Slow down. Listen. Breathe. Feel.
No matter how many times I say, think, or hear those words; it is never enough.
We live in this incredible world, filled with energy vibrating on all different frequencies and wavelengths. The drumming grounded beat of the earth, rhythms of cleansing rain and ocean tides mixed with car engines, radio waves, lights waves, and satellite signals. The earth’s constant rotation aligned with planets and galaxies all around. People everywhere moving twenty-four hours a day in a variety of activity with thoughts and feelings that create their own pulsation.
When you think about all this, it is no wonder we often feel disconnected from nature, from others, from ourselves. How can we hear the voice of our heart amongst our abundant surroundings?
The answers to this question are many. But for me, one answer is retreat. Finding a place of refuge to withdrawal for meditation, study and release. I take my yoga practice to Costa Rica where I can immerse my self in the beautiful tropics of jungle and ocean. Cell phones do not work and the effort to use the Internet, if it is even functioning, is hardly worth it. Retreat is not about escaping but rather reconnecting. Giving us an opportunity to pause, slow down, listen, breathe and feel. It is a nourishing gift that replenishes our soul.
All of a sudden you are waking up naturally to the sunrise and howler monkeys. Taking siesta during the late afternoon because your body is telling you, “rest, the heat is too much.” Darkness falls and it is not long before you are asleep not realizing it is not even 9pm. You have begun to attune to the pace of nature. You spend hours in a hammock listening to the jungle opera or the waves steadily flowing in and out matching your inhale and exhale. Reading books, meditating, moving on your mat, eating fresh foods and sharing your experiences with friends you have just met. But with this slow pace comes the active mind. Accustomed to full time activity, thoughts can seem louder than ever before. Now, in this amazing environment you have the opportunity to watch and learn; to go deeper, perhaps discover some of your patterns. You begin to decipher between the voice of your head and the voice of your heart.
Eventually it is time to return home. The realization occurs that you were there all along…home in your heart. You take lessons and experiences with you, back to work, back to the routine of daily life. Perhaps now, surrounded and part of this abundant world, the slowing down, the breathing, listening, feeling comes a little easier, a little lighter. Costa Rica, not just a sweet memory, it is an integral piece of your soul.
I encourage you to retreat! Whether it is getting on a plane to a tropical place, driving to a cabin in the woods, or finding a quiet place to sit in your neighborhood, treat yourself. Slow down. Listen. Breathe. Feel.
Connect to your heart.
Treat your heart.
Dana Rivkin has a passion for the outdoors, travel, breath, personal discovery and community. She shares these loves through teaching yoga classes, outdoor education and adventure guiding. Dana believes yoga is a life long practice on and off the mat. Join her for an amazing retreat in Costa Rica this February 2016!