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Summer Intensive at SOYA

Posted by Julie Andres on Monday, September 9, 2013 Under: yoga

This August I was fortunate to take part in the first segment of the 2013/14 300-hour upgrade program with South Okanagan Yoga Academy. The 12-day intensive was located in Water Valley, Alberta at an 80-acre retreat centre of remarkable beauty. Large (I'm talking several acres) ponds host a variety of water fowl, dam-building beavers, and two bounding golden retrievers. Horses Sophie and Ariel roam at large and often peered through the studio window to observe yoga students in action.

My rustic accommodations included a one-room cabin with a hot plate and outdoor loo. While we were there staff and students provided "karma" yoga service and erected an outdoor solar shower. It was a divinely pleasant way to freshen up after the long days.

Speaking of long days, our studies began at 7 am with kriyas, japa, and meditation, and carried on with discussion of readings of the Upanishads, Sanskrit writing and reading basics, anatomy, and a variety of specialty workshops (Ayurveda, Critical Alignment, and others). Two asana classes (am and pm) and an evening chanting and meditation rounded out the days, which ended at 7:30 pm. I was in heaven. (Who said you can't be exhausted to the point of delirium in heaven?)

The incredibly compassionate and knowledgeable Mugs McConnell is the driving force behind SOYA; her husband Bob, fresh from completing his 500-hour training with the Himalayan Institute, brought his own tantra-influenced teachings to meditation and asana classes. What a blessing to have them both guiding us on this journey.

The fellow students brought a nice variety of yoga experience as well--we had time to get to know one another in the kitchen in the evenings and I know I have made life-long friends. Retreat hosts Boni and Mick opened their gorgeous home to us for several potluck get-togethers--celebrating the graduation of students Karen Walters from Calgary and Laurie Clark from Penticton was a highlight. Shannon Cardinal from Lac La Biche, Alberta and Patti Deschenes from Wawa, Ontario were also lovely classmates.
So now I am at it again. The journey since my 200-hour training began in the fall of 2010 has been incredible and nothing short of transformational. It is hard to believe it's only been three years.

The second intensive is at God's Mountain in Penticton in April 2014. In the meantime I have a lot of work to do.

In : yoga 

Tags: yoga meditation japa 

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