Becoming conscious and living intentionally is a state of being that requires focused and purposeful cultivation. Often, the catalyst for shifting to a more conscious state is a life event or two or three, or something that calls to our souls to live and stand in our true identity. This weekend, I was fortunate to have a group of beautiful women share space at an enso retreat, “A Shade More..Connected”. These beautiful souls gathered together for some degree of healing the body, mind and spirit to live more consciously and with intention. We had three full days of Kundalini yoga, nourishing organic food infused with love, refreshing hike in the forest, gentle strolls on the beach, and connecting in circle.
The people who were here, were the right people at the right time. Each participant had a different reason to be here and different intention for the weekend.
Guests arrived and made their way down the epic driveway, through the entrance of swaying bamboo, only to cast their gaze to the expansiveness of the ocean and forests that would be their healing environment for the weekend. As they entered the enso Beach House they were greeted with breathtaking views, mantra music and nourishing snacks to connect them to the space. As each guest arrived, the hum of excitement, wonder and curiosity filled the air. Guests were oriented to their rooms. One guest stayed in the newly built enso Treehouse while one pitched her tent on the expansive lawn bearing the elements of sun and rain while also having the luxury of hearing to the gentle lapping of the waves upon the beach.
After our opening and welcome circle, we were guided through our first yoga set, or kriya, by our teacher, Donna. Donna is the ultimate Kundalini yoga teacher. She has a calm and graceful presence with her voice and her movement, yet has a warrior spirit to challenge and provoke us to gently nudge us “A Shade More…” with each exercise, each breath, each meditation. Those new to Kundalini yoga were a bit surprised with the set and catapulted them into an unexpected inward journey. After an invigorating class, we settled into our first meal together of Buddha Bowls prepared by our cook who had recently returned from Morocco. Her cooking was infused with the fragrant spices of Morocco, mixed with her passion and love for nourishing others.
We gathered for our evening circle to share and connect with each other about their reasons for coming and the artifact they brought to place on the alter. As a group of women warriors, the sacred space we created was essential for building community and taking a deep dive into trusting and being with others for the weekend. An inward journey requires an element of vulnerability and letting go of things that don’t serve our soul or life any longer. The gift of being in circle together allows for the swirling of emotions, thoughts and authentic sharing. We closed our circle and settled in for the night. Our morning would come early.
The best time to meditate is in ambrosial hours, hence the early rising. Gentle chimes at each guests’ door signalled the time to rise and shine. Yogi tea was hot and ready. The fire was crackling, warming our sacred space. Wonder and excitement (and a bit of ‘why are we up this early?’) was in the air as guests prepared for for the Morning Aquarian Sadhana, a 2.25 hour practice beginning with a prayer, followed by a yoga set, deep relaxation and a set of mantras designed for the Aquarian Age. The enso Studio was not quite ready so the Great Room was converted into our sacred space. Besides being by a cozy fireplace, the other main benefit was gently infusing our senses with the aromas of breakfast being prepared. The smells of fresh melons, chia pudding and yogi tea permeated enso Beach House awaiting our energized bodies, minds and souls to gather after morning sadhana. Five of the mantras are each seven minutes long, followed by the 22 minute mantra. The final mantra is five minutes. During these meditations, a feeling of calmness and inner peace floods the body, mind and soul. It is hard to convey in words and is best experienced to truly garner the benefit. Stretching and rising off our mats to realign our hips to face forward, we were eager to nourish our hungry bodies. Our breakfast was hearty, yet light enough to keep us fueled for the next yoga set.
Our morning yoga set took us to postures, breathing and meditations that awakened and energized us. We were ready for lunch. Grilled tofu, roasted vegetables and fresh organic salads awaited our attuned bodies and minds.
After lunch, guests enjoyed free time before a workshop. Some went for a swim in a lake, others roamed solo on the smooth pebble beach in search of treasures, others found cozy spots outside for conversation and connection. The afternoon workshop focused on the benefits of pranayam and took us A Shade More.. Energized, learning the various breathing techniques used in Kundalini Yoga. Once again, as we inhaled, exhaled, the aromas of nourishing cuisine filled the air causing a Pavlovian response in all of us. The ratatouille three ways, and fresh salads were just what we were craving after an energizing and soul-filling day. Our evening finished with a Healing Circle, with the mantra RA MA DA SA, SA SAY SO HUNG.
The energy and radiance from this powerful practice leaves a soothing and healing energy in the body and soul. Perfect way to end the evening to settle in for a long, recovery sleep. The morning would come early again.
The next day began with gentle chimes, yogi tea, morning sadhana, delicious food, followed by energizing yoga and a forest bath and hike up Mount Erskine. The healing power of the forest brought a refreshing and revitalizing energy to our bodies, minds and souls. The deeper connection and bond of the women at the retreat was evident in their conversations, laughter and visioning of new possibilities for their own destiny and co-creating with others.
The evening was casual, lighthearted and organic. The air was filled with possibility, energy, lightness and love.
The final day began with early morning sadhana, followed by another delicious breakfast, yoga set and the closing circle. Each participant pulled a tarot card from Donna’s tarot deck and discovered A Shade More… Destiny. We closed the retreat in circle with each guest sharing their experiences and exchanging stones of gratitude and appreciation for each other. Words to describe their experiences included: connected, game=changer, transformational, whole, excited, grounded, balanced, new possibilities, healing.
Guests departed feeling “A Shade More…Connected”: to themselves, each other, their soul their body, their consciousness. Waking up, learning, listening and A Shade More…Connected.
Stay tuned for our next Kundalini Yoga Retreat at enso Beach House and Forest Sanctuary. Upcoming retreats include A Shade More…Enlightened, A Shade More.. Liberated. A Shade More…Light. All enso retreats include Kundalini yoga, nourishing meals, connection to nature and connection to each other.