Find Your Bliss
“Heart explosion,” is what our partner Amanda texted us after viewing the pictures from our four-day/three-night retreat at Camp Bliss in Walker, MN. While Boreal Bliss Yoga Retreats is owned and operated by Joella Miller, Bryana Cook, Amanda Imes, and assisted by Stacy Nightwine, we do our best to practice what we preach: tune into your limits, needs, and desires. We recognize not all of us can make it to every single retreat however, we do love and enjoy dreaming, planning, and preparing for each one of them as a team. Amanda was not at our Find Your Bliss retreat however, she did express that she was able to tap into “JOMO” (joy of missing out), rather than “FOMO” (fear of missing out) during the weekend: she was happy for us and happy for all of our guests. You can tell from the photos - we had an unbelievable time.
The story of this retreat practically tells itself thanks to Sarah Miller of Whispering Willow Photography. The venue and grounds are stunningly photogenic, and our Park Rapids, MN-based photographer knew exactly how to capture it.
On Thursday afternoon, Bryana, Joella, and Stacy arrived at Camp Bliss with excitement and butterflies. This was our first retreat at this venue. We knew it was perfect, but we couldn’t wait to discover the flow of the weekend and meet our group of omies. As soon as we arrived, we frantically went to work putting all the special touches and Boreal Bliss elements together for our guests. The first time at a new venue always takes more time for set-up. We have to determine how to best utilize the space and how our daily operations will flow.
Once the group arrived, we settled into our accommodations and came together for our traditional opening circle. The group was small: 22 of us in total. This was a much different feel than our typical 45-75 person retreats. We were ecstatic about the intimacy this retreat offered.
Joella kicked us off with an evening yoga asana, pranayama, and meditation session. She prefaced the class with a focus on the vital link between diaphragmatic breathing and the psoas. She also wooed us into savasana with her sound bowls.
In the mornings we greeted the sunrise with a walk around one of the private lakes on the property. Our first morning we walked to “Danworthy Pt.”, and the second morning we hiked up to the “Bliss View” to soak in the sun, smell the crisp fresh air, and listen to the birds and loons calling away. Moving the body outside in the morning sets up for a great day ahead.
This retreat was four days and three nights, as opposed to many of our retreats that are only Friday - Sunday. With a Thursday - Sunday retreat this time around, we had two full days of enjoying the Camp Bliss venue and grounds, and really getting into our yoga asana, pranayama, and meditation groove. Downtime between classes, workshops, optional massage/yoga therapy appointments, was spent outside in nature, curled up inside with a book/journal, napping, bathing (one of the rooms has a killer bathtub!!), and connecting with new and old friends. Many remarked on having space to connect and laugh. We had time just to be, rather than do, as one of our omies Kelly so gracefully worded it during our closing circle.
Life is beautiful when we slow down and appreciate it. Soak it all in.
Our meals for the weekend were catered by The Green Scene; a local and organic market and catering company in Walker. Wow did they do an outstanding job! Not only is the food so sweetly set-up with all the little visually appealing touches, but it tastes even better than it looks! It’s the kind of food that feels like a profound experience; it truly nourishes and leaves you feeling sustained, healthy, and well. The Green Scene also does an incredible job of meeting the needs of those with dietary restrictions - in a way that makes you feel absolutely spoiled. In fact, we all felt spoiled.
Stacy hosted two workshops over the weekend where participants were able to create all-natural eye serum and body scrub as well as essential oils spring cleaning products. Guests also enjoyed integrating oils into their weekend yoga experience, with some making personalized roller balls to take home.
This group of women became black-belt meditators by the end of the weekend! ;) We allowed plenty of space for quality meditation practice three times a day. While some were seasoned meditators, some were brand new to the practice. All remarked on how quickly the time passed, and/or how they felt the exercise was very beneficial. Meditation began to feel like something more accessible to continue to practice independently.
Another unique aspect of this retreat was the ability to earn continuing education credits toward one’s Yoga Alliance certification if already a registered yoga teacher. 24 CEU’s were offered in total. Of course, if attendees were not yoga teachers, they also benefited from workshop-style classes that incorporated practical and useful information for not only one’s yoga practice but also to incorporate little bits and pieces into one’s daily life. Some of the topics our yogis experienced and learned more about were:
Proper diaphragmatic breathing and breath control/pranayama techniques
Respiratory diaphragm - psoas connection
Common misconceptions with the pelvic floor, kegels, and mula bandha
Applied use of the chakras in asana, chanting, meditation, and sound healing
Multiple methods of meditation
Yoga Nidra session with the koshas and chakras
The Eight Limbed Path of Yoga
At Boreal Bliss Yoga Retreats, we want the information to be easily digestible and friendly for you. We want you to be able to begin to use what you learn and practice at retreats in your everyday life. That’s where change and growth happens; every day, a little bit at a time.
During our traditional closing circle, many of the women felt comfortable sharing their takeaways from the weekend. In fact, after we were finished, we all just sat there continuing to laugh and tell stories - no one was ready to leave. That’s a good feeling, bittersweet, but good. By the end of our long weekend, and with such a cozy group, many had made new connections; we truly built community.
We had an outstanding first retreat at Camp Bliss. We cannot wait to return. Thanks to all of our blissful omies, we also have memories of this initial experience that we will cherish for a lifetime.
our next retreats:
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