Pour Your Heart Out: Peace and Strength

wanderlust california

Riding the tram up the mountain

Though my body was already feeling a little sore from the previous two days of yoga, hikes, and even ballet, I was excited to be boarding the tram to go to the top of the mountain to take another yoga class. I was already surrounded by beauty and peace at the Wanderlust Festival, I figured it had to be even more amazing to take a class up there. In planning for the trip, my motto was to try as many things that I wouldn’t otherwise get to try elsewhere. And mountaintop yoga is not something you can find in my teeny coastal(read: totally flat) Carolina town.

During the 10 minute tram ride, I glared at my phone and its pathetic ONE bar, which was not allowing me to reply to emails or check twitter or facebook. And while I can let some of that go for my own personal accounts, I was feeling stressed about getting behind for work.

But when we all unloaded at the top, I followed the signs for my Basic Flow yoga class and was blown away by the sheer natual beauty.

The class was right on the edge, overlooking a massive drop down the side of the mountain. You could look straight across and see the mountain peaks. I set up my yoga mat and simply stared out ahead of me, enjoying the quiet.

Even as others approached the practice space, it never got loud, as everyone automatically hushed as they got close to the spectacular view.

yoga festival

The front of the class

Class began and our instructor had one of the most melodic voices I’ve ever heard.

The class was called “Harness Ur Awesomeness” and I admit that I took it more because it was 1. at high camp and 2. it was a gentle flow class and I wanted something that wasn’t going to completely kick my ass, rather than paying too much mind to the class description of “Stand in your power. Align with your truth. Flow with your passion.”

Even though I love yoga and the happy peaceful environment of Wanderlust is one that I’d love to have all the time, I have to admit that I sometimes roll my eyes at bit at some of the spiritual parts of the practice and instead focused on the workout and the calm that would come over me. For example, when I’d be in a class where we’d be asked to chant a certain word(or sound), I would usually do it, but it always seemed a little weird. Or if the talk got too far out there for me, I simply ignored it and tried to get a little deeper into a stretch.

But as I went through the class and listened, really listened to the instructor, my thoughts began to change.

We all stood in Warrior Two position, with left hip and arm pulling back toward the mountains behind and right hip and arm extending towards the mountains in front of us. Doing as our teacher instructed, I felt that pull and extension and felt the strength in the connection of my feet to the earth, feeling solid and strong.

She encouraged us to feel our energy, our strength, and to realize that we are what is permanent during our lifetimes: that each of us, whatever is inside of us and our bodies- this is what we have. Not everything external. Not our stresses, our jobs, all that outside noise. Everything around us changes and what we have, what we will always have, through everything, is ourselves. So we need to be taking care of ourselves.


In that moment, it really hit home to me. And I started to let go of some of my worries. Like that one bar showing on my iPhone.

Shortly after, we were relaxing in Child’s Pose and encouraged to “Om” with the class… instead of any eyerolling, I joined in. And as each individual on top of the mountain chanted it in their own rhythm and for their own length of time, it began to sound more like the chiming of hundreds of bells.

We went into  Shavasana(final resting time at the end of class), though our teacher told us if we were feeling chilled or needed a little more comfort, to take this time on our bellies instead of our backs. Having goosebumps on my arms, I took the time on my belly, breathing deeply and feeling so peaceful, so strong.

And then our teacher began to sing, beautiful words that I couldn’t understand(Sanskrit, possibly?). But I could feel the emotion, the overwhelming joy and harmony in those syllables.

And I never wanted to leave that space, that mountain where it seemed so easy to be aware of what is important, to feel that peace and strength, and to let go of the rest.

Disclosure: I attended Wanderlust as part of #toyotawomen. I was selected for participation in the TWIN community through a program with Clever Girls Collective. I did not receive any compensation for writing this post, or payment in exchange for participating. The opinions expressed herein are mine, and do not reflect the views of Toyota.

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  1. I know I’ve already said it but I’m totally jealous that you had the chance to do this. Mountaintop yoga? Are you kidding me? ;) I’m thrilled that you had a “mountaintop” experience (I know, I’m corny late at night) and I know what you mean about the eye rolling but the best part about yoga for me is that it’s quiet. I’m sure you can agree that being a mama doesn’t allow for much quiet time and so it’s a welcome relief for me. :) Thanks for sharing your experience!
    tricia recently posted..why i’m freaked out, excited & anxious for this new month.My Profile

  2. I have never tried yoga, but I would love to, just to focus on the quiet. But that spiritual stuff? Probably too much for me too.

    That view is gorgeous!
    Kimberly recently posted..Time For A ChangeMy Profile

    • Really depends on the teacher. Not all go into any of it. And then some go way into it. It’s finding the one that is right for you.

