Category Archives: Offerings

Women’s Retreat Costa Rica: The Liberated Woman | January 2020

Rewild 2020

The Liberate Woman Retreat

January 15th – 22nd, 2020

Farm of Life, Costa Rica

Welcome Beautiful Goddess!

You are invited to join me, and a group of wise and divine women, in the Costa Rican jungle for my third retreat at the magical Farm of Life (one of my favorite places in the world!).

ReWild & ReConnect Retreats are created with so much love and intention as a heartfelt invitation for you to come home to nature – Mother Nature and the True Nature of who you are.

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The Liberated Woman retreat is specifically created to honour you as a woman during this time of potent transformation on the planet! In safe and sacred space, you will be supported, celebrated and nurtured as you fully explore, remember and embrace the Liberated Woman and Goddess within!

I invite you to acknowledge and reclaim your 

Worth
Power
Wisdom
Voice
Sexuality 
Sovereignty
Sacredness
Peace 
Freedom
… your Self!

I invite you to experience how deeply the world needs you to be authentically YOU!

Honour yourSelf with this gift of Self Discovery, Self Care and Self Love.
Know, in the depth of your Being, that when you put YOU first, you inspire all women around you (and actually give them permission) to do the same.
Together, we can remember our True Essence.
This retreat is being curated with love for 16 women.

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Who is the Liberated Woman? 

She is FREE of ALL conditionings and constructs.
She lives from intuition and instinct.

She is FREE of masks and societal pressures.
She lives as her authentic self with integrity.

She is FREE of guilt and shame.
She honours her body as a temple and her sexuality as sacred.

She is FREE of fear.
She trusts life fully. She speaks with courage. She flows with ALL THAT IS.

She is FREE of thinking she should look and act a certain way.
She is wild, natural and in touch with her natural rhythm and cycles.

She is FREE of judgement.
She is compassionate. She loves unconditionally. She lifts other women up.

She is FREE from the limitations of her mind.
She witnesses all of creation as a reflection of herself.

She knows who she is. She knows she was never bound.

She is Life itself.

She is Love.

Can you feel her? Is she alive within you? Do you want to connect with her more deeply and reawaken her into Being?

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Our Sanctuary: Farm of Life

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Farm of Life, nestled in the middle of the jungle at the top of a mountain, makes it the ideal location for our ReWild & ReConnect Retreat (it is literally at the end of the gravel road!). This gem is located in the Southwest coastal region of Costa Rica, near the Pacific Ocean, Dominical beach and the mountain town of San Isidro. During your stay at Finca de Vida, bask in the high vibrational elements of the farm, feel the nourishing tropical breeze, listen to the symphony of innumerable birds & insects, watch the mesmerising dance of the butterflies, dragonflies & hummingbirds.

This magical property bursts with radiant, fragrant flowers and lush gardens, towering ceiba trees, and flowing crystalline waters. Connect with Mother Nature and be nurtured by barefoot walking, sun gazing, breathing in fresh mountain air, hiking through the jungle trail, eating off the land and drinking pure spring water. Witness unforgettable sunsets and the mystical, shapeshifting clouds of the approaching rainy season. Every moment at the Farm, everywhere that you look, all that you hear, touch, taste, & smell is an opportunity to experience pure wonderment and awe of this magical slice of paradise.

All Inclusive Retreat Includes

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7 Nights/8 days Accommodation at the Farm of Life.  Choose from semi -private, shared or private cabin. All cabins include balcony with epic view, hammock and ensuite bathroom.

Daily Morning Meditation & Yoga overlooking the jungle and pacific ocean in the distance! The practice is for all levels and includes gentle hatha, chakra flow and restorative yoga.

Daily Transformational Women’s Circle. Each day will have a different theme as we explore, reawaken and welcome home different aspects of the Liberated Woman. Through a variety of practices rooted in ancient feminine womb wisdom, we will be calling upon our inner Wild Woman, and inner Goddess of love, beauty, compassion, strength, wisdom and sensuality. Our circles will also include sacred dance, group sharing, elemental rituals, song circles, mantra & mudra,  and special goddess ceremonies including a cacao ceremony with ecstatic dance and a water ceremony at the beach.

Three Waterfall Hikes including Nayauca Waterfall, peacefalls and the Jewel of the Sun. 

Two Beach Trips including a Sunset Beach Dinner and Special Oceanside Water Ceremony.

Waterfall Spa Day with all natural DIY products.

