A yoga retreat has so many benefits. Personally, whenever I return home from a retreat I have a renewed sense of energy, and I am inspired and excited about life. If you are experiencing any of the signs below, I highly recommend you considering booking a yoga retreat.
1. You want some "Me Time"
Do you find yourself constantly doing things for other people? Are you always putting others first? Do you crave time to sit back and relax with a cup of tea and a good book? If the answer is YES, a yoga retreat will do the trick! You will find certainly find time to rest, and reflect.
2. You want to meet people with similar interests Expanding your network is great both personally and professionally. A yoga retreat is the perfect time to meet new people with similar interests, dreams, and visions. By learning about your new found friends you will expand your knowledge, shift your perspective, and you will most likely make friends who will literally change your world.
3. You could use a jump start to living a healthy lifestyle
I always LOVE how I feel after returning home from a yoga retreat. I always feel so healthy and refreshed and it makes it much easier to continue a healthy exercise and meal plan. I also always get new ideas for foods to add to my diet, and cooking techniques.
4. You want to experience something new
Trying new things is super rewarding. Traveling to new places, trying new foods, and meeting new people. There is a lot of new at a yoga retreat. If you are looking to try a variety of new things, definitely give yourself the chance by booking a retreat.
5. You are feeling stuck in your current life
If your days are feeling, same old, same old, it's time to book a retreat. By giving yourself a break from everyday life, you will refresh your soul and return much more grateful for the good things in life. Taking a break for yourself is one of the best things you can do. Everybody needs a chance to reset once in awhile.
6. You want to expand your yoga practice
At a yoga retreat OF COURSE you will expand your yoga practice. You will work with different teachers, meet people of all levels, and you may even try a type of yoga you have never explored. A yoga retreat is the perfect time to explore and dive deeper into the goodness of yoga!
7. You are looking to be inspired
If you are looking for inspiration in life a yoga retreat is the perfect remedy! Yogis are by nature, kind, open hearted people, who will support you, and love you no matter what. A yoga retreat is a safe space where you can be honest about your dreams and feelings. I have no doubt you will find people to support and inspire you!
So, what are you waiting for? Start thinking about treating yourself to a yoga retreat! You will not regret it! For information on Yoga Camp’s upcoming retreat, that is sure to address ALL the above, click here. I hope you join us!
Yoga Camp, Travel and Media Specialist, RYT 200
I can't believe it's been a whole year since Prince passed. I wanted to share some of the ways Yoga Camp and I remember him. Pictured above, Lacey, @MinnesotaYogini, and I pose in front of First Ave. If you have never visited Minneapolis, it is a must see because it's amazing and it's where Prince filmed Purple Rain.
Lacey and I actually went to check out this mural by Rock Cyfi Martinez the artist was still in the process of painting it. It was cool to meet him, and even better that he posed with us. Rock was still wearing his mask in the photo because he was taking a break to pose.
In remembering Prince and grieving for the loss of one of my favorite artists, I took a journey through Minneapolis trying to honor in an artistic way some of his most iconic images and pay homage to him.
I got to go into local artist Erin Sayer's studio with with Sara, @LightfulYogini, pictured above.
Here, artist Erin and I are during Art-A-Whirl last spring with the stencil she used to create her Uptown mural pictured here. Lacey and I do a handstand to honor Prince!
Originally Prince's star at First Ave was always silver, pictured on the left on the day of his death, April 21st, 2016 -- one year ago today. Later that summer, pictured on the right with Patience Stopke, First Avenue changed his star to gold -- the only star like it.
Prince was mourned all over the world. My friend Zara visited from Pakistan last summer and told me people honored and mourned him there. That made me happy. His creativity and daring touched the lives of people across the world.
Thank you Prince Rogers Nelson for creating some of the best music ever that has accompanied the soundtrack of my life. I will continue to listen to your music and you will be in my heart. Great music and creativity is at the core of Yoga Camp. We love partnering with local bands and DJ's each summer and it's part of what makes Yoga Camp so special. We hope you join us this summer for our events. Dates and registration coming soon.
About a month ago I started a new journey with my body. I felt something coming on on the first day of the Minneapolis Yoga Conference while I had the pleasure of taking an all day intensive with author and world renowned teacher, Rolf Gates. It was subtle, and I ignored it, and in denial I thought it would pass. Later that weekend I had the honor of being a guest presenter during the Devanadi Yoga Teacher Training. In the middle of my presentation when I was standing up to make a point, I felt it. That same feeling that come over me about a year and half ago, although this time I wasn't rollerblading with my Great Dane, I was in the middle of presenting for Pro-Day, to about 30 women, me, a pro. The feeling was immense pain, although this time, it was just a twinge. It wasn't until I got in my car after my presentation to drive home that I knew this was real and it was not going to be pretty.
