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The First RV Yoga Retreat Held

At first, I was not sure a yoga retreat crafted specifically for the RV community would work, but I’ve always been a risk taker, and there was no other way to find out. So, with fingers crossed and intentions set, I pitched the yoga retreat idea to Escapees RV Club. They loved the concept of bringing health and wellness to the RV community.


With their blessings, I hosted the first Body, Mind & Spirits Hangout + Yoga Retreat in Arizona, in April of 2022. (The retreat was positioned under the "Hangouts" group of Escapees events. Learn more about Hangouts here.)


This 10-day event was filled with soul soothing yoga, self-care workshops, adventure, sightseeing, healthy foods, massages, art therapy, and spending time together as a community.



Three memories stand as shining beacons of how necessary retreats like this are for a nomadic community and have made me feel more excited than ever to host more of them.


Yogis and Prisoners

Our opening ceremony was a powerful exercise in getting to know each other and sharing reasons why we were there. I asked the simple question, "Who is here as a willing yogi?" 44 people raised their hands. Then I asked, "who is here as a yoga prisoner?" Everyone started laughing, especially the “prisoners” themselves.


A yogi prisoner is a spouse, partner, or friend that just came along for the adventure, but isn’t into yoga. There were 8 self-identified prisoners at the opening ceremony, and part of my job was to help them become willing yogis.


I started the entire experience — for both willing yogis and prisoners — by focusing on awareness.


Many of the prisoners began by sitting back watching me teach, watching the other students learn, and hoping this wasn’t going to be the freaky yoga where you put one leg behind your head.



Relieved, they saw that it wasn’t freaky at all. It looked pretty inviting.


And they soon realized that once you try a little yoga, you want a little more. So they tried just a little bit of yoga… and then a bit more. Eventually, there were no more prisoners, just a group of people finding what worked for each of them, at a pace that worked for them, whether they started the retreat as a prisoner or an experienced teacher. Prisoners received yoga certificates at our closing ceremony to commemorate their journey.


More Than Poses

I noticed that everyone at the retreat took away something unique. Some achieved success at alleviating an injury. Others opened up to the power of rituals, and of being present in each moment.

The biggest realization for many was that practicing yoga involves much more than poses. It also includes breathing, nutrition, meditation, and relaxation.


Each plays a different part in helping improve our lives, and the retreat gave us the time to practice all 5 aspects of the complete system.


It was called Body, Mind & Spirits after all — both for the drinks and for our spiritual explorations.


The poses and stretching are what created a lot of initial interest in the event, but many of the students also began focusing on meditation or rituals.


Two popular rituals at the retreat were making moon water and participating in a drum circle.


To make moon water, fill a mason jar with water and place a few small items into it (such as fruit, herbs, or edible flowers), then put it outside to bask in the light of the full moon.


Next, write a few intentions or goals on a piece of paper, and place the paper under the jar of moon water. Those who truly believe in the energy of the universe will see their intentions manifest.


I drink my energized moon water so adding items you like the taste of is important.



Our drum circle ritual began with a brief lesson before we gathered in a full drum circle. Photos from this event reveal its power, showing attendees letting down mental and emotional barriers while listening to the rhythm of their heart beats.


They were able to feel, see and hear the true connection of body, mind, and spirit.



Rituals like these create moments of openness and connection, and they’re part of what makes yoga special.


Transformations

While yoga is powerful and creates incredible moments, it can often be hard to keep up with health and wellness on our own, especially on the road. It’s so much easier to sit and drink coffee while surfing the internet than it is to roll out a yoga mat or go for a hike. For many RVers, there isn’t an opportunity to go on vacation and store the rig.


The retreat, however, provided a nurturing, safe, and motivating environment for RVers to try new things and experience transformations within their nomadic community.


Many of the people at the retreat — especially those who identified early as prisoners — approached me about specific personal health issues. Some were small, like a little tweak in their back or foot, or shoulder. Others created a bigger impact, like a recently injured knee that caused one attendee to worry that she wouldn't be able to practice with the group.


She’d hurt her knee while hiking only a few weeks before the event, so in her first class, she nurtured it by remaining seated on a chair, while everyone else was on mats. We all did a few poses and stretches during that class to help her specifically, and the next day her knee felt better as she continued the stretches. Within a few days, she was able to join the practice on mats and even participate in group hikes. She was thrilled to learn how to stretch her knees before strenuous exercise.


In addition to resolving physical issues on our mats, we also witnessed emotional transformations. One woman was in the middle of a career change, and the space the retreat created for her opened up a deep well of emotion.


She was able to connect with another person at the event who had a similar past, and they built a friendship over their shared histories, which will help her in closing that chapter of her life.


I don’t do miracles, and yoga doesn't solve all problems, but the tools it gives us across all five disciplines (poses, breathing, nutrition, meditation, and relaxation) can help us find our way. The 2022 retreat was so very powerful, and I hope that those who attended continue to carry their transcendent moments and yoga lessons with them.


Why a Retreat

Life as an RVer has so many wonderful qualities. Yet the GO-GO nature of the lifestyle can be exhausting. While it seems RVers are on permanent vacation, they’re not. Regular day-to-day life goes on and many RVers still work. It’s difficult for folks who live full-time in their RV to take vacation. You have to find storage for the RV while on vacation. The retreat provided a vacation experience while sleeping in your own bed.


Many of my RV yoga students have commented they feel run down and it’s taking a toll their health.


I wanted to provide a special environment to help my students unwind. To have the time, space and instruction to practice the complete system of self-care yoga offers.



Retreats are designed to help you recharge and reset your mental, physical and spiritual health. This short video captures the essence of how the retreat connected Body, Mind and Spirits for everyone.



More Retreats Coming

The first event will always be special, and the retreat structure made it clear that we RVers need to have more. After witnessing the power and importance of these deep connections within the nomadic community, I’m creating RV yoga retreats with other yoga teachers and wellness practitioners.


I'm co-hosting a retreat in Mexico in April 2023 which is sold-out. Not to worry, I have retreats scheduled in Upstate New York, September 2023 and Florida's Forgotten Coast in November 2024. I'll be sharing that information soon. Other retreats are in works too. Follow this link to a retreat survey, and tell me what is important to you. I'd love to work with you, spend time talking to you, and help your yoga practice in any way I can.


Thank you to all who helped make the retreat a success, and to those who attended this first-ever RV yoga retreat. You showed me in so many ways that it was a risk worth taking!


Namaste, Theresé

 

I am a yoga teacher and full-time RVer traveling the US and Mexico. I help the RV community stay healthy on the road by hosting outdoor yoga classes, workshops and retreats designed for RVers.


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© 2022 www.TheTrippingYogi.com All Rights Reserved.



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