Spira’s First Leavenworth Retreat June 2012

Class by the pool

It was magical! Four days and three nights of fun and laughter.  Each of us made 22 new friends, ate fantastic food, did two yoga classes per day, went hiking, biking, enjoyed sauna, hot tubs and heated pool….and somehow ended up with 47 empty bottles of wine….

Laughter is the best medicine. Laughter connects us to the present moment, lights up our spirit and relaxes our mind. I have to admit, there was not a lot of silent meditation during this retreat. Not that there was no opportunity to find silence, but our group craved to hang out and have fun. So that is what happened.  Buddhist monks claim we can find happiness by  “faking” a smile for a few hours every day. The idea is that eventually  the physical action of smiling will connect  us to the mental sensation of joy. Well, we had a somewhat more western route to this smiling meditation… We simply had a good time!

It is hard to pick where to start this memoir. So why not start in the middle.

The backyard of the property ended on the Shore of Wenatchee River. Here we had a beautiful fire pit in the garden by the pool. This was the place where nightly the men showed off their skills as the builders and protectors of fire. Regan and Steve played a lot with the fire.  There is a saying in Hungary for little kids: “If you play with fire you will wet your pants at night.” I am not sure if it is true. But I warned them of the dangers never the less.

It was around this fire that I found out that Sarah is an English teacher. She told us that she can tell when someone else edits someone’s writing. She even told me that she could tell that Regan has been editing some of my newsletters to make it readable…. So here we go! I am attempting this blog all by myself, all in the spirit of giving you a truly authentic memoir of this experience.

The fire-pit was also the place where ‘Crumb’ taught all of us how to make smore infusions. We became very mesmerized by this innovation. Anna made quite a few, but she insisted on sacrificing some to the fire gods. Fortunately, we are all yogis and instead of banning her from marshmallow privileges we supported her need to practice…

But not everyone wanted to be part of the fire pit. The lodge was so huge; there was something for everyone’s mood. Downstairs late at night Regan found some old movies. Thus one night we had a showing of Footloose and the other night Dirty Dancing. This was not a very quiet affair…so occasionally I went upstairs to the main living room to check out the “chill” conversations on the couch. But instead of chill, I found folks filming each other dancing – using some new ap from I-phone that turns your dance production into a silent film.

It seemed that the  whole Retreat was infected with laughter. Wherever I went people were laughing out loud.

As you can imagine, these evenings were not short… Thus our morning practice did not happen till 9:30am. We all had a chance to get up and lazily enjoy a gorgeous breakfast. Here I want to acknowledge our cooks Sarah and Alex. We had an  abundance of many choices all day long. We were spoiled with three full meals per day and snacks in-between. They worked from 6am till 11pm everyday either cooking or cleaning and they managed to do all this with a smile! Truly admirable! Because of them, we had fresh fruit, salmon, veggies, soups, eggs anyway your heart desired. I cannot give it justice writing about it. You have to come next time and experience it yourself.

We were lucky that the weather cooperated somewhat, it was a bit on the cold side  but we  managed to have all our yoga practice outside. Some on the covered front deck, some on the lawn by the river, some by the pool. We even used the tennis court once for inversion workshop; those fences around the court catch more than just tennis balls! They are great “walls”  for handstands. Lena made  it her practice to smile all the way through  Regan’s  inversion workshop. This  created infectious bubbles  of laughter throughout  the group. Of course this was not too hard since across from Lena some  girls (remain un-named) kept cracking fart jokes (pun intended). Here I publicly would like to apologize for the vegetable soup with too much cabbage. I promise next time we will take that particular item off menu. :-)

Between classes  everyone did whatever they wanted. Some went on long bike rides, some soaked in the hot tub and read books. I went on hikes both days with a few folks. On our second hike we spotted a huge bear paw print on our trail. As we descended the mountain, this adventure turned into an imaginary bear meeting in the forest and as we sat down for our dinner with a glass of wine it developed into “Dora and the Bear” epic journey of a yogi warrior princess.

Before the bear paw...

What else is there to say? A lot more has happened. But what happens in Leavenworth stays in Leavenworth. So if you are curious…join us next time! We cannot wait to return to the Heaven Can Wait Lodge!