January 23, 2016
I took yoga classes intermittently when I was in undergrad because my university provided free classes at the on campus gym. With some foundation in yoga, I started taking yoga classes again in August 2015. Groupon had a great deal with You and The Mat: 10 classes for just $12.50.
After my father passed, I started having a lot more anxiety at night and had difficulties sleeping. Yoga helped me deal with my anxiety. In addition, you become part of the family when you are a regular at the studio.
I learned about different yoga retreats that were going on from 2015-6. Denise, the studio owner and one of the instructors, informed me about two upcoming retreats: one in Italy and the other in Hawaii. The retreat in Italy was around the same time as the trip I was planning for Israel, but the one in Maui seemed appealing.
I paid for the yoga retreat in Maui and enjoyed every minute of it. The schedule was consistent for the most part: yoga in the mornings and evenings; time to explore in the afternoons. Our instructor was Elissa, and she enhanced our trip by including activities and sharing new things about herself. Most of the people that attended the retreat were older, but we came together with a similar purpose: to connect with ourselves more. Everyone was very open to being vulnerable with one another emotionally.
Baldwin Beach Park
Baldwin Beach was my first view of Maui besides where I was residing for the yoga retreat, which was Lumeria Maui. It was gorgeous, and the weather was perfect.
Black Rock Beach
During a ride to Kapula Bay, someone told me that my spirit reminded her of a dolphin. Dolphins are playful by nature, pure, innocent, and approach life with humor and joy. She gave me a necklace to remind me of Maui and expressed excitement in seeing where I end up in life. I was surprised by her support and generosity.
Maui is one of the most peaceful islands of Hawaii. There’s a sense of community, and everyone watches out for each other. There’s no “I” but rather “we.”
The shot on the right was taken before I swam 200 yards into the Pacific Ocean, hoping to hear the whales singing underwater.
A local native told me to explore “Black Rock.” Legend has it that “Black Rock” is the place where your body and soul separate. When you dive off, your body and soul are reunited.
Paddleboarding was a very popular activity besides snorkeling at Black Rock Beach.
The bamboo forest leads into a trail of three waterfalls, one increasing in its intensity to get to.
Last waterfall requires you to climb to the top, walk across a long trail of varying rock sizes, and swim across a body of water before reaching to. I was intimidated to swim across in order to reach the last waterfall so I walked back.
In the Bamboo Forest, I met Diana and her husband, Daniel, each at separate moments. I met her husband while he was trying to find the route to the last waterfall in the bamboo forest. I met Diana as I was trying to find my way out.
Diana and her husband hosts retreats but a unique kind: understanding your fears and flaws while learning to accept and express yourself in a transparent way with strangers.
I loved their mission because they’re able to live a life they want while making it sustainable: traveling. I’m excited to attend one of their retreats in the near future.
The retreat was also what brought their love and united them together.
Last last words exchanged were “follow the sandals, and you’ll find your way out.” Note: the sandals served as markers to direct hikers the way out of the bamboo forest.
The way back from the Bamboo Forest was intense because I lost reception so I walked as much as I could before hitchhiking back. I’ve never hitchhiked so much in my life. I encountered three rides, all whom I’m thankful for meeting: married couple, surfers, and yogis.
I truly felt like a survivor because I had to be resourceful in finding my way back. I’m grateful that I was able to come home to my family for the week. Mahalo, You and the Mat, for hosting this yoga retreat.
I loved spending each day doing yoga in the mornings and evenings while exploring/seeking adventure during the day. These last two days, I was grateful to meet Hunter and Alex, both whom have strong aspirations and dreams. We all have dreams, but sometimes, we forget that we can still achieve them no matter what age.
It’s a simple life in Maui, but there’s always adventure with good company.
JAWS beach, Pe’ahi, is where some of the most gigantic waves surfed in the world occurred.
You and The Mat – last day of the yoga retreat
You and The Mat hosted the yoga retreat in Maui at Lumeria. I was a regular student at the Oakland studio. They offer classes in Oakland and Laguna Niguel.
This was our regular spot meditating and walking through their man-made labyrinth. Elissa brought notebooks for us, and this area was where we wrote our daily reflections.
This was one of my first yoga retreats, but I enjoyed every minute of it. We learned to develop a sankalpa, a conception formed in the heart or mind, essentially a solemn vow or will. It was hard to think of one because they’re suppose to hit you at random moments. I reflected, and for now, this is one I’m carrying with me lifelong: stories mean a lot to me because it brings life to a person, a memory, and an experience. Whomever I meet or have yet to encounter, I hope to brighten everyone’s inner light. Light can be dimmed from trauma, abuse, and losses, but through hope, a guiding hand, it begins to brighten. When my light dims, I will strive to continue to find inspiration and myself again.
Where have I traveled in the United States?