Hockley Valley is paradise. It’s less than an hour away from Toronto, but I feel like I’m a million miles away in a magical mystery land when I come here. Sometimes, all it takes is a few kilometres between myself and the big city for me to feel detached from my busy life and connected to the beautiful, natural world.
Judging by the smiles on their faces and the words they expressed, the retreaters felt just as at peace as I did– and I was leading the group!
My goal for this retreat was simple: empower others to find more presence in their lives, while unwinding in nature. Many of the retreaters expressed joy over finding new tools for staying more connected and at-peace in their every day lives. Maybe that was their gift. My gift was being inspired by retreaters, like Brenda (pictured above), who showed 20 somethings like myself that we are NEVER done being powerful and explorative in our bodies–if we so choose.
We found ourselves naturally falling into yoga poses as we walked across parts of the breathtaking Hockley Valley trail in Orangeville. If I didn’t know it before, I realized then how we can learn so much from nature. Some trees seemed to be on the brink of total collapse, only to be held up by a nearby brother tree. Just like trees can lean on each other, so can we. With presence–when we connect to what’s really happening in this moment–we can connect to ourselves and others much more powerfully.
We stopped along the trail each day to do some self-inquiry. I had the retreaters journal on a few questions about their experience in nature and how to access the feeling they get from being in the wild in their everyday lives. It’s one thing to be aware of how you feel and what you want, and it’s another to make a commitment to it by putting pen to paper.
There’s nothing better than showing yourself a little love after a day of physical and mental exploration. Enter: the hot tub. This was our post-hike haven for enjoying some wine, while letting go of any remaining tension in our bodies after a day of flowing and walking. Funnily enough, THIS is where I felt we had the most authentic and free interactions. We discussed our hopes and dreams, our favourite parts of the retreat so far and our love for nature. I wasn’t separate from the retreaters, I was one with them–only guiding and that’s how I like it.
I wanted to reflect on this incredible experience like I do all experiences, with consideration and gratitude. I can’t wait to lead more retreats in the beautiful Hockley Valley and I can’t wait to bring yoga to more people around the WORLD. One breath and one pose at a time.
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