Breathe New Life Into Your Life: Santosha Yoga & Meditation Retreats

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I was so excited to be attending my very first yoga retreat over the weekend, held in the quirky town of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, USA. The retreat is run by Santosha Yoga & Meditation Retreats, and is called “Breathe New Life Into Your Life”, and this name has particular significance for me right now as it has a double meaning (I am currently in my second trimester of pregnancy).

I arrived at my hotel in the early afternoon on Friday (just before 1pm) and wasn’t expecting my room to be ready yet (as check-in time was at 3pm), but the staff were very accommodating and showed me straight to my room plus a tour of the mineral springs and facilities.

For the first hour or so I unpacked, did some reading, and ate some snacks/lunch. I decided to try out the springs and the staff were kind enough to point me in the right direction where there was a shallow pool where I could have a short soak at less than 100 degrees F (the temperature was 98-99F and felt no warmer than a bath I would normally take at home), as it is best not to go above 102F for long periods of time (i.e. more than ten minutes) when pregnant in case it raises your body temperature too much. Most of the other pools were above 102F. I also used the foot soaks which felt great. (Disclaimer: Always get advice from your own doctor about using a bath or spa during pregnancy to fit your individual circumstances and health).

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I enjoyed a hot shower and felt well and truly relaxed by this point, so I headed back to my room for a cup of tea (I always pack all my favourite teas when I travel, and the hotel room also had some nice ones to choose from – added bonus)! The room was cozy and warm and I could relax and rest some more (and listen to the rare and beautiful sound of the desert rain) before heading out to the first yoga class of the retreat, followed by the welcome dinner.

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Saturday morning began with an 8am yoga session, followed by breakfast (provided as part of the retreat package deal). I then had some tea in my room, another short soak and hot shower, and then my Swedish massage which I had been looking forward to for a long time (and it of course felt amazing)! I also bought a couple of items at the hotel gift shop (some rose oil and a lavender sugar scrub – both smell fantastic). We had another yoga session at 4pm followed by dinner at an Italian restaurant. The night ended perfectly with an 8pm meditation session, and then a very relaxing sleeeeeeeep, zzzzzzz…

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Sunday once again began with an 8am yoga session followed by the retreat closing ceremony, and then breakfast. I send a huge thank you to Marisa and Maggie (our yoga and meditation instructors) who were so attentive to our every need throughout the duration of the retreat. They were always available to help with answers to any of our questions and to provide us with extra blankets, pillows, or blocks during classes.

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What I learned at the retreat, and ideas for future practice: 

  1. Sometimes it takes more discipline to slow down (or stop) than it does to be busy and rushing around all the time.
  2. “Through discipline you learn more about yourself”.
  3. A fantastic mantra I discovered for mountain pose: “Inner Strength”.
  4. Another great mantra for meditation and deep breathing: “Inhale Love; Exhale Pain”.
  5. There are five states that can be useful to concentrate on during meditation practice: the physical, the breath, the emotional, the intellectual, and bliss (I chose to focus on “bliss” for our evening meditation session).

Our teacher shared this excellent poem with us during one of our yoga sessions:

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning, a new arrival,
A joy, a depression, meanness…
Some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all,
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows
Who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture.
Still, treat each guest honorably,
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
Meet them at the door, laughing; and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
Because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
– Rumi

Upcoming Retreat: Breathe Deeper Into Your Life…

The next retreat is being held at Ghost Ranch (Abiqui, New Mexico), April 8-10, 2016. The retreat package includes lodging, yoga and meditation classes, and all meals. Please see this link: Ghost Ranch Retreat for more details.

Yoga & Meditation CD:

Head to Breathe New Life Into Your Life for information on the yoga and meditation CD by Halli Bourne and Marisa Wolfe.

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Here are some of my favourite photos from the retreat:

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On the backs of these cards we wrote out our intentions for the retreat. Mine were “Happiness” and “Relaxation”.

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Hotel cat: Friendly black cat sat on my lap in the sun… (I’m not sure who enjoyed it more)!

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Grapes Gallery was the perfect place for our yoga classes.

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Some of the art at Grapes Gallery.

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My colourful view while I practiced yoga.

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This is where we hung our intention cards for the weekend.

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There was a range of photography, paintings, and furniture on display at the gallery.

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Out and about in Truth or Consequences: always something interesting to see…

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The streets have so much character and are wonderfully colourful.

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Artwork is everywhere you look in Truth or Consequences.

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Stay tuned for more travel photos and the history of Truth or Consequences, coming up soon!

See you next time,

Bridget @ Hot Tea, Travel, & Thyme

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Thank you Santosha Yoga & Meditation Retreats for a fabulous weekend of rest and relaxation!

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