the joy of going away: my first raw food yoga retreat in barbados.

maybe i could begin in the middle.  with the bats.  because they find me wherever i go.  imagine yourself lying by the ocean at sun set.  it is still very warm.  and you are doing yoga.  i am teaching you.  we are stretching our legs as the sky turns a deep pink and the bats begin to fly overhead.

i turned to sue and asked “are those bats?”  she wasn’t sure.  sue has been my student for almost fifteen years.  and she has been in class with bats before.  she has even, over the years, helped to usher the bats outside.  this time, however, we were outside.  and the bats were dancing above us.   i am wildly scared of bats when they are inside; but i am not so frightened when they are out in the open and free.  besides, the colour of the sky and the sound of the ocean was a great pacifier!i rarely teach or practice yoga outside.  i am almost always in a building:  in the church downtown, at my friend’s studio, or at my house.  teaching outside was so different.  i worried that it would be too distracting, both for myself and my students.  but i hadn’t sought out another option.  so outside it was.  i tried to balance receiving the outside world with moving in to ourselves.  we practiced early in the morning or just before sunset.  we explored the grass by the ocean side, the beach, and paul’s side yard.  all were magnificent.  i often begin my classes with a centering i learned from hart lazer.  receiving what is without pushing away or without holding on.  not an easy practice!  i begin with receiving sound.  outside was the perfect location for this practice.  we allowed our ears to open and receive the sound of ocean waves, of roosters cocking, of dogs barking, and of kids playing.  we opened to the possibility of receiving ourselves fully:  our thoughts, our feelings, our bodies, our breath.  we placed our mats over crab holes, felt the softness of sand beneath our mats, and bowed to the blue of the ocean as we folded deeply into ourselves.

 i saw many things while teaching.  i glimpsed a green monkey, saw the quick movements of a hummingbird, and watched dogs copulating.  i saw a man get naked by his car, watched my students straining in the warrior poses,  and was blessed with sunsets.  the background rich and true to life.

before leaving i was worried about driving on the other side of the road.  i definitely brought that fear with me.  i held the wheel tightly and drove cautiously around the narrow curving roads.  right and left turns became muddled.  rights were to be lefts and lefts were to be rights.  even the indicator was on the other side of the steering wheel.  and (in error) i continuously set the wipers to movement.  it was a testament to how deeply patterned i am.  i am grateful that i could laugh (and received being laughed at)!  i comforted myself with the belief that this switch-a-roo was good for my brain.  the first couple of days i hit the sidewalk a few times.  that was incredibly humbling.  my friend paul, sitting in the front passenger seat, would belt out the word “sidewalk” in his lovely deep bajan voice.  and my friends would laugh heartily from the back of the car.  i could not believe that i was so close to the sidewalk.  but i was!!!!  the wheel rims knocking against the curb was proof!  i was mostly concerned with oncoming traffic.  i wanted to hug the curb.  over the course of the week i learned to find balance (between this side and that) and i gained much confidence in my daily bajan driving adventures.

olivia and sue enjoyed a week of my raw food wares.  we ate incredible local fruits and vegetables. and lots of coconuts!!!!  i think for them (maybe especially for olivia) eating raw food all day was like driving on the other side of the road.  it was unlike their regular at home life.  i think they enjoyed it though for they sat me down and gathered recipes into their journals.  a few times over the course of our week i gave them a “break” from raw and took them to experience some local food:  roti, yam coo coo, cassava, and fish cutters.  there was even one rum punch in there.  all for the sake of balance!

our trip was full of explorations.  of trying new things.  we surfed!  we hiked.  we swam in the salty salty water until our lips puckered and our fingers wizened like children who have stayed in a bath too long.  our skin turned red from so much sun (even before 9:30 in the morning).  we swam with colourful fish and sea turtles.  we took naps.  found shade.  read books.

for me the most beautiful part of this trip was people.  the strangers.  the new friends.  the old friends.  after supper we would tell our stories.  we talked of our children.  and of loss.  we told of our husbands.  we listened to one another.  and opened our hearts.  we laughed and cried at the wildness of this life.  and of our serendipitous coming together.  it was a great gift to spend such time with such incredible people.

and i will do it all over again next year.  and because life is so ever changing.  it will be different.  unique.  and maybe you will come and join me!

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15 thoughts on “the joy of going away: my first raw food yoga retreat in barbados.

  1. Fantastic story of what was clearly an amazing trip. Amazing photos. The food pictures were unbelievable! Wow!!! You are gorgeous.

    1. thank you. i think it was awesome. and i am certainly in love with coconuts!!!! i told one of the coconut guys that my heart was breaking watching him throw all the pulp away. he smiled and laughed. but it really was breaking my heart!

  2. What a lovely way to accept the challenges and gifts life has to offer. I want to come next year to offer myself the same kind of gift! Love to you xoxo

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