It was my first retreat teaching by myself, having co-taught one 6 months earlier with the studio owner i worked under. Picture the little yoga room at the White Lotus Foundation in 2002, packed with my 20 participants. I was so thrilled to be having this new experience and to be earning a good wage for the 2-day retreat!
It was the final morning of our time together, and I had risen to the occasion by weaving magic over this series of classes with careful chosen music, poetry, meditations and yoga sequences.
Such a fun and meaningful new creative challenge…
The truth for most of us, I think, is that we choose to teach yoga because we want to inspire people, to support them in healing and growing, to offer a service that touches their hearts and gives them a space to find connection, compassion and courage to move forward with awareness, dignity and authenticity in their lives.
I am a big sap I know. I get choked up even writing a sentence like that right now, because it goes right to the core of my career motivations, and also to why I share what I do with you guys.
I want YOU to experience the incredible fulfillment that this career can provide.
So there we were, in the final Sunday morning class at my first real retreat. It was time for savasana, and I had some dreamy relaxing music playing, as the room dropped in deep.
Suddenly, I had an inspiration to play a song I knew was a favorite for some of the students: In The Sun by Donna Delory —and i thought: well, we have as much time as we want to take here, the room is ours, and after this long savasana track ends, I can play this song as a kind of finale to the weekend.
(NOTE: I am hoping that for some of you this will be your introduction to In The Sun, and might consider it a small gift that you can now use it yourself. Please let me know if you do!)
What happened next was so touching, and I call it a turning point for several reasons I will explain in a moment:
When the song came on, I watched and listened quietly, with goose-bumps as people who knew the words began to sing along.
Right there, on their backs, with their eyes closed.
By the end the whole room was singing the chorus. Not in a raucous way. In a sweet, reverential, vulnerable way that touches me now even to remember.
Tears rolled down my cheeks as I realized the incredible honor I had to have earned the trust of this little community to the point where they now felt connected enough with one another and at home enough in themselves to spontaneously blossom into this moment of magic together.
I call it a turning point because this moment inspired me to keep teaching retreats.
It motivated me to move to a larger retreat center, to create a dedicated webpage for my retreats and a description of what made them unique.
It encouraged me to keep crafting the retreat experience for my students via themes, poetry and musical selections, opening and closing circles and intentional opportunities for my students to bond, to open up, to utilize the practices we explored in this village-like setting to really grow and heal together.
Now I offer two 3-day retreats a year at a prestigious center in Ojai, they sell out about 4 months in advance, and have around double the number of participants I had back then…. Which of course means they do even better for me financially.
Best of all, Donna Delory (who at that point was a kind of spiritual/artistic celebrity to my community) actually came as a guest artist one year, and sang In The Sun on the final morning LIVE during our final savasana…. So powerful.
The retreat aspect of my business has grown and flourished and been sustainable as an expression of my love for this work and for one of my key tools: music.
Yoga teachers who come on my retreats always have a million questions for me about how I find music, how i sequence playlists, and how I seem to choose the perfect song at the perfect moment.
I have created the Ultimate Music Mastery course as a way to share the secrets I have learned over the last 20 years to really using music in effective, meaningful and creative ways.
Please click through and have a look at what I have created for you!
** Registration is NOW OPEN Until Our Start Date on January 16th —Stay tuned to Find Out More!