The third of three workshops designed to create balance and well being throughout all levels of being, "Mind" is a centring practice focused on releasing negativity.
In this meditative workshop, we will begin with a body scan meditation to take you out of your head and into your body. We will do restorative yoga postures to gently open the body and release held tensions and emotions, and you will be invited to look inward and observe your thought patterns and reactions as the body rests and restores. There will be some simple breathing practices and a lying down or seated meditation. In yoga, we do not grapple with the mind directly. Instead, we guide the body and the breath to affect the state of mind, and become a witness to mental processes as they unfold. Becoming an observer of the mind in meditation has been used for millennia as a path to mental and emotional well being.
We will end this session with a healing Yoga Nidra practice. Yoga Nidra is a relaxing, guided practice done lying down, which brings you into a deep, healing state of rest and helps you to re-pattern unhelpful thoughts and beliefs.
Restorative yoga is a slow, meditative style of physical movement, which helps to release stress and bring about ease in body and mind. The gentle, supported postures are held for up to 10 minutes with a focus on comfort and the subtle release of muscular knots and tight spots. All of the props are provided, and we will be using bolsters, blankets, blocks and belts to ensure that the body is supported enough to completely relax and let go. The stress of daily life accumulates in the body in the form of holding patterns and chronic tension. When you encourage the body to release its held tension, stress begins to dissolve from the mind.
The theme of our New Year's Day Retreat is "Be the Change". A whole day of yoga and gong to help you to reset and renew your intentions for the coming year.
After a year of great change and deep unrest on the political and environmental landscapes, not to mention all of the personal dramas we've had, it's important for each of us to reconnect with our personal power and decide how we want to move forward. The theme of the day is inspired by Ghandi's words, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world", a reminder that we are in control of our own attitude and actions - and nothing else!
We will start off with two hours of immunity-boosting slow flow Yoga practice to give the body a full recalibration, countering the contracting effect of the cold weather and the sedentary habits of the festive season. There will be time for meditation, intention setting and personal reflection.
After a shared potluck lunch there will be Yoga Nidra - a long, relaxing, guided practice which takes you into a trance-like state of deep but alert relaxation (or you might just fall asleep!).
For the remainder of the day there will be a sumptuous feast of sound and movement.
Restorative yoga will be accompanied by gong master and sound therapist Ali Gunning's magical singing bowls to soothe and calm the body and mind. The postures will be slow, supported with bolsters and blankets and designed for deep physical and emotional release. The dimension of sound makes the experience a powerful and deeply regenerative experience leaving you feeling lighter, clearer and more in touch with yourself,..
The highlight of the day will be Ali's gong bath, which is an experience which cannot be described adequately in words. Ali's majestic gongs, her years of experience, wide range of accompanying instruments and her sixth sense of intuition make her sessions powerful, unrepeatable and inimitable.
This day, held in warm and cosy Victory Hall in Uphill, is a celebration of who you are, with practices that support a transformation towards conscious, joyful living in an uncertain world. It's the perfect time to set intentions as we begin to journey towards the light after the darkest time of the year. No matter how stuck we think we are, there is always the possibility for transformation. This day is not a day for resolutions but for a revolution - a transformation into wholeness.
This day is not for fighting the Christmas flab - you are perfect just as you are and if you look after yourself you will be just the size and shape you are meant to be.
There will be afternoon refreshments - Pukka teas and delicious organic treats.
Ali Gunning is my long-time esteemed friend, yoga sister and colleague. Gong master and international yoga teacher, she inspires with her warmth, natural musicality and grace. I am very privileged that she is travelling here all the way from Cornwall just for us, because although there are other gong practitioners out there - noone else will do. She's the best!