Blooming Lotus Yoga Retreat

We know its true, yoga promises inner peace and contentment, but many of us start our journey into yoga for superficial reasons, such as to loose weight or succeed in more advanced poses. Can you imagine yourself reaching the deeper dimensions of yoga to live a more fulfilling existence? 
 
WHEN I FOUND BLOOMING LOTUS YOGA, I HAD BEEN PRACTICING YOGA FOR 8 YEARS. MY PRACTICE WAS MOSTLY PHYSICAL WITH NO ULTIMATE GOAL IN MIND OTHER THAN MAINTAINING A HEALTHY BODY AND FINDING A LITTLE PEACE.

My love of yoga, lead me to a 5-day yoga retreat in Koh Phangan, Thailand. I came with little expectations, other than advancing my physical practice and enjoying the beauty of the island.

Koh Phangan — My first yoga retreat

AS IT WENT, INSTEAD OF MASTERING HANDSTAND AS I HAD HOPED, A LARGE PORTION OF OUR TIME WAS SPENT IN MEDITATION.

I had heard of all the wonderful ways meditation could change my life, but the ‘calm and quiet place’ people spoke of certainly didn’t exist within me. Although I had attempted to meditate on several occasions, I had eventually decided it just wasn’t for me. However, at the yoga retreat I had little choice in the matter, and though I initially resisted, I am eternally grateful for what happened next.

MY JOURNEY INTO STILLNESS

Our retreat leader Ashley shared her personal practice as learned from her teachers and held an excruciating 30–45 minute meditation practice each morning. The first two days spent in meditation were torturous, as I failed to quiet an endless stream of thought.

However, by the third day, something within me shifted. For the first time in my life, I began to notice pauses between the thoughts. As that space began to expand, I felt an inner aliveness and sense of bliss that was so beautiful and unfamiliar, it shocked me to the core of my being.

I realized that I had been plagued with fears and anxieties my entire life. When things were good, I was filled with fear of it ending, and when things were bad I fell into a victim mentality. I was constantly trying to control my life instead of actually living it. For the remainder of my time in Thailand, I experienced pure presence and just being for the first time. I suddenly had a burning desire for Truth and to understand the power of meditation on a deeper level.

When the retreat was over, Ashley informed me that her teachers Lily and Ramananda were holding a yoga teacher training the upcoming summer. She encouraged me to apply if I wanted to dive deeper into the essence of Yoga. Nine months later, I found myself at the Blooming Lotus Yoga retreat in Bali for their 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training. As it turns out, I was ultimately on a journey to self-discovery.

The location of my YTT in Bali

DIVING DEEPER INTO THE HEART OF YOGA

My relationship to asana has shifted as result of my experiences at my yoga retreat and teacher training courses. I first began my journey into asana as a means to the healing power of presence and stillness, but somehow along the way, my asana became physical and goal-oriented.

As a result of the superficial teachings I received in most of the yoga asana classes, my primary objective for practicing yoga became success in holding the most challenging poses. It became just another way in which I identified with my physical form, remained in suffering, and ignored my True Nature.

The classical teaching of Yoga I received helped to free me from this trap. I still practice asana daily and celebrate the temple of my body, but asana now serves primarily as a means to balance myself energetically in order to find stillness and depth during meditation.

The Daily Meditation Classes

THE GIFT OF MEDITATION
Meditation is the greatest gift I have ever received. Over time, my meditations have deepened, and mental conditioning, suppressed emotions, insecurities, and ideas of who I am or who I should be have started to slip away.

Through meditation, I am creating a new relationship with my thoughts, reminding myself not to identify with them, but to simply be an observer of them. I have learned to notice negative thought patterns as they begin to arise and choose to let them go rather than be overtaken by them.

I have begun to see the perfection in the chaos of my past, how every ‘mistake’ I have made has been exactly what I needed to start the process of waking up. As I am fostering a greater capacity for self-love and forgiveness, I am also cultivating deep compassion for others.

Meditation has shown me my wholeness and perfection, while humbling me as I recognize the divine in all beings. Little by little, my consciousness has begun to shift so that I can step back and see this life as a divine play. Whatever comes, whatever goes, the core of my being, my True Nature, remains unchanged.

With Ashley

Coming home to the bliss of being

My understandings of Yoga, and myself have shifted after finding my teachers. Their teachings of pure love and compassion have been passed down from enlightened masters and saints, and reflect the essence of Yoga.

They have taught me that Yoga is much more than asana; it is a letting go of all concepts, living in truth, and being free. How I came to find Blooming Lotus Yoga in the ever-growing world of yoga teacher training programs is inexplicable to me in any rational way.

From the time I first stepped into the yoga retreat in Thailand, to today, as I complete the Yoga Teacher Training program for the second time in Bali, I have felt that I have come home.

I am infinitely grateful to Lily and Ramananda for holding a sacred space and sharing the wisdom necessary for me to start my journey home into the bliss of being. By being an emanation of pure ego-less love, they have opened my heart and transformed my life. 
 
 I now choose to make Yoga my path towards true eternal happiness. Looking back, I know that my journey was never a choice, but the One Eternal Consciousness that is continuously pulling me home.

You can get a better feel about Blooming Lotus Yoga here:

The retreats & courses at Blooming Lotus