The responses that we received were great and the entries that we read were heart-warming and sincere. To those of you who submitted entries, it has truly been our pleasure to delve into pieces of your lives that you share with us through your blogs. Thank you for taking the time to write!
Alas, there can only be one winner and after hours of deliberation, we’ve picked the winner of the prize! Annemijn of Come Do Yoga With Me stood out with her heartfelt entry that touched us all. Hers is a story we feel compelled to share and hope that it will reach many more individuals out there.
To Annemijn, congratulations on a well deserved retreat!
A new blog for you: I’d like to share my Vikasa Yoga retreat experiences with you, there place where I awakened. And as I am inspired to become a yoga teacher now, I participate with this blog in a giveaway by BookYogaRetreats.com and BookYogaTeacherTraining.com.
So, as some of you might now, I’ve been to the yoga retreat Vikasa Yoga in Koh Samui last February. I’ve found and successfully booked this trip through BookYogaRetreats.com. The retreat has been a life changing experience for me. I’ve been able to change my mindset and lifestyle, and fell love with yoga and meditation, finally and deeply.
Some might know this, for others it might be new news: My boyfriend of 4 years passed away last January. I was already not doing too great the few months before his death, but his loss swept me into a big, black vacuum that seemed too strong for me to escape from. Weeks of starving myself, intense grieve, sadness and an extreme feeling of gravity passed. I felt like life was literally pushing me down.
Time passed, and I knew that in order to be happy ever again, I had to change my mindset. I was too down to do anything except for laying in bed, holding on to his clothes trying to still smell his specific scent. People told me to ‘cheer up’, ‘look at the beautiful side of life’, and told me ‘you’ll love again.’ I didn’t want all of that. I didn’t want to love again. I didn’t want to breathe and be happy. The vacuum pulled me in harder every time someone told me something like that.
It all changed on the night of February 11th. I had a dream that night, I saw myself laying in the ocean, somewhere on the other side of the world. No context, no thoughts, just me laying there. Enjoying the silence around me. I woke up that Sunday, and before I knew it, I went to BookYogaReatreats.com. For several reasons, this site has played an important roll in my awakening. First of all, the wonderful offer of SO MANY incredible yoga retreats! Seriously, if you have the wish to go on a retreat, this is your site. You can check out their offer in different categories such as Yoga cruises, yoga camps, or even gay yoga, Christmas yoga and pre-natal teacher courses. I mean, come on, they have all you can think of. I went for the ‘Budget retreats’ since I don’t have much money and checked some of the places they have to offer. Quickly my eye fell on Vikasa Yoga retreat, because of their great reviews and stunning photos. The place offered 5 classes a day, including pranayama, meditation and special workshops in the evening. Their accommodations are varying from very simple to more luxurious, but all with a stunning view.
Their buffet was vegan and twice a day. They had a spa and I would not have to bring any yoga mats or blocks, since they had it all there. I think I checked the retreat for about 10 minutes, and before I knew it, I requested to stay there for a week. Quickly after, I had to call my boss to let her know that I would be gone next week, cause I was planning to leave in 10 days! Thank god she was fine with it. I booked my flight to Koh Samui with the last money I had. And voila, my retreat was booked.
But something weird was going on: I hated yoga. I hated it and all of a sudden within 30 minutes I booked a yoga retreat?! I could not explain why I did that, except that I was motivated by the dream I had. But I did not panic or stress out. No, I was calm and counted down the days before I would leave.
And so I was there. The photo below is the view from my tiny bungalow. STUNNING.
I immediately started the evening I arrived with a Tantra workshop. Something I never thought I would do, but hearing these teachers speak about the energy of love and how to share it was not confronting, no, it was comforting and exactly what I needed.
3 Days filled with yoga classes, pranayama, ocean swimming, healthy food, Thai sun (wear sunscreen guys!) and lots of reflecting and thinking passed. I could feel the benefits of it inside of me. Especially the yoga. I could feel that the energy inside me needed to be channeled and my body had to be aligned. In that way, all the sadness, grieve, anger, rage and stress would be able to leave my body.
So, 3 days after I arrived I was sitting on one of the rocks by the ocean. I realized what life took away from me. How I was here and how my boyfriend was not. But bit by bit, I also realized what life gave me. It gave me my body, my breath, it gave me the chance to be there, on that rock, it gave me Adam and all the love he gave me in those 4 years. And it was there, on that rock, that I realized that his love was not just a 4-year experience. Our love was unconditional, and always would be. All I had to do, in order to feel his and our love again, was to love myself unconditionally.
I was breathing, my body was tingling, I was so aware. And then it happened: I let go. I just let go. It wasn’t a big or beautiful thing. it wasn’t spectacular or scheduled. I didn’t even look for it. It just happened. I let go of the grieve I had, the sorrow, the sadness. I forgave life and myself for all that happened. I forgave Adam and all the things left unsaid. By loving myself unconditionally, I would be able to feel his love forever on and at the same time, let him go.
It was there in that moment, that I awakened. That I opened my heart again. That I enjoyed my breath again. I surrendered. I was alive. And yes, I now knew why I had that dream. Why I so impulsively booked my retreat.
3 More days passed, and wow, I felt so much better. I was pampering myself in the spa, I felt how my muscles were relaxing in the heat of the Thai climate and the hands of the Thai masseuses. And mostly: I fell SOO in love with yoga!
And it’s now that I’m back in the Netherlands, doing my yoga practices here and experiencing the benefits that I realize: I want to become a yoga teacher. And yes, I want to do it at Vikasa Yoga.
I immediately checked BookYogaTeacherTraining.com to check out some of the 200 hour yoga teacher trainings and saw their wonderful offer. But nothing can convince me as much as the place where I awaked and learned how to love again: Vikasa yoga.
Please, bring me there! I would love to go back again, learn more about yoga and share my practices with the rest of the world. I know I can do it. It would make me so happy.
And for you guys, if you are interested, check out the offer on BookYogaReatreats.com, since a retreat can help you tremendously and they can help you find and book one.
Enjoy your retreat!
The white yoga sala
Breakfast! Look at that pink juice :)
My arms got so strong :)
A gentle smile will open your heart.
*Read the original post on Annemijn’s blog.