Sweat drips down my face as I extend my limbs in opposite directions in a pose called Warrior III. I think to myself, So THIS is yoga. After flowing through the same set of poses on the other side of the body, I find myself lying peacefully in savasana. A cold lavender-scented towel is draped across my eyes and a deep quietness takes over my mind.
The start of a person’s yoga journey is beautiful, healing and special. With a gentle step onto the mat, you begin to understand how your mind and body are intertwined. With continued practice, yoga can be a vehicle for change and self-discovery. Different forms of yoga can be practiced with absolute stillness or through vigorous movements with deep pranayama breathing.
Finding emotional healing
Miriam Nasuti, founder of Farm-to-Fork Frederick, says her first yoga retreat changed her life. Nasuti’s journey with yoga started as a way to cope during a very difficult time with her youngest son. The traumatic experience of her son going through severe depression and running-away nearly broke her.
Yoga paves a way for her to release the deep emotions she often feels when she sees others struggling. Now, six years later, Nasuti has created a 3-day yoga retreat that promises to deliver a weekend to help you find your inner peace.
The NoVa Wellness and YogaFest retreat
The NoVa Wellness and YogaFest retreat at Morven Park is structured so people can come for the weekend, a day, or even a few hours. There’s over 60 classes covering all forms of yoga. There’s a “harmony row” and “wellness way,” which will offer wellness products, reiki sessions, and other wellness practitioners. A food tent will offer vegetarian and vegan options by Chef Matthew Warschaw.
Based off her own past experiences at retreats, Nasuti created different themed areas for the YogaFest, such as the “Calm Yoga Grove” and the “Active Movement Tent.” In the Calm Yoga Grove, participants enjoy sessions like “Meditative Slow Flow.” While others in the Active Movement Tent, will be flowing through classes called “Born to be Wild.”
Yoga instructors Anthony Gonzales, Jennifer Topper, and Shelly Pentony from Frederick’s Sol Yoga, will be offering workshops throughout the weekend. Other practitioners from Frederick, including Cathy Hansen and Kim Klemecic, will also be making teacher appearances.
Pentony will be offering a session called Yoga for Life’s Traumas, Large and Small. The Frederick-based yoga instructor says her own journey with yoga started when she was searching for something to bring a sense of calm and inner peace into her own life.
After 16 years of practicing yoga, Pentony blends her calling to help those going through trauma and her love for yoga. Yoga teaches us to find our inner resources and to mitigate the fight-or-flight response through a combination of poses, breath work, and deep relaxation, she says. It’s a gentle, safe way for people to befriend their bodies when they’ve developed a distorted relationship with it. (Plus, practicing yoga can reduce work stress!)
The NoVa Wellness and YogaFest is a place to find community, especially for those who have experienced any level of trauma or hardship. In memory and honor individuals who struggle with suicide, Nasuti has partnered with The Ryan Bartel Foundation. The Foundation is founded on the principle that everyone deserves acceptance and no one should feel hopeless about life.
Yoga is not a magic wand or an instant fix. But, with ongoing practice, yoga gives us a space to accept our individual imperfections. It provides the time and energy to connect with all aspects of your being.
So whether you are just finding yoga or your yoga mat is worn-in, explore what makes yoga beautiful at the NoVa Wellness and YogaFest Retreat.
2017 NoVa Wellness and YogaFest Retreat
Morven Park, Leesburg VA