Here is my last entry for the San Diego Yoga Retreat.
I interviewed the yoga retreat participants to record their “yoga testimonies”:
Yogi Lee discovered that yoga helps him keep on top of his sciatica! Sciatica refers to pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the leg caused by injury or compression of the sciatic nerve. If Lee skips his yoga practice, the pain comes back sharply. All throughout the retreat, Lee kept saying, “I feel so good!” Pigeon and outer hip stretches, keeping his back limber and legs elastic allow Lee to remain pain free, happy, and peaceful! Lee was always the first one to show up for the yoga sessions last week. “We’re doing yoga now, right?” His enthusiasm is contagious!
Yogi Tom used to suffer terribly from plantar fasciitis, a painful inflammatory process of the plantar fascia. This condition makes walking painful. Yoga helped Tom heal from this painful condition. Tom benefits a lot from doing side stretches, Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog), as well as “pedaling” his feet while in that pose to stretch his calves, Achilles tendons, and feet. He loves how the yoga practice helps to stretch and strengthen his back.
Yogini Ursula, with her beautiful sunny disposition, says that the reason she keeps doing yoga is mostly because of all the mental benefits the practice gives her. Ursula told us emphatically, “If I don’t do yoga, I am NOT fit to live with!” If she doesn’t do yoga, she feels grouchy and is in an unpleasant mood. “Of course, there are the physical benefits to the practice.” Ursula looks to be anywhere from 20-30 years younger than her present age! “I believe, for me, 40% of what yoga gives me is in the physical benefit realm and 60% of the benefits I get from yoga are in the mental realm.”
Yogini Jeanne says that yoga has helped heal her back! She explained, “I’d be on disability if I didn’t do yoga!” Back in her pre-yoga days, she used to sneeze and her back would go out! She suffered this way for 10 years. She had a desk job that kept her sitting for twelve hours straight from 7 am-7 pm. “For years, all I did was EAT, SLEEP, and WORK. When I hit my 40’s, I was suddenly in constant back pain. I thought to myself, ‘Oh, that’s what happens when you hit your 40’s. So it’s all downhill from here.’” Jeanne’s doctor wanted to do exploratory surgery, but she refused. She simply accepted the fact that she had a chronic back problem. This was what she settled for until she tried yoga! It was my class she stepped into. Jeanne came up to me and said, “I really want to try this class, but I think if I do this, my back will go out.” She did the class then disappeared for weeks! One day I found out from her husband about how her back had gone out after class. I then ran into her and encouraged her to give it another try. Luckily, she did give it another try. I tried to guide her by saying, “Let’s focus on strengthening your back and abdominal muscles. If you let me guide you, I think I can help your back.” I did not offer a cure (I would never do that), but Jeanne let me guide her and over time she has become very strong and lives pain-free!
Yogi Rick says that doing yoga has helped create the strength, space, and quiet necessary to play violin. It has helped him to stabilize larger areas of muscle in order for his fingers to work freely. His yoga practice has helped him to align his posture, to open his neck and shoulders more. The practice lubricates his shoulders and arm joints. The asana Utkatasana, Chair Pose, has been a great discovery for him as it is a great over all body strengthener.
It is very exciting to hear these testimonies. I actually get fascinating and moving testimonies all the time via email. I actually save them in a special file. Up to date, I have 90 testimonies! (I just checked.)
Another topic all together is food. Though I have not mentioned the meals, the food at the retreat was really delicious. Here are a few pictures from the various dinners we shared:
Japanese night: Seaweed Salad, Sushi, and Sashimi
On Friday evening, we went to Little Italy in downtown San Diego for Italian food. I knew the food was going to be very authentic when I saw that over half the clients in the restaurant were Italians:
Most of all, I will miss our little sweethearts (who were tethered to the stairs while we did yoga)…here they are peeking in on us (or crashed out) from the steps:
And lastly, I leave you with some sunset yoga asanas and a mermaid (because she looks like a perfect yogini):