Jungle Flying Trapeze at Airborne Arts  – Awaken your inner warrior! Watch a video of Lacey at her first trapeze class! (Trapeze is optional. If you choose not to participate in this exhilarating experience, the cost can be used for a 90 minute massage)

Three Delicious Organic Vegan Gluten Free Meals a day including fresh coconut water and medicinal garden tea! The menu is a beautiful blend of raw high vibration foods (think the best tropical fruit and smoothies you’ve ever had and fresh leafy greens from the organic garden!),  and soul nourishing home cooked meals, prepared with ayurvedic principles. Yes, coffee is included with breakfast! 

Farm of Life Medicinal Prana Tour

Campfire with Sound Bath

Sungazing Instruction with Farm of Life Co-Creator, Brian.

Free time to explore the farm, read in a hammock, swim in the natural pool, rest, recharge on the crystal light rack, hit up the “jungle gym,” or unwind with a massage (additional cost).

Group Shuttle Transfer to/from San Jose Airport Hotel

Mid-Week Laundry Service

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Group Preparation Call before the retreat and Group Integration Call after the retreat

Private Facebook Group for connecting with sisters and sharing resources

Welcome Letter with full details (ie: what to bring, how to prepare, airport hotel listings, Farm of Life Welcome Letter, retreat schedule, etc.)

Not Included

Airfare to San Jose International Airport (San Juan Maria)

Accommodation in San Jose the night before the retreat (January 14th), and the final night of the retreat (January 22nd).

PLEASE NOTE: The retreat beings at 8 am on January 15th in San Jose. All guests are required to arrive  in San Jose at least one day prior. The meeting point in San Jose is at Hotel Aeropuerto. The retreat ends on January 22nd, in San Jose, at 6pm. We suggest spending the night in San Jose and flying out on the 23rd or booking a flight after 9 pm.Upon registration, hotel recommendations will be sent to you. 

Taxi from airport to chosen hotel. Hotel Aeropuerto has a free shuttle.

Massage Therapy & Energy Work ($70)

Staff Gratuities

 Shopping at the beach in Dominical

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Full Retreat Details & Registration


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ReWild & ReConnect Retreat Sister Praise 

Awaken & Restore: A Self Care Retreat for Women at Shanti Retreat

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Friday September 6th – Sunday September 8th, 2019

Shanti Retreat, Wolfe Island

Self Care is Self Love. Join Lacey Budge for an inspiring and nourishing weekend retreat to savour the end of summer. Step out of your daily routine, and create space to fill your cup before diving into a busy fall schedule.

Retreat to an Island Getaway! Relax, rejuvenate and unwind at Shanti Retreat located on beautiful Wolfe Island, near Kingston, the gateway to the Thousand Islands. To reach Shanti, board the Wolfe Island Ferry conveniently located in the heart of downtown Kingston. It’s a scenic 20 minute free car ferry ride to this island sanctuary.

Awaken & Restore the inner Goddess with a weekend of yoga (Flow, Hatha & Restorative), meditation, sacred movement to open the body and heart, self care practices, countryside walks, soul nourishing vegetarian cuisine, inspiring gatherings and an evening bonfire. Experience the special energy of the yurt during our daily practices and gatherings.

Choose from semi private, shared or tenting accommodation. You’ll feel at home in Shanti’s spacious century inn and waterside cabins. This beautiful property has stunning views of the St. Lawrence River and sunsets from the waterfront patio are memorable. The inn’s timbered ceilings and wood stove provide a natural country charm.

Your body and soul will be nourished with Shanti’s delicious and nutritious meals. With the utmost love and respect for animals and the earth, vegetarian meals are served. We strive to use locally grown Wolfe Island organic produce whenever possible. Shanti can accommodate a gluten free and vegan diet. See a sample menu!

Reconnect with the beauty, freedom and infinite joy that dwells within. Immerse yourself in Wolfe Island’s natural beauty with time outdoors swimming in the Brown’s Bay, sunbathing, walking the labyrinth, cycling, reading in a hammock, or simply sitting waterside with a journal and herbal tea. You may also choose to book a massage with Jack during the afternoon free time! 

Connect with nature, Self, and sisterhood. All scheduled activities are optional – it’s your retreat!  We will have a magical weekend together, and you will leave feeling reconnected, reawakened and restored.

