The lowest point of my Costa Rica Retreat hit me mid-week.
Dealing with work-related tech glitches on a hot Wednesday afternoon left me agitated. The humidity and mosquitoes were relentless. The gorgeous bluejays were dive-bombing tables and stealing my food. I needed an energetic and powerful yoga sesh to warrior pose my way into a better mood. Shutting my Macbook, I stomped off to the yoga Shala, ready to Namaste my way out of my negative funk.
I expected numerous yogis. I hoped for a challenging, momentous, sweaty sequence.
I stormed into the wrong class and after arranging my mat on the floor, was greeted by a serene man with long, bushy grey hair and an equally long grey beard. He was wearing flowy pants; a display of gongs, bells and chimes behind him, and miniature Buddha statues arranged on a colorful sarong on the floor.
Maybe 10 people were lounging on yoga mats, and he asked us to gather around him in a half circle, rather than line up in rows facing the front.
I wasn’t used to this. How was I going to power-yoga my agitation away in a small circle so close to tinkly, dingy-dong instruments?
“Um..” I raised my hand, “Is this Vinyasa Yoga?” I asked.
“No”, the bearded man smiled my way, his kindness mildly irritating. “This is Mindful Yoga, a version of Yin Yoga where the magic of sound carries you on your journey to the present.”
Blank-faced, I stared back at him, my disappointment unhidden.
“You don’t have to stay if you were expecting something different,” he said gently, and finished setting up his array of tuning forks.
I’m pretty sure I flopped forward over my mat. I might have rolled my eyes. Whatever.
Then I said, “Well, I must be here for a reason.” I decided to stay on my mat and go with the flow.
So far, our Retreat was going fantastically well and exceeding our expectations in so many ways. For the first time, I was co-hosting with another experienced and inspiring leadership coach. Our Retreat was populated by engaging and diverse professionals who quickly transformed from strangers to a friendly and connected community. We moved through our days comfortably within a luxurious yoga sanctuary. In tropical Costa Rica, we were surrounded by lush jungle and stunning beaches, eating clean, fresh healthy food. Magic was happening. My group was connecting, growing, learning, indulging. I had every reason to be over the moon – and I was.
But . . . sometimes our glory days can still frustrate us in some way, even when we’re moving in the right direction and all the stars to success have aligned. We still can get a little shitty over glitchy technology.
I certainly was. I think I was tired and under-slept due to all the magic-making. My intention was to yoga my way into a more positive mood and an “I-got-this-boss-mode” frame of mind.
But I failed to check the class schedule. And so, I found myself lying on the floor, engaging in slow spinal twist poses with a pillow between my knees, while the bearded man in flowy pants jingled bells around my head. For an hour.
But, slow pose by slow pose, gong by gong, … I found myself feeling a little more zen.
Even though I had closed my eyes to stubbornly disengage with the bearded man and the others in the class and sit low and moody (totally un-yogi-like), I found myself calming down with each pose, surrendering, retreating inward, and just being.
By the end of the session, I was completely at peace. I wasn’t agitated anymore. Turns out, a Mindful Yoga Healing Sound Journey was exactly what I needed.
While mood-transforming experiences such as healing sound journeys (or yoga, or sunset beach walks) might seem a little hippy-dippy to some, they are an essential element to our Retreats when it comes to positioning our minds, bodies, and souls into a place of renewal. These beautiful, unplanned experiences support our intentions and help create the magic.
It’s how we find clarity, the community we need and lock into our purpose; which enables us to navigate confidently through the life we eventually return to.
Even if we accidentally took part in these transformative experiences, like I did.
Between the vibrations of sound in the air, thunder rolling beyond the Shala walls, exquisite dishes on which we dined, the howling monkeys in the surrounding jungle, thieving bluejays and the sacredness of our private yoga Shala and, and, and… between all these incredible things we discovered something wonderful.
We tapped into who we truly are.
The Workshops in the Shala gave us the time and space we needed to talk openly and honestly about the things most important to us: Finding happiness. Dispelling fears. Clarity in our direction. Confidence in our worthiness.
We brought our notes and ourselves to the floor every day to connect, to share our doubts and worries, to express our true desires safely and wholeheartedly, and clear our path for the future with confidence.
Sometimes tears were shed, but also eruptions of pure laughter in unexpected places. It’s where we found connection with others, and with our truest self.
The beautiful thing is that this was not an isolated experience for us in some overseas exotic space – this experience was a portal, and a life-changing turning point for each of our journeys.
This was a time of trust, of openness, of letting go, of gaining strength, feeling the true connection between yourself, and others like you. Immersing yourself in a different life.
It was full and meaningful, and an experience we will take with us. We have the knowledge now of what personal growth, leadership and connection really is – while it sounds good on paper, we know from all that transpired during our Retreat what that genuinely feels like.
We truly felt alive.
My job on these retreats is to create, support and share.
I create the experience for others, clear pathways for connection, facilitate the ease from arriving in the country to each individuals’ arrival to their point of learning and finding their purpose. Those taking part in my Retreat realize they are not alone but have a community.
Their voice is heard.
This begins as they arrive in Costa Rica, welcomed with chilled coconut drinks and ends with heartfelt tears when they depart a week later, boarding the private shuttle bound for their plane.
My role is to also enable this transformation in others. It’s been my role all my life, whether as a teacher, a friend, a traveler, or a business owner. My purpose is to pave the way for others to experience connectedness, fullness, unearth a truer version of themselves.
It’s in the space in between the experiences that we sign up for where the magic truly is found. Where the seeds we plant in each session start to grow, to unravel, to connect, and renew.
These wholesome experiences are what makes me love what Venture Within creates, and helps me navigate through any frustrating technology glitches, or whatever wrench gets thrown in the works and find the clarity I need to keep going.
Even if the clarity of my path lies in unexpected Mindful Yoga Sound Journeys.
Looking for an accidental sound journey too? We are back in Costa Rica in April 2020. Reach out if you would like to find out more. – Christy