I lived and loved yoga during this weekend’s retreat at the Sleeping Lady mountain resort. The resort nestles east of the Cascades — 3 hours from Seattle, up and over a mountain pass, past the Tumwater River, and down to Icicle Creek.
It’s an adventure to arrive in time for Friday afternoon’s practice, braving narrow, twisty mountain roads at 60 mph. The adrenaline rush while driving is tempered by the blaze of fall foliage, waterfalls cascading down the mountain slopes, rushing rivers with white water rapids…
The long quest-like drive helps bridge the transition from worklife to a yoga retreat.
When you finally arrive at Sleeping Lady, you find beauty wherever you look, no matter the weather.
From our standing yoga poses, we could gaze at jagged or cloud-capped mountain peaks (or rock-strewn lower slopes, as shown here). I communed with a blazing aspen grove for several moments while balanced in tree pose.
We held longer-than-usual warrior poses while contemplating sunbreaks, racing clouds, or deer grazing in the nearby meadow.
We meditated to the sound of raven calls or rain drops on the tin roof.
Hearts on Fire
Rainey, a grace-filled yoga teacher and retreat leader, guided our practice, centered on the theme of “tending your heart’s flame.” On a chill weekend her theme was singularly apt.
Rainey is particularly gifted at invoking just the right amount of heartful or spiritual qualities in the yoga retreats that she leads. During the opening and closing circle we shared our intentions, challenges, and the blessings we hoped to bring back to our everyday life and encounters with our community of friends, family, neighbors and colleagues. Yes, there were tears, but way more smiles…
From late Friday through Sunday morning, we immersed ourselves in 4 juicy practices (2+ hours each). Afterwards we’d run, still in our sweaty yoga gear, to the communal dining room, where we’d feast on organic produce grown on or near the Sleeping Lady resort.
Trees Ablaze with Color
Yoga retreats offer many delights, no matter when or where they take place. But especially in the fall… In early November the foliage flames with fiery colors: reds and golds everywhere.
Temperatures are chilly but perfect for aerobic exercise —“fleece weather,” we call it…
My husband joined me for this retreat — not to practice, but to enjoy hiking, communal dining, and conversations with this community of yoga practitioners. He read sailing books, or hiked and communed with nature while we sweated away on our mats…
I thank him for the photos that capture these visual memories. And the courage to come along on a yoga retreat where women outnumber men 3:1…