Mother/ Teen Daughter Retreat Reflections
Last weekend was life changing. In one day, I saw four years of dreaming, reading, writing, learning, and hard work come together in one beautiful day. I've known for four long years that my calling is to teach yoga to teenagers. I've had some amazing opportunities to teach at a summer camp, to learn from amazing teachers in London and here in San Diego, and to teach a handful of classes to local nonprofit groups. But this day was different. This felt like the first big stepping stone to really realizing my dream. My vision has always been to have a summer camp for teen girls that will focus on yoga and healthy living. I knew that getting there would be a long journey, one that would start with running retreats. Last Sunday, that retreat happened.
Last August, I signed up for a yoga teacher training at the last minute. One of the things that drew me to the teacher, Shawna was her work with teens. She had just written a book about yoga for teens. I knew I had to learn from her. Together, we developed this idea of getting mothers and daughters together for a day of yoga, meditation, and connection building. We planned and planned for 5 months and hoped that people would show up. They did.
We had the privilege of meeting six mother/ daughter groups last week. The thing that surprised me the most was the crazy amount of love these women had for each other. Don't get me wrong, I love my mom endlessly, but I'm not sure that I would have been open to a yoga retreat at 15. And I definitely would have butted heads with her about it, and possibly even during. These mothers and daughters were all best friends, and had so much respect and admiration for each other, it was amazing! They were all so open to anything we asked of them, and so willing to share their souls with us.
We started the day with a heart opening yoga series and some partner poses. Then we asked the groups to work together to write a song or poem about their relationship. I was almost brought to tears by one of the groups (and I'm not a crier) as they read in unison things like "you inspire me to be me." woah, this was some powerful stuff.
Then, we had everyone collect shells from the beach. We made mini-mala necklaces with ten beads each. Each bead represented on thing the mother/ daughter loved about the other. We shared these with each other, again, my eyes watered.
We moved things inside and worked on coming up with some more creative partner poses to work on trust and creativity. Then, we did some sound healing, playing tuning forks and Tibetan bowls over each other.
Next was an art project where we used our favourite quotes to make a motivational take home card with a drawing on the back. These women had some wonderful advice for each other.
We wrapped things up with a quick flame meditation and set an intention for our relationships going forward.
We ended with a potluck dinner and a fire burning ceremony. We all released something that was holding us back. We released sadness, fear, bad moods, high school drama, comparison, and grumpiness. We encouraged each other and offered advice and shared stories. Again, tears loomed behind my eyes.
One of the most powerful things that yoga has given me and continues to give me is relationships with incredible women. I'm so blown away by the strength we all have and the willingness of women to share this with each other. In our everyday life there is so much negativity, competition, and pettiness between women. It is always so refreshing to be in these environments where there's nothing but love.
The most surprising thing about this day was that I think I learned more than I taught. I was expecting to be a counselor of sorts, mending the broken bridges of communication between mothers and daughters. Instead, I witnessed loving, strong, supportive relationships that didn't need my help at all. I'm so grateful for each and every person who showed up that day, you honestly changed my life and inspired me more that ever to follow my path.
We're already planning another day like this one, hopefully in May, so stay tuned for more!!