As you know I firmly believe in Integrative Medicine and this is not just for Western but Eastern as well. I believe that healers need to go to healers and that we must consistently take time for ourselves to allow our own growth and healing to unfold for mind, body and spirit. Remember that any relationship you are in, personal or professional requires a constant commitment to “healing and growth.” In my life experiences if this is not happening usually the relationship needs some changes or it is time to let go of that relationship and embrace new ones. (that’s an entire other article). And hence, I needed to continue to heal and grow and so off I went to the mountaintop.
With that said I chose, I repeat, I CHOSE to spend a weekend on top of the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. This was not just any mountain top retreat; it was a Yoga retreat with long time yoga expert, Mary Lou Buck of Charlotte, North Carolina. There I sat in the center of a healing circle in a chair that had a crystal amethyst buried beneath it to improve the energy flow. The circle was completed with natural rocks from the mountains and filled with stone and flowers of magnificent and myriad of colors encompassed the perimeter. I looked out over the mountains through the trees and saw a world far below that held nothing for me this weekend and I pondered upon the world of “busy” with no time for silence or peace of mind. This was to be the beautiful path to begin my weekend of Yoga. I had only participated in doing Yoga once or twice in my life previously and it had been from a video and so with all of my inexperience I was called to this retreat.
I went with my fiancé, Alan and at first he did not want to go. His basic worry was one of Maslow’s hierarchies of needs and thus he concluded, “What no meat and potatoes?” The thought of only healthy food and no meat made him question even as we drove there whether he wanted to be going or not and asking himself why he agreed to accompany me on this journey. He concluded clearly that since I have termed him so endearingly, “my drag-a-long,” he was resigned once again to being “dragged along!”
We arrived before the other participants, (I recommend to take half a day off and go early) and found that the journey up and over the mountains was exhilarating and even scary; the road twisted and turned back and forth as we drove higher and higher up the mountain until the black tar turned into only gravel and then into only sand and it was a bumpy road.
I began to wonder what I thought I was doing here and I was remembering that “it is not the bumps in the roads, yet how you handle them that make the difference.” So, I took a deep breath in and prayed that the tires on my new car would stay new and that the gravel being spit up would not arm its precious paint job and I simply relaxed into the flow of life and found myself surprisingly letting go.
Of course, I only let go so much because I had my cell phone hidden in my pocket, my cell phone made me feel safe and I was connected. I singled parented my daughter most of her life and she was on my mind as she began her on journey for her weekend retreat. I just wanted to be sure that she arrived safely on her bus and so my phone was critical to my letting go of the real world and allowing myself this gift to embrace the weekend. A weekend of no phones, no television, no radios, no cooking, no cleaning, no child, no work and no worries and even to go so far as to have no planning. WHEW!
As we headed over the mountain I realized that my cell phone had no reception and something inside of me began to panic. I realized that not only would I not be able to hear from my child, but that very shortly I would be cut off from the world. I had a shiver go up my spine with these thoughts and realized how very grateful I would be in just a few short hours. I will have released all of the stress and tension and be embracing peace and relaxation. Now, please do not misunderstand me here, I am very calm and peaceful in my daily life yet there is another level of such peace and freedom that only one can receive from such journeys as these.
Well we had already known that there would only be 10 guests and that we each would share a room. When we arrived and introduced ourselves to our weekend hostess we were told to pick any room. Quite surprised to find out that all of the rooms were keyless. They were left unlocked and screens opened. We picked our room and made our beds because in the mountains you bring what you need to sleep with and shower.
After we unpacked we enjoyed a short hike in the mountains and began to absorb all of the beauty of our surroundings. It was amazing to not hear a sound yet hear nature. As others began to arrive there was still a deep sense of peace and quietness. There was little or no noise all weekend and it was almost as if you were sitting in a holy place.
The owners of the retreat are an elderly couple with deep spiritual roots no doubt. They built the retreat with the hopes of attracting spiritual beings for these types of weekends. They participated in some of the Yoga and had fun with us and the back massages.
Our guide on this weekend journey was Mary Lou Buck of Yoga For Life Center. Her staff prepared our meals and cleaned up too. This was wonderful. You could help if you wanted to, however it was not required. I choose to not help with any of the food preparations and cleanup. Yet, my fiancé helped to prepare dinner. The weekend went quickly yet our bodies felt the impact of using muscles that had been long forgotten. As an avid treadmiller and Alan an avid cyclist we were in shape using different muscles. We were challenged and taken to levels of new and vital energies. Our bodies were able to contort and move with ease as Mary Lou and her staff took us on this journey. Their expert and kind guidance allowed all levels of participants to enjoy. We did such positions as the child, the puppy, the dog and the cat. Something for every animal lover!
I could feel my energy shifting after each class. Now, if you are a beginner do what you can and honor your body. The weekend really opened up doors for us both to remember to honor our body and not just our minds and spirits. If you are an expert Yoga participant, Mary Lou had classes of “Power Yoga” and believe me, aerobics has nothing over this! And in the evening there was gentle yoga and meditation with her staff. All of these instructors receive an A+ for kindness, consideration and knowledge and expertise.
Friday night we had great foot massages with partners and Anita Godwin, a Charlotte massage therapist led the healing. She wooed everyone into preparation for a deep and peaceful sleep with smooth and great feeling feet.
You were encouraged throughout the weekend to make time for your self and your own healing, to nurture yourself. Something humans need to do more often! The people we met were wonderful, all ages, sizes and shapes and yet we all were able to enjoy the Yoga. I always believe that the Universe will bring you together with others for your own healing and growth. And this journey was no exception to this belief.
Finally, you can go with your spouse, boyfriend or partner, or you can go alone. Whatever way you go just know that you will be treated kindly and with love and light.
So folks, back your sleeping bag, toiletries, hiking boots, and your sticky mat and head for this Yoga Retreat. By the way, one small note, for large breasted women be certain you take a sports bra!
Love and light as always,
Dr. Karen Frank aka The Bumble Bee Lady
Karen Frank holds a Doctorate degree in Metaphysics and is the Founder and President of Dr. Karen Frank’s Center for Holistic Wellness and Healing Hypno-Harmonics, a CD series for self hypnosis. She is a frequent guest on Radio shows nationwide and teaches in the United States as well as other countries. A published Author and accomplished motivational speaker and trainer, Dr. Frank has more than 20 years of experience and research as a Medical Hypnotist and a background in Nursing. Karen is also a certified F.I.R.E. walk Instructor and addresses hundreds of groups each year teaching people in the areas of personal and professional growth. She has helped thousands to discover their own full potential since she has come from welfare, food stamps and homelessness. Her fantastic success ratio is attributed to her winning motivational abilities and in part her profound understanding of individuals’ readiness and acceptance toward healing themselves through her guidance.