Last night I returned from a weekend of teaching at Breitenbush Hot Springs in Oregon. 8 Limbs leads retreats at “B-bush” in April and July and I get to enjoy the sacred land and geothermal waters while teaching yoga classes and workshops to a diverse group of participants. Some are teachers learning about yoga and how to share it with others, others join us as a personal yoga retreat. All are interested in learning more about yoga and most end up learning more about themselves.

When I first met with our group I asked them to think of a teacher that had influenced them. I got goose bumps hearing the stories: a seventh grade teacher who, with two pointed questions, had helped a small town girl to think beyond “finish high school, get married, have three kids”; a yoga teacher who helped an overweight woman find the strength and confidence to moved beyond the layers she carried on her body; a strict music teacher who set firm boundaries and expectations that invited the students to stretch beyond their limitations. Their lives had been affected by these teachers, to the point of a complete turnaround.

In my eyes, these teachers had all put out an invitation. They had all seen their role as teacher as several steps beyond simply passing on information. They had asked for participation, they had seen beyond their students and had guided them towards their potential. As David Whyte says, “An invitation invites the self beyond one’s self/oneself.” You can invite someone, as the 7th grade teacher did, out of their inheritance, beyond what they might expect of themselves.

To me a retreat is an invitation. It is a container outside of our ordinary lives. We can shed our roles, chores, jobs, phones, and use the practice of yoga to help us to see and work with what comes forth when we let go of these habits and demands.

8 Limbs we take retreats seriously. We are working right now on the 2012 retreat schedule and welcome your suggestions for times of year, teachers, areas of and locations. You can send them to ashley@8limbsyoga.com.

I am heading, tonight, on another retreat, this one my family vacation. I’ll be on a lake in the Adirondacks, unplugged, for a whole week. Enjoy some Seattle sunshine, and consider what invitation you have for own students, children, friends, co-workers, and for your Self.

Posted by: Anne Phyfe Palmer

P.S. Your opportunities to retreat for 2011 are posted on our Retreats page, Embracing Change (Yoga for 50+ Retreat) with Sally Carley August 26-28 and Fall Sleeping Lady with Anne Phyfe Palmer and Melina Meza November 4-6.

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