeness that is who and what we are already. Not something we achieve by the end of the class, but to notice that all along, regardless of circumstances, there is an open ground of profound peace, already present. When Francis would start our yoga sessions saying, “We begin our practice in freedom and ease…” I simply melted into present moment and all it’s glory.
Returning to NS was also a treat as I meandered down secondary roads through the Eastern United States and camped in the mountains along the way. Travelling is extra special when you are not in a hurry. I knew I was wearing a relaxed smile by the beautiful looks people gave me as we would pass each other. Indeed, it has been an amazing, interesting, and enlightening return to the beautiful land of ocean and good people. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to see you all very soon and share the wealth. The Fall Yoga and Meditation schedule is now being finalized. There will be an August Yogaheart e-newsletter going out within a day or two with News, Class & Workshop information, and more. So stay tuned, and if you would like a copy of the newsletter and but haven’t signed up yet, the sign up box is just to the Top Right of your screen —>
Happy August Everyone! Life is beautiful. See you soon!!!