Archive for the ‘Little Renaissance’ Category

Storms, Coyotes, and Bucks

November 7, 2015

Last week, we had another houseful of yogis at Little Renaissance for our Sicilian Heritage and Yoga Weekend Retreat.  Imagine a weekend of homemade Sicilian vegetarian meals,  Hatha Yoga sessions, beach walks on the west edge of the continental USA, and immersing yourself into a natural setting where you are surrounded by various shades of green.

Feet and Ocean Froth

Feet and Ocean Froth

We practiced yoga in a space warmed by the wood stove my parents gifted us, a woodstove that keeps us warm all winter long, and surrounded by windows looking out onto Pacific Northwest low beach forest.  Surrounded by trees, it feels as if we practice our yoga in a lofty tree house.

Storms, gusts of wind that woke us up at night, sideways rain, rainbows, large hail stones that fell and accumulated like a premature snow fall, and bright bursts of sunshine kept us on our toes all weekend. It was one of those weekends filled with the unexpected:

  • We saw a full grown buck casually grazing near us on the property, separated from us only by a window pane.
  • We saw a fat well-groomed raccoon, sitting on its hind legs on the deck next to the sliding glass door, begging for a handout.  When he didn’t get any food, he started sniffing around the outside cooler, trying to figure out how to open it.  Rick placed a heavy potted plant on the cooler.  The cooler quickly became raccoon-proof as well as Fran-proof.
  • One morning, while leading a yoga session, I spotted the most beautiful coyote traipsing down the path leading from the meadow to our house.  We all stood by the window as this healthy coyote approached the house.  Unaware of us, he sniffed at the salal and allowed us to observe him up close.  We all marveled at him (her?).  Someone said, “Are you sure that isn’t a dog?”  We all said, “NO!  That’s definitely a coyote!”  How do we know these things?  Not sure how to explain it, but there was not an inkling of a doubt it was a coyote we were observing.  Following is something I found on the symbolism of the coyote: The coyote symbolizes playfulness, nonsense, intelligence, cunning and joy. Coyote people form strong family bonds and have strong preferences. They are highly adaptable, opportunistic, and versatile.
  • In the afternoon yoga session,  a blue jay flew from branch to branch while a winter wren danced around the potted plants on the deck. Later while walking on the beach, we saw two eagles flying over head.   I was half thinking we would see a whale with all the great animal sightings, but that did not happen.

Joyce led us in Laughter Yoga!  Ho ho! Ha ha ha!  It really works.  In seconds, you feel intoxicated and silly, loose and giddy.  So much fun!  Joyce has put me in touch with her Laughter Yoga Guru, Dr. Kataria, from Mumbai.  I hope he will be able to meet with my yoga group in Mumbai, India next spring when we are there.  Wouldn’t that be a blast to be led into Laughter Yoga with him?  Got to meet this guy! Here is a very short you tube video of Dr. Kataria doing Laughter Yoga with 7000 people in Russia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3km7IRGAt4M  

Another topic discussed over the weekend was Heart Consciousness.  There are some very exciting research findings on the heart:

“Heart Consciousness” explained …….

Inner-G Fields

Basic research at the Institute of HeartMath shows that information pertaining to a person’s emotional state is also communicated throughout the body via the heart’s electromagnetic field. The rhythmic beating patterns of the heart change significantly as we experience different emotions. Negative emotions, such as anger or frustration, are associated with an erratic, disordered, incoherent pattern in the heart’s rhythms. In contrast, positive emotions, such as love or appreciation, are associated with a smooth, ordered, coherent pattern in the heart’s rhythmic activity. In turn, these changes in the heart’s beating patterns create corresponding changes in the structure of the electromagnetic field radiated by the heart, measurable by a technique called spectral analysis.

Experiments conducted at the Institute of HeartMath have found remarkable evidence that the heart’s electromagnetic field can transmit information between people. We have been able to measure an exchange of heart energy between individuals up to 5 feet apart. We have also found that one person’s brain waves can actually synchronize to another person’s heart. Furthermore, when an individual is generating a coherent heart rhythm, synchronization between that person’s brain waves and another person’s heartbeat is more likely to occur. These findings have intriguing implications, suggesting that individuals in a psycho-physiologically coherent state become more aware of the information encoded in the heart fields of those around them.

The results of these experiments have led us to infer that the nervous system acts as an “antenna,” which is tuned to and responds to the electromagnetic fields produced by the hearts of other individuals. We believe this capacity for exchange of energetic information is an innate ability that heightens awareness and mediates important aspects of true empathy and sensitivity to others Furthermore, we have observed that this energetic communication ability can be intentionally enhanced, producing a much deeper level of nonverbal communication, understanding, and connection between people. There is also intriguing evidence that heart field interactions can occur between people and animals.

In short, energetic communication via the heart field facilitates development of an expanded consciousness in relation to our social world.

http://www.mindfulmuscleblog.com/heart-has-consciousness/

Another topic discussed was Super Brain Yoga!  It is a very interesting concept, a simple practice to enhance brain function.  I have yet to give it a try, but here is the link, in case you are interested:
http://www.wikihow.com/Do-Superbrain-Yoga

The clearing after the heavy rain storms.

The clearing after the heavy rain storms.

A frame beckons us

A frame beckons us

Beach Half Moons (impromptu driftwood props)

Beach Half Moons (impromptu driftwood props)

Yoga Chairs are backless and make for great backbends!

