Greetings from Sitio Gloria, a spectacularly beautiful retreat center in the jungle several hours drive outside of San Paolo, Brazil where some twenty-five of us have been holed up with Francisco Kaiut for the first ever Kaiut Yoga Carnaval Retreat taught in English.
Today is day seven of our eight day retreat and, although I have been trying diligently to keep my engagement with the internet to a minimum this week, as our precious and other-worldly time here draws to a close, I am stepping back into cyber-world to send this message in the hope that I can share with you at least in some small measure what this experience has been like.
Our daily routine has been simple: Early morning breathwork/meditation practice, breakfast, three hour morning yoga practice, lunch, afternoon rest, three hour afternoon yoga practice, tea, light dinner, occasional after dinner Q&A with Francisco and then off to bed.
Yowza, you might be thinking, that sounds pretty intense and, indeed, it has been intense, but it sounds more daunting than it actually has been. We are in a magical place and the lush natural beauty of the setting enhanced by the exquisite artistic sensibilities of architecture and furnishings, the beautiful and healthful food prepared by a warm and friendly staff, the gentleness of the climate, whether on warm sunny days or in the midst of frequent downpours, have generated the perfect alchemical mix to create a safe, nurturing and altogether delightful container for our yoga practice. Within that container it has been possible for Francisco to guide us masterfully, drawing us all slowly but surely to incredible depths in our practice, depths which would not be possible to touch in hour long classes occurring in the midst of our everyday lives back home.
My intellectual understanding lags so far behind my intuitive understanding that any description I can muster seems to capture only the barest outer layer of the full experience. Bearing that limitation of language in mind, suffice to say that for me this retreat has been an opportunity to identify and to explore restrictions which have long been present deep within my sacroiliac joints but which I have up until now been unable to feel. I am gratefully, blissfully and humbly sore to an extent which is unfamiliar to me from prior practice. Having now so clearly felt these places where restrictions have lain hidden for so long, I feel confident that I will be able to find my way back to feeling them again and exploring them further in my practice at home. My own personal experience of discovering the extent to which hidden restrictions can exert their influence on the system has also given me deeper insight into how this same process is surely playing out with many of my students who also have joint restrictions which they have not (yet) been able to feel. Being able to guide students to a discovery of what is hidden in their own bodies is truly a privilege and is something which I look forward to being able to do with greater facility in my classes after I return home.
There is more I would like to share with you and hope to be able to do that as the integration of this experience continues. In this moment I know that I feel sad but but at the same time ready for this retreat to come to an end. And the adventure continues: Tomorrow, some half dozen of us are bound from Sito Gloria to Curitiba, a city of some three million people which is a six hour drive from the retreat center and which is where Francisco’s original yoga center is located. We will be hosted there by Francisco and by some of the other teachers at his studio with classes in both English and Portuguese. (My ear is getting more attuned each day but, alas, two weeks in this country is simply not enough to have the language click into place. Perhaps another trip???)
Thinking of you all in the midst of the downhill side of winter back there in Colorado and wishing you well from this other hemisphere where it is the last weekend of what has been a cool, wet summer and where the children will start the new school year next week.
In amazement and gratitude,