A few days ago my family and I went to a mindfulness and meditation half day yoga retreat. The retreat was led by Dr. Kelsey Evans-Amalu and was sponsored by Divine Harmony Yoga and Holistic Healing at 1218 Millennium Parkway 3rd floor Brandon, FL 33511.
It was a small group of about 8 participants. The session started off with a discussion on mindfulness and what it means to be mindful. Something I realized I had not been doing much of over the past few years. Then we started moving with a gentle flow and yin yoga. Stretching our bodies preparing them for what was to follow. We started out building a ramp from bolsters and blocks and reclined with the soles of our feet together “Supta Baddha Konasana”. I was the only guy in the class, normally this would not make a difference. However my hips really needed a little warm-up before such a pose.
After a little sangha (community building). We went outside for some walking meditation. Now this was interesting because I had never done this and had no idea of what to expect. We walked Real slowly. The first thing I noticed was how difficult it was to move that slow. I had not realized how much we really use momentum when walking. I noticed how my hips would shift to maintain a center of balance kind of like when you stand in Tree pose “Vrksasana”. After our walk we came back for tea and group reflection. We all talked about what we experienced on our walk. My daughter does this frequently and had a lot to share. Most people talked about hearing the leaves crunch beneath our feet and the wind as it blew through the trees.
On to the seated portion of our practice. This is how I tend to meditate. Seeking the stillness within. Now I actually had a hard time, the previous events kept racing through my head. Eventually I finally found my calmness. We did some journaling. This, I was not prepared to do. I did however come up with a topic and wrote about how I have not been practicing my morning meditation lately. Everyone talked about what they had written and shared their feelings about it. I realized the morning meditation I once did was really mindfulness and how much I missed it.
After the discussion we moved onto Yoga Nidra with a little Reiki at the end. During this guided meditation with our eyes closed, she led us on a journey through the body and asked us to sense things like cold, heat and dampness on our skin. Towards the end we laid in silence while she went around the class and did some Reiki with everyone. Overall the retreat was a profound experience. I highly recommend it for everyone.