I am back home after a Yoga retreat in Salento, Italy. Seven days with 5 hours of yoga every day, in the heat craving for air condition. As I write this I am sitting on my mat at home, listening to the rain pouring down outside. Autumn is around the corner.
I knew Ulrica from before and a post on her instagram made me book this retreat. She is one of a kind and a true inspiration in my Yoga practice. Mona on the other hand was a stranger to me when I went to Salento 7 days ago. ”She had me at hello!”. I am now a ”Mona fan” and I know that I was meant to meet her. After the first class with her I was just ”Wow!”. I could listen to that voice all the time…
Together the two of them make the best team you could ever ask for. They complement each other and they are both so humble even though they are the best of what they do in this entire Universe. The friendship and respect between them shines through.
Both Mona and Ulrica give so much of each other, they share so much of themselves and they were available for us before, during and after practice.
I didn’t go alone on this retreat, my mum came with me. She is in the beginning of her Yoga journey but I am positive that she couldn’t have had a better beginning. The others thought my mum was awesome! ”She comes to every single class!”, ”What did you do to make her come?” they asked me. It was easy! ”You have shown me a new world!”, she said to me. I can only agree with the rest of them, my mum is awesome!
In the group there were people from Sweden, New York, India, and Norway. Families, yogis, yoga teachers, beginners and advanced yogis. Everyone sharing the same space and respecting each others space on and off the mat.
We have laughed so much this week and at one point my mum even started to cry because she laughed so much. As Mona says ”Don’t take life so serious” and ”Don’t take yourself so serious”.
The yoga we practiced on this retreat was Ishta yoga, Yin yoga, restorative and Yoga nidra. Ishta is explained as follows and this pretty much sums up our entire week;
”Ishta Yoga is a community of like-minded people with a heart-centered approach to life and generosity of spirit. Blending the ancient and contemporary sciences of Hatha, Tantra and Ayurveda, ISHTA caters to the individual student’s needs with intelligence and authenticity. Whether you are looking for improved strength and flexibility, clarity of mind, or a deeper spiritual practice, we provide you with the tools needed to bring inspiration into every moment of your being.”
As Mona says; ”Yoga is a work in, not a work out”. On this retreat we worked on the seven chakras, one chakra per day, to balance the mind and body. Some days it was really intense and we all had different experiences. There was laughter in the yoga shala, people were sweating, snoring and crying. Whatever happend, it was ok and it was the right space for it. Some days I didn’t feel like talking to anyone after practice. I just wanted to be me in my own space. And the only question I got was ”Do you want a hug?”. There was so much love within this group.
Apart from our two amazing yoga teachers we had assistants, with a capital A. During practice I could feel a hand on my back, someone massaging my neck, correcting, adjusting and putting a blanket or a block where I needed it. To all the assistants on this retreat, Thank you!
One of the things Mona repeats a lot in her restorative classes is the word ”Yummy”. ”If it isn’t Yummy, it isn’t right”. I want more Yummyness in my life!
The retreat was held at an organic farm called Agricola Samadhi. The owner of the place, Francesca, joined us in our Yoga practice and told us about her passion for organic and vegetarian/vegan food. The food was amazing and I was in food heaven.
I have cried on the mat, I have laughed, I have listened, I have seen, I have felt, I have struggled, I have fallen, I have gone into deep meditation and relaxation and I have fallen asleep.
Mona said ”Be your own teacher on the mat”. On this retreat I have been a student and in the end it has made me a better teacher to myself. I have left the retreat and Italy but I came home with more than I left with. After a trip like this I realize that here are so many amazing cool people who I haven’t met yet. I was lucky to meet some of them on this retreat.
I will continue to practice with Ulrica in Sweden, with both of them online at Yogobe and one day soon I will go to New York to visit Mona’s studio.
More photos on instagram @emma_balance and #yis2015