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
Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) has been gaining popularity in the last 5 years. It’s a great workout, it’s safe for everyone and you can see nature up close and personal – the reasons go on. The sport has grown in many different formats from racing to leisure and from bootcamp to yoga classes. Anyone can find a reason to get on a SUP.
1.Full Body Workout – SUPing works your arms, legs, back and core. By paddling to a point in the horizon you can get a serious workout going against the wind or the current. The instability of the boards allows your body to work the smaller muscle groups. The best thing about stand up paddle boarding is you will get a workout without even realizing it. You can paddle hard and feel the burn or paddle casually and still work your balance and core strength.
4. Relaxing – If you’re not into racing, you can use your board as a chance to get some “me” time. Being on the water is a way to unwind listen to the birds chirp and hear the tide splashing on the shore.
5. Socialize with Friends & Family – Paddling is a great why to disconnect from any technological distraction and enjoy great company like we used to. Enjoy great conversation with friends, family or take your 4-legged friend along for a ride. Time flies paddling alongside your buddy and chatting away.
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
IT-employee by day, yogi by night has been the name of my game for almost 12 years now. Working for a large Corporation has its benefits, however when it comes to living the Yoga lifestyle, it can seem a bit controversial for some. Over the years I have really worked hard to make these two, very different, worlds collide, and with great success! Not only does Yoga enhance my life greatly, but I have also seen the huge benefits Yoga has brought to my career. You read that right - Yoga can help you at work too! Don’t believe me? Take a look to see five ways you can live your yoga while working for “The Man”, and how it can enhance your life and your career.
1) Breathing through Meetings
How many times have you been in a stressful meeting and forgot to breathe? It is in these moments that I recall 3-part breathing from Yoga Teacher Training, and I bust that bad-boy out. No one in the meeting has a clue that I am basically meditating in the middle of their speech, and I am reaping all of the benefits! A calmer mind and body, clearer focus, an ability to speak my mind on the topics at hand, and all with a soft smile on my face. If you have never practiced 3-part breathing, there are numerous YouTube and Instagram videos, or you can take a class at your local Yoga studio!
2) Mini Meditations
You read it right. Yoga has taught me that meditation is good, not meditating is not so good. Since I rarely have time to sit for 30 minutes and meditate, I do mini meditations throughout the day. At my desk is the most frequent location, where I’ll sit for 30-60 seconds with my eyes closed and focus on listening to everything around me. All of the sounds become one harmonious melody that put me at peace. Yes, even the sounds of a corporate office can be soothing if we allow them to be. The typing of my co-workers in their cubicles, the sound of the IMs chiming, phones ringing, copy machines running, it’s almost like music to my meditated ears. The benefits of meditation are numerous and would require another blog post, but the main benefit in the work place is a renewed focus and energy for the tasks ahead.
3) Chant while you Commute
My commute to work is 1.5 hours one way and it involves 3-parts (just like yogic breathing, don’t think I didn’t notice that parallel).
Part #1 – 40 minute drive to the train station
Part #2 – 30 minute train ride to downtown Minneapolis
Part #3 – 20 minute walk to the office
Each part of that commute serves a purpose for me. Part #1, alone in my car, I often chant or make the mantras of the day that I repeat out loud. Always softly at first, because 4:30 am is a delicate time of the day, but eventually I find my voice and belt them out as loud as possible (added bonus: opening my throat chakra, which is equally important for that corporate job). Part #2 of my commute, gives me time to reflect on yesterday and the day ahead of me. It is often here where I write Instagram posts, edit photos, and comment on people’s inspiring images and captions. The train is where I find inspiration to live my yoga! Part #3 is a moving meditation, as walking always has been something very calming for me. I love feeling peace and tranquility while walking through the hustle and bustle of the skyways in Downtown Minneapolis. It gives me a sense of freedom and release that I can find nowhere else.
4) Make time for Asana
As you can see from above, my time is very limited because of working full-time and commuting 3-hours a day, which makes this number by far the hardest one out of the bunch. Asana, the physical practice of Yoga, can be difficult for anyone to squeeze time in for. In fact, I have been known to sneak in a few Sun Salutations in the storage closet at the office (shhh, don’t tell my boss!) if I have to!
Perhaps the best part about our physical yoga practice is we need no equipment, we need only to tune into our breath. A mat and yoga clothes help, so I always keep a set of clothes and a mat at the office. I have been known to practice on my lunch-breaks, which comes with its own set of challenges:
Challenge #1 - At my office all of the conference rooms have glass walls so the only place I have found that I can practice acceptably is in the Mother’s Room (which is about 3 feet by 8 feet in size). Challenge #2 - I am a sweaty person (thanks, Pitta) and getting sweaty on lunch is tricky to deal with because of hair and makeup. For this challenge I keep organic face wipes and hair supplies at my desk, and just refresh my hair and makeup when done.
Challenge #3 - Corporate employees love to socialize and network on lunch and missing too many of these can cause a negative hit on a person’s corporate status. Sad, but true. That said, I still practice probably 1 day per week on lunch break, the others I reserve for networking and I practice before work. Life is about balance, right?
I share these challenges because I want you to know that everyone faces difficulties when it comes to finding time in our busy lives. Find something that works for you and your life in order to fit in a practice. Some days it might only be 10-minutes long, others a full 2-hour flow, and some days it might just be pranayama. Just fit in some semblance of a practice into your busy life and you will feel incredible!
5) Follow the Yamas and Niyamas
In the movies, people at the corporate office are quick to cut, judge, and backstab each other; it almost seems like it’s part of the job! Unfortunately, this can sometimes be not all that far from the truth. While it’s not as dramatic as we see on TV, it happens every day when working for “The Man”. As yogis, we need to live separate from that lifestyle as much as we possibly can. Luckily, Yoga has given us a way to live those out: the Yamas and Niyamas. Sometimes these are referred to as the 10 Commandments of Yoga, and they are as follows (a corporate translation in parenthesis):
1) Ahimsa – Nonviolence (be kind to everyone you meet)
2) Satya – Truthfulness (speak your truth, do not lie to get ahead)
3) Asteya – Non-stealing (don’t take credit for work you didn’t do)
4) Brahmacharya – Non-excess; chastity (don’t have affairs with your co-workers)
5) Aparigraha – Non-possessiveness/greed (share your work knowledge with co-workers)
1) Saucha – Purity, cleanness of mind, body, and speech (bathe regularly, don’t speak ill of others)
2) Santosha – Contentment (love even those with whom you disagree)
3) Tapas – Self-discipline (work hard and be consistent, in work-life and yoga-life)
4) Svadhyaya – Self-Study (constantly check yourself to be a better person)
5) Ishvara Pranidhana - Surrender (Let go of control)
If you’re working for “The Man” and feel like you can’t find time for your Yoga, I hope these tips can help you going forward. Try one thing at a time, and let them come with ease.
- Cassie Greer
March 19, 2017
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!
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!