I’m going to talk about my Honeymoon with myself.
Something we should all do at least once a year, and if possible multiple times 😉 It can be a convention, a retreat, a trip in nature, any activity that disconnects you from the world and connects you with your inner self. Anywhere works, so long as wherever you are you do not want to be anywhere else.
It is necessary to nourish ourselves from the inside out to maintain a good level of energy and thus share our love with others.
The road from darkness to light. The awakening. Duality. This is what life is about, and during this unique convention each session, concept, and emotion were organically linked, somehow making everyone vibrate in the same wavelength: LOVE.
Two months ago I received a suspicious e-mail. A dream proposal. I was invited to the first international Yoga convention in Greece. Not in just any place, but in the magical island of Amorgós and organized by Aegelias Hotel & Spa. As a yogi Nomad, you know that I travel very often, but this email arrived when I was in Madrid teaching Ashtanga Mysore classes.
For a few minutes, I thought that it could not be so idyllic, that there were some expenses somewhere or that they would ask me for a minimum number of students to take, or more demanding conditions hidden behind the invitation.
Quickly I answered with one eye open and another closed still tilting my head as if something did not fit. After that came a second mail from Mat, the organizer and great human being that made this event possible, and a light, fast and accurate correspondence began.
I was going to be part of Elysia Convention 2017 sharing the stage with professionals from all over the world, each specialized in some field related to the yogic life or the wellness in general.
Once my collaboration as a guest, blogger, and teacher closed, the first thing that came to mind was: Amorgós is in Greece, and @Carlamasqueyoga lives in Athens !!! I have to tell her.
Carla and I did not know each other personally but we had already established a relationship thanks to Social Media. Her charisma, elegance, and honesty delighted me, and she has become one of my favorite Yogis and human beings.
Without hesitation, I wrote to her saying I thought she had to join this wonderful event. I put Mat and Carla in touch. In a matter of hours, Carla was already inside as a guest and teacher. Also, we decided that we wanted to share the room despite having the possibility of having a room for each, we wanted to experience the convention together at all levels.
On the afternoon of the 4th of April, I landed in Athens. After a couple of months in Madrid giving daily classes more than 7 hours a day, workshops in different corners of Spain during the weekends, and having just finished a relationship that was bringing a lot of darkness to my life, Olympus opened in front of me, and I needed that Olympus a lot.
Madrid rocks but it drained a lot of my energy and I was needing to recharge my batteries.
At the exit of the subway, I was greeted by two beautiful women who sealed my heart from the beginning, and Coco (who deserved a post in itself, but I leave that to Carla, the mother of this cute dog).
That same evening we ended up having dinner on the terrace of some Greek friends, toasting for their recent engagement, with night lights illuminating the Acropolis. This trip could not have begun better.
Helped with laughter that could be heard from miles and lots of positive energy we went to sleep thinking of the long day ahead.
Of course, we started next morning with a Yoga session instructed by a fantastic Greek teacher followed by a brunch, and sightseeing.
Typical us, we were literally the last ones boarding the boat, once we entered the doors closed! A little more and we would have missed the boat. Seven hours of sailing awaited us, crossing the Mediterranean sea towards Amorgós, located in the group of Cyclades Islands.
I usually don’t sleep much when I travel, I take advantage to read, meditate, meet new people and feed my eyes with everything new that comes close to my vision. We arrived at dawn the next day, on the bus that picked us up at the port, and that took us in less than ten minutes to a spectacular reception of not only a HOTEL but the place that became an extremely special Yogi camp; feeling exhausted and with a huge cucumber in my hand (which gave way to some playfulness) we continued laughing and thinking how to explain Mula Bandha;)
We woke up to a horizon full of promises that would not let us down
Already at breakfast, we began to interact with the other assistant, and soon we became a small family. By the way, breakfast has definitely been one of my favorite moments, as well as lunch and dinner;) everything was delicious!!
Every day there were between six and twelve classes or lectures to choose from. A lot of diversity and all very interesting, the sacrifice laid in choosing what to attend whilst having to give up another class. If it had been possible I would have split up and attended absolutely each and every class. Each person had something wonderful to contribute. We went from being strangers to friends in a matter of hours.
Three beautiful souls and totally different women opened this convention: with a warm welcome, a lecture on public speaking, analyzing what fear is, and a Yoga philosophy talk highlighting the concepts: Sukha & Dukha.
After the lectures, I attended a GODDESS dance class by Einat Ran (In the picture). It was superb, invoking the femininity in its pure essence. Om Shakti Shakti Shakti.
Before I closed my eyes on that meaningful night I was surrounded by the stars, focused on Jupiter’s words of wisdom.
On the following day, with the sunset always a loyal companion, I went to the class of @YogiGarth, to a Shiva Meditation. A lot of pranayamas, kriyas, yoga Nidra and of course, meditation.
This session defined how to understand The Journey to Stillness, which is Yoga. In Garth’s words, an extract of the philosophical learning of that class:
¨ The technology of Yoga is simple. It has nothing to do with asana. You can practice yoga on or off your mat. Also, you can be on your mat without practicing yoga. It is your choice to use the technology. What does it mean to use this technology? What does it mean to practice Yoga?
About two thousand years ago, Patanjali defined the practice of Yoga in the second chapter of the book of Yoga Sutras. According to Patanjali, we need three qualities to practice Yoga;
- Tapas, meaning fire, desire, intensity, discomfort. You need to go outside your comfort zone, work, challenge yourself.
