We started off our summer retreat season with two glorious back-to-back Cowgirl Yogas. It’s always hard to narrow down the best Montana moments, there are so many. This alchemy of horses + yoga + women who are open to the experience = blissful healing, the chance to soak up and share our surroundings. This especially shines through on our annual Cowgirls vs. Cancer retreat. We prep and plan all year for a weekend that goes by way too fast – I wish I could slow it down to bask longer in the feeling of healing that surrounds us. To watch women who have battled indescribable challenges arrive with some anxiety and anticipation still in their back pocket, shift into an explosion of joy and celebration of being alive. To watch the horses and yoga bring that to the surface, in all of us. It’s magical, it’s humbling. It’s beyond words.
We are lucky to have our Montana Yoga Photographer exquisitely capture all this in his images. From his Cowgirls vs. Cancer 2016 blog post:
As I photographed with these souls, I witnessed the strength and authenticity that these cancer survivors own. They own it. They have been down a dark road of facing their own mortality and emerged with a new lease, knowing that the life that we have does not last forever, it is temporal. It was such a heart opening experience. My prayers are for their continued good health and most importantly JOY, JOY, JOY in every day we have!
Oh… yes… a special note of thanks to these remarkable horse spirits that show such loving kindness. I witnessed the love and compassion that horses have within them for these women. See for yourself in the images.
There are so many people that contribute their efforts, energy and kindness to make this retreat happen every year. It makes my heart feel like it will burst with gratitude, for each and every contribution, but also for the fact that we can come together and make a difference. It’s empowering and uplifting.
While I was still processing this year’s C vs. C experience, our partner JADE Yoga provided a wonderful surprise – they featured our 2013 Cancer Kickin’ cowgirls in an ad on the back cover of the August 2016 Yoga Journal. A huge, Big Sky thank you to JADE for gifting our C vs C retreaters pink mats each year, and for helping to spread the word about what we do. (By the way, JADE donates a portion of proceeds from the sale of their pink mats to Living Beyond Breast Cancer every fall.)
I don’t think it was a coincidence that as part of my processing, I was drawn to the book Horse Medicine. There are many beautiful horse books out there – but what I’m interested in is the portrayal of horses as healers. Author/photographer Tony Stromberg comments on the gifts horses give:
As an extension of their healing capacity, they teach us about true intimacy and connection, not just with the horse as a dance partner, but with the natural world at large…And ultimately, through teaching, healing, and connection, they help us transcend the human realm and taste the divine.
The horse really can be seen as medicine with the ability to heal us on many levels – emotionally, archetypically, spiritually – and with the capacity to help us restore our lives to a natural balance of inner and outer, of spirit and flesh.
Do you want to support Cowgirls vs. Cancer? Do you shop on Amazon.com? (Who said No??) This is super cool: through AmazonSmile, you can donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to Cowgirls vs. Cancer. So giddy up and get shopping here. I recommend Horse Medicine as one of your first purchases.
With gratitude, Margaret and the Cowgirls vs. Cancer team