Hey everyone! Whew, I can't believe it's Thursday! Where did this week go?! I came back from Morocco on Sunday and have been working on getting my feet back on the ground here at the office ever since. I feel like I haven't made a dent! The good news is that all the subscription box products are arriving this week and I cannot wait for them to ship out! The bad news is that because all the products are arriving it looks like a bomb went off in my office! :)
Anyway today I wanted to share some photos from the first part of my trip in Sifnos, Greece. We held two yoga retreats, one right after another.
This Greek island is one of the most magical places I've been. It's so beautiful, the people are very friendly, and the food is delicious. There are breathtaking views around every corner. The island is really small, yet there are a number of beautiful beaches, places to walk, and shops to check out.
During the second week there, my husband Greg arrived, and we rented a scooter to explore the island together. I'm glad we did it because we made great memories, but it's safe to say he has permanent scars on his back where my nails would dig in every time we went around a corner. #backseatdriver
I was pretty pleased with how well my ankle did during the trip after spraining it the week prior. I was very cautious on it for the first week and used an ace bandage for most of the time but by the second week I was able to walk just fine without it and had minimal pain and swelling.
I did a lot of self practice during this whole trip to Greece and Morocco. It was really nice to start challenging myself more, and to make myself do things I don't normally do. Above is one of them - my forearm stand has finally gotten to a point where it's very solid so I've been working on endurance and increasing upper body strength by playing around and staying up longer. This was also a nice way to work on my scorpion pose, and I'm really, really pleased with how my backbend is coming along in scorpion. The thoracic extension has been the last piece to the scorpion puzzle and I'm hopeful that with just a bit more flexibility I'll be able to have the head and the toes touch.
The theme of the yoga retreat was Awaken Your Senses, so I designed classes that were a little different - aromatherapy yoga, chair yoga, blindfold yoga, acro yoga, glow in the dark yoga, etc. Acro was something I'd never really taught in a classroom setting before - just on our YouTube channel, but it wound up being so much fun and one of the highlights of the week! If I can convince Greg to be a co-teacher I might start offering that as a workshop locally.
We did a lot of arm balance work that week and it's honestly it's become one of my favorite workshops to teach after yin yoga. I've found that many people are intimidated by arm balances, and I notice that when I approach the class with a sense of humor and share my own struggles with various poses along with tips I've learned along the way, the arm balances somehow become accessible to people. I mean, I'm not promising a handstand press-up to people on the first try but I think by the end of the class there is less intimidation and they at least are familiar with how to get into various poses once they have the strength and flexibility to give it a try if they don't already. And nothing feels as good as when someone is able to do something they never thought they'd be able to do. That moment when things click for them just makes me feel so happy.
I did a lot of handstand practice while in Greece. I feel like it's something I am just now really starting to get the hang of. Now that it seems I have the upper body strength to hold myself up, I've been working on finding the right tilt of the pelvis to keep myself strong and stable. I also need to work on keeping a sensation of a round between the shoulder blades - you can see at the very end of this, my round went away, and I collapsed in between the shoulder blades, thereby losing my balance.
From there, I've been playing with piking out of it because it feels so good on the back and hamstrings. I feel like I have a lot of control coming from the full expression to about halfway, but then I lose it, and upon looking at the video (yay for yoga selfies!) I can see that I need to lean forward a little more and press more into my fingertips because once the pelvis isn't above the head it just goes to crap haha.
We stayed at Kamaroti Suites, a little boutique hotel owned by two Spanish brothers. It was a fantastic base for our retreat with stunning views. The staff was excellent, always there to greet you with a smile and a warm welcome.
For the swag bags, our Marketing and Events Director Lauren put together some bomb gifts. We had:
1. A tote from the lovely My Other Bag. I love these bags. They're super durable and so cute.
2. All natural gum from Glee Gum - great flavor without the worries of any nasty ingredients.
3. Chia shots for adding to yogurts at breakfast or in waters on the go.
4. Lotus Wei serum for all my natural beauty babes.
5. Passion aromatherapy roll-on from 21 Drops.
6. Nut butter packet from Nuttzo.
7. Lemon essential oil towelettes from Herban Essentials for a nice way to wake up in the morning, or keep your hands clean while traveling, since they're naturally antibacterial.
8. Natural cleansing facial wipes from Kaia Naturals. I also used these in class after savasana, and the students loved them.
9. Inspiring mantra stickers from My Mat, My Mantra to keep the practiced fueled.
I worked a lot with this transition and feel like I've finally got it down pat. The secret, I've learned, it to slowly shift your gaze. I noticed that when I rushed the gaze from out behind me to between my hands, it didn't matter how strong I was, my balance was crap.
I recently bought this polaroid camera and it was so fun to snap pics and get tangible photos right then and there!
So it might not look like the best photo opportunity, but let me reassure you, it was. Greg and I decided to go to the other side of the island for a fish broth because #GAPS and we didn't realize our scooter had zero gas. We were running on fumes. But because the island is so small there are only, I don't know, two or three gas stations in the whole place and of course not one was close to where we were. We were both really panicking because there roads are extremely hilly and curvy and so even though the closest gas station was probably two miles away, it wasn't just a quick two mile walk if we broke down on the side of the road. As luck would have it, we ran into some students from our group and they followed us as we made our way to the station and puttered in at the last moment. Success and crisis averted!
At the end of our second week in Greece, it was time to keep it movin', so we packed up and headed to Athens, where I taught a blindfold yoga and aromatherapy workshop in the city. Then, off to Italy - recap coming tomorrow!
Tell me: Have you been to Greece? Would you like to go?
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