Most of us struggle to find enough time to attend regular yoga practices, yet alone to commit a full weekend to self love, exploration, meditation & yoga. I know that I certainly do. With work and family commitments, I’m lucky if I can make it to the studio a few times a week. However, the Joy of Life Weekend Retreat, the 23rd to 25th of June has something magical about it, which I thought was definitely worth exploring further.

1) Truly Understanding the Origins of Sunshine Yoga

We all know and love Stephanie and Matt’s yoga teachings. While they may appear to have different styles, both Stephanie and Matt’s yoga foundations come from the same origins of Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Philosophy, Mediation & Devotion. They both completed their yoga teacher training in India under the guidance of Sudhir (pictured on the left below at the Shala in Goa where both Stephanie & Matt did their training). As Sudhir is leading this weekend retreat at the Sunshine Yoga Studio, it provides a very special opportunity to catch a glimpse of the teachings that inspired and created Sunshine Yoga. Maybe it’ll even set you on the path towards Sunshine Nirvana. I know that I’m hoping that it will.

2) Energy Clearing and Movement

One aspect of Sudhir’s teaching is a focus on clearing energy. Energy travels throughout our body, but occasionally gets stuck when chakras become blocked. This can result in a whole host of physical and emotional problems such as tiredness or negative thoughts. Within yoga, this energy is often referred to as prana. You may have heard your yoga teacher mention it as ‘the driving life force’ or ‘the energy within’. Yoga and yoga mantras help to unblock chakras and encourage energy flow through movement and breathing (also known as paranayama). Once energy begins to flow, you should feel relaxed and be more welcoming to love and positive energy or in layman terms experience a ‘yoga-high’.

Energy clearing is an essential part of the Joy of Life retreat, which is why the weekend will start with Stephanie leading us through a ‘letting go and energy clearing session’, which will be followed by a pranayama session with Sudhir. This subject will be explored throughout the weekend. The weekend will close with a pranic or energy healing session lead by Sudhir’s wife Veena.

3) One Step Closer To Enlightenment with Satsang

For those of us that don’t know (I know I certainly didn’t know before this blog), Satsangs are based on ancient yogic traditions. Satsang is a Sanskrit word for ‘in the company of truth’ and is how sages offered their teachings to students. As such, it is also considered the heart of yoga practices. Traditionally, Satsang involves meditation to create a spiritual atmosphere, chanting or mantras, and an open forum on yogic philosophy. On Saturday, Sudhir will lead us through Satsang, providing a loving space for you to discuss any topic with Sudhir and the group. Every Satsang Stephanie & Matt explored with Sudhir in India was a magical experience and we hope that you have a similar experience. These Satsangs should allow you to feel a greater sense of spiritual freedom, gain a better self-understanding, and experience the truth within.

4) Sudhir’s Teachings

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons to attend this retreat is to experience Sudhir’s teachings. Sudhir has spent the last twelve years near Sri Ramana Maharshi ashram in India and has come to Edinburgh for this special weekend. His yoga teachings focus on philosophy as Sudhir believes that philosophy should be incorporated into every aspect of our lives. Only through reflection and contemplation can higher truths be revealed, confirmed, applied, and integrated. Sudhir has a diverse background, which has ultimately allowed him to more deeply understand others and the surrounding universe. His teachings ultimately aim to explore the meaning of happiness and its connection (or non-connection) to our surroundings. Experiencing Sudhir’s unique teachings should not only encourage a better understanding of happiness, but should also cultivate a better self-awareness.

5) The Food 

If the above reasons don’t convince you about this urban retreat, than the food should. I would follow Evie’s cooking anywhere and have on many occasions delighted in her culinary skills. Evie is a fellow yogi and self-proclaimed clean food geek. Her recipe for beetbites featured in last Thursday’s newsletter and some of us have been lucky enough to sample her food after class. She’s going to be launching Love Foods in the upcoming months and this retreat provides the perfect place for us to sample some of her yummy recipes before they go live. Love Foods is going to be a super healthy vegan take away service where you can order 3 or 5 days of lunches through the Sunshine Yoga App.  To keep us healthy and promote our physical well-being throughout the weekend, Evie will nourish our bodies with a wonderful array of lovingly made foods.

This is certainly going to be an unforgettable weekend that will help encourage a more meaningful yoga practice and spiritual journey. More information about the Joy of Life retreat can be found by visiting the Sunshine Yoga website. Make sure you book your spot early as spaces are limited and early-bird specials are available till the end of May. I can’t wait to join this magical weekend exploring the true joy of life.

Guest Post by Kathryn Strachan

Often seen at Sunshine Yoga practicing power yoga 8 months pregnant!