Feeling a little sluggish after the holiday season? Need something to inspire you to get through this tough time of year? Consider a day retreat at your friendly neighborhood garden to get your “balance”on! If you always wondered what goes on at our retreats but never had the nerve to sign up then this may inspire you to sign up for the next one in March. Pour yourself a cup of tea and read all about the beautiful day that was had here in our gardens and imagine yourself here.
Crabtree Gardens, LLC and The Lil Yoga Barn held a Just for “ME” Day Retreat on Saturday January 17, 2o15. The event was hosted by Angela Preat of The Lil Yoga Barn, Lisa Olander, Event Coordinator Extraodinare and me, Sandi Crabtree, Chief Cook and Bottle Washer at Crabtree Gardens. The purpose of the day was to provide the attendees with a full six hours of “ME time”.
There were 15 brave “womensouls” (Angela’s phrase) who joined the event based on little knowledge of what would be on the agenda for them, with the exception of yoga and a Warm Bamboo Chair Massage.
We chose to keep the activities secret until the attendees arrived so there would be a bit of surprise awaiting each of them. Thank goodness each one had enough faith in us to book their place in advance without even knowing what the day would bring. January is a difficult month for holding events because of the weather. It turned out to be a glorious day filled with abundant sunshine and no wind! There was a light covering of snow on the gardens which glistened in the sunlight. Several of the women were even seen strolling through the lower field taking in the winter surroundings and appreciating our beautiful nature filled spaces.
It was interesting to see the expressions on the faces of each of the women as they entered the Carriage House that morning. Some were elated, others were more reserved, possibly fearing that they had signed up for something completely out of their comfort zone.
A booklet was given out detailing our itinerary for the day with an overview of each activity that was planned. It also explained how they related to our focus for the day. It was just a matter of a few minutes until they had read over the agenda before there was a sense of relief for what awaited them.
We opened up the entire Cottage Guest House for guest use that day, suggesting that each one take some personal time to unwind, read, nap or just sit by the fireplace. It seemed as if most women took advantage of it at some time throughout the day. We were also very pleased that everyone participated in each activity that we had planned, even though they had the option to do something other of their own choosing.
Both morning and afternoon gentle yoga sessions were instructed by Angela Preat. This was the main focus of the retreat. Angela’s soothing voice was just what everyone needed to hear to allow them to unwind. These yoga sessions initiated the blissed-out state of mind that everyone seemed to be in!
The Warm Bamboo Chair Massage was a highlight for many especially those who had never had a massage before. The appointment times were written on pieces of freshly cut bamboo taken from our gardens. Upon sign-in, each woman randomly chose a bamboo piece revealing the time of her appointment with Ashley.
Life is a series of balancing acts and it is important to remind ourselves to take time for self-appreciation by using methods of relaxation and stress reduction. There was an activity planned for this purpose both the morning and afternoon.
“Build a Balance Bowl” was a huge hit before lunch with the retreat-goers. It was meant to be taken home and used as a reminder tool in the home or office to keep a balance in life by taking time to relax and appreciate one’s self. Each person’s glass bowl was a unique creation filled with a mix of sand, dead sea salt, Himalayan salt, moss, shells, milkweed pods, pinecones, bamboo, inspirational words and colored glass. There was a discussion lead by Lisa Olander about ways to reduce stress by turning to nature and keeping life’s highs and lows in balance.
As part of the retreat each one received a “Dead Sea Salt Soak” and chunk of Himalayan salt as a reminder to keep a balance between the highs and lows in life. The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth and the Himalayan mountains hold the highest point on earth. Information about additional salt therapies and recipes for soaks and scrubs were included in the booklet.
Lunch was prepared and delivered by our preferred caterer, Capriotti’s Catering of McAdoo, PA. A warming bowl of soup, crisp salad and choice of tasty sandwich wraps were the perfect combination for our retreat. There was a constant supply of hot tea selections, cocoa and lemon water.
Following lunch, Angela Preat lead a beautiful meditation. From the time that she arrived here at our gardens back in 2011, we have been suggesting that she record her voice for meditations. It took this retreat to inspire her to do so and the result is phenomenal! Each one was given a Heart Meditation CD recorded and personally signed by Angela as a take away gift.
The cover of her CD shows Angela with her newborn son cradled near her heart as she holds Easy Pose (Sukhasana), a peaceful seated posture that brings serenity to your yoga practice. The photo was taken by Robert Ferdinand at Crabtree Gardens when she first returned back to teaching yoga after the birth of her son.
The inside cover explains why she chose this meditation especially for the Just for “ME” Day Retreat. At the end she expresses her Sanskrit mantra. She signed each disc with a heart and her name. This was a most welcomed surprise in each gift bag.
Angela’s meditation was the perfect flow into the afternoon’s first activity which was a personalized greeting card.
Blank cards were available for the women to jot down some inspirational thoughts to themselves or cut out words and photos from magazines to glue to the card. We matched up white cards with brown envelopes and vice versa to further suggest the “balance” theme.
They were asked to seal the cards and address them to themselves. The cards will be sent out randomly throughout the next few months. What a pleasant surprise to receive a greeting card for no particular reason, especially if its one that you wrote and designed for yourself!
The USPS will have a ball with all of the cute bejeweled-flower stick-ons that were added to some envelopes!
So that our retreat-goers would be able to carry some ideas and thoughts home with them, a few small tokens were provided by our businesses and given as take-away gifts. In addition to the Dead Sea Salt Soak and Heart Meditation CD, each gift bag contained a journal with the first initial of the attendee, a nature packet with milkweed seeds and milkweed flower scented butterfly-shaped soap and a hand-made leather heart “ME” key chain/handbag charm.
The grand finale of the day was a meditation held inside The Lil Yoga Barn following the afternoon yoga class. As Lisa, Ashley and I entered the barn to attend the final meditation, we saw a room full of women seated and covered with soft fluffy throw blankets. They looked as if they had just awakened from a deep sleep. They had apparently been that deeply relaxed into a blissed-out state! I must say, I wanted what they had. They were able to stand-up and get their coats and boots on as they all eventually made their way out to the garden for the group photo. It was a fantastic day.
“May you cherish that beautiful light within your heart always. Let this retreat serve as a reminder to take time for “YOU” as you observe, breathe and become present on a daily basis.”
“Thank you for attending the “Just for “ME” Retreat and we look forward to serving you at the Lil Yoga Barn and future retreats at Crabtree Gardens.”
Om Mani Padme Hum
(with love and compassion)
Angela, Lisa and Sandi
Gift Bags were sponsored by:
The Lil Yoga Barn ~The Kristy Bag by CG
Henna or No?~Blissful Therapeutics~