Reflections on the Women MeTreat, Nov '17
at Zatori Retreat, Collingwood, Golden Bay.
by Pavitra (Uschi Heyd)
What is a Women MeTreat, you might ask?
The idea was conceived by my friend Noa, a yoga teacher and single mum of three, who understands deeply the strength and inspiration that can be derived from connecting with other women in a heart centred and more conscious way. To Noa, whose self-proclaimed ‘happy place’ is nurturing her family and friends, it was important to create a kind of pampering atmosphere, i.e. beautiful sattvic environment, organic vegetarian food prepared with love, free time for self, option to book a massage etc.
So how does yoga fit into this?
What do you do to take care of yourself? Do you know what it is you need to recharge your batteries and to make your heart sing? … and, do you do it?
Firstly, we have to be able to discern what it is that will bring us the peace and joy we desire. It can be difficult to know, when to rest and when to get off our bums and e.g. go for a walk, do yoga, go for a ride on the bike e etc. There are times when it is good to give into tiredness, watch a movie, stay in bed, comfort ourselves with our favourite food, but too much of this will make us dull (‘tamas’ in yogic terms). If we keep pushing on even if our batteries are depleted (rajas out of balance) because we believe that exercise is good for us, or that this job really needs to be done right now, then we are in danger of burning out.
Most of the women on the retreat had good insight in what it is they need, to look after themselves. They mentioned things like. regular walks in nature, time to be creative, time to reflect, connect, or start learning something new … . Most of the women also agreed that yes, they pretty much knew what they needed, but still didn’t manage to make time for it in their busy lives.
This is where yoga comes in.
Yoga teaches us to live more consciously and with greater awareness. By increasing self-awareness and self-knowledge, we learn to ascertain where we are at, and how, for example, certain situations, the food we eat, the company we keep affect us. This is an important first step to creating balance, as only then can we minimise that, that depletes, and enhance that, that nourishes.
The great thing is that as our awareness increases we are naturally more inclined to make good choices for ourselves (sattva). We need to recognise this and celebrate even the smallest step into the (for us) ‘right’direction, as this is how lasting change is created, one small step at a time.
We also discussed how we are neurologically wired to remember the ‘bad’ or threatening things over the ‘good’ things that happen to us. This was once necessary for survival but does not serve us much in today’s world. Being aware of this we learn to recognise the little voice within that keeps reminding us of all of our short comings and blows them totally out of proportion; hence we can choose to not pay any attention to it.
Additionally, we can consciously acknowledge and remain with the feelings of joy and wellbeing whenever they arise. Doing this will strengthen the neuro pathways for positive emotions. As they say: ‘Neurons that fire together wire together’.
As Caroline McHugh* says: “Most of us don’t take up the space the universe has intended for us”. We are meant to shine, and show our unique colours.
Taking time to consciously connect with self and others, creates magic. We have much to offer each other in way of support, compassion, and wisdom and we can help each other to remember the important things in life.
Many thanks to the women who participated in the Women MeTreat this year, you were a great bunch, I think we all came away from it a little stronger, more centred in the heart and committed to nurturing our own personal seed of inspiration that has been awakened within.
* inspiring TED talk: ‘The Art of Being Yourself’ by Caroline McHugh