The holidays can be a stressful time for most people. Shannon Hoffer hoped to ease some of this stress by treating guests to a relaxing weekend Nov. 22 and 23 at her annual Country Dreams Yoga Retreat. She said it is important in the stressful holiday season to take time each day to slow down and de-stress.
“The theme was to celebrate the season change rather than dread it,” she said. “Coming together and using yoga class, meditation, healthy food, and positive thinking to shift our mindset that winter has to be miserable.”
Hoffer said as a society, people rush through everything and sometimes taking time to just slow down can help tremendously.
“This is important, we can truly experience the holiday season and embrace what this time means for us. We can become more organized and excited about the holidays being in a relaxed state of mind,” she said. “I feel families are so overwhelmed with holiday activity that if they take a few moments out of their day or an hour to practice yoga with me they can focus their attention on one event at a time, which can bring more joy to the experience.”
Hoffer relaxes by sitting outside and spending time with family, friends, and pets, but her favorite is doing yoga.
“Yoga is a powerful practice,” she said. “Not only is it effective in stress management, but it helps the body stay lean lose weight and keeps the mind healthy and strong. I teach yoga to practice relaxing the mind and body together at the same time.”
She said doing an activity like yoga to relax versus watching TV because it takes your mind off the guilty feeling of, “I should be doing something productive.”
“Yoga helps us with this integration by ending each class in ‘savasana’ or ‘final relaxation pose,”’ she said. “It’s a time to practice relaxing everything at the same time. Words cannot describe the experience of that relaxation. One must step on the yoga mat and find out for themselves.”
The retreat was held at Country Dreams outside Marion. Guests included 14 participants from Kansas City, Manhattan, Newton, Hillsboro, and Marion including Hoffer and retreat co-planner Wendy Hett. The majority were from Hoffer’s yoga classes.
Participants took part in yoga, roundtable discussions, and eating healthy.
Topics discussed were, what do you like about the fall/winter, what yoga means to you, among others.
“I like to keep things local as much as possible and to keep the money within our community,” she said. “I had Ida from Zimmermans bake rolls for our Friday dinner. Thomas Hett was our photographer for our ‘Rock Star’ yoga photos, which are pictures taken of the participants in yoga postures for keepsakes of the retreat. I used Hillsboro massage therapists, which did 10-minute chair massages. Donna Hett made homemade truffles. Karen Wheeler from St. Luke Hospital provided Reiki sessions for those interested. We used farm fresh eggs from Marion and local honey.”