Retreat Includes :

  • 2 nights accommodation in semi private, shared or tenting
  • All yoga classes, guided meditation, and sacred movement practices guided by Lacey
  • All yoga props. No need to bring your mat, unless you can’t leave home without it!
  • Nourishing afternoon self care practices
  • A magical evening gathering to awaken the Goddess within
  • Welcoming bonfire, drumming and sacred songs
  • 5 Delicious, locally inspired vegetarian meals served buffet style
  • Silent mornings to support relaxation and inner contemplation
  • Use of Shanti’s amenities: infrared sauna, labyrinth, walking routes, canoes & kayaks, hammocks, wifi, wellness tea bar, and slack line
  • Ample time to enjoy the natural surroundings, take a nap, connect with like minded women or book a massage

Retreat Schedule 

Friday
Arrival between 2:00 & 4:30 pm
5:00—6:30 pm Self Care  & Restorative Yoga
6:45 pm Dinner
8:00 pm Welcome Gathering & Bonfire (weather permitting)
with drumming & sacred songs    

Saturday
7:30—8:30 am Silent Self Serve Breakfast
8:30 am Silent Nature Walk
9:30 am Awakening Flow Yoga, Inspiring Movement
& Meditation
12:00 pm Lunch
1:00-4:00 pm Free Time for swimming, canoeing, kayaking, sunbathing, reading in a hammock, taking a nap, enjoying the infrared sauna, connecting in sisterhood, or book a massage!

4:00 pm – 6pm Yoga & Nourishing Self Care Practices
6:30pm Dinner
8:00 – 10 pm Evening Gathering

Sunday
Silent Light Breakfast available upon rising
8:00 am Silent Nature Walk
9:00 am Yoga, Inspiring Movement & Closing Circle  
11:00 am Shanti Signature Brunch
12:00 pm Check Out of Rooms. Enjoy the Property Until 2:00pm

Rates

Shared Accommodation (3-4 women per room or cabin) $415  + hst

Semi Private Accommodation (2 share) $465 + hst

Shanti Tent (private) $390 + hst

Personal tent $365 + hst

Registration

To make a booking and reserve your space, please contact Shanti Retreat.

More Useful Links 

About Lacey 

Find Us

FAQ

 

Cleaning out your pantry for Sugar-Free September…& becoming a more conscious cook!

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There are some simple and easy steps that you can take to bring more awareness to what you are putting into your pantry..and therefore into your body (and that of your family).

I have selected some popular “food products” that unfortunately may still be found in the common pantry. Below, I share with you WHAT to replace it with, WHY you would want to replace it and HOW to become more educated on reading ingredient lists and food nutrition labels.

Bringing Mindfulness to Reading the Ingredient List 

“Ingredients” that you want to be on the look out for when trying to purify your body, mind and spirit include sugar, high fructose corn syrup, partially/hydrogenated oils – especially soy, corn & canola (most likely GMO),  maltodextrin, BHAT & BHT, the many names for MSG, and food colourings. For more types of added sugars of which to be mindful, see Sugar Explained by the Canadian Cancer Society. Although the packaged and processed foods you are eating at home may not be extremely high in sugar (i.e.: crackers, soups, frozen meals), they are filled with many other non-nutrient dense “foods”… or let’s say additives, fillers or preservatives.

Making the Lifestyle Change … Beyond Sugar-Free 

You may want to start by first focussing on reducing sugar intake, or maybe you are ready to clean up shop a little bit more. Remember to make it work for you and your lifestyle and that small changes are more likely to last long term.

Pantry Makeover … Making Healthier Choices!

  1. Peanut Butter (Kraft, Jif, Skippy) ….TRY 100% natural peanut butter or any nut/seed butter without any added ingredients.

“Oh great! Only 1 gram of sugar in my favourite Kraft Peanut Butter”…. Not such great news, unfortunately. Although it may seem like a low amount of sugar, this product is not filled with only roasted peanuts… it contains all the the additives from the list above and is sweetened with refined and processed sugars.

I invite you to make the transition to all natural peanut butter or nut butters than can now be found at most local grocery stores. Look for brands that contain only nuts.. no added oils or sugar necessary. Want to take it to the next step?  It’s so easy (and cost efficient) to make your own nut butter at home with a food processor. Add your own natural sweeteners like maple syrup and a pinch of Himalayan sea salt to preserve it and feel good knowing that you are conscious of what you are eating or feeding your family.

2. White Refined Sugar (baking, morning coffee)…TRY a natural sweetener such as Canadian pure maple syrup, honey or Medjool dates.

