yoga retreat india

I've had a lot of people asking me what inspired me to lead an international yoga retreat to India, what my strategy or vision was, and how I pulled it off. The truth is I tend to be pretty impulsive about my decision making, and really, that's my biggest strategy. When I have a vision for something and it feels right, I throw everything in. To me, if you want to increase your chances of being successful, open yourself to profound change, or set your life in a new direction, there is no other way to proceed. Big vision. Bolder action. Had I made the decision to start small or calculated all the ways it could have gone wrong, I probably would have never done it. 

Don't get me wrong, I have my doubts. But if my desire is bigger than my doubts, I don't let them stop me. Before I put down my deposit on the retreat center, I called up my self-employed ex-boyfriend looking for a bit of a pep talk/business advice:

"Should I do it? Do you think I can fill it?"

"Absolutely. But not if you don't put the deposit down. Shoot, fire, aim, girl."

During my India retreat, we studied the power of intention and how it relates to dharma or life purpose. On Day 5, we discussed what author, Stephen Cope, calls the "unseen dharma power" that unleashes when you fully commit to the task at hand. He discusses how commitment itself has magic in it; that it draws your energies together and calls up energies you didn't know you had. In other words, when you step out in faith and commit to something on behalf of your dreams, your higher self, or your own personal integrity or self-care, the universe comes to your aid. 

The moment one definitely commits oneself then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise occurred. A whole stream of events issue from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would come his way.
— W.A. Murray

When I think about all the decisions in my life that have shaped me the most profoundly and set me on a new path that continues to this day, they are decisions I made on a whim in favor of my highest self. They are decisions I made in response to that first feeling of exhilaration that came with the thought of choosing a new opportunity or different vision for my life. They were decisions I made at the first feeling of relief that came with the thought of walking away from stale commitments that no longer felt life-giving. They were decisions, through which, I returned to my own sense of integrity and personal vision for my life, beyond the expectations or agendas of other people, or any rut or bind I got myself in by passively affirming a life that didn't serve me or what I truly desired. They were decisions I made on a whim like...

  • Pursuing yoga teacher training when I didn't know I wanted to be a yoga teacher. I just knew my yoga mat was the one place in my life that felt right to be at.
  • Quitting my full-time job to pursue this self-employment thing when I had no back-up plan or any real knowledge of how to go about it. I just knew that I wasn't fulfilling my potential and my current job was literally destroying my health.
  • Traveling to India for a month when I hadn't traveled anywhere else and didn't really even know what I was looking for by going there. I just knew I had to. 

No, I didn't have it all figured out beforehand, and no, I didn't have much of a plan. I guess my plan was to not feel like shit anymore. My plan was to pursue the things in life that made me feel the way I wanted to feel. My plan was to trust that it was all going to work out. 

Not only did everything work out, but these decisions continue to shape my path to this day and flow into the lives of others. When we make a bold decision on behalf of our highest self, it is an act of radical self-care -- an act that can inspire others to do the same for themselves. Take my month in India, for example. That one bold action I took in favor of myself, to change my life and what I viewed as possible, offered me the ability to provide that same opportunity for 15 other people -- who also went to India on a whim and found their own profound, life-changing stories. 

Radical self-care is quantam and radiates out into the atmosphere like a little fresh air. It is a huge gift to the world.
— Anne Lamott

What gift can you give to yourself so you can give back to the world? What really lights up your heart? What action, expression, or intention is needed to support this endeavor?

That feeling of excitement, exhilaration, or deep ease we get at the mere thought of saying yes to an opportunity is there for a reason. That's your guidance. That's the affirmation you are looking for. Listen to that first feeling. Because the thoughts of fear, doubt and practicality will always follow. And listening to those thoughts will kill countless ideas and beautiful plans. The truth is the dots are never going to just line up for you to quit your soul-sucking job and pursue your heart's longing, travel the world, write your book, leave the relationship or start crossing off your bucket list. At least, not before you make the decision to do it. Our power comes into focus through our commitment. 

So whatever it is that lights you up at the mere thought of it, choose it. Whatever life-giving endeavor or excursion you've been putting off, begin it. Commit to it now. Don’t think about it. For once, just feel into it. Lean into it. And trust that you deserve it. Because you do.

Shoot. Fire. Aim.

If you are ready for a life-changing decision that takes you to the wild and transformative country of India, take the invitation. I will be leading another group to Goa, India for Diwali, Indian Festival of Lights this November 9th-16th, 2015. I'd love to have you. And if you need any support in getting yourself there, reach out via email and begin the conversation.

Big love,

Jessica

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