Sewall House Opens May 28- Spring Is In the Air!

There is still snow on the ground but the days are getting longer and the birds are singing a little louder! We are offering our training in JUNE, writing JULY 30- Aug 2 and happily offering ongoing retreats from May 28 to Columbus Day- as usual, personalized with a schedule of nature outings and R & R that we help you create while you are here.

From Our February Newsletter for those who have not yet signed up! Happy February!

F is for February..And Also? For FALL!! (not as in the season!)

In January I had a decade birthday. I turned 60. As a few of you know I went on silence for twenty four hours, a great time to contemplate and slow down the hectic pace that is our life.
I love practicing and teaching yoga. It helps me deal with the changes in life and in our body and self. Because I believe so strongly in the benefits I love sharing it with others. The feedback about backs (and other body parts) helped, hurts (emotional and physical) healed and much more makes it one of the most gratifying jobs I can imagine. It is a great way to meet new people all the time, develop longterm deep relationships with others over time. And it extends, hopefully, into all areas of our life.
I was walking to a client three days after my birthday, on a rainy wet day, which was causing black ice to form. I chose the wrong shoes, thinking an umbrella would keep me dry. My sopping wet thin leather boots went out from under me as I found myself flat on my back, letting it sink in for a moment. A cab driver and man walking nearby both (not rushing because of the slippery conditions) approached and asked me if I was ok. I sat up, a bit not happy with myself, and responded ” I am ok ; I am used to doing stupid things.” ( like jumping out of airplanes and breaking my back and getting hit by cabs on my bike!) I went on my merry way, only to find the client had cancelled and was sick, but glad to be able to get home to dry socks and the right shoes before I ventured to visit my 99 year old father (who turns 100 on feb 15 if you think I am old!).
So what does all this have to do with yoga? Well, before I had these two things happen (the next is coming up) I had already decided I would write to you about this new condition that has been named hypo kinetic disease. Since most of you do yoga (I am assuming!) and may be active in other ways I hope this does not apply to you. We have an epidemic in our society based on jobs where people sit all day, which can easily be remedied by at least standing up and walking a bit, intentional breaks for movement, during the day. Even as I sit at my computer writing this on the “snow day” in New York City, I know I have been at my desk far too long catching up on office work for the past few hours- and I move every day! I attended Loma Linda In Riverside California for my Masters in Nutrition in the late 70’s and have just started to read the magazines they have been sending me for years. It may mean I am slowing down a bit, because being too busy to sit is another issue (!), but it also means that I am realizing how similar their (Public Health) school mission is to the life path I have chosen after leaving my Nutrition career many years ago. It is in one of their publications that I discovered the term hypo kinetic disease. It really made me think! (and be glad I do not have an office job).
Well, the second part of my story has to do with the letter f again! Where my father lives with other seniors the joke is that the F word is FALL! (as one woman puts it – oh those 4 letter words!) The day after my fall I get a text from my dear friend who was on her way in from a retreat out of town, carrying her luggage and also not great shoes. Guess what? She fell too on black ice- only her fall was much worse than my bruised sacro-iliac joint, which did not impair my ability to practice or teach yoga. She has been staying on my sofa (or the floor when she cannot get up) for over a week now. Her badly bruised arm, it turns out, is a hairline fracture.
It has given me such an opportunity to see what I am so blessed to do and teach (yoga) every day. She, on the other hand, has an office job, does not exercise and has developed diabetes as well as being overweight. Her retreat was a sitting one- not a yoga one!
I am looking forward to getting back to the walks (which luckily we can do in NYC but not as pretty!), the hikes, the lakes and the yoga in Maine and especially to share these healthy habits with the great people (you!) who find Sewall House and venture there.
In one of the kundalini manuals Yogi Bhajan says that the cumulative effects of not exercising start to show up around 60- and hard to catch up. When the pharmacist where I went to get arnica asked if my friend was elderly I said that was relative. She is only four years older than me! (and he agreed saying some 40 year olds are old and some 60 somethings are young!)
I am not saying we do not age. We do! (I am doing a workshop on Aging Gracefully at PURE YOGA WEST in NYC FEB 22 2-4! Come if you can!) and I am not saying that i do not have great compassion for how much harder this is for my dear friend, who cannot even get herself off the floor because her whole body is not fit. I am simply saying it is amazing the lessons we are given daily, how we can be grateful for learning from each and every one- and that if we do take care of ourselves there is nothing selfish in taking care of our most important commodity so, when the time comes, we can help others too.
So f is for FEBRUARY ..and it is still winter so please please be careful and do not make it about FALL for you! Hope to see some of you in the Spring and Summer at Sewall House!… where we can FLY with some FUN in the SUN!r22f_LZ_xtivVU3VrBaplZ0v_wnK48ZzPLVm78Wd0J4,hLrsW-8N9c-uzf18cv-5H5Q8m4NH3YhwlZHwz3zKNHc

