On the fourth day of my Mark Warner Yoga Retreat I woke up early feeling really positive. I was planning on going for a run but realised that I had left my kit at home (including my arm band for my phone) so I decided that before yoga began I had time to go for a walk with my camera – finding many beautiful sights that Corsica has to offer (unfortunately I actually came to what looked like a tip but there was such great wild flowers to capture). It was so nice just to have time on my own, with my thoughts. I had decided to be kind to myself.
For the guided meditation we went to the beach and dug a hole in the sand to sit in. We focused on something we wanted to achieve for the day. I can see how this is definitely great for when I have deadlines and need to concentrate.
Beachside Vinyasa Flow
I have to admit I found this session hard and there was also a focus on being kind to yourself. I think I may have been tired, but also it is something I struggle with. I need to learn to show myself more kindness, and be patient with myself. Again I ended up in tears – and Ela told me it was just yoga!
I then went on another bike ride with some of the others and got some ice-cream.
Explore – an intro into yoga philosophy
We were told about the origins of Yoga and how each of the instructors came to practise. We were then introduced to Patanjali’s 8 limbs of yoga:
Yamas – The conduct with the outside world.
- Truthfulness: Being true to yourself – not always saying yes, setting your own limits. Saying things that might not be comfortable for others.
- Non-Violence – to yourself as well as others.
- Non-stealing – from the earth to help protect it for future generations (impact on your environment as little as possible). As well as the obvious not taking things that do not belong to you. But also not taking people’s moments, life opportunities – or your own.
- Non-possessiveness – love yourself without attaching your happiness to something or someone.
Niyamas – modes of conduct
- Purity – not taking things so personally.
- Contentment – sit with sadness, acceptance of living in the now, embrace happy.
- Surrender – Trust
Pranayama – regulating and controlling the breath – our life force (chi) and focus.
Pratyahara – preparing for meditation by drawing the mind inward (internal focus).
Dharana – absorption of the mind through concentration – first stage of meditation. Holding concentration over time. Focusing on a candle.
Dhyana – meditation; once the mind can be held for a long period of time but lose the candle details.
Samadhi – the point one looses self consciousness.
Yoga Nidra – I struggled even more to stay awake this time! I have since used Yoga Nidra many times since getting home – not only for myself but my husband and children too. I found it really effective for my son with sensory processing disorder, who was having trouble settling at the end of term.
Disclosure: This was a press trip. All words and opinions are honest and my own.
Some of the above images were not taken on the Yoga Retreat and are from Unsplash.com