Yoga Chairs are backless and make for great backbends as Joyce demonstrates!

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Mothers and Daughters

October 19, 2015

This past weekend, we hosted a Mother Daughter Yoga Retreat at Little Renaissance.  We had three generations present and, yet, we never felt any sort of generational gap.  The inter-generational aspect of the retreat was so fun and all interactions were meaningful.  I observed that the one grandmother present was gleaning wisdom from her grandchild as well as from the other younger retreat participants.  I love how the interactions transcended age and went into the arena of wisdom, love, and deepening relationships.

Circle of Love

Circle of Love

At one point, after a yoga session, I asked everyone to share with one another their ideas on the following: What I admire about you or What I can learn from you.  Everyone freely and openly shared their admiration for one another.  What I have to comment on is how impressed I was with the three youngest present.  They were fun, age-appropriate mature, not glued to social media, and into human interaction which included heart to heart connection with each person present!

Abi and Jen

Abi and Jen

We did a shared reading on Saturday night and here are some of the readings or sources of readings.

Rick read The Waking, a self-reflective poem that describes waking up from sleep by Theodore Roethke.  Rick was quite animated as he read and Cecilia was moved to film him doing his exuberant reading.  Towards the last line, he was so expressive that Ruah spontaneously laughed so hard with delight that she hit her head on her water glass.  She didn’t cut herself, but we had to ice the hummingbird-sized egg on her forehead:

The Waking

By Theodore Roethke

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

Theodore Roethke, “The Waking” from Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke. Copyright 1953 by Theodore Roethke.

Harmony and Ruah diligently doing their Spanish homework!

Harmony and Ruah diligently taking time out to complete their Spanish homework!

Other readings included:

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (you can view it being read by Anthony Hopkins on youtube).  Abi read this dramatic poem which calls for total sensory involvement as the reader observes with the mind’s eye the  many scenes of sensory images.

The forecast called for rain all weekend, but we had pleasant weather for this time of year. We walked the beach and did not get wet.

The forecast called for rain all weekend, but we had pleasant weather for this time of year. We walked the beach and did not get wet.

Cecilia read from Journey to the Heart:  Daily Meditations on the Path to Freeing Your Soul by Melody Beattie.  She chose the reading from October 11th in the book.  I do not have the book so cannot include the reading, but I did find another quote from the book:

“You don’t need to limit yourself anymore. You’ve opened your heart. Now open your mind. Look around. See all the possibilities. The universe is teaming with them. It will lead and guide you into this abundance if you ask it for help and then allow that to happen. Open to life’s abundance. Open to all its possibilities. The more open you become, the more creative you’ll be—in work, in play, in love, in life. The more creative you are, the more possibilities you’ll see.”

From shared readings, I discover great books.  Jen read from Calling in “The One”, 7 Weeks to Attract Your Soulmate by Katherine Woodward Thomas.  The book is great for people ready to find their soulmate.  The chapters focus on internal change and appeared to offer powerful tools for attracting one’s soulmate.

The whole group (minus Rick who is taking the photo)

The whole group (minus Rick who is taking the photo)

Saturday’s Shared Readings took place around 10pm and I think I was too tired to take note or to remember what everyone read.  The last one I remember is the poem Tiffany read from We’Moon.  We’Moon is an astrological data book and calendar filled with poems and beautiful artwork.  Tiffany read a poem called Trucker’s Language and is about women using words and expressive forms of communication which are actually words of empowerment!  The title really captures your attention and the poem does so even more.  Tiffany will send me the poem and I can come back and include it in this blog entry.

Enjoy the remainder of photos from the weekend retreat at Little Renaissance on Washington’s wild coast.

Trees sprouting from driftwood

Trees sprouting from driftwood

multi-armed goddesses

multi-armed goddesses

Abi meditates under the Bodhi tree

Abi meditates under the Bodhi trees

back at Little Renaissance, Weather so mild in late October that we have lunch outside!

Back at Little Renaissance, the weather is so mild in late October that we have lunch outside!

Yes, that would be Harmony walking on Rick's back!

Yes, that would be Harmony walking on Rick’s back!  That’s it…She’s hired!

Summer Solstice

June 15, 2015

We are fast approaching Summer Solstice.  This is my favorite time of the year.  I love the light, the sunshine, the warmth, and the late sunsets.  Little Renaissance is alive with climbing roses in full bloom.  The garden appears to thrive on neglect and I marvel at how lush the greenery is.  It has been so warm out that the plums look like they might be ready to harvest in a week or two!

Dragon Driftwood

Dragon Driftwood

The days are long this time of year.  This past weekend has been filled with sun drenched days.  There is a lovely group who comes out to Little Renaissance twice a year for a yoga retreat weekend filled with creative yoga sessions, lunch out in the garden, long walks on the beach, great company, and lively conversations.  This was the weekend we shared with them.  So much fun!  Such a great tradition.  (Just ask me about booking a weekend with us!.)

Crab

Crab

Rick using his magnificent telephoto lens to capture the two bald eagles on the driftwood!

Rick using his magnificent telephoto lens camera to capture the two bald eagles on the driftwood! (My camera is quite limited, having not much of a telephoto lens.)

Double header-headstands.  Skye brought her headstand bench, too!

Double header-headstands. Skye brought her headstand bench, too!

Skye Kickin' Air

Beautiful Sky, Ocean, and Skye!

Sand Crab Shell

Sand Crab Shell


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