Numerous amounts of research shows that white, refined sugar is a very addictive substance and even more addictive than drugs like cocaine!!! Utilise this 30 day challenge and fundraiser as an opportunity to break free from any addictive relationships with sugar and start to feel the Health Benefits of going sugar free. Stay tuned for my series Sugar Free Essentials which includes a delicious and satisfying way to enjoy your morning cafe latte free of refined sugar! As for baking, replace sugar with dried fruit like dates or even mashed bananas. Get the recipe for a sugar free Zucchini Cranberry Loaf sweetened with ripe bananas.

3. Sugary Breakfast Cereals… TRY homemade granola or chia pudding.

Today, I am using the example of Frosted Mini Wheats, a store bough cereal promoted as  a “nutritious and delicious bite size snack, whole grain, and a high source of  dietary fiber.” This product contains 11 grams of refined sugar per serving, as do many cereals. The ingredients consist of: Whole grain wheat, icing sugar, glycerin, gelatin, bht. Vitamins and Minerals: iron, thiamine hydrochloride, d-calcium pantothenate, zinc oxide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid. 

I strongly believe that there are alternate breakfast options to offer our body a daily source of fiber, vitamins and minerals without the icing sugar, gelatin (sorry vegetarians!) and BHT.

It’s definitely worth it to take time, once a week (or less), to prepare a breakfast cereal that includes ingredients that you can pronounce! Try my Baked Maple Pecan Granola as featured on the Traditional Cooking School’s The Great Granola Round Up . Other breakfast options include my Easy Overnight Chai Oats or you can google the infinite world of chia pudding.
Trusting that these examples inspire you to become a more conscious cook!

Stay Tuned for more sugar free recipes including homemade Sweet and Spicy Rosemary Nuts… a delicious alternative to buying candied nuts or pre packaged trail mix.

Tastes of Autumn: Farm to Table Community Dinner

Dare 2 Dream Alpaca Farm (Mckerrow) and Registered Holistic Culinary Nutritionist, Lacey Budge, are coming together to create this special outdoor meal. Gather with friends and family to celebrate The Tastes of Autumn and experience the first ever Farm to Table Community Dinner. This special event was created with the community in mind and in honour of sharing only the freshest farm ingredients.

Lacey Budge will delight your taste buds with a rustic menu inspired by the season and ‘tastes of autumn.’ The meal will be prepared using the abundance of organic, fresh produce harvested from the gardens, as well as feature eggs and meat from the farms free roaming, corn free & GMO free fed chickens. The intention of the dinner is to bring the community together in gratitude of the autumn abundance and offer an authentic and delicious “farm to table” experience.

An example of possible menu items include Roasted beet salad; Roasted maple cinnamon squash; Roasted apple cider brussels sprouts; Roasted rosemary potatoes; Kale Caesar salad with farm fresh eggs; Mixed leafy greens salad; Apple infused Rustic Squash Soup, Classic Chicken & seasonal veggie soup; … And many other foods, based on the success of our 2016 crop!

 

The dinner will be a part of the 3rd Annual Alpaca Farm open house on October 2nd, 2016.  FROM 4:30PM TO 6 PM – You are invited to join us for an ‘under a roof top’ Unique dinner experience!  Dinner is complimentary and space is limited to 40 guests. Please contact lacey.budge@gmail.com or info@dare2dreamalpacafarm.com to reserve your space. A 50/50 draw and gift basket tickets will be available to express gratitude to the chef and the family farm.

From 9 AM – 4 PM you can: 

Visit with the Alpacas, learn all about alpaca fibre and preparation techniques, meet your ‘local’ crafters, enjoy our own ‘corn roast’ & join in the fun while watching the children at play.

We have some amazing activities for you this year!

  • Back by popular demand, children activities, face painting & craft table;

New This Year

  • Maple the Cow (NOAFEM) will be visiting our farm – try your skills at milking a cow!
  • Spinner and Weavers – demonstrating their awesome talents;
  • Boreal Winery –  premium hand crafted artisan ice cider and wines – from Warren, ON
  • Split Rail Brewing –our own local brewing company – from Manitoulin Island;
  • Dynamic Eventz – photo booth – Halloween props will be made available; create a ‘memorable’ photo shoot!
  • Local crafters – come meet these wonderful artisans (soap, candle, jewelry, etc…)– a great opportunity to start your Xmas shopping early.

 

About the Chef 

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Lacey, @HolisticLacey,  is inspired by all things food, especially when the ingredients are fresh, local, organic, seasonal veggies. Her meals are prepared with love and with the intention of bringing people together to enjoy simple, delicious, health conscious meals. Lacey is a self-taught chef who works as a plant based chef at Retreat Centers around the world, including Shanti Retreat and Farm of Life as well as offers one on one body, mind and spirit consultations to invite people to bring more balance and harmony into their lives. www.holisticlacey.com or @HolisticLacey on Facebook, instagram and youtube.

