Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It's Okay to be Alone

I recently read a newsy blurb on 7 Reasons Why it's Okay to be Alone on a Saturday Night.
based off of an excerpt from a post by Erin Meanley, who writes for the Glamour.com love and relationships blog, Smitten.  Granted, this was geared toward women, but  I couldn't see a reason why it shouldn't apply to everyone.

Then I got to thinking, this is a good idea all around.  For some of us, this comes very naturally.  We love the downtime 'being alone' offers.  We're not beholden to anyone, we don't have to 'go with the flow', we don't have to 'put on our game face'.  We can just 'be'. 

So taking inspiration from Ms. Meanley list, here's one for us:

1. (This is from Erin's list, a good place to start) You are making yourself a more desirable person.  
Take this time-out to recharge your batteries...make yourself happy. When you understand your own feelings and behavior, or you do things to please yourself, you're more likely to be a pleasure to be around.

2. You can take the opportunity to try new foods and meals without spousal, familial, or peer pressure. 
Most of us have been here - a new drink, food, or dish has caught our attention.  But the family/spouse/friends just don't understand why you would ever want to try "it".  Now is your opportunity to indulge.  And by trying new foods we keep the taste buds happy and the mind open to new experiences.

3. Tackle unfinished projects.
Erin's blog notes: Get up...and accomplish something that will make you feel confident or productive. You could go to the gym, a church service..., or even tackle some long neglected craft project or household project.  Maybe a book has been clamoring for attention - grab a cuppa and head out to the porch for a little quiet time. 

4. Go for a long walk, bike ride, or do a morning asana practice and meditation.
Stay active and healthy while giving the mind a break.

5. (Erin's blog)  Remember that you are choosing some reflective time! You're not being sidelined. You're not being lazy. You're not unpopular. You could find something to do or invite someone somewhere if you really wanted to. And don't let people make you feel guilty — I hate guilt trips. Sometimes you just can't! This was your choice. You're the boss. Now own it.
If you think you're not doing enough, you're just creating stress for yourself, and people pick up on that. So relax. Put up your feet. If it makes you feel better, [plan out your downtime].

Conversely, perhaps you've been spending a lot of time by yourself.  For instance, the Husband was deployed twice overseas, totalling three years.  It was just me and my hounds.  This was a good time for me to reconnect with acquaintances: Saturday morning yoga social; Saturday lunches with a good friend; book group; snowshoeing and dinner with another friend; organized group hikes in the summer time; and biking with my 'team'.   

It's all about finding balance and moderation in our daily lives.

So how do you find time to recharge your batteries?

Matthew Sweeny

Friday, April 15, 2011

Vinyasa Immersion Retreat, April 8-9 Camp, Amnicon

I've had a busy week and just now trying to catch up on this post!  This past weekend I held a Vinyasa Immersion Retreat at Camp Amnicon on Lake Superior just outside of Superior,Wisconsin.  This was held through Yoga North Studio.  

The retreat ran from about 6 pm on Friday to 5pm on Saturday.  We were warmly greeted by our hosts Kellie and Matt, and Kellie ran us through the facilities orientation and familiarised us with the buildings and grounds.  They had set out a table with hot cider, hot water for tea and cocoa.  Our group brought the Friday evening snacks.

There were six enthusiastic attendees.  After orientation we dug into the snacks and started out with an introduction to the Bhagavad Gita.  We discussed terminology, cast of characters, the setting and some of the history behind this work.  This also gave us the opportunity to digest the great munchies everyone brought: olive tapanade, homemade flatbread, fresh fruit, fresh baked ginger cake, hummus, veggies...yoga folks know how to eat! That's for sure. 

Wrapping up our introduction to the Bhagavad Gita, we then segwayed into a restorative vinyasa sequence.  While it seems contradictory, it is possible to do a very gentle, relaxing flow.  This prepared the group for an introduction (for some) to meditation in the yogic tradition and some breathwork.  By the end of the hour and a half/two hours, the group was smiling contentedly and we ended up just sitting around talking until nearly 11:30p. 

Saturday morning started out with an invigorating vinyasa practice and a few moments of sitting in stillness.  Then it was off to brunch as provided by Camp Amnicon.  What a fantastic spread! Potato frittata, fresh fruit, English muffins, grapefruit, yogurt, granola...nobody went away hungry.  We reconvened after brunch and picked up on our Bhagavad Gita introduction for another hour or so.  Then the group had an hour and a half of downtime to walk the trails, gaze over Lake Superior, nap, or just veg out.  

In the afternoon, the session was opened to the group for technique class, and they got to pick what they wanted to work on.  We covered such things as plank pose, upward facing bow pose variations, tippy-toe fish pose, childs pose with a partner, tripod headstand and crane pose; at least that is what I can remember off the top of my head.  I don't know about the rest of the group, but my arms felt all that isolation work the next day!  We ended the session with an introduction to a guided Buddhist meditation to demonstrate the subtle difference between the two styles. Which also had the purpose of showing folks that there are different ways to meditate so if one style isn't working for you, try something else. 

This brought us up to the evening meal, packing and our karma chore.  We wrapped up the session by sitting together and just reviewing the weekend. It is our intent to try and carry on the "Gita" discussion beyond the workshop, so we'll see how that goes. 

It was a lovely weekend with a great group of people.  Thank you!