Fall Into Yin

Fall into Yin, an autumnal retreat at the Claymont Society in Charles Town, West Virginia, October 6th-8th 2017, $325 per person/double occupancy

So many of us are acutely aware when we fall into the usual gang of not-so-helpful dynamics and patterns. We know; we just can’t figure out how to do differently. So we fall into good-enough-for-now.

We know we shouldn’t be online as much but we can’t unhook from the news and barrage of information to which we’ve become accustomed, and without which we’re afraid we won’t be as intelligent and engaged as we’re committed to being.

We know we could be eating better, but we have 15 other things to get through before we can even consider shopping and cooking, and so we make do, even as we suffer from low-level conditions — problems sleeping, fluctuating energy levels, a white-noise level of generalized grumpiness.

We barely have time to hear ourselves think, or are bored or angered or anxious by what those thoughts are and we fall into busyness as a way of keeping ourselves out of our half-crazed or cynical-leaning minds.

From the moment I first fell into yin, after about ten years of a regular yoga practice, I was hooked. Not that it was easy: the silence and stillness of the practice helped me hear myself think — and I didn’t love what I heard.  Slowly, after months of practice, I was able to lift some chronic pain and shift my mind, peeling away layer after layer of discomfort with being in my own skin.

 If your attempts at self-care are less than what you want (anyone ever race to a yoga class only to find yourself thinking the whole time about what else you ought to be doing?), then consider joining me over Columbus/Indigenous People’s Day Weekend to hit the pause button.

We’ll stay in a beautifully simple setting, which has a rich history and meadows and woods where you can meander with leisure.

You’ll nourish your body with farm-fresh meals and twice-daily yoga and writing.  Yin yoga is especially good for those of us who experience muscular tightness and joint pain; this weekend’s sessions will weave in tips to build resiliency so that when you return to your regular life, you’ll be a little less reactive, a little more capable of shaking off moments of daily stress and coming back to a strong and centered sense of self.

Each yoga session will include time for writing, which is an extraordinary way to excavate what’s been buried inside and begin to revise the story of your life.

And you’ll have time to do nothing, or play, or nap, or get in a breathtaking walk.  Because retreating from your overscheduled life means we must make time for whatever feels right.

I found it to be an exceptional self-care experience. The ability to quiet the mind and disconnect from stress was a great reminder — it is possible and it doesn’t take that much work to get there.” —  AR, past retreat participant

The writing was the hardest part for me, but it became the most transformational aspect of the retreat. The readings Yael chose resonated with my values and got me thinking in new ways. Writing things out helped me see what issues I wasn’t dealing with, and I wound up writing how I wanted to start living. Within a few months of the retreat, I had made enough small changes to to feel more engaged and content.”  — JP, past retreat participant

Here’s what the weekend will look like, more or less (structure + improv = heavenly):

5:30-7:15 pm        Welcome Practice & Opening Circle
7:15-8:30              Dinner
Evening Activity Campfire & Smores

This is the grandmother tree in Claymont’s North Woods  — she’s hundreds of years old.


At the last retreat I co-led at Claymont with my friend Gracy Obuchowicz (pictured seated), we hugged the grandmother tree and generally hippied out.

7:30-8:30 am                                                              Breakfast
9-11 am                                                                       Yoga Practice
12:30-1:30 pm                                                            Lunch
1:30-5 pm                                                                   Free time
(Some things to do: take a hike on or off campus, read, nap, or go to Bloomsbury Distillery for a tasting. We’ll also have a sauna fed by a natural freshwater spring cooking starting around 3.)
5-6:30                                                                          Yoga
7-8                                                                               Dinner

Post dinner activity is on your own — from gorgeous silence and restfulness to board games and ping pong with fellow participants.

The beautiful trees in October on Claymont’s campus.

7:30-8:30 am           Breakfast
9-11:30 am              Yoga & Closing Circle
12:30-1:30 pm         Lunch

Depart at 2 – if you have Monday off, I’d really recommend taking a hike at any of the gorgeous trails nearby – or stopping in Harper’s Ferry on your way back to DC.

Does hitting the reset button sound good? Contact me and I’ll send you registration materials.  Register before September 1st and I’ll throw in Robin Kimmerer’s “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants”, which integrates the author’s scientific background as a botanist with her love of the land and storytelling as a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Tribe.   

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