I recently was fortunate enough to attend a week-long yoga retreat in Yelapa, Mexico with Baxter Bell and his Yoga For Healthy Aging students. I went as a student, not as a teacher, and that was a real treat.
Twenty nine of us yoga students attended class in the beautiful Sky Temple twice a day. Some students were brand new to yoga. Some were spouses of long-time yogis. Some of us were teachers. Some were in shape, some were out of shape, some were in between. Some were nervous about the experience, some were eager. The age range of the students was 30s - 70s. The smiles on our faces here truly represent how we all felt at the end of the week.
The great thing about the type of yoga Baxter Bell teaches is that it is accessible. Each morning and afternoon I looked forward to class. I never dreaded marching up the steep stone steps to the yoga platform. Each class was slightly different. We always had a healthy dose of meditation, poetry and music at the beginning and end of class. I practiced deep yoga in a fun, supportive, educational, magical environment. And guess what, we didn't do any downward facing dogs or sun salutations all week!
The view from the yoga deck at Sky Temple
What did we do when we weren't practicing yoga each day? We had long conversations with new friends, we hiked on the beach and in the hills, we sat on the beach, we read books, wrote, went into town and shopped, went on mini travel excursions, we talked with the locals, we bird watched, we took photos, we experienced a different culture and pace from our normal lives. We listened to the waves crashing on the beach. We sat and stared into space. We ate and drank. We chill-axed! And, we never threw paper in the toilet or drank out of the tap.
If you find yourself dreaming about attending a yoga retreat someday I suggest you find a teacher, program or studio you love. Find a type of yoga that works for you with an instructor you can imagine learning from for an extended period of time, then...go for it! Even if you go alone, like I did, chances are, you won't regret it. You will learn many things from the experience and may even really enjoy it.
Open your heart to a new yoga experience and see what follows.