Category Archives: The Art of Relaxation

How to create your own Silent Retreat

How to Create a Silent Retreat

The peak of summer is arriving, Solstice is on its way!

Right now something else is peaking in me. Anger…

It’s been about 3 months since I move out, separated from my husband.

It’s been about 6 months since going through a big shed and shift in relationships around me.

It’s been about 18 months since moving into a new home and having another child.

Right now, for some reason, I feel at the edge of the cliff again. The Fool’s journey. Do I leap or stay where I am?

I like the idea of the fool’s journey. It is the start after a graduation of a cycle of completion, and I am soooo ready to graduate from the last 2 years of my life.

I think this residual anger is taking a toll on my heart. I am ready to release it and make some big changes in my business and career, but those changes remain to be seen.

I am looking to surround myself with those who are grateful for yoga in their lives and for those who support that.

I am looking for support myself. I think in this living process, of the last 6 months especially, I have received support in so many ways and am learning from the holes in the support I did not receive. And I am ready to move on from that.

These holes are my own, so it is up to me to fill them. Right now, I am trying to fill them with love for my kids and family, resolving things in my marriage and committing myself to reaching out when I don’t feel supported, rather than festering over it.

I am told I am a giver, I am told I need to stop rescuing people, and now is the time to honor where I am.

I am ready to be rescued in some ways. It would be nice to be checked-in on, to have the knowledge that I crossed your mind today, that you were wondering if I was ok… this comes to mind right now. I think this is what I am so angry about… but then I realize EVERYONE has things going on, and move on from it.  It will be a part of my practice to reach out to someone every day, I hope, and just ask, “How are YOU doing?”.

Sometimes we take the breaks we need from things like social media, work, relationships, and regular tasks. It is healthy. It helps us redefine our routine and ourselves a bit.

So I say go for it. Take that much needed  break!

Those of you who can, do a day of silence. It is powerful!

If you have kids, a non-negotiable few hours can even help. UNPLUG. No media, no phone, computer, even fictional books. Journal, write, walk, breathe, stretch, relax, bathe, soften it all.

Most of the time, when you are quiet it might be for a couple of reasons — like self-protection or not wanting to burden other people with your stuff. During your Silent Retreat, make sure you take the time to really listen to the truth. Dig through that extra layer and I guarantee you will find the reason you are so upset isn’t really the reason you are upset.

This is why yoga is so powerful.

It helps us do the internal work so we don’t have to be so extroverted all the time and drowning in media and phones shouting at us all day long. I would rather have people do things out of good will for me and others, than feeling like it is expected.

So goodbye anger. You are no longer serving me. You have gotten me to pay attention to something deep, and to help me make the changes that will serve me.

As the sun rises and sets on the longest day of the year this Sunday, I am ready to decrease my anger and embody focus and healing on a deep solar and lunar level. I truly want to be the change I wish to see in the world. I pray for peace within me and to be surrounded by those with the same vision. I wish those who walk a different path would honor others’ paths, and to please go on their way so we may walk in light in our own way.  I am no longer slamming doors, but gently closing them so I may move on to another.

Jenn’s Silent Retreat Checklist

  • Pick a time that you know you will not be interrupted.
  • Let all your important people know you will be unplugging from life for however long you decide.
  • Have a journal close by.
  • For longer retreats, maybe an inspirational book or a book on meditation will be helpful. I love Meditation for the Love of It by Sally Kempton or Meditation for Your Life by Robert Butera
  • Turn off your phone. Do not keep the computer around at all, and try not to listen to music, as well. Try for complete silence. It will get easier as the day goes on.
  • You can color a mandala. They have adult coloring books which are powerful and mind-clearing
  • Practice simple breath awareness or simple mind-fullness meditation (see my meditations for ideas)
  • Simple yoga postures or Surya Namaskara with some relaxation poses.
  • Take a bath and set the scene — candles, salts, oils, aromatherapy — and JUST SOAK.
  • Wrap yourself up and go to bed early.
  • If you can get a nature or beach walk in sometime during your Silent Retreat day, DO IT!

Wake Up Call – Learn Yoga Breathing for Anxiety

Yogic Breathing Meditation

So, guess who wound up at the Doctor’s to have her heart checked for anxiety related symptoms?

Guess who had 2 weeks of heart pounding poison in her body linked to stress, fear, doubt, and emotional pain that added up to a heart pounding, throw up feeling in her throat for several days?

Moi…

Miss emotional intelligence, Mrs. Yoga herself.

Yes, you can run but you can’t hide. It would seem with the holidays, and the usual overwhelming sensation of trying to get things done, a dissolving business partnership, and losing my amazing desk assistant, that I guess my stress went from high to higher. And yes, even with all my yoga techniques to try to bring myself down from it, I still found myself, after delivering a beautiful workshop with some of our amazing female students, in a place of horrible anxiety. I spent 2 hours with these women, opening our hearts, nurturing them and myself through simple yoga, breathing and meditation, and at the end of the night, like a wave, it all came crashing down on me.

I would have thought the opposite would have happened. I spent 2 hours in bed trying to calm myself down, my husband’s attempts to relax me with massage and cuddling didn’t even help. I felt like my heart was going to explode in my chest. My yoga breathing and releasing practices eventually relaxed me enough to fall asleep, but I woke up at 3:30 with a big burden still in my chest. I then read a book about anxiety and what it can do to you, as I ironically needed material to prepare me for a future workshop I am holding. Well, self-experience is the best material you can get.

So, what am I learning? I am learning that no yoga in the world will help you deal unless you get to the source and let go. So you can write letters and deliver them, or burn them. You can journal all you want. You can breathe deep, but nothing will change unless you change.

My heart physically hurts because I have experienced a lot of loss this past year, and ended it with a lot more loss than I thought I could handle. I count my blessings all the time, and I am grateful for all I have, but why can I not get this attachment to anger, doubt and fear to release?

Then it causes me shame since I KNOW better. This endless cycle needs to be resolved.

I can tell you what helped. Unplugging helped, I didn’t have my computer for a few days. I just stayed home with the snow, hung out with my gorgeous kids, cooked, and actually took 2 naps. I would have given anyone that same advice. No roofs came crashing down in those 2 days. But I am still left with the pain and the hurt in my heart that I have been done wrong and have done wrong myself.

How does one heal this? Well, with change, of course. Practices of forgiveness and compassion.

Communication to the friends and family that have hurt me may come later when I am ready. So for now, I will take all of my own advice.. rest, take time to heal, try not to get worked up about simple things, practice love, mindfulness, and move on. Give yourself permission to feel what you feel, and then move on. Let it be, let it be…those are some wise words.

I am grateful for this experience I have had with myself so I can help others with it as well as me.

Be kind to yourself this year! Try some of my previous articles to help if you are dealing with too much stress lately!

Yoga Breathing for Anxiety

You can do this breathing practice just about anywhere to help clear the mind, calm the nerves and get those stress levels down.

With love,
Jennifer