About Dare 2 Dream Alpacas & Sandy Loam Farm 

A family venture – where we are working together to make our dreams come true. Alpacas and gardens go hand in hand; to create a world of wonders and healthy living.

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Dare 2 Dream Alpaca Farm & Sandy Loam Produce is the home to child, parents and grandparents, who all thrive to create a natural, environmentally friendly and organic farm for all to enjoy! We invite you to come spend some time with our Alpacas, stop in and check out our fresh vegetables, brown eggs, and free roaming chickens; maybe even spend some time chatting with us. We enjoy sharing our love of life with everyone. http://dare2dreamalpacafarm.com/

 

I let myself MARINATE IN DESPAIR and REVEL IN ECSTATIC BLISS…it doesn’t get more real than this!

We are often taught that the key to a happy life is to see the positive in everything. “Hey, look at the bright side,” smile! and find gratitude no matter the situation. But SERIOUSLY, life is not always easy, and some days I don’t want to put on a inauthentic smile. For some reason or another, I just want to sit in the unhappy pool and bathe it in all day long.

Don’t get me wrong, I recognize the power in positive thinking and practicing a daily attitude of gratitude 🙂 I also strongly believe that everything happens for a reason and that all situations and people come into our life as a blessing.

We do the best we can, BUT, as humans, I think we sometimes forget that we can give ourselves permission to feel, and cut ourself some slack. To let our wounds cut deeper; to marinate in our loneliness. When we allow ourselves to feel our emotions, we are practising being present to what is; without trying to change it. We accept both sides of “our” coin; we recognize the partnership between shadow and light.

Society’s expectations have lead us to believe that we need to wake up happy, inspired and energized every single morning. And, if we don’t feel optimum in our physical body and thoughts, then there “must” be something wrong with us.

And so, we try to “fix” ourselves, thinking there is something wrong, something lacking.  We find a new diet to make our body more perfect and think this change will bring us joy…or we take a happy pill, do drugs or drink alcohol to unconsciously bury our feelings, emotions and stress, instead of simply being with it.

But just wait, and keep feeling…. Sometimes an hour, a day or weeks…However, we can only stay unhappy for so long until we decide to pull ourselves out of bed and go back out into the world with a new perspective.   We are hardwired for JOY, LOVE and COMPASSION- not anger, sadness or fear. Look at a child, they are a pure expression of Divine love and joy!

My invitation to you: Next time you feel overwhelmed or whatever it is you feel, allow space and stillness for these strong emotions to arise…simply observe, and then accept them with open arms. It is only in these moments of imbalance that we will know balance.

“This being human is a guest house. Every morning is a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor…Welcome and entertain them all. Treat each guest honorably. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.” ~Rumi 
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Ok, now do a full 360 turn. Catch the wave! Ride the roller coaster! Feel yourself inspired, grounded, in the flow, in a state of ecstatic, creative joy. And again, truly allow yourself to feel it. Deeply experience these timeless highs. Now it’s time to give yourself permission to bathe in THIS pool for as long as it is present…a day, a weekend, a year…you deserve it! These feelings of bliss can be felt by spending time in nature, with friends, family, lovers or when we are feeling creative, present and in line with our purpose.

THEN there is “the next morning; the bliss hangover”… The high begins to dissolve, we feel empty again. And so we begin to search and yearn for what we feel is missing; we resist what we are feeling. We create our own suffering by trying to get back what we just had. We are so taken over by our emotions to notice that nothing is missing or lacking at all. It’s just another side of the same beautiful coin that we are.


My invitation to you:
Feel this yearning, this separation, but continue to remove the layers that block you from experiencing love, Divine Union. Continue to polish the mirror of your heart. It may not be easy to understand from the level of the mind, but we are not this body, nor these thoughts, emotions, patterns (this is a whole new topic!). We must commit to reminding ourselves on a daily basis through prayer, mediation, dance, creativity, art, time in nature, laughter… Everything is unfolding in Divine Timing and we are here as an expression of love and light.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson

P.S Welcome to this brilliant human experience 🙂
Writing this post was inspired by life itself: moments of struggle and joy; and by the dear souls who touch my heart every day. I am so blessed to be surrounded by friends who are all so committed to living a life of consciousness and truth. You are all my teachers. Sharing this personal post on my blog was inspired by the courage of a friend of mine who recently shared her story and dance with depression publicly to help empower others and share her authenticity. 