Al, Loon Ledge

Al, Loon Ledge

DEC 10 Deadline for the Holiday retreat!

If you want to come spend a quiet introspective time in Maine with us WED is the deadline to let us know! Otherwise we look forward to our full season starting in May! (teacher training in June)

Columbus day Week Oct 5-13 – JOIN us for Fall Foliage Yoga- Walks and More!/ Dec 26- Jan 3 for Winter Wonderland Holiday Retreat

Fall is a beautiful time to experience the colors of New England while doing yoga, taking a sauna or booking a massage with healing healthy meals in between! Come experience this time of transition..as the seasons change…

OR step away from the crowds and into the quiet solitude and comfort of our Winter Holiday Retreat DEC 26- Jan 3IMG_0544IMG_0513

Winter Retreat Snowshoeing at Sewall House

Winter Retreat Snowshoeing at Sewall House

Fall leaf

Fall leaf

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Still Time for Summer Fun and Fall Foliage in Maine through Columbus Day!!

We went to the Sewall House for a “girls vacation” and it was a wonderful venue to reconnect and reinvigorate our friendships.  It gave us a wonderful set of shared memories (and even a new vocabulary with which to talk about them).

The food was a big, amazing part of our experience. Not only was it delicious, plentiful, and healthy, but it was also educational and even inspiring. The chefs sat and ate with us at every meal and many of our conversations ended up being about what we were eating, how it was made, what flavors compliment each other, etc… (who knew you could do so much with cashews!?! Turmeric in a fruit smoothie?!? Strangely delicious).  We learned so much and all were inspired to go home and be more creative and healthy with our cooking!

Donna and the other instructors were a delight – so warm and welcoming! We felt like we had joined a family by the time we left.  The yoga is a little different than the standard fare taught at most studios.  The exposure to different types of yoga and their different techniques and perspectives was an enjoyable part of the experience, and we all left intrigued to learn more.

Also, Island Falls is a BEAUTIFUL area! The town has many delightful walks and little special spots. There are many hikes within walkable distance, and several worthwhile day trips within an hour. We had a blast!

Lisa, Rachel, & Beth

 

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We believe food is important to and as part of your practice!

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Come Retreat With Us This summer! Recent moments! Writing workshop Aug 8-10 Next training Aug 21- Sept 11!

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Teacher Training June 2-23

We are pleasantly surprised by the requestsIMG_4933 for winter bookings- this winter Amrita(Donna) has been teaching in NY City but wishes she could be in two places at one time as her heart is always definitely at Sewall House!

Please do keep us in mind for retreat and always ask- we do our best to accommodate you whenever we can in our small personalized offerings.03 05&19 14 WritingNYC

If interested in Training in JUNE please go to our training page- application and information there..

summer retreats for SURE! Book ahead with us for JULY and AUG..try our new online booking system!

and if in NY do join us in class or for a tea..or the writing workshop-see above! We hope to offer the writing workshop with Maria again this August..IMG_1910IMG_0969

 

COZY HOLIDAY RETREAT DEC 26- JAN 2 JOIN US!!

Our annual winter holiday retreat offers yoga twice daily in small personalized classes, home-made healthy yummy cleansing vegetarian food, sauna, massage, a library of wonderful yoga/selfgrowth and non yoga books for your enjoyment by the fireplace, private room and wonderful winter walks, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Our regular reasonable prices/ see our pricing page- all inclusive packageIMG_0477IMG_0532IMG_0513JDnyEWL04jC-NI4JO4UOJs5LPe6ytNPmcSG72yJbuPU,klO9RWM2SW6NCZywJk-ToOJRKr_afOiUqjGrfJb1ASw, only massages are extra,

What is Selfless Service in Yoga? Karma Yoga or