Winter Retreat Blog Series: Winter Self-Care & Ayurveda with Suzanne!

Warm oil

Self-care is more than just a buzz word. It is a way of life. Pair it with the ancient wisdom of ayurveda and we start talking about how to create daily routines to balance our health and wellness. According to Dr. Vasant Lad of the Ayurvedic Institute a daily routine is “absolutely necessary to bring radical change in body, mind, and consciousness. Routine helps to establish balance in one’s constitution. It also regularizes a person’s biological clock, aids digestion, absorption, assimilation, and generate self-esteem, discipline, peace, happiness, and longevity.”

Who doesn’t want that? Am I right?

And yet, how hard does it seem for us to carve out some time for dinacharya (daily routines) that are intentional and that hold space for us to develop discipline around our actions? How often do we feel like we are first responders and operating in crisis mode instead of setting up the day in a way that allows for your mind-body-spirit to be supported and centered. Sometimes it may seem like too much to tackle, but start where you are. For those of coming to the retreat, you are in luck because Suzanne is teaching a session about what self-care rituals can support you through the winter and many years to come!

In particular she will be teaching about ayurvedic oil massage which is called Abhyanga or self-massage. Let’s just say I have experienced both a massage with ayurvedic oils with Suzanne and have practiced on my own, and it is such an earthly and holy way to get in touch with your body and self, both physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Suzanne brings so much wisdom and knowledge to this practice as she is a National Ayurvedic Medicine Association (NAMA) Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner. She focuses on preventive healthcare as well as heath promotion with a specific focus on diet and lifestyle through traditional Ayurvedic medical science principles and practices. She has gone through a minimum of 1500 hours of training in this area and also brings all her bodywork experience to the table.

We are so delighted that she will share in this practice with us, and we are grateful she is making room in her schedule for this time of rest and rejuvenation at the Christine Center.

Suzanne and I connected only 2 years ago when I was looking for a local yoga teaching job. She had just left her weekly teaching career to go more full-time with bodywork and further her studies. She linked me up to Just For Me Spa in Stillwater where I taught for a season while I was pregnant with my youngest daughter. From there we started talking. It turns out the office that I was offering herbal consultations out of was her old space! Right away we had an instant connection.

In these two short years, which feels like a lifetime, Suzanne and I became friends and I’ve always felt like she is pioneering the path ahead of me. As she is currently deepening her work in the artistic realm, I, too, feel this pull in that direction and have no doubt when the time is right I will follow. Suzanne also has a background in writing, I have a background in writing. She went through herbal studies, I went through herbal studies. Do you get my point?

Suzanne also has a heart for the community and making yoga accessible to all people. She approached me late this summer about bringing our first donation based, community yoga class to our studio. She was just starting her second master’s program so she agreed to do it for this first quarter to shake things up a bit and try a new model. A truly selfless and generous person, as well as a person who is not trying to commodify yoga into a business, I appreciate her spirit and the integrity she brings to her work.

I hope you, too, will be able to meet her at our 3rd Annual Winter Yoga & Meditation Retreat. This is Suzanne’s first time joining us and I couldn’t be more grateful and excited for all of us.

Suzanne
Towels & Self Care

At the retreat: Suzanne will offer an evening session on Winter Self-Care through the lens of Ayurveda on Friday. She will teach abhyanga massage as well as share about marma therapy which cleanses blocked energy in the body through applying touch to different marma points on the body. This session will include the use of 3 luxurious herbal applications to help relax and calm the nervous system. Please make sure you pack 2-3 old towels you don’t mind getting oily, some loose shorts and a t-shirt that can get oily and bring a small little mason jar to take home a little oil with you…if you have any left over! Suzanne will also teach an early morning yoga class on Sunday and will be available for a select number of Relaxation Massages during the retreat. Please contact kali@moonriverwellness.com for booking availability.

Winter Retreat Blog Series: Setting an Intention & MUCH MORE with Julia!

Our retreat will kick off with an intentional gemstone bracelet making session with Julia!

Our retreat will kick off with an intentional gemstone bracelet making session with Julia!

Many people sign up for retreat during this time of year because of the natural tendency to go inward and dream. It’s perfect after the rush of the holiday season to pack your bags and bring the focus back home to the self—to settle into the quiet and restful energy of winter and be.

Everything that happens in the universe begins with intention.  The sages of India observed thousands of years ago that our destiny is ultimately shaped by our deepest intentions and desires. The classic Vedic text known as the Upanishads declares, “You are what your deepest desire is. As your desire is, so is your intention. As your intention is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.” - From Julia’s website

This time of the year calls for the work that needs to happen before we plant the seeds of intention. To set the scene for what’s to come ahead. The good news is that the “work” looks less like work and more like resting, taking good care and not doing too much. Though there will be plenty of sessions available to keep you inspired, nothing is mandatory. It’s all a matter of choice. It’s your time, and we recommend you take a slower pace.

Each retreat we like to send participants home with a little gift. According to the Vedas, Gemstones are crystals of power that have a specific ability to aid a person in aligning their energy with the Universal energy. This year the offering will be a lovely gemstone bracelet infused with your energy, empowered within a community practice guided by Julia.

Julia is a woman who I respect so much as another human on the path devoted to her practice and living her yoga. She will be joining us for her second year teaching at the retreat. I first met Julia in 2012 when I was in a prenatal yoga teacher training. A pregnant woman doing a headstand caught the corner of my eye and her fiery spirit and outgoing attitude drew me in to eventually grab lunch with her over the weekend training. With both of us having familial ties overseas to different cultures and a strong sense of desire to share with the greater community, I felt an immediate bond to this sister. Over the next 5 years we would spontaneously run into each other in various yoga teacher workshops until we made our meetings intentional.

Our professional collaboration began when Julia came to my wellness space before it was a yoga studio (in my upstairs office), and we held two different mala making sessions that were SO MUCH FUN! Her knowledge of gemstones and Vedic Astrology is so deep! I so enjoyed having her in our space and engaging in creative process. We all learned so much.

Then flash forward to her signing up for our last winter retreat (this past January). I was so honored to see she was taking time for herself and felt drawn to our offering. Knowing how extensive her background is in yoga (and beyond) I couldn’t not ask her to be a guest teacher...and now the rest is history! I am so excited for what she will bring to the retreat this time around and couldn’t feel more supported to teach alongside this woman.

Sharing about “Om” in our group chanting session, ARC Retreat Center, January 2018

Sharing about “Om” in our group chanting session, ARC Retreat Center, January 2018

Crystal bowl sound bath to close the session, ARC Retreat Center, January 2018

Crystal bowl sound bath to close the session, ARC Retreat Center, January 2018

It doesn’t get much sweeter than nestling into the deep woods of Wisconsin, setting your intentions for 2019 while nourishing your mind, body, spirit and heart. Though, we tend to be a bit biased.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog about Suzanne and her Ayurvedic Self Care Practice she will offer at the retreat. Be sure to sign up soon, we are filling up fast! Like, as in, only a couple spots left.

Have a great week!

~Kali

At the retreat in addition to leading the group creative practice Friday evening, Julia will share a morning yoga nidra practice on Saturday and a special sound healing practice co-taught with Kali on Sunday. Julia will also be available to offer a few private Vedic Astrology Birth Charts + Custom Mala orders. Please make sure you reach out to kali@moonriverwellness.com for booking information.