I drove around Lake Harriet to get home and I had to pull over because I was in so much pain. I called my husband and told him. It was Sunday afternoon so I couldn't get into see my chiropractor, but I left a message to get in first thing the next day. When I got home I put on the old TENS-Unit form my last episode a year and half ago. I also took 2 Advil, which is a big deal for me. This goes without saying, but I also used a lot of my essential oils.
By Monday I had graduated to the leftover pain medication I had from my previous attack and my husband had to leave work briefly so he could drive me to see my chiropractor. I could not operate a motor vehicle. Insert laughing crying emoji.
When I got to Dr. Kim, I couldn't even lay on the table to receive my entrainment. I had to just sit. I wasn't worried, Dr. Kim always meets me where I am at. It is really great to know that she is there for me. Thanks Dr. Kim.
That first day of recovery I cancelled everything and just laid in bed excluding multiple trips to the chiropractor. That week I saw Dr. Kim everyday. I was in so much pain I couldn't even think about getting a massage -- that would be too much. Over a week later I received some Shiatsu from Aaem Mitchell which was really helpful. It was a gentle way to get my energy flowing and and ease into massage.
I've continued receiving bodywork, massage and acupuncture from Jason Lee, and chiropractic care multiple times a week this entire month with some yoga here and there. It is really hard for me to get on my mat right now because I am going through all my healing stages: anger, humility and gratitude. My natural reaction is to push away all those feelings and avoid it. Yoga makes me cry because I have to face my new limitations. I am mostly still in anger and humility, I haven't quite gotten too much of the gratitude stage yet.
I've been going through my days limiting my physical activities to take care of myself and heal. Last week I got to travel to Spokane, Washington to visit my brother, and niece and nephew. I started daily workouts again with my niece, Isabella. It has felt really good. Again, I am frustrated because I lost a lot of the strength and ease I had gained from ramping up my fitness in February, bit still, it feels good to get gently moving again.
This Tuesday I had a photo shoot with Marjorie so she could take some photos of me for this project my company, Healing Media is working on with the Yoga Center of Minneapolis. It was nice to see Marjorie but I didn't feel like myself really. The shoot, thank goodness, was mostly centered on portraiture and personality, not on crazy poses.
Triangle pose is not a crazy pose and I thought it could be a good posture for me. You can see pain and anger on my face as I try to get into a once effortless posture.
Needless to say, I won't be submitting this photo for my portrait a The Yoga Center, but I wanted to show you a moment Marjorie captured of what it is like to work with injury. It's like you know your body, but now you have a totally different body with new, crazy quirks. I've been practicing yoga for over 20 years and teaching for over 10. Each time I work through a set-back or an injury I always come through a better, more experienced and more compassionate teacher. I know this, but it is really hard for me right now, when I'm in the middle of this pain. My reaction is to crave the other side of this. The side where I am better for it. The side where I'm not in pain. The side where I have a story to tell. I'm not there yet. I know this won't last forever, nothing does, but when you're in the middle of it, it is really hard to maintain the clarity of impermanence.
I came across a quote this morning that makes me feel pretty awesome and also inspired me to write this blog today.
At my visit to Dr. Kim yesterday she assured me that I was going to come out better for this, and that
I am improving. I know this is true, but that doesn't make it easy.
This post isn't sponsored but I do love to connect people, it is one of my favorite things to do actually.
If you are looking for a great chiropractor, check out Dr. Kimberly Berkus.
If you are looking for awesome massage, here are some therapists I love:
Aaem Mitchell, Jason Lee, Cindy Gorbonow, Gary Heyer, Lynda Flores
Please share some of your healing journeys and insights in the comments below. Also, if you are reading this blog but don't live in the Twin Cities, give your city a shoutout and share some of your favorite go-to massage therapists and chiropractors in the comments below, you may help someone who needs it.
Elizabeth Camp, 3/31/17
Yoga Camp Founder, E-RYT 500
Recently, I attended a ten-day silent meditation retreat. At a Vipassana retreat, your aren’t allowed access to books, journals, iPhones or even eye contact. The intention is to eliminate all external noise in order to create a conducive container for meditation.
