The Power of Retreat

photo by Eric Marmota

photo by Eric Marmota

This blog post is an excerpt from a terrific essay on the power of yoga teacher training, much of which is readily applicable to a writing and yoga retreat. Especially the concepts of clearing stuck energy and experiencing self-transformation that carries over into every other part of your life, long after the retreat is over. In surrendering to ourselves, we surrender to life, and in surrendering to life, we surrender to our art, finally. Surrender is the opposite of giving up, it is giving over and accessing the constant flow of energy always available to us. Writes Silvia Mordoni in her Yoganonymous piece, 3 Reasons Why Yoga Teacher Training Changes Your Life:

Something magical and mystical happens when a group of high-intentioned individuals make the decision to gather together ... with the purpose of uplifting their lives & expanding their consciousness into radical authenticity.
The result is something beyond words. It is, as best as I can explain it, the Alchemy of Yoga at its best. Chapter 2 verse 1 of the Yoga Sutras sets forth how the Alchemy of Yoga actually works. “Tapas svadhyaya ishvara pranidhana kriya yoga.” Translated to mean that yoga helps us transform ourselves on three levels:
1. Physical Alchemy—Tapas: helps us ignite the changes we want to make in our lives. It is about the getting fired up and passionate. Literally it means heating the body through moving and breathing in the vinyasa.
2. Mental Alchemy—Svadhyaya: while we are following the discipline of tapas and engaging in physical practice to help move our stuck energy we are watching ourselves. In yoga we study the self to learn about the self. Here the mental alchemy is through self-observation. We witness what is going on in our thoughts, what are we thinking.
3. Spiritual Alchemy—ishvara pranidahana: as we are doing and watching we let go of the ego of judgment. We move beyond wanting life to be different and begin to feel the surrender that allows what is being offered to mix together. We practice ishvara pranidhana as we trust the universal intelligence that hugs us from all directions to know what it’s doing. And once we find this trust we begin to believe that beauty and goodness are within us flowing nonstop, and there is no reason to stop this flow for its natural current is to align with the current of grace that is everywhere outside of us. Beauty becomes our way of life. Happiness becomes our natural alchemy.
...[Y]ou wake up to the power you have to go into the laboratory of your life experience and mix the potions you want to create your best life going forward!