Rod and I created Rakhi Retreat as a space where you can come and experience some slow-time and (re)connect with the simple pleasures in life: each other; nature; our own selves.
My intention for this retreat was for the group to explore the notion of contentment (santosha) through simplicity.
Santosha is a Niyama, a set of personal observances, which make up the second of eight petals of yoga. Santosha can be translated as complete acceptance or contentment. We can experience contentment by being present to the simple things in our lives such as breathing, listening to the rain, or eating a meal. This allows us to acknowledge how abundant our lives really are, prevents us from striving for new things out of fear and instead, enjoy more of what we have.
Swimming in the lagoon waiting for the women to arrive on Friday evening I was introduced to the shape that rain-drops make as they hit the water. I always perceived this to be bubbles, which then radiated out into concentric circles. The new way of observing found me looking at a canvas of twinkling stars feeling like I was embedded within a Gulumbu Yununpingu painting.
Mr Iyenga describes humans as being caught between earth and the sky, we are animals who walk the earth and as bearers of a divine essence we also belong among the stars. He describes the practice of yoga as a fusion of nature and the soul. The gentle rain hitting the water as the sun set among the tea trees dissolved this duality and I was reminded that yoga does not just change the way we see things - it transforms the person who sees.
The retreat was a sublime combination of meditation, asana, pranayama, massage and nourishing food. Being surrounded by the lush green bush and cocooned by the wet season rain clouds I was able to reflect on the Zen saying “ware tada shiru taru” - all I need, I already have.
I am deeply grateful for the circle of women I have around me and for their support and co-creation of retreats over the last 15 years. I am honoured that Rakhi Retreat will now serve as a space where we can gather, surrounded by nature and embody santosha.