My Daily Routine: The Divine Light Invocation

Each morning, as soon as I get up, I go stand outside in the grass barefoot. I connect with nature around me, and find a place where I can stand in the light of the sun. Even when it is not sunny out, I use my mind eye to visualize the light. I start each day off with the Divine Light Invocation.

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I enjoy this practice because it is absolutely incredible to connect with nature first thing each morning. It is also an amazing reminder, that I am not merely this physical body or these thoughts, I am light, a channel of consciousness and that I can use this light to heal myself and others in the world.

I have found this to be a powerful tool for change and spiritual transformation. I use it as one of my daily prayers. It only takes a few minutes and it is a simple way to invoke Spirit into my day.

I was 24 years old when I first experienced living in Community. In the summer of 2011, I spent a few weeks at the Yasodhara Ashram in Kootenay Lake, BC, as a part of the Young Adult Karma Yoga Program. Karma yoga, or selfless service, is the yoga  of action; taking what you learn on your mat and applying out into the world through service…think Mother Theresa, Gandhi or Martin Luther King..they were karma yogis.

Each day, before completing a new task, we would perform the Divine Light Invocation. The Divine Light invocation was a fundamental practice of the Ashram. It is a beautiful reminder that we are channels or spirit; we are not the doer of the task (as much as we would like to think that). We consecrate the efforts of the task, to the greater good…and see everything as an offering. When we offer it up,  we are not attached to the outcome of the project, we simply do our best, with awareness. We go beyond our personal likes, dislikes, preferences or ego and we offer up the fruit of our action.

Performing the Divine Light Invocation..

You can print the invocation below and read it the first few times until you understand the idea behind it.

Stand erect, feet shoulder-width apart. Relax your breathing, your head, face, and neck. Keep the eyes closed and focus them on the space between the eyebrows.

Picture above you a vast ocean of pure white, colourless Light . . . stretching in all directions, into eternity. Imagine some of that Light pouring down around you, bathing you completely in Light.

Exhale and slowly inhale, lifting your arms above your head as you smoothly and gradually tense the whole body.

Holding your breath, affirm to yourself with all the concentration possible:

I am created by Divine LightI am sustained by Divine Light

I am protected by Divine Light

I am surrounded by Divine Light

I am ever growing into Divine Light.

 

Exhale, gradually relax, and lower your arms slowly.

Now use your imagination to see yourself standing in a shower of brilliant white Light.

See the Light pouring down upon you, and see a stream of that Light flowing into the body through the top of the head, filling your entire being with Light . . . as if you were a transparent vessel, being filled with liquid Light. 

Maintaining this image, now with the arms at your sides, exhale, inhale and tense your body. Hold the breath and the tension, and again affirm,

I am created by Divine LightI am sustained by Divine Light

I am protected by Divine Light

I am surrounded by Divine Light

I am ever growing into Divine Light

Slowly exhale and relax.

Concentrate on the feeling of the Light. Feel the warm glow of Divine Light suffuse your entire body, outside as well as inside.

Acknowledge silently to yourself:

“Every cell of this my physical body is filled with Divine Light;Every level of my consciousness is illumined with Divine Light.

The Divine Light penetrates every single cell of my being,

Every level of consciousness.

I have become a channel of pure Light.

I am One with the Light.”

The Divine Light Invocation is an exercise of will, as well as an act of surrender. Be receptive to the Light, and accept that you are now a channel of Divine Light.

Express your gratitude with deep feeling and having a desire to share this gift with someone whom you wish to help, turn your palms forward.

Continuing to see yourself filling and overflowing with Light, mentally open wide the doors of your spiritual heart centre and let the Light stream forth from your heart centre, forming a clockwise spiral before you which reaches up to rejoin the source of Light above.

Into the spiral of Light, place any projects and concerns that you may have. Envision them as you would like to see them, not as you fear they are. See the Light encircle them, enveloping them completely . . . and see the spiral moving high into the sky, taking the images with them. See them merge into the source of Light and become One with the Light, received by Light.

See someone that you would like to help standing before you – or the image of a woman, a man, and a child you don’t know, representing all those in need of Light at this moment – in the spiral of Light. This can be yourself, if you feel in need of Light. See them healthy, happy, whole, and strong.

See the Light stream forth towards the feet of this person. The Light encircles them and spirals upward in a clockwise direction, enveloping the body completely, and filling them with radiant pure white Light. See them filled with Light, wrapped in Light, receiving everything they need from the Light.

