By Monique Parker
I often think of the world today—where a vast majority are plugged-in and information is as plentiful as clean air and water used to be—as “the quickening”: that momentous movement toward some unknown destination of more, more, more. It seems that just about everyone I know is multitasking with aplomb, juggling responsibilities, taking care of others, and, for good or ill, staring into a myriad of devices geared toward making our lives easier and more connected.
But the reality is that our fast paced lives also carry a price tag of chronic stress and a slew of related symptoms, such as adrenal fatigue, insomnia, digestive issues, headaches, muscle tension, and anxiety, to list a few.
Even those of us in good health can only live the “all work and no play” mantra so long before it leads to a madness of sorts, where you feel off-centered, irritable, disconnected, and questioning what’s important.
One of the best ways to unplug and recharge is a yoga retreat. If you’ve been craving rest, peace of mind, a broader perspective, beautiful surroundings, and delicious food, then consider treating yourself to a yoga getaway. A yoga retreat not only energizes physically and spiritually, it also offers practical tools that you can take home and incorporate into your life, thereby extending your vacation. Some retreats include excursions and recreation, others spa treatments. Many are built around the ancient and still relevant teachings of yoga.
Here is a sampling of getaways offered by local teachers both nearby and abroad in exotic destinations.
Mandala Retreat Center
In the upper eastern corner of New Mexico, situated on the slopes of the Sierra Grande Mountain, overlooking the Capulin Volcano National Monument is a non-denominational spiritual retreat called Mandala Center, named after the universal symbol for wholeness and balance. Each summer I facilitate a Svastha Yoga Immersion, combining twice daily yoga sessions, hiking, yoga nidra (deep guided rest), chanting, meditation, and lectures on personal practice. Whether you need to embark on a new wellness path, or delve more deeply into your existing yoga practice, this retreat helps practitioners develop a “yoga habit” that you can take home and integrate into your life. The next retreat is August 8-12 and includes meals and lodging. The early bird rate has been extended until July 23. For more information, visit www.mandalacenter.org.
Ojo Caliiente Mineral Springs & Resort
For those on a limited budget or who can’t afford time away from work or family, a trip to Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs and Resort is the perfect solution. In less than an hour’s drive, you can leave obligations behind for a day of pampering you wouldn’t find in town. Spa therapist and yoga teacher Doug Gilnett, LMT encourages Taosenos to take a break. “You can spend a whole day out here and feel like you’ve been on vacation. At Ojo, nobody’s going to tell you to hurry up and relax.” Monday through Thursday Ojo Caliente offers two yoga classes each morning at 9 and 11 am, led by UNM-Taos trained instructors, Gilnett and Elisabeth Martin. You can stretch and soak for the special price of $25, or if you splurge on a spa treatment of $100 or more, admission is free. For more information, visit: www.ojospa.com.
Costa Rica Yoga Vacation
Aura Garver of Aura Fitness leads annual yoga treks to Costa Rica. These retreats combine yoga with kayaking and hiking, tempered by ample time for relaxation and meditation. Surrounded by the rainforest, participants eat local cuisine and enjoy a vacation that strikes a balance between playful adventure and renewal. “A major component of these getaways is encouraging women to take time out for themselves and life’s hectic pace for a week,” says Aura. “It continually amazes me how fast life moves. More and more we need to consciously create time for nurturing so that we can be our best selves.” Aura’s next yoga adventure is scheduled for April 20-27, 2013. For more information, visit www.aurafitness.com.
Vaidyagrama Yoga & Ayurveda Vacation
Next summer I will be taking a group to Vaidyagrama Ayurvedic Village (vaidyagrama.com) on the outskirts of Coimbatore in Southern India for two weeks of authentic ayurveda and yoga. If you would like to experience the 5,000 year-old Indian healing system, inclusive of daily panchakarma treatments, restorative yoga, yoga nidra, daily prayers, chanting, a private apartment with verandah, lovingly prepared vegetarian meals, and twice daily doctors visits, then please inquire with me for more information. Travel will be in either May or June of 2013.
Published in The Taos News on July 19, 2012