  3. That sounds amazing. Just amazing. The pictures are breathtaking. So so jealous. And happy that you got to have that experience :)
    Delilah recently posted..So What?My Profile

  4. You looked so peaceful with your braided hair in tree pose! Yay for you. This was a wonderful experience!
    Katina recently posted..Beautiful FeetMy Profile

  5. First time trying out this linky. It looks like it is a lot of fun.  Thanks for hosting.
    Wayne recently posted..Pour Your Heart Out WednesdayMy Profile

  6. Wow! That sounds wonderful and I don’t even do Yoga. So happy you got to have the whole peaceful and relaxing experience.
    Now how to mimic that experience at home? :)
    Making It Work Mom recently posted..Trying to Keep my Social Media Kid FreeMy Profile

    • There was so much more going on than just yoga- I think anyone would like it.

      It’s so loud at home now. SIGH.

  7. What a wonderful experience! The yoga spot has such a beautiful view.
    JDaniel4′s Mom recently posted..Olympic Values- Growing ExcellenceMy Profile

  8. That sounds wonderful, Shell. I totally need a moment like that. Or maybe even a day….
    Natalie @MamaTrack recently posted..It’s a Dog’s LifeMy Profile

  9. Shell I am so happy you found your “om” and that peacefulness not only during the class but in resting pose. If I have a chill during resting pose I always feel like it is because I have purged all of the bad stuff out of my head and heart. It doesn’t matter how badly I’m sweating…I always get that chill.
    So thrilled you had this time for yourself. It ALL starts with taking care of YOU! xoxox
    Kristen recently posted..Social Media DreamsMy Profile

    • Sometimes I have a hard time resting at the end, but not this time. It felt so amazing. 

  10. That sounds absolutely dreamy!
    Kerry Ann @Vinobaby’s Voice recently posted..Those Days Go ByMy Profile

  11. That sounds like such a lovely class – and what a great ah ha moment!   I love when that happens! 
    ilene recently posted..Got Thoughts?My Profile

  12. wow, that sounds pretty gosh darn amazing! glad you were able to go and have such a good time.
    christina recently posted..LeavingMy Profile

  13. Wow that sounds an d looks awesome…I’m so glad you got to do this! I have never been to a yoga class…I think I am missing out!
    Natalie recently posted..Finally the Moment You’ve Been Waiting For!My Profile

  14. What an amazing view! I’ve never tried yoga (my husband says I should). Anything that can help you to find inner peace and strength has to good.
    Patricia P recently posted..I’m Not Judging…But I AmMy Profile

  15. What a wonderful experience! That looks like a wonderful space to let go of worry and really find perspective. 
    Amanda M. recently posted..Beautiful BalanceMy Profile

  16. Thank you for reminding me why I LOVE yoga and why I need to get back into my practice. Everything you said here, yes, yes yes. Every time I did yoga, no matter how tired I was before the practice, I would always emerge from class rejuvenated and calm. 

    Glad you had such a wonderful time!
    Alison recently posted..Online and OfflineMy Profile

  17. Wow… that is a beautiful location! 

    Funny thing…. while walking yesterday I saw a sign near a house with an arrow pointing for yoga! My assumption is that they have classes there…. I’m going to look into it!
    Jackie recently posted..Monday Menu ~ Baked Sweet PlantainsMy Profile

  18. I think I need about a month of this. Sounds amazing!
    Ashley {@} My Front Porch Swing recently posted..Three things I love about being a momMy Profile

  19. Oh my goodness, what an absolutely stunning backdrop for yoga. I haven’t been practicing yoga lately and this is making me long for it. Wanderlust sounds like it was a heavenly experience.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Face Lift and a Guest PostMy Profile

  20. Just reading this felt peaceful. I think I would totally be an eye roller at first myself. And what a beautiful spot to do yoga! And yes- everything else will still be there when you get back just enjoy. (and hopefully no more extra pets ;)
    Emmy recently posted..Ten Things to Smile About This MonthMy Profile

    • I’m glad I got past the eyerolling- I think if I can, pretty much anyone can. 

      LOL Just the cat. We’ll see how that works out.

  21. I love this post! I love yoga, but have never had the opportunity to practice on a mountain-top. The photos are incredible. Take me with you next time!! 

    Kelli @ Momma Needs a Beer recently posted..Silver & GoldMy Profile

  22. I took yoga in college as my PE/Health credit. It really is relaxing. I should do it more often.
    The Drama Mama recently posted..PYHO: Forget the ChickenMy Profile

  23. This post gave me goosebumps…that picture was breathtaking. it is one of my dreams to go on a yoga retreat somewhere, like bali or puerto rico, where they are in the middle of the rain forest. i find that the opening of the mind and heart to the spiritual side of yoga does not always come at every practice, but when it does? ha, then i understand the use of the word ‘bliss’ that used to make me snicker and think of hippies. it’s the entire universe inside each breath. thank you for sharing, that was lovely to read and lovely to see.

    • Oh, that would be amazing to do it there!

      yes, I used to just think of hippies, too- until I found those moments and then I got it.

