Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Grenada Chocolate Festival 2018 Choocolate, Yoga and What Happens When You're not Ready to Heal?

During the 2018 Grenada Chocolate Festival, I had the opportunity to attend another Yoga Session and let me tell you, I was in for a very different experience. 

The yoga studio is in and of itself a very welcoming environment. It’s located as soon as you enter the grounds of the True Blue Bay Resort and Villas. The far wall is really just a beautiful set of floor to ceiling windows and the front of the building opens onto a veranda that give you a bird’s eye view of the resort grounds. The tree tops and even the ocean and the boats lazing on its surface in the distance, take up full frontal view. Really, what could be more calming? Our session was in the morning so of course it was accompanied by that always refreshing inhalation of air you get from being high up and sweet, sweet, Caribbean bird song to punctuate the passage of time.

I had the second session with an instructor I’ve not done yoga with before, May Fakhre, who has been practising yoga for over 10 years and has completed over 200-hour of Hatha Vinyasa Yoga training.

I’m going to go ahead and be honest here; I had a really hard time in this class, not because of anything the trainer did but because I was feeling pretty unwell due to personal health issues. I gave a good go at many of the poses but it was no easy go for me let me tell you.

In those moments of struggle however, yoga yet again did the thing I love it most for…it slowed my speeding brain down. I talked a little about this last year, when I spoke about my Grenada Chocolate Festival 2017 Yoga experience. How yoga forces me, I’d even venture to say it kind of grabs hold of me by the shoulders and makes me look time in the eye, second by second. For a person with a personality like mine, always thinking, always planning? Usually such a thing sounds like an excruciating death sentence but yoga? Yoga has always had a way of humbling me in a way that I do not find threatening but rather instead informing. It sits me down in my own body, all the aches and pain and all and says well, this is what we’re dealing with and you don’t get to ignore any muscle in this body any more. This session focused on healing was no exception.

This year the session with May was a lot more advanced positioning than I’m used to so a lot of the time you could find this girl flat on her back staring down some hard truths about wellness and healing.  Which, I suppose was fortunate as this year’s theme was focused a lot on healing your body in stages from the top of your head to the sole of your feet. 

Our instructor talked a lot about the Grenadian organic cocoa plants growth process from roots, to flower, to pod and while I’ve heard this before, this year as we spoke of healing, we talked and I heard better this time of the slow unfurling of leaves and flowers. It accosted me then, in that room full of fresh air and chocolate fragrances that permeated the space throughout our yoga practice, thoughts of the extension to the sky to catch the sunlight cocoa plants do as they gather the necessities they need. All done long before our dedicated, hard working farmers turn them in to rich, tree to bar, healthy and humanely crafted dark chocolate for which my beautiful Caribbean country has become so well known. It had me thinking about how badly we as human beings want healing to happen quickly but how, even in nature, manifestation takes time. It wasn’t a lesson my heart wanted to hear I will admit but it was one it needed to hear, I know. I love how yoga helps me to get to that place of hard truths with my body as a friend and not as foe. What an added bonus that the Grenada Chocolate Fest 2018 rewards me with chocolate, as a part of that journey.

In communication with May she said this of yoga ‘it's a humbling journey of self-discovery and surrender.’ and I couldn’t agree more on that day because those playful poses meant to have us bending in ways that were healing and a bit giggly had me deep thing about what It feels like when you’re not ready to heal.

This is something I’ve struggled with in various parts of my life at various points of my life. There are moments when you are provided all the tools and all the grace necessary for healing but what happens when you are not there yet mentally, physically or emotionally?

I think that becoming ill can teach you the answer to that question very quickly. On this Saturday I was provided a skilled yoga teacher who provided instruction that was playful and good for the body. I was in a healing and safe environment on the grounds of the True Blue Bay Resort and Villas with chocolates to sample throughout the yoga practice and bird song to calm my mind but my body and my mind were not well enough to keep up.

So, this is what I learned through failed attempt at being a one hundred percent participant of this healing through yoga exercise, during the Grenada Chocolate Festival 2018. This is what you do when you’re not ready to heal:

First, I suggest you be still. It is often only in that moment of stillness that you can find the peace to do what you’re going to need to do next. So take a breath friend, stay in tuned and hold on to that act of being ever present in this moment no matter what it feels like because you’re here, right then, no matter what that looks like you’re still here and that means change can happen.

Then, accept that healing looks very different for everyone. Now while I lay on that floor in that yoga session all about healing with people far more skilled than I bending and twisting in ways I simply could not, best believe I had some none too righteous feelings about my body and it’s ability. In that moment too, as I breathed my way through it, I also had to acknowledge that I am not nor have I ever been just like everybody else and I should not hate my body for that blessing. So accept that healing just might look a little different for you than the people around you and DO NOT blame yourself for that because that very difference? Just may serve a blessing to you and others.

Lastly, embrace modification. You know I have had a long and sordid affair with modification from childhood up. I fought with it for a long time. I saw a lot of self loathing happening then too for inconveniencing others by having to deviate from the regular or the easily accomplished by others. Growing up I have learned that there is a unique brilliance that can be found in modification. A brilliance, only you can bring to an idea. 

So maybe, I didn’t walk out of that beautifully housed and skilfully tutored yoga session feeling accomplished at the practice or like a looked like I belonged there or blissed out on healing but you know what? I think that day I got just the kind of healing I needed for me, a moment of self reflection in the middle of a session focused on healing. Again, yoga managed to shake me up properly though gently and remind me to feel even the bad feelings and let them too usher me into healing.

I will readily admit that the scent of chocolate while doing yoga ad even the smooth taste of it during practice, small as it may be enhances my experience by waking my senses up and keeping them in the moment in a way I cannot explain. Thank you to the Grenada Chocolate Festival 2018 and the open sankalpa True Blue Bay Resort and Villas Yoga Studio for another amazingly sensory experience and the delicious chocolate breakfast they provided one in conjunction with the event that day!

 Peace, Love, Feel Your Feelings. 
photography Grenada Chocolate Fest 2018

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