What a difference a year makes.
It’s been a year since I started running. A year of reflection. Of change.
So much has happened since the last time I visited Bowen Island and Nectar Yoga B&B that it was like an out of body experience returning last month. Remembering how I felt when we were there last year and being present during our recent visit made it feel like time was running parallel. Retracing the same steps I’d taken before, walking into the beautiful cabin and yoga dome, reliving the emotions from a year ago while appreciating the way I now felt…
There is something about this place. You arrive and instantly feel your shoulders relax, taking in a deep restorative breath. You can feel your stresses start to melt away. Bliss.
If it was possible to improve on last year’s experience here, it came in the form of appreciation, reflection, challenging our bodies (in terms of yoga/ stretching), and new memories with great company. We laughed, we cried, stayed up late, and invested in ourselves. 6 women, 3 days, 2 nights.
It’s thanks to my friend Janette that both trips came together, as part of her ongoing #AtoZSelfLove efforts, to remind everyone to take time for self-care (you can read her blog post about our trip here). Aside from my wonderful friend, this trip wouldn’t be so significant if it weren’t for the place and person that hosted us. When you’re in the presence of someone who is passionate about what they do, you are in the presence of something beautiful- especially when that something can be shared with others to improve their quality of life. That is how I would describe Andrea, the owner of Nectar Yoga B&B. She is at once calming and invigorating; her positive energy is contagious.
She embodies calm and grace, and for me is what comes to mind when I think of ‘life goals’: carving out her life in a beautiful place and sharing it with others. It’s hard, if not impossible, to talk about the magic of this place without talking about Andrea. For a second year in a row, I felt grateful and refreshed from being in her presence and from her instruction in yoga and meditation.
My yoga practice is a casual one, something I do at home. A significant change since our last visit was the car accident I was in last November that has affected my neck and back. Before the accident, I never had to worry about twisting too far or pushing my body; I welcomed and enjoyed the challenge. This year, however, I had to listen to my body in a different way, if something didn’t feel right I had to accept it. My competitive nature- even if it’s just with myself- makes it hard for me to let go, admit that I can’t do something. But I have had to learn that this year, learn that it’s not failure; it’s a new way of doing things, and that’s ok.
This, along with some of the other things that I’ve learned about myself and my outlook towards life, has been an important part of the journey returning here, why this trip meant so much. It was an opportunity to reflect, slow down, and appreciate this moment, be in the moment and appreciate where I am now compared to a year ago. Andrea’s instruction had us stretching and pushing our bodies, reminding us to listen to them, to stay in touch with them. Did that pose burn a little? Where did you feel the stretch? So often we forget to slow down and just be, and yoga is a beautiful opportunity to do this. Suddenly you can let your mind relax, feel your body tell you where it needs some TLC.
For me, that was my hips. I know I need to give myself more time to stretch (especially when it comes to running), and to listen to my body, pay attention to how it feels. Slowing the mind and body is an interesting challenge, but an important one. We can feel busy and overwhelmed so easily in our daily routines, and Andrea brought us back into the moment, into the present, and helped us to silence the crazy. Even if it was for a precious few hours over a few days, we were able to be calm and still, focus on ourselves. That is a gift that we all need and deserve, and one I will always be grateful for, something I took with me when I left. I’m not sure which comes first, but when your body and mind relax, things gain a clarity, have a way of sorting themselves out, and a sense of calm emerges. It is this experience that I appreciate most about our time spent with Andrea.
If I haven’t convinced you yet of how amazing this experience was, here’s another way of looking at it: if you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or can’t even describe how you feel but know it’s not how you want to be, an experience like this might be exactly what you need to clear your mind, remember what’s really important, and hit that mental rest button. You don’t have to be advanced in yoga for this experience to be a benefit, you just have to be willing to give it a try. Make some time for yourself. An experience like this is a gift, one you carry with you as you resume your daily routines. Sometimes a refresh is all you need, sometimes it’s the catalyst for further change and reflection, and if nothing else, it is a moment to recognize your self-worth and honour it.
A heartfelt thank you to Andrea for welcoming us back for a second year and to my friend Janette for organizing this retreat 2 years in a row and inviting me back again. To both you ladies, namaste.
About Nectar Yoga B&B
Located on Bowen Island, Nectar opened in 2014 and has welcomed guests from around the world. B & B facilities include 3 cottages where guests can stay, with the main house available for rental as well, with room for a total of 12 guests. Yoga and meditation are offered in the Geodesic Yoga Dome located on the property. For rental inquiries please contact Nectar directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to visit Nectar Yoga B&B? Visit their website to check availability & book your own yoga getaway. Follow them on social media:
Photography: Kristy Powers
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