Frequently Asked Questions...
What is yoga? Yoga is a scientific system of physical and mental practices that originated in India nearly five thousand years ago. Its purpose is to help each one of us achieve our highest potential and to experience lasting health and happiness. With Yoga, we can extend our healthy, productive years far beyond the accepted norm and, at the same time, improve the quality of our lives. Yoga means union, and through its practice, one experiences a greater sense of oneness, harmony, and connection within and with others.
The branch of Yoga that forms the main focus of my teaching is called Classical Hatha Yoga, although I am influenced by a variety of forms of yoga. Classical Hatha Yoga teaches us to expand our awareness, relaxation, and functionality by working with the body on a structural level, helping to align the vertebrae, increase flexibility, and strengthen muscles and connective tissue. At the same time, internal organs are toned and rejuvenated; the epidermal, digestive, lymphatic, cardiovascular, and pulmonary systems are purified of toxins and waste matter; the nervous and endocrine systems are balanced and toned; and brain cells are nourished and stimulated. The end result is increased mental clarity, emotional stability, and a greater sense of overall well-being, joy and vitality. Through our practice together, we will also delve into Pranayama (breathing and energy cultivation), Mantra (sound and song), Mudra (gesture), Meditation, and Yogic Philosophy.
Is yoga a religion? Yoga is not a religion. As T.K.V. Desikachar wrote in The Heart of Yoga, "Yoga has its roots in Indian thought, but its content is universal because it is about the means by which we can make the changes we desire in our lives . . . It is not necessary to subscribe to any particular ideas of God in order to follow the yoga path." The Yoga Sutras describe an approach to life that is compatible with having a specific religious faith, and is also purely compatible with simply practices which move us to lead "right" lives.
What is Ayurveda? Ayurveda is often considered to be the “mother” of all medicine, as it originated in India more than 5,000 years ago and is the oldest continuously practiced health-care system in the world today. Ayurveda teaches us that although the causes of our physical, mental, and emotional challenges may be complicated, or even longstanding, all conditions and imbalances can be understood. Once we understand our imbalances, we can apply lifestyle therapies to alleviate or eliminate both symptom and cause, therefore, enhancing health and increasing vitality.
It is understood in Ayurveda that human beings are governed by the same laws as all of nature, and that like all else in the universe, we are comprised of the five elements: earth, water, fire, air and ether. All of these elements have inherent energies that govern their own functions as well as the functions of all things that they comprise. We are each a conglomerate of all these energies, but each person has a slightly different proportion of the individual elements, making everyone unique in their own constitutional makeup, or “dosha”.
An Ayurvedic approach treats each individual by taking into account unique mental, emotional, and physical conditions, as well as one’s current life circumstances, and their “nature” of dealing with life’s challenges. Imbalances in the body are evaluated through a system based upon the five elements. Because our world and bodies are constantly adjusting to changes in our environments, we must also adjust in lifestyle to maintain our inner balance. If we choose to ignore the environmental changes, we are likely to lose our own balance, diminishing our vitality and health. The Ayurvedic system of medicine understands our deepest connections with the whole universe. We are considered a microcosm of the macrocosm and are encouraged to find balance within life through proper or “sattvic” lifestyle practices.
Ayurveda is not a passive form of treatment. It insists that each person take an active part in one’s health enhancement, for it is only the individual who can change his/her overall state of health. No one and nothing from the outside can heal someone. True healing and vitality always comes from within.
Ayurvedic medicine concentrates on prevention and health enhancement. It is a system based on natural healing through strengthening the body, mind, and spirit and allowing one’s own healing mechanisms to function at their highest potential. The goal of Ayurveda is to teach people how to attain optimal health through a deeper understanding of themselves, as a means to live a more physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually rich existence.
What can I expect on a yoga retreat with Britt? Retreats create an environment to take a break from daily life and to rejuvenate through yoga and ayurveda. Although yoga and ayurveda permeate all retreats with Britt, there is so much wisdom and history to draw upon, invoking a unique experience each time. The retreat calendar (located on the calendar page of this site) will outline for you an additional focus for the retreat dates you are seeking.