Left to my own devices, I’m the type of gal that reads three books a week, listens to podcasts constantly, and compulsively checks social media. I knew this was going to be a challenge. My neurons were habituated to constant stimulation and the transition was rocky. On day three, I was sitting on a bench outside and a mosquito bit me. I was elated---finally some stimulation! On day four, I found myself laughing a little too loud at the nightly dharma talk, reaching desperately for some comedic relief. I read and re-read the course rulebook. And, eventually, I gave up. I finally surrendered to my inability to control my sensory input and started tuning into my surroundings.
So, what was underneath my constant need for stimulation? Lots of boredom. Emotions: some pleasant, many not. A mind that is obsessively interested in replaying past memories (mainly regarding ex-boyfriends and even some reality TV episodes. Careful what you take in folks, it stays there.). And a persistent feeling of emptiness that I’ve all my life felt compelled to constantly fill with noise, busyness, and persistent stimulation. Pema Chodron talks about making contact with the fundamental slipperiness and mystery of our being, which has no fixed identity. She calls this place the fundamental “groundlessness” of being. This was the place I’d been running away from.
But, is this “groundlessness” to be feared? What compelled me to persistently run away from it? As I continued to sit with this groundless feeling in my meditations, I realized that it is extremely threatening to the part of me that believes I’m in control, the part of me that’s attached to a fixed identity, and prefers pleasure, and resists pain. Sound familiar to anyone else? These are evolutionary mechanisms our brains have evolved to protect us, so moving away from these instincts naturally brings up resistance. As I began to feel more comfortable with and even to befriend the sense of groundlessness, I found a newfound fearlessness arise. If I could stay with the discomfort long enough to notice that all my sensations were in constant transformation, I felt braver to sit with whatever arose. Also, as I was able to sit with the direct experience of groundlessness, there was, in fact, all the stimulation I could ever crave. Here, everything constantly arises and falls away. There is nothing stable in sight. Everything is always new.
Tuning into this constant flux, with neutrality and kindness, offers wisdom about the very nature of reality. Sit with this direct reality long enough and you may even make contact with that which is eternal and unchanging.
To experience the raw nature of reality for yourself, I’d highly recommend attending a course. They are free (donations accepted) and one of the best investments of time you will ever make. In a culture that is hyper-focused on the value of the mind through education and accumulation of knowledge, we are not given tools to understand the mind’s limitations and train it for liberation. Vipassana is Bootcamp for mind liberation. For more information visit: https://www.dhamma.org/en-US/index
I recently completed a full year of handstands. Yes, I did a handstand every single day in 2016 and documented it. Every single day. The world looks different now.
1) You will make incredible progress on your handstand journey!
My orginal handstand goal on Janurary 1st, 2016 was, "work up to a 10 second hold and leg variations."
I have gotten a lot stonger and a lot more consistent in my handstands. I have to tell you right away that I have not yet acheived my original goal. I am a lot closer. I can consistently hold a handstand now for 1-3 seconds. I can't yet really do any intentional leg variations.
I thought I would reach my goal, but I can assure you, I am in no way dissappointed in myself. I am actually very proud of myself for staying committed and for the progress I have made.
2) You will explore your city, and the world and yourself.
It was interesting how motivating the art of the challenge was for me. It enticed me to explore my city more than I normally would and take more trips. I also observed how it was fueling me as an artist.
Taking a picture every day for to share on social media was a unique motivator for a lot of reasons. Publically announcing my self-imposed challenge via social media kept me accountable and not only motivated to perservere, but also make my challenge as artistic as possible.
I am a fanatic about Instagrm and also the layout of my gallery. The idea of creating a grid that would flow together beautifully also played a role in mt journey. It drove me to seek out new places, different lighting, and explore different variations to keep my IG gallery beautiful. I don't think I would have stuck to the challenge if it hadn't been for my public comittment via social media, and I know it wouldn't have been so fun and motivating.
We were recently asked the question during our Yoga Camp Photo Journey Retreat to Madeline Island, “Could you please provide more direction on what clothing to bring, what will look best for photos?” We love this question, because dressing for yoga photos really is a bit of an art. What does go into choosing the perfect outfit? The answer, not so simple.
First off, it really comes down to awareness. Being aware of how you and your body will be situated in the photos yow plan to take. You need to ask yourself questions such as: Will I be upside-down in any of my photos? Will I be a silhouette? What is the weather like? What are the colors like outside? What is my lighting like? All of these factors can mater when choosing what to wear. While this is a topic that could have many subtopics, we are going to keep in simple for starters. Here are a few simple tips to choosing the perfect outfit for a yoga photo shoot.