  24. Holy cow, that view is amazing!!! Good job giving into the spiritual part of it…it sounds like a wonderful adventure.
    Runnermom-jen recently posted..You…My Profile

  25. You made me cry today. In a good way :)
    angela recently posted..Running the BasesMy Profile

  26. That sounds fantastic. I have not done yoga. Do you think my cametra clicking away up there would have disturbed the mood for everyone? Lol
    Kim Young recently posted..My Replacement CameraMy Profile

    • Ha! There were people taking pics all the time. Though not usually the ones in the middle of practicing… except for me because I had to document everything, right?

  27. I wish I could do yoga without laughing. The poses just crack me up for some reason.
    Amber recently posted..Hey, It’s Okay Tuesday!My Profile

  28. What a beautiful view! Totally jealous!
    Teresa (Embracing the Spectrum) recently posted..A little progressMy Profile

  29. Beautiful!! So nice that you were able to just let go and be in the moment like that. I think a setting like that is probably what it would take to get me to take a deep breath and relax these days. Too many distractions back home!
    Mary recently posted..How to Deal With Insane, Hateful, & Batshit Crazy Blog CommentersMy Profile

    • It took being that far removed for me to actually go ahead and let go. Anywhere else, I’m reaching for my computer or at least my phone. This forced me out of it- and it was SO relaxing.

  30. Such an interesting perspective.  I’ve done Denise Austin yoga, and I just don’t think it’s what you experienced.  I think you experienced the real deal, the inner calmness. The true spirit of the movement.  Sounds great.
    Leigh Powell Hines @Hinessightblog recently posted..Wish We Were Here: Cape Arundel Inn, KennebunkportMy Profile

    • I’ve never had any luck doing yoga with just a DVD. I need that live class to really get the full experience.

  31. Gorgeous pics, Shell! I felt the peace of the environment through your pics and your post. Thank you! It’s nice to find a moment’s peace in the chaos of my house :-)
    Dawn @ Come Over For Coffee recently posted..Would You Like to Meet My Husband (DH)?My Profile

  32. Wow! That looks SO relaxing. I personally know what you’re talking about too when you only see “one bar” and that initial feeling of panic. But then, once you let the panic go, isn’t is great??
    Kate F. @katefineske recently posted..A No-Nap Kinda DayMy Profile

    • I hate that feeling of panic. It shouldn’t be that way- we should be able to be out of touch for a little it and have it not be a big deal.

  33. Just reading this after writing the post I just did, made me feel like I need to book a trip like this ASAP. I need to find some sort of inner peace and calm…you know with all the chaos. ;) Glad you enjoyed it!
    AnnMarie recently posted..Not Easy to AdmitMy Profile

  34. Look at those views!!  I would love an opportunity like that! :)
    Julie recently posted..PYHO: The last strawMy Profile

  35. Even though I’m a Pilates girl I love the deep breathing and rest period at the end of a yoga session. It’s just so calming. This sounds like such a truly amazing experience. And that view… breath-taking.
    Susi recently posted..Ready, Set… Jump {Wordless Wednesday}My Profile

  36. All of what you wrote are the reasons I love, love, love yoga.  Sadly, I am always making excuses for not going, but now – I must.  What a great experience you had.

  37. Shell, I would like to award you the Versatile Blogger Award!  Should you choose to accept it, I posted a blog with all the details.  Keep on writing and bringing that community together!


  38. Oh wow that looks amazing. Completely and utterly amazing. It’s funny because I wrote my post before I read yours, and then I realized just how much your experience echoed the feelings I had been having lately. I’m so glad you got to go to this gorgeous place and have that moment. 
    Marta recently posted..YOLOMy Profile

  39. That sounds absolutely amazing. It makes me want to try yoga again. I did it once, years ago, and hurt myself.
    Sarcasm Goddess recently posted..You Googled What? – The Here We Go Again EditionMy Profile

  40. I, too, struggle with the spiritual side of yoga. In a class on Tues, the instructor invited us to join her the following night to celebrate the full moon and do yoga outside (for a $50 fee!). Um, I adore yoga, but I have to draw the line at moon worship. :) Your experience sounds incredible, and I’m more than a tad jealous. 
    Melissa recently posted..Because I’m not stupid. That’s why.My Profile

  41. totally loving that you Om’d with the best of them and actually felt it…
    I just can’t get into yoga for that reason….
    Not a Perfect Mom recently posted..#MaLo Underwear Makeover!My Profile

  42. MommaKiss says:

    I could really use somr peace and shit right about now. Love your pics babe!

  43. Oh I love that picture! What an awesome opportunity! It just looks amazing there. It’s so important to let go of the things that we have running through our minds all the time. 
    adrienne recently posted..How to blow {UP} your workout routine!My Profile

  44. That sounds so amazing, Shell. I would LOVE to do something like that.
    Just Jennifer recently posted..The State of Public Schools in AmericaMy Profile

  45. I’m always inspired post reading your blog. I am going to step my yoga practicing up! =)

    I LOVE your blog, which is why you were one of my choices for The Versatile Blogger Award. You are truly Versatile, inspiring and eveything that comes along with that! Keep up your Awesomeness! http://wp.me/p1ANS0-9T the link to your award! Have an SUNDAY!
    Mariann recently posted..The Versatile Blogger Award – YippeeMy Profile


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