When she was just a girl
She expected the world
But it flew away from her reach
So she ran away in her sleep

And dreamed of para-para-paradise
Para-para-paradise Para-para-paradise
Every time she closed her eyes"

- Coldplay
When was the last time you really let yourself revel during your time off? Many of you know that last month I took my very first yoga retreat in the mountains of central Portugal. I had an experience there that is hard to put into words, but that feels important to try to share with you. First, I should say that what got me to this retreat was NOT the belief that I deserved a retreat. It was so much more practical and based on logistics and finances. I rationalized that if I was going to be flying over to Portugal to enjoy time with family for one week, I might as well stay two weeks, do some sort of yoga training and find a way to write off the expense of the airfare on my taxes. I Googled "yoga retreat Portugal May 15-21" and up popped "7 Day Slumber and Restore Yoga Retreat - Vale de Moses, Portugal." The price was right and I booked it. When I booked, I felt it somewhere in my gut, somewhere that made me a little giddy and somewhere that did not feel rational at all.

I've been practicing yoga for 12 years and teaching now for 7 and during that time, I've attended LOTS of trainings. I've spent my income educating and testing and studying. I've made lots of rational decisions. But, retreating.... Nope. 

Since coming home and telling this story to a few people, I've noticed that I'm not alone in this way of struggling to feel like I deserve crazy exciting time outs for myself. Maybe you can relate to trying to figure out how to "maximize" your vacation by tagging it on to a work trip or maybe you justify taking time for yourself only because you know it will make you nicer to your family and colleagues and THEY deserve that?

As I lay in deep relaxation at the end of my third yoga class on retreat, I had an image of the mountains that were surrounding the yoga studio. They were so majestic and the word paradise was etched in my mind every time I inhaled. And then, within the space of three breaths, I had the feeling, somewhere deep in my gut of paradise. What I mean is, the natural surroundings that I have always been in awe and gratitude of were suddenly of the same stuff as me. Paradise out there. Paradise in here. Different forms -- but no different. And then the moment was gone. 

But even though the feeling left, the understanding will live with me for a long time to come. They say yoga means "to yoke" or "to unite" - the idea that there is a oneness that permeates reality. When I understood that not through study, but through a feeling experienced deep in my body, my whole attitude towards being on retreat changed. I let myself really land. Really take in. Really feel that I deserved every minute of the time out.
I hope during your summer months, you play, revel and remember that every moment is well deserved. You are worthy of awe. 

And, some news: If you're curious seeing my Portuguese paradise, here's a few pictures. I've been invited back to teach a retreat at the Vale De Moses in 2017... more details to come.  

And yet more news: This July, Sky House Yoga will be offering yoga teachers the opportunity to apprentice in a small group with one-on-one mentoring and support. Info session will be June 15th from 7:45-9pm at Sky House Yoga and more details about the program can be found here. If you are interested, email me at and I will forward you more information. Until we meet again!

Upcoming Events/Trainings
Summer Yoga Teacher Apprenticeship Program - starts July 6th 2016
Early bird registration - June 25th
Read more here.

30-Hour Ayurveda Immersion - starts September 2016
Read more here.

Yoga and Meditation Class Schedule

Rock Creek Sports Club, Silver Spring, MD - Members & Guests
Tuesdays, 8:10pm-9:20pm - Yoga for Relaxation

Sky House Yoga, Silver Spring, MD - Drop in
Thursdays, 10:00am-11:15am - Wise Earth Yoga

Blue Heron Wellness Center, Silver Spring, MD - Drop in
Tuesdays, 6:30pm-7:30pm - Deep Relaxation and Meditation
Fridays, 6:15pm-7:30pm - TGIF Yoga
Saturdays, 9:30am-10:45am - Mixed Level Yoga
Copyright © 2016 Hannah Leatherbury, All rights reserved.

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