Join Dawn Curtis (owner of East Meets West Yoga Center in Vienna, Virginia) and Lynne Valdes November 2-8 for a fascinating journey into the chakras. Each day will focus on a different chakra, and these inspiring teachers have lots of great yoga sets and meditations planned. The retreat will be a nourishing and healing experience for all, as blocks and imbalances in the chakras can lead to all kinds of physical and emotional issues. Blogger Kathryn E. Livingston asked Dawn a few questions about what she has planned for this rejuvenating chakra connection retreat.
Q: What’s the focus of your retreat?
Dawn: We’re going to make a total chakra connection; we’ll cover one chakra a day. We might combine the last two toward the end (in Kundalini yoga we recognize eight chakras, including the aura). We are going to have two yoga classes a day, one in the morning and probably a Yoga Nidra type session in the afternoon to recharge everyone for the nightly activities. We’ll also offer private sessions with both Lynne Valdes and myself for those who want to dive a little bit deeper into the chakras. We are going to include journaling sessions every day. We did this last year at our Casa Om retreat right after breakfast; we set our intention and then we wrote it down, and that worked out really well.
Q: Will the classes be Kundalini yoga, Hatha or both?
Dawn: We’ll offer Kundalini, Hatha, and Yoga Nidra classes.
Q: Why were you drawn to the chakra theme?
Dawn: Lynne and I come from different backgrounds. I’m a Kundalini yoga teacher, and she teaches Hatha. She is also studying in the masters program at Maryland for Yoga Therapy. I also teach Hatha, and we are both yoga therapists. We both like to use the chakra model as a way for people to understand how they can heal. It’s going to be all about diving deep into the chakras, connecting with each chakra and therefore connecting with yourself.
Q: Are you going to do certain kriyas or meditations that have to do with each chakra?
Dawn: Exactly. I’m going to break it down to the yoga sets. And Lynne will teach a wonderful sequence of sun salutations for each specific chakra. On the very last day we bring it all together and we do the whole set, all seven of the chakras. So we conclude by bringing it all together with the sun salutation for all the chakras.
Q: When and how did you get into Kundalini yoga?
Dawn: I’ve been doing Kundalini yoga since 1989. I had two small children at the time and I decided I needed something to help me de-stress. I saw a flyer in a grocery store–that’s how grassroots this used to be– that said Yoga Classes in Your Neighborhood. So I went and I was hooked right off the bat. I even took my youngest child with me, bundled her up in blankets and put her in the corner, and she would fall asleep to the sound of the gong. She remembers it to this day—now she’s 31 years old. I waited years and years to do my teacher training; I did not certify until 2003 when my kids were older and out of the house.
Q: And then you did Hatha training?
Dawn: Yes, about a year after my Kundalini training. Now I do teacher trainings myself. We do 200 and 500-hour teacher trainings at East Meets West in Vienna, Virginia. And we also certify for prenatal here.
Q: When did you open the studio?
Dawn: In 2006, and we’re coming up on our 8th year anniversary on July. The studio embraces all types of yoga: We have Kundalini, Hatha, Vinyasa, Yoga Nidra, Prenatal, Kids, we cover it all. When I opened the center I wanted to make yoga accessible to everybody.
Q: Do you also have some excursions planned for the retreat?
Dawn: Yes! There will be an excursion to the Ayurvedic Center in Cancun for Ayurvedic treatments. The excursions are optional and they are also a little extra fee. We also did an excursion to Tulum and most likely we’ll do the same thing again this year.
Q: What will be the retreat’s main take-away?
Dawn: We’re hoping that the participants will walk away from the retreat feeling nourished and fully alive to step into their lives with renewed wonder and joy!