Log Out … Shut Down … Do Yoga. This past September, we joined NY YOGA +LIFE Magazine and the Rubin Museum for a full day of workshops and classes. The day was paired with the art of the Himalayas and led by the magazine’s community of teachers, artists, and leaders in the yoga world. The 3rd Annual Art & Yoga Urban Retreat was a day engulfed in mindfulness, meditation, yoga, breathing and other wellness exercises and activities.
The entire Rubin was shut down for the morning portion, and as I stumbled into the yoga session led by 99-year-old yoga master Tao Porchon-Lynch, I was immediately put at ease through Tao’s early morning asana session.
Check-in had begun at 8:30 am, so once I arrived most of the spaces were filled, but I was able to snag one of the last remaining spots in the back with visibility to Tao. We were advised to bring our own yoga mat and encouraged to also bring a warm sweater or blanket. Tao is such an incredible spirit and soul; I was truly in awe of her presence and her smile. She led us through a yoga session – complemented with soul-healing music – with the help of an assistant. However, there was a moment when Porchon-Lynch even flipped her legs back over her head and balanced on her neck and upper back – I was both shocked and impressed. She blessed us with stories of her life’s work and the importance of staying mobile and active, as you grow older. She also expressed the significance of focusing on positive thoughts, because then our minds we can enter into pathways rooted in positivity, joy, and hope. It was a very nurturing practice infused with the keenness of breath, intentional movement, and peaceful stillness.
Following asana Session A, guests were able to wander off to various sessions unaccompanied. The retreat was split into 5 sessions, A-E respectively and each in-depth and intimate workshop took place in the Museum’s galleries and theater led by prominent teachers.
I stayed at the retreat for a while longer to sign up for session B, Mindful Coloring with art by Jon Marro led by Ko Im and Veronica Beltran. I am someone who deals with anxiety through adult coloring, so I was pumped to check it out! The session began with a meditation followed by gentle breathing exercises and stretching. This activity was welcomed because my mind was racing the night before, so I was ready to put that anxious dread into my creative outlet. To start the mindful coloring experience, we were presented with a complex painting of a dynamic bird drawn by the artist Jon Marro. Everyone was given their own set of colored pencils, a pillow to sit on, and a board to lean on. Gathered in a circle, we let the music fill the space as we all focused on our artistic task. 45 minutes later,once we were done, we were asked to share our inspiration if we felt so compelled – I did not. I wasn’t ecstatic about my color choices, so I just marveled at the others participants’ beautiful color combinations – each one so vibrant and full of energy.
I had a wonderful morning with NY YOGA +LIFE, and really appreciated the time to unwind from my hectic NYC schedule. It is rare that I take a moment to myself to destress or be still, so this retreat was the perfect end of 2018’s 3rd quarter. It is very important that we take care of our mind, body, and creativity. That means continuously reading and seeking knowledge, that means moving around each day to stay active and eating healthier options, and it also means endlessly developing your thoughts and your truth through your own art and creativity.
What’s Your Favorite Yoga Pose? Comment below because life is better when you BEND. Namaste.
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