For most retreats, a variety of levels and experiences will make up the kula (community) for the time we spend together. In some cases, participants may have attended many past retreats, while others will be first-time attendees.
It is a nice retreat to experience with a loved-one, and it is also a great way to get away and meet new friends. Coming alone or with someone are equally perfect options.
The bottom line is that it is best not to get too caught up in the mental gymnastics that tend to come along with scheduling a retreat for oneself. Instead, simply look within and if you feel called to come, then it is right that you do so.
What is the maximum number of participants? The retreats we host at the YogaFarm hold a maximum of 15.
Are the any additional taxes or fees we must pay? There are no additional taxes or fees. The fee stated on this website includes all lodging, meals and sessions, unless explicitly noted otherwise.
Are the retreats co-ed? All retreats are co-ed except those that clearly state that they are “for women only” or “for men only”.
Will you find a roommate for me if I come by myself? Yes. Many people attend the retreats without a friend or partner. We do our best to create an optimal environment for those travel with or without a friend or partner.
Are the retreats suitable for beginners? Most retreats are suitable for anyone, regardless of age, experience, or skill level in yoga or meditation. If programs are intermediate or advanced, they are listed as such on the calendar page of this website. For most other programs, the teaching is primarily guiding each participant back to their own intuitive knowing. Students come to these retreats for different reasons and with different backgrounds. The retreat experience is unique for everyone, allowing them to have the understanding and experience they need at that particular time.
What style of yoga is taught? We have studied with many teachers in a variety of styles over the years - including Classical Hatha, Vinyasa, Iyengar, Yoga Tantra, Anusara, and Vedanta. Generally speaking, our teachings are organic, energetic, and intuitive, with only moderate focus on biomechanics or the utilization of props. Teachings are a synthesis of all that we have studied and what has evolved during our years of practice.
What are the YogaFarm retreats like? The yoga retreats are an opportunity for one to relax and rest in the natural presence/awareness that they are. We feel this is the essence of yoga, meditation and retreat in general. The schedule, teaching and environment allow one to let go of the demands and details of daily life and to reconnect with and reveal their own deeper knowing. Yoga postures, breath awareness, restorative postures, meditation, silence, and free time in the natural world generally assist in this letting go. As we let go of tension and the busy mind, a deeper knowing that is always present, reveals itself. There is ample opportunity for people to interact throughout the weekend, or spend time in personal retreat.
Are there private bathrooms? None of the bathrooms are private. There are three bathrooms available for the participants; each has a shower. Bath towels are provided.
What should I expect regarding meals? All of our meals are vegetarian, and are made from scratch with great love. Our ingredient comes from local and organic sources when possible. We believe that the quality of what we put into our bodies in food, thought, and experience will create an equal and parallel quality of energy we are able to return to the world through our relationships and our life’s work. We always do our best to accommodate dietary restrictions.
What shall we bring?
What not to bring: We request that guests do not bring cell phones, personal computers, books, pets, alcohol, non-prescription drugs, synthetic or strongly scented shampoos, conditioners, lotions or other body products, as we want to provide a fragrance-free environment for all. Smoking is not permitted on the grounds.
Can we swim in the creek? Yes, there is a swimming hole around the bend from the main house. We recommend a pair of river shoes, as the bottom can be slippery. The water is refreshingly cool in summer months, but some have taken a dip in the spring and fall.
What is the weather like? Summer 60's to mid-80's with cooler nights - walking sandals, light jacket, light sweater or sweatshirt for cooler nights. Fall and Spring 20's to 50's - mid-weight jacket, hat, gloves, waterproof boots.Winter 10 to low 30's - very warm jacket, hat, gloves, warm boots.
What if someone needs to contact me? The emergency contact number is 503-429-3384. Cell phone reception is not available at the the YogaFarm.
Copyright © 2013, by Britt B Steele. All rights reserved.
Each day you wake up and you either move through life consciously -- paying attention to the details, or unconsciously -- going through the motions. It isn’t what happens in your life that makes the greatest impact -- it’s the perspective through which you see your life and what you do with what you see.