See the spiral moving high up into the sky, taking this image along with it. See this person merge into the source of the Light and become One with the Light, blessed by the Light.

Now relax. Bring your hands together at your heart centre in a gesture of deep gratitude for the gift of the Light, and the ability to share it.

Namaste.

Swami Radha says that “Through constant and sincere practice of the Divine Light Invocation, you can come to a greater understanding of your own Divine nature and realize more fully the reality of the Higher Consciousness with in you.”

A simple lesson: fully living in the present moment.. You’ll Never guess what happened! BY LACEY BUDGE

This morning I woke up and decided to go for a walk and take in the beautiful sunshine as well as get some exercise. I’m spending a few days in Toronto, in the annex, and thought id go do some exploring. It was not an area I spent so much time in back when I lived in the city for University.
My intention was to walk to Queen’s Park to be in a green space.

Well instead of taking the linear route of Bloor street, I was guided from within. I just listened to my intuition to see which street was calling me. I had no fear of getting lost so I allowed myself to wander and be curious.

Now here I was, enjoying the beauty of the U of T campus, amidst everything in bloom. The green trees and flowers all coming to life proved that spring is in full swing down south.

  I was no longer thinking of  the park and became fascinated with the cobbstletone pathways, breath taking architecture, secret passage ways, silent courtyards (where I felt such history and powerful meditative energy), and of course the majestic castles. I was in wonderment every step I took, excited to see what came next. I left the hustle and bustle of city life and went back in time.

… I eventually arrived at Queens Park.

Now for the teaching that I received so clearly during this morning jaunt. It’s great to have goals in life (in this case: mission queens park), but let’s not get so focused on those goals that we miss everything that happens in between or don’t allow ourselves to wander from our original plan. When I decided not to take the most direct and quickest path, (and the one I knew best) I allowed space for intuition, adventure and curiosity. My body didn’t feel inspired to walk down those busy streets and guided me through a more natural, quiet path where I was struck by beauty (which is a really great way to get present to what is). If I were so focused on my goal, I would have never enjoyed everything that I experienced around me on the university campus.

And to be honest once I got to queens park, I didn’t feel as close to nature as I thought (or as I did just before). 

Again another lesson… Sometimes we get so focused on our goal and have such an expectation for the outcome that we get brutally disappointed if it’s not what we imagined (on top of missing everything happening in life during those days/months/years of single tunnel vision). 

And yet again, another lesson came to me. I was feeling so inspired from my walk, the teachings and really wanting to be creative and write about it. But no! I’m on a power walk, for exercise, I can’t sit on a park bench and write! Oh yes I can, and I did. Many of us think we’re not artistic or creative, but at the same time, do we ever take time or create space to do that? Morning, for me is such a time of creativity, especially when sitting in a park and listening to the birds, watching people cycling by, feeling the sun on my face. So I sat, and let the words come to me.

  

OK! So no joke I was about to write a final concluding sentence when this happens…and I’m not lying. So sitting on a park bench, writing in my notes on IPhone and a monk, dressed in a grey robe, walks up to me. He passes me a lovely card, places a beautiful red beaded bracelet on my wrist, shakes my hand and gives me a blessing. He then shows me a picture of a temple or monastery in Kathmandu and passes me a book where I can write my name and the value of my donation. Luckily I grabbed some change with the intention of buying a juice on the way home. He spoke no English, only smiled and brought his hands in prayer pose to his heart center, and that was enough. He shook my hand once more and was on his way. 

Now, if I didn’t take time to pause and write, I would have never received this beautiful gift of his presence (or bracelet made with consciousness, love and kindness). The card said “work smoothly, lifetime peace” which was a beautiful reminder for me again, to be present. There is no need to work so hard, such long hours every day so that one day we can enjoy retirement and be happy and “stress free”. Instead, I choose to work smoothly and reap the benefits of a lifetime of peace:)

  

Life is so brilliantly arranged! I got so much more out of this “power walk” then I could have imagined. It became more of an emPOWERment walk. (Love it!) It was another great reminder that we are so much more than our physical body. Yes, it’s important to take care of our temple, but let’s also nourish mind (by taking time to feel the stillness and beauty that surrounds us) and spirit (taking time to feel connected to ourself, those around us and Source!)

Today’s practice: go out for a walk, let the universe guide you, and see what happens!

