This past weekend wrapped up our 2012 retreat season with a big, beautiful bow – our first Yoga & Yellowstone retreat. It was a weekend of firsts: first Y&Y, many of the Yellowstone Yoginis’ first trip to Montana, and the first snowfall of the season. Some of the highlights are pictured above: spectacular sunrises and sunsets at the B Bar Ranch (we were quick enough to grab a gorgeous group shot at sunset our last evening together); a sweet moose with snow all over her nose; bugling elk; our group and a warrior pose at the top of the world, and soaking in YNP’s Boiling River. Wish we could have gotten a pic of the grizzly mama bear and her two cubs that we watched through binoculars our first evening.
On many of our retreats we do a journaling exercise with animal cards. I don’t participate often (it’s not about me), but with this being our first Y&Y, I felt it was appropriate. I drew Elk; I was thrilled to draw such a perfect card for this retreat and this time of year, the elk rut. One of my fave Montana moments is to hear elk bugle. Each card is accompanied by an essay that is given to each person mid-retreat, once they have some time to process the card on their own. My essay had a few insightful messages for me; it discussed how elk, with the exception of during mating season, honor the company of their own gender. Perhaps, suggested the essay, I needed more girl time in my life…? Actually, I think I have that handled – I am so, so lucky to meet so many amazing women during our retreats. I feel like my cup overfloweth with feminine power and energy, but this gave me a chance to honor that and close the season with gratitude.
The other lesson Elk had for me was about stamina. Elk can elude a mountain lion simply by pacing itself. I’ve already confessed to being quite Type A, as in let’s just get this shit done. I push through impatiently, as quickly as I can. It can take a toll on me. And despite the lessons I teach through yoga about life balance, of course it’s easier said than done sometimes. So I think that this was a perfect time to be reminded of what I need to work on: Elk could also be telling you to look at how you are holding up physically to the stresses in your life, and to pace yourself so that you maintain an equilibrium of energy over the distance you plan to cover.
I’m looking forward to slowing down and strengthening my stamina…and I plan to be writing here a bit more too. Namaste.
Sunset group photo by Larry Stanley