“I first heard about Casa Om in Puerto Morelos, Mexico over 10 years ago from a friend who co-led some retreats. She loved it and told me to do it. I was intrigued, however, I was also very conflicted. My self doubts made the convincing argument that since I had never led retreats before, I therefore didn’t have what it takes.
Underneath that narrative was fear of failure, making a fool of myself, etc, so I’m better off not to try. Also, in the Bikram Hot Yoga world (which was going strong at the time), there were already leaders in the world with established names, running retreats, and workshops etc, which was not me, and evidence in my mind to not lead retreats. Looking back, I was truly paralyzed by my own convincing (but fictional) inner narrative for several years.
Fast forward a few years to 2015, I decided to call Hargobind and talk to him about my concerns. He told me his story, planning large events for years, how that led to Casa Om, and insights he gained along the way. He remarked how in the Bikram world (and other yoga traditions), it was and is deeply entrenched in the mindset of many teachers, that you have to be ‘anointed’ by the higher powers before you can act on a leadership role.
I agreed, that’s just how it was in the Bikram world. He then told me how he has witnessed new teachers fresh off teacher training, organizing and leading sold out retreats very successfully. This insight blew my mind. It was a key pivot moment for me, from not believing in myself, to believing in myself, even with the unknown still in front of me. My excitement started speaking louder than my doubts, and i took action to schedule my first retreat for February 2016.
Fast forward to today, March 2022. I just got back from leading my 7th sold-out retreat at Casa Om. Each retreat over the years has been truly unique, special and powerful for me. This in Feb 2022 was extra special because of the pandemic and shutdowns for the last 2 years, and how hijacked everyone’s nervous systems have been. After a few days at Casa om, nerves started to settle down, laughter bubbled up, tears flowed, participants were truly letting down after 2 years of jaw grinding stress. The daily yoga, the healthy in house food, the sunshine and beach nearby, the supportive people, all of it pulls together in a synergy over the week to lead to a profound rejuvenating experience that is felt on a deep authentic level in the cells and the soul.
I’ve said over the years retreats are one of the best things we do as a studio community, and I mean it. Retreats create and reinforce community and connection in a way that nothing else does, coming from in my experience running 2 hot yoga studios over the last 15 years.
I’m very grateful for Hargobind and Siri Om for creating the space, motivation, and inspiration for yoga teachers, studio owner to lead retreats, it truly creates a ripple effect the world really needs.
Ian O'Laughlin, Founder
Thrive Hot Yoga | Thrive Mindset Coaching | Thrive Retreats