Beachfront Yoga in Montezuma: beyond the physical asanas by Lacey B

Where: Ylang Ylang Beachfront Resort 

Who: Teacher: Ximena 

When: daily, 8:30 am –  90 minute restorative flow

March 23, 2014

By Lacey B

It was a mini adventure getting there, but the class was definitely worth it! (I think all adventures feel that way). I  left my hostel and began walking -uphill, and in the wrong direction – for about 10 minutes, away from the beach. (Yes I know, not smart thinking for a class advertised as “beachfront yoga.”)

Once I got to the top of about 3 steep hills and realized this, I turned around and got going in the right direction. I passed through Montezuma, and found myself on a narrow dirt road, toward playa grande, which quickly turned into a path that came out onto the white sandy beach. 

So here I am, standing on the most beautiful beach I’ve seen, and at the same time pretty much running to yoga- again not the most ideal situation. I continue walking along the beach thinking maybe I’d see some yogis in downward dog, but not to my luck. At this point I figured I was lost, late and was ok with spending my morning walking oceanside. 

It was at that moment that I came across the hotel (apparently you can’t drive there and actually have to walk the beach to arrive).  Welcomed by the beautiful gardens, I made my way up to the yoga hall. 

  

The space is on the 2nd floor above the restaurant overlooking the ocean and the beach. It’s all made of wood and decorated in a chakra theme. The open window walls allow you to gaze out beyond the tops of the palm trees as far as the eye can see. 

  

Yes, I wasn’t that late… Thank you Costa Rica time! Pura vida! Ximena, the instructor, greeted me with a warm welcome and began the class with a grounding initial relaxation. 

This is exactly what I needed- it allowed me to slow down, let go of the morning rush and even stop sweating! She focused on deep abdominal breathing, filling the entire body with oxygen and letting go. We inhaled for 4 counts and exhaled for 8. This technique of slowing down the exhale truly calmed the nervous system and mind almost immediately. She invited us to breathe into our entire body and accept it the way it is- perfect. 

With each couple of breaths, we focused on our different bodies, moving from the physical, to mental, emotional and spiritual. For me, it was the perfect start and I knew immediately that I would take more than the physical benefits from the class.

Next, we focussed on some gentle warming exercises to stretch the neck, shoulders, wrists, spine and rib cage. It was ideal for anyone who had been traveling or for those on a relaxing vacation away from their busy lives.  

We continued to warm the body with the practice of some classic sun salutations, always with a focus on the breath- especially the exhale.

She reminded us the benefits of inversions and the calming and restorative power of downward dog.

 

  I loved the slower pace of the flowing sequence which really allowed you to keep focus on breath and to stretch into hips and back, all while strengthening with warriors and plank pose.

  

The next portion included a variety of classical asanas: twists, forward folds, balance poses. Throughout the postures, Ximena had a natural way of sharing yogic teachings about staying present, being still and also on the energy of the chakras. She also played some soft music in the background: a mix between flute and mantras. It was a nice touch, and I was happy it wasn’t overpowering the sound of the majestic waves.

I loved gazing out during tree pose as I saw a giant iguana crawling down a palm tree followed by a group of 6 pelicans flying by over the water. We were even graced by some horseback riders passing by. It all made me smile.

The practice was a graceful balance between ease and effort. As a yoga instructor myself, I really felt inspired by Ximena in the way that she presented the class and made it accessible for all levels. Her sweet and playful energy was also a blessing.

The class ended with a brief meditation where she chanted a beautiful mantra before we reclined back for savasana.

  

I felt so much gratitude (well for -actually finding it and making it to class) for the gift to practice above the beach, looking out to mother ocean. I often like to close my eyes when I practice, but I was feeling guided to gaze softly outward. I learned so much in that 90 minutes while watching the waves with so much awareness. I most vividly remember noticing the yin and yang between graceful rolling waves and the powerful crashing  break. It reminded me that our lives are just that, moments where we are flowing with ease and grace, followed by moments of crashing stress or devastation. What I also understood is that we need to honor our softness just as much as our power- we need both, a blend of the heart chakra with Manipura, our inner fire.

  

We think that we need to take an adventure to paradise, in the middle of no where, on a beach… To experience bliss. Don’t get me wrong I am forever grateful for the class and the opportunity to be a student. However,  I truly know that every moment is filled with beauty, wonderment and stillness, I just need to take the time to pause, recognize and remember.

  

Afterward, you can enjoy the same view down at the restaurant and treat yourself to a delicious shake with superfood spirulina! I indulged inan iced chai tea latte sin azucar.

stay tuned: in the flow at Montezuma Yoga