1. Stand out – You want an outfit that will stand out amongst your background. Usually I would say, wear bright colors, but standing out could be wearing all black if you have a light background! Think about where your photo shoot will take place and make sure you will STAND OUT!
2. Wear clothing appropriate for the shoot – Think about what type of yoga you will be doing in this photo shoot. Do you need all out yoga clothes to get into some bendy poses, or are you casually posing and can be in more street clothing? If you are going to be inverting, make sure you are wearing tight fitting clothes so your shirt doesn’t end up over your head when you are upside-down.
3. Color Palate- Think about the season, the colors in your background, and how everything will look together! This coincides with #1 in the way you want to stand out, but you also want to look good in your background. You want the colors to go together. Each picture truly tells a story and you want it to be cohesive. I personally love bold colors, but it has to be the right bold color! Experiment for yourself and look through other people’s photos to see what you personally find visually appealing. Color is a very personal thing and it is a beautiful way to tell your story in photographs.
I hope these tips help you next time you are picking out an ourfit for some yoga photography fun! Make sure to like and share this post! Leave me comments below if you are interested in more details on this topic! Namaste my friends!
I’ve been a runner for over ten years now, and have completed three full marathons, one ultra-marathon, and countless half marathons. Nowadays don’t do so much racing, just short runs in my beautiful neighborhood, for the sake of running. It is a joy to be able to run! Before and after a run it is a must for me to have a yoga session, even if it’s only 5 minutes. So, let’s get down to business - Running and Yoga! You’ve seen articles, and suggested poses, but here’s a short list of 5 BIG ways yoga can REALLY help your run!
1. Develops Muscular Strength –
While yoga is not weightlifting, in the tradition sense, you are putting your body in many positions that need the support of your muscles, you essentially are lifting your own body weight during much of your practice. Because of this, yoga tones muscles all over the body, and it does so in a balance, harmonized way. In weight training, you often isolate one muscles or group at a time, and while yoga does this as well, most postures work a variety of muscles and groups. In many types of yoga you also hold poses for an extended period of time, this, in turn also helps with muscle endurance - an added plus!
2. Improves Flexibility –
A common phrase is, “I can’t do yoga, I’m not flexible.” And it’s sort of funny because this is EXACTLY why you should do yoga. Any amount of yoga can help your flexibility. Stretching your body is always beneficial, and with regular practice you will see results where you begin to improve your flexibility. By having more flexibility, you give your muscles and joints a greater range of motion. A supple, flexible body is less prone to injuries because it can better withstand physical stress.
3. Sharpens Mental Focus –
Yoga holds the power to transform our minds as much as it does our bodies and running, especially racing, is a VERY mental sport. The breathing and meditative exercises of yoga aim at calming the mind and body and keeping distracting thoughts away while you focus on your body, posture, breath, and the task at hand. By learning to keep your mind pointing forward, in the direction you choose, you find the mental focus and control to truly run on your own terms.
4. Upgrades Balance -
In yoga you hold poses that help you become aware of the shifts in your focus and how those show up in your body. You learn true body and breath control keeping yourself steady in mind and body. This translates very well to running as the roads change and you are bound to make an unexpected stop, maneuver through a water station at a race, or run into some other issue that causes your focus to shift and your body control to be tested. By being more in tune with your body you are more likely to avoid injury. Improving your balance by holding standing postures in yoga also tremendously helps your ankle strength which is crucial to running.
5. Skyrockets Breathing Efficiency -
Yoga is all about breathing and obviously breathing is very important to running! In yoga there are many types of breathing exercises and techniques you can use, and a runner could benefit for any one of them! Learning to truly breathe deeply and mindfully is incredibly beneficial for a runner.
All of these benefits help reduce the chance of injury for runners, so I say WHY NOT?! Give it a try, mix a little yoga in with your running! If you are wondering, “How in the world do I start?” check out @yogacamp on Instagram for our upcoming #YogaCampGoesRunning challenge that just started November 10th!
Yoga Camp Travel and Media Specialist
Our latest Yoga Camp Instagram Yoga Challenge, play along -- it's for a good cause!
I recently led the Second Annual Yoga Camp Photo Journey Retreat. It was an exceptional experience. I love this facet of Yoga Camp because I love serving women and helping guide them in their healing in the context of a carefully curated retreat. Honestly the whole retreat was outstanding.
We had an amazing time! All the activities were great, and the weather was cooperating, which was an enormous blessing. Thank you God! I can tell you about all of retreat experiences more in detail in another blog post later, and you can check my social media channels for more info and photos, but I want to focus today on something that was completely unexpected.
