It’s hard to believe autumn is here after being blessed with such a beautiful sunny summer season. During a recent weekend while Seattle saw some blessed summer rain, I was fortunate to be in Oakland, CA participating in a Yin Yoga workshop with one of my teachers, 8 Limb’s own Melina Meza. I rented an Airbnb that was close enough for me to walk to the yoga studio each day. I filled up on healthy food and readings that nourish me while making my own sacred time and space. I created my own 3-day retreat by getting out of my usual element: I turned off my phone and paid attention to me, the inner me. I cleared my head and heart and recharged––a personal tune-up, if you will.

I value retreats tremendously because my day-to-day life is full of ‘doing.’ When I’m on retreat I slow down and enjoy the ‘being’ in my own body, my own real inner life. I focus on feeding my simple, yet very deep, “me” needs; retreats of any kind are important for this. Vacations emphasize what we get out of the time away, like snapping selfies in front of exotic scenery, speaking a new language or visiting far-flung family and friends. However, a retreat is all about the time we give to ourselves that feeds our souls and recharges our inner light. Retreat is about looking inward with guidance and support of leaders and other retreat-goers.

haramaraThis coming February, I will be co-hosting a retreat with Marni Yamada at the beautiful Haramara Retreat Center in Sayulita, Mexico. We are both excited to share with participants what we’ve learned about a yogic life and on and off the mat. We’ll practice yoga twice daily, eat healthy food, and enjoy some warm sunshine while Seattle is midway through its gray period. We hope to offer everyone something with which to gather the nourishment that helps feed his or her own simple, yet very deep personal needs.

img_6258-copyThere will be plenty of heartfelt time spent getting to know one another as well as time to reflect and define our own inner beings. Life on retreat is simple as we step away from our busy lives. It’s also filled with reminders that simple details — how we talk to ourselves, what we eat, our individual perspectives and how we can learn from other perspectives — are actually big details. Retreat time is simple because reflection feels so quiet when compared to our busy, often loud everyday lives. Really, though, retreat time is big because of the impact reflection has on our inner and outer lives. When we invest in our personal growth, the pay-off is huge.

Maybe you want a vacation; you can have that too. Marni has promised to give surfing lessons! And there will be downtime to create your own adventure or join us on a hike or two. We’re planning on creating space for all of us to be enriched in some way.

We have some space left, but the spots are filling up. If you have an inkling or feel a gravitation to what I’ve shared here, think about it, and act. Sometimes you have to ‘do’ before you can let yourself ‘be’ in the very space you are craving to really be in. I’ll meet you there in early February.

Posted by: Karen Gamble, 8 Limbs teacher and co-leader for 2017 Haramara Winter Retreat

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