"A desert is a place without expectations." -Nadine Gordimer
Once a year I am privileged to gather with other yogis in the desert of Moab, Utah for a yoga retreat. We are a group of strangers, primarily, who come to the warm red rock to find solace, healing, new starts, and maybe even a little bit (or a lot) of fun. These retreats are facilitated through the company YOGASCAPES who have this retreat shit dialed! They do adventure + yoga retreats all over the world and they do them well!
This year our retreat yogis were a diverse group including a writer, a skier, moms, hippies, rock climbers, and all with varying yoga experience. Some came to re-connect with themselves. Others came to learn to rock climb and to meet new friends. As we learned on the first night around the fire, most people also came to find peace and heal from deep challenges.
When everyone was officially checked in, I took them to our yoga "studio" for our first yoga practice with Marina. The weariness and stress from everyone's day of traveling melted away into the wind and rock and breath. Om.
The next morning came early (6 am yoga practice in camp)...
...but stoke was high because we were all excited for our day ahead of ROCK CLIMBING!! People come from all over the world to rock climb in Moab. We loaded into vans with our guides from Moab Cliffs and Canyons and headed for the crag. Alicia braving the crack.
Jordan and Clayton looking pretty hawt while watching the climbers.
The purple helmet never fails...my favorite climb of the day. Play, play, play.
Back at camp we were all feeling great after our day on the rocks and decided a costume yoga sesh was in order. Look closely and you will see tutus, sequined tights, and a maybe even a few revealing mesh tops!!
Marina rocked the rainbow leg warmers. As for me?...blue hair don't care.
Day three found us heading out to Arches National Park. I was surprised how crowded it was, but the hike there was very easy and the destination totally worth it. As far as we know, there is nothing else like Delicate Arch on the planet.
We sat looking at the arch (or doing yoga underneath it) as the weather was moodily changing from hot, to cold, to windy, to rainy, back to hot, and then dry, then muggy! Temperamental.
A few members in the group took time to drive around and explore other parts of the park. Free time on a YOGASCAPES retreat is a must!
Later that night it was my turn to teach. I was really looking forward to it, but there was a strange vibe in camp, and I think everyone's energy was low. Not everyone decided to come practice with me, and although it made me feel sad, I also believe yoga is so personal and like seeing people honor their own energy and intuition. With my ego set aside we began class.
But it was not to be...a rain storm started blowing in, with lightning and thunder threatening us from a distance. The forces of nature are hard to compete with. We decided the safest thing would be to head back to camp and find shelter...and food....and booze. :)
The next morning dawned a little cold which was unfortunate because this was the day we spent on the river. Cold, cold, but fun, fun. Karen was the smartest one in long pants and long sleeves.
Luckily we only hit a few "real" rapids and didn't get super soaked. Rueben led his boat to victory with all kinds of cheers, songs, and paddle 5's?? Alyssa, Peter, Ashok, Ashlee, Kristen, and Erin caught on his GoPro.
Back at camp our final yoga class was quiet, meditative, and a little emotional. At our closing ceremony everyone expressed the release, joy, and insights they had gained.
Marina, Clayton, and I had such a wonderful time working this retreat. We talked afterward about the circumstances that brought this particular group of people together. I know this is not the way things work, but it would be really great if we could all meet annually in Moab for another round of good times and growth.
Thank you YOGASCAPES and our wonderful group for making Red Rock Yoga Retreat 2015 a beautiful and fun experience. Join me next year! ;)
Back Row: Rueben, Alicia, Caroline, Kristen, Ashlee, Ed, Shannan, Ashok, Climbing Guide, Heather, Erin, Greg, Peter, Climbing Guide
Front Row: Climbing Guide, Kendra, Samantha, Alyssa, Jordan, Marina, Karen