13 Retreats in 2013: Cowgirl Yogatography Grand Finale

Retreat season ended in mid-October, and I’ve been meaning to write this post about what a perfect grand finale we had with our first-ever Cowgirl Yogatography retreat. I have, however, been quasi-hibernating. Going to bed way too early, eating like I was fattening up for winter, and spending quite a bit of time on my yoga mat catching up on my own practice. But my fingers starting itching for the keyboard again, what with the latest yoga news rolling in (NYT Women’s Flexibility is a Liability (in Yoga) article and the latest Lululemon ludacris-ness). More on those later. Well, maybe more on the NYT topic, since I think I may be a bit lulu-ed out.

Retreat season is a lot of rewarding work, that also involves managing my own energy. I don’t want to give less because I’m depleted by the end of the season (which is why yoga practice is soooo important). Our last retreat this year gave back to me in so many unexpected ways that I am still basking in the afterglow. It was our first Cowgirl Yogatography retreat, with our Montana Yoga Photog Larry; it was two years in the making. This retreat combined yoga, horses, and creative photography. I already knew what a powerful blend yoga and horses is on our Cowgirl Yoga retreats. I had no idea the creativity that both can spark.

I didn’t participate in the photography classes and assignments, which allowed me to observe everything unfold. Larry and I co-taught meditation early each morning, and I taught playful yoga practices each day in between the photography classes. And all that came together when the Cowgirl Yogatographers went outside to capture their equine models through the camera lens. I knew something special was happening just by watching them work; once I saw their final slide show at dinner our last evening, I was brought to both laughter and tears by their art.

One of the retreaters wrote this testimonial, which is now posted on our website: 
I feel so blessed having spent this past weekend at the Cowgirl Yogatography retreat in Montana. We came together to enjoy nature, learn about the creative process, and grow confident in using our cameras in manual mode. I walked away from this with all of that but so much more. 
I came away from this weekend in a state of catharsis. The yoga opened my heart, the meditation opened my mind, the horses fostered new ways of communicating, and the photography provided a creative outlet that captured the entire integrated experience in some amazing images. Thereby reconciling pieces of me that I did not even know were broken. And for that I am forever grateful. So. Very. Deep.

Erin also shared some of her images on her Spirited Traveler Tumblr. I think one of my favorites (although it’s very tough to choose – we will have a wonderful selection posted soon in our website’s retreat gallery) is the one she called “The Big Lick”. It’s comical, beautiful, and captures the creative vision of a uniquely Montana moment. Love.

Check out more inspiring images from Laura of Blissful Auras Yoga, who is pictured above showing her Gratitude. And Larry shared images on his blog of the Cowgirl Yogatographers, on the other side of the lens. Smile and say Yeehaw & Namaste.