I booked the dates of this year's retreat over the full moon which occurred on October 15th, so we planned a full moon fire ceremony. That was amazing too! It was even warm enough to create the ceremony outside. That is another experience I would love to share more in detail about at a later time.
After our ceremony and finalé celebration, we went to bed. I woke up the next morning to take Maxime, my giant dog, outside. For some reason I followed my intuition and let her out the back door. I usually take her out quickly through the front door in the morning, but something told me to go in a different direction. I thought the sky looked pretty, and so I followed the sky down closer to the banks of the lake and peaked through the trees, only to find something I never even knew existed. The full moon on the horizon.
I wanted to let the campers that were interested in on this blessing, so I ran inside and announced eloquently, "Full Moon! Outside! Still Up!" Then I ran back outside and down to the dock.
What I saw was, the full moon, still up from the night before and it was setting over the horizon mixed with the gentle colors of sunrise floating in from East. I didn't even know something like this was a thing.
I had nothing to compare it to, and I've never seen anything like it before. I've seen the moon high in the sky on occasion while the sun is up, but this was entirely different.
The mixture of the colors and the epic landscape was one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed.
I often observe that when I let go of expectations, or have no preconceived notions of what will be, I am the happiest. When I have expectations, I am usually disappointed.
The full moon in the morning surprised me, and filled me with joy! This full moon reminded me that life is full of gifts: some that I have not yet experienced, and some that I didn't even know were possible.
This beautiful moon reminded me to let go of my expectations, let myself be surprised, and to love and experience life fully.
When I walked back up to the cabin, I was immediately reminded of one of my favorite quotes about balance.
"Some nights stay up till dawn, as the moon sometimes does for the sun. Be a full bucket pulled up the dark way of a well, then lifted out into light."
Now I have experienced this in a deeper sense than I even knew was possible.
In sharing my experience with you, I urge you to follow your intuition. I urge you to take a deep breath, think about something you have expectations about and then let some of them go. If you are able, let all of your expectations go. Namaste my friend.
Landscapes by Elizabeth Camp
Portrait by Marjorie Renn Solis
Life is hard, and you deserve a break! The key to happiness is in your own hands, take a chance now and book a Yoga Retreat. Set aside what is holding you back and find a way to make it happen. There are always a million reasons and excuses in our heads telling us not to do things, I say – Just do it! You will not regret it. Here are 10 reasons to back me up! ;)
1. Meet Like Minded Individuals –
There is something magical about being Immersed in a group of like-minded people. You feed off of each other’s energy and vibes. You learn things from each other simply by listening to each other. You get to talk about things for hours on end that you are passionate about, and likely you have someone listening who shares your passion or at least understands it. Being with people who share your passions helps allow you to open yourself and your mind and to truly embrace your authentic self.
2. Eat well without having to do any work –
Really… need I say more??!!
3. Relax and destress –
This is a pretty obvious benefit! What a retreat is all about. Simply time away to enjoy.
4. Take your yoga to the next level –
Whether you are a brand new yogi or an experienced yoga teacher you are bound to learn something new on a retreat. In addition to the physical practice of yoga a retreat is about living your yoga, though showing compassion for others, for nature, and for yourself. It is a chance to truly embrace yoga in every movement of your day, and boy does it feel great!
5. Get to travel to a place you may have not otherwise gone –
Going somewhere new is good for the body and soul! A retreat is often the chance to see somewhere beautiful! Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to do some traveling?!
Instagram and Yoga. Some people like it, some people hate it, some people are completely unaware of it. Nonetheless, it’s there, and it’s a huge community. I actually have Instagram to thank for the fact that I’m sitting here writing this blog, I met Elizabeth Camp, the founder of Yoga Camp, through an Instagram connection and now I am the Yoga Camp Travel and Media Specialist. Who knew?! Amazing!
You can probably guess that at Yoga Camp we are fans of mixing Instagram and yoga. While we could go on forever about this subject, we are choosing our top five reasons why you should think about joining the wonderful world of IG yoga!
1. It encourages you to practice daily or perhaps gets you outside daily, whatever way, it gets you movin'. – One of the most popular things in the Instagram Yoga world are the challenges. In these challenges, you take a photo or video of yourself practicing a pose or something assigned daily by the challenge hosts. This gets you to get up and do at least one pose a day (and hopefully some warm up). There is a challenge for everyone, from moves like arm balances, heart openers or twists, yoga with your child or dog, to yoga based on lyrics to your favorite song – There are PLENTY to choose from!