2. Be present and observe your experience in desire. This is where you begin to study yourself. Before you can reach a state of stillness and calm, all your patterns and what keeps you stuck will come to light. Look at them
3. Surrender and let go. Let the conscious and subconscious patterns in which you are trapped dilute.
This is the technology of Yoga, once you understand it you can practice yoga at all times, anywhere. Are you doing yoga or exercise? Let’s use this technology, it will lead to a powerful transformation. »
Fulfilled with peace, calmness and intense emotion I finished the session with tears in my eyes that took, as they always do, broken bits from within my being.
After filling up our bellies we went hiking and trekking around the Island. A pleasure for all the senses, surrounded by mountains, wildflowers, infinite sea and bright sun.
Aegialis Hotel and Spa´s location is unrivalled, being set in the mountains but also ten-minute walk from the sea. It has several indoor and outdoor yoga rooms, and my friend Marta and I decided to do a self-practice in one of the outdoor rooms that overlooks the pool and the sea.
After practicing with Marta, where I had the honor of introducing her to the Ashtanga world, to which she was delighted, Carla and I decided to attend a talk entitled: A balanced approach to Grief. We all ended up crying. How liberating it is to cry just as much as to laugh. Check these entrepreneurs, they also have a film produced and directed by them.
We left the lecture with an expanded heart, and walking to the room to prepare for dinner, the overwhelming sunset forced us to stop, observe and take a few photos;)
In addition, I had the opportunity to practice CONNECTION through acroyoga and feel like a free and light bird.
On the third day I could not miss a session I was especially looking forward to: The Eternal Beginner by Carla. A homage to the beginnings, the origin, the return to innocence, the ignorance of the unknown. A class as I expected, w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l like her.
After this session, I went to explore another class -Freedom Yoga by Einat- before I went to the beach.
To end the day I chose Yoga for the Blind, precisely because I also offer these classes in my retreats and workshops I wanted to learn and enjoy being the student instead of the teacher. The class was exquisite, we were only six women and we ended up singing mantras and crying.
Yes, many tears at this convention. But as I said, tears of liberation, growth, support and love.
Later, after dinner, we played Kirtan. I’ve always been told that I am an awful singer, and surely I still am, but the great thing is that it did not matter here. No one cared, the only thing that mattered was that vibration that brings you to a state of mind that I personally have only experienced with certain drugs. Instead, this is a free, healthy, endless drug with only positive side effects.
We only had two days left, and we decided -Carla, Marta and Graeme, another friend from the convention – to rent a car and go explore the island. There was an arranged excursion to which most of the convention went, but our rebellious soul decided to take a more independent path and pace.
We went crazy playing around, singing, taking videos, pictures, visiting old towns, monasteries, forgotten beaches … We had so much fun that time disappeared and we arrived back to the hotel for the sunset where I was asked to participate in a very particular photo shoot with Einat and talented photographer Yair Golov: Light and darkness, and I’ll show you more photos when they are ready.
A night surprise still awaited: Ecstatic dance to close a PERFECT day. In fact, every day had been perfect.
The last day was the most special. The only down thing was that my class was overlaped with Andy Butterfield, Introduction to Shiatsu, one of my favourite people from the Convention and unfortunately I had to miss it!!
Each and every one had been unequaled, but on this last day it was my turn to share my love for Yoga and chose to give a masters class of guided Ashtanga with the title: Breathing Changes Everything.
If you come to one of my workshops you will understand in depth what this title entails.
How you breath affects how you think, how you think influences how you behave, how you behave will affect how you live. Therefore Breathing Changes Everything.
Ask yourself: How do I breathe?
I still shiver when I remember this session, with more attendees than I expected considering it was at 7 am in the morning and many had enjoyed the previous night without limits;)
We ended with chanting where I asked Morena, another beautiful Teacher, to help me with that special touch she has when she sings and plays.
In order to shake off the emotions of the class I had taught, I decided on an intense class that mixed the disciplines Dharma, Vinyasa and Ashtanga turning. Definietly, I learnt a few tips and tricks that I will apply in my practice and workshops.
The last class that I chose to attend at the convention was chosen because of its name: Step into your sacred place by Cristal Gould. An intense and very self-exploratory vinyasa.
Afterwards, I went to enjoy the gorgeous Spa and all the complimentary facilities the hotel offers one last time. There I found David Kennet, the founder of Soul sounding which he defines as a sound voyage, a journey within. Using crystal singing bowls, tibetan bowls, drum, flute and his voice. I didn’t have the chance to attend but he kindly showed it briefly to Carla, Graeme and me, and we were astonished. Something I still have on my must do list!
The last dinner was accompanied by nice farewell speeches and live Greek music, and fireworks; by the way, apart from his regular duties the hotel manager, plays the violin, is a comedian, was our driver, cooked for us… and I don’t know what else, a really cool guy!! The Aegalis Hotel is a worthwhile place in every way you can imagine.
I write this from Abu Dhabi, where I am going to give workshops in a few days, and I still have an indelible smile of this experience that has touched my SOUL. I also have the great luck of taking with me three friends that together have marked a before and after.
Thank you with all my heart #mamimanager for all the laughter, photos and listening to me at all times, #CarlaSanchez for being the best Yogi friend that one could choose. And also, so much thanks to Graeme to open the for the endless smiles and to help me understand the universe a tiny bit more.
Next year we are coming back, so if you want to join this incredible experience you already know where to find me.
We have to clean daily the glass that clouds our reality. Sometimes, in order to see your reality you need a deep and general cleaning. You deserve it. You owe it to your ownself. Treat yourself at least once a year.
A hug full of love and light, to all my Convention new friends and all of you reading this,