It is coming up on the 1st anniversary since my first visit to an ashram. I took a trip by myself in January of 2012 not knowing what to expect to this place called Yogaville. The drive was about 4 hours from my house. I had no idea where I was going but I was willing to embrace the adventure no matter where it took me, even if I did get lost. I made it there safe and sound while listening to my favorite tunes and taking in the mountainous scenery.
Yogaville, a spiritual yoga resort/center, is set in the heart of Virginia, in the middle of nowhere, amongst a picturesque setting of mountains, valleys, and quiet wonder.
I pulled into the spiritual center excited to take part in this amazing weekend. The weekend was more than I could possibly of imagined. I learned so much while I was there. If you ever consider visiting an ashram, you might discover the same things I did. Here are the four things I learned during my 3 day stay at an ashram:
1. Silence is Golden: When you are calm, still, and quiet, you get to experience your True Self. Your True Self is the essence of who you are without distractions, stimulations, and noise. The whole resort is quiet. I was apprehensive entering the meditation center for the first time. I had done some meditating in the past but mostly through prayers, long walks and hikes. I managed to get myself in a state that was peaceful and still but I did need alot more work. No drugs, alcohol, caffeine are allowed on resort. The resort rooms do not have televisions or radios. Your cell phone barely gets service. Some meals are to be eaten in silence. I found that when I ate in silence I was more attune to my senses savoring each bite, eating more slowly, and not overeating. Before I went to bed, I would journal about my day, relax my mind and body, and my sleep was more peaceful. When I would pass the staff members and other resort guests the silence allowed me to look in their eyes and see their beautiful souls, which helped me realize we are all seeking that same thing.
2. Everybody is Looking for Peace: We all have had our share of struggles and that won’t end. Life is a series of lovely moments and unlovely moments. We may have lost an important person in our life, a job, a friend, a pet, suffer from an illness, feel depressed, lonely and/or sad. It is important to process these hard times through grieving, journaling, talking it out, then, see the beauty of the lesson, and march on because you are stronger for it! Sometimes, in this busy world we live in, we don’t get a chance to listen to our feelings. We keep pushing and doing and forget to give our Soul the love and attention it needs. Many visitors at the ashram had been drug addicts and alcoholics. After spending time at the ashram, they were able to find that inner peace they were searching for. Many started working there, became yoga teachers, and spiritual leaders. During my stay, I processed some heavy emotions that were laying on the surface. I opened my heart and mind to the idea of finally letting THEM GO! The peace that comes from surrending is PURE FREEDOM! PEACE!
3. Vegetarianism is not THAT BAD! :As a former fitness competitor, animal products are your friend. Chicken and egg whites are staples in that lifestyle. Again, I was open and willing to try what they had to offer. The resort serves three meals a day of vegetarian variety. The meals were delicious and filling. I thought, “will I be hungry if I don’t have my protein or my usual 6 small meals a day!?” Nope. Food served as fuel and clean nutrition and I felt great. 6 months later, I decided to adopt the vegetaritan lifestyle and haven’t turned back since.
4. It has to get Worse before it gets Better: Migraine. Yes, big fat, throbbing migraine on Night 2. In Lise Bourbeau’s book: Your Body is Telling You: Love Yourself, she points out, “Migraines are directly linked with the I AM. They are most common in those who will not allow themselves to live according to their true nature. If a teenager, for example, dreams of being an artist, but allows himself to be influenced by his parents into another line of work, he can suffer from migraines as long as he does not allow himself to be what he wants TO BE.” I was releasing all the years of not experiencing my True Self. I wrote down all my goals of what I wanted my life to be without any judgements and outside influences. I went to bed early that evening and woke up with a clear mind and an open heart to the Life I had always been waiting for. The pain I felt that night is something you cannot describe, but I can't tell you how WORTH IT was.
Your Life is waiting for you...are you ready?