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Feel the Fear and Downward Dog Anyway: A Yoga Retreat in Sonoma with The Mobile Mat

  • May 1, 2019
  • By Karen
Feel the Fear and Downward Dog Anyway: A Yoga Retreat in Sonoma with The Mobile Mat

A little while ago, I signed up for a yoga retreat in Sonoma and I hadn’t had a yoga practice in a year and a half.

My girlfriend Shannon asked me to join her in Sonoma for a weekend of yoga with Diana Gradstein of The Mobile Mat.  Immediately I banished the thought. Why? Well, firstly, as I mentioned, I hadn’t practiced yoga in a year and a half. Secondly, I wouldn’t know anyone beside Shannon.  But that seemed like a strange reason…I love people!

After a bit of reflection, I realized there was more to my resistance. But what was it?

It turned out that I was afraid.  Plain and simple. Afraid that nobody would like me, afraid that I wouldn’t be able to do yoga, afraid that I was less than something I felt I “should” be.  

I’ve seen this pattern before. I avoid in order to stay comfortable.

I knew that I needed to let that go but it wasn’t easy for this stubborn girl right here.

Fortunately, I did let go. I went.

Shannon and I flew into San Francisco a day early and stayed with her friend Cathy who lives in a quaint town of Burlingame.  Cathy is a doll. We had a fun afternoon thrift shopping and getting pedis. Thank you Cathy.

A super big treat was going to the San Francisco ballet! Shannon’s co-worker’s son is the lead dancer. What a talent.

When in fear, ask yourself, “What is it I’m really feeling? Is this something I need to be afraid of?” More than not, I am noticing that my fear is often false.  So instead of dismissing an opportunity, I will try to make it a learning experience. That attitude served me well as we headed out to Westerbeke Ranch.

After a leisurely morning coffee in Cathy’s kitchen, Shannon, Cathy, and I set out for our big yoga retreat in Sonoma.  It was a beautiful crisp and sunny spring morning. And over the beautiful bridge we went. We stopped for lunch and a little bit of retail therapy at Cornerstone at the edge of Sonoma.  

As we arrived at the lush beautiful setting of Westerbeke Ranch I got out of the car and had an overwhelming feeling of panic.  I voiced my feelings out loud and they seemed to dissipate. As we walked up the staircase I was in awe of the natural beauty surrounding us, and the cabins nestled into the hills.  Nature truly is a healer.

We were all greeted by Diana of The Mobile Mat, who was hosting this yoga weekend retreat.  Her personality is welcoming and loving. Big hugs all around. And I am a hugger so hello, this made us friends immediately.

The weather was amazing all weekend. It was warm enough in the afternoon to lie out and get some intoxicating rays of sunshine.  I always like to breathe deep while sunbathing.

At night, my roomies Shannon and Cathy and I were in the yellow cabin overlooking everything.  I was as snug as a bug in a rug in my single bed. It was cozy and rustic.

Here’s something interesting about the weekend for me.  We were in wine country and I consumed no alcohol. I bought a bottle of wine and I didn’t like it.  I bought another bottle and didn’t like it. No alcohol was consumed by me. Was it a sign? Or am I that much of a wine snob?  Clearly, I am. I am good with this.

Yoga felt so freaking good.  I was scared but went with it.  There was no judgment. Woop, I did it.  How did it make me feel? Accomplished and proud of myself.  All the little things add up.

Before our Saturday morning yoga class, we took a walk down the roadway.  It was breathtaking, there were eagles playing in the sunny skies. The wildflowers on the road were just starting to bloom.  The old barn just beyond the rows of grapevines whispered stories about times past. The eucalyptus smell was enchanting. The sun was giving me just enough warmth so that I could feel it through my shirt.

Did I mention that the food was amazing at Westerbeke Ranch?  Breakfast on Saturday morning was milk pancakes. They were fluffy and delicious and served with bananas, whipping cream + raspberries.  The fruit selection was great, as was the bacon!! Who can say no to bacon? I sure as heck cannot. (I apologise that I don’t have pictures of the gorgeous food, I was enjoying myself). Westerbeke Ranch has its own garden.  You know I love local and try to experience it whenever possible. Every meal was fresh and delicious.

Prior to heading to Westerbeke Ranch I signed up for a Sunday morning massage and holy did that feel great.   I was in and out of consciousness. Martha the massage therapist has magic hands.

I don’t recommend hurrying the way I did.  What I do recommend is moving your body slowly and doing a check in with yourself.  

Unfortunately, once I left the massage table I wasn’t able to relax and take in all of its benefits.  I wanted to stay in my blissful state of relaxation but we needed to check out.

Diana had us reflect and she reminded us taking time for ourselves is self care. She spends her time on her mat. An hour a day each week. Thats 7 hours for self care. She left us with this “What are you going to do with your 7 hours a week?” Brilliant!

Diana Gradstein – The Mobile Mat – is hosting a retreat in Tuscany this June.  Get the details here! And I am joining her!

Westerbeke Ranch is an amazing venue.  Check it out here!


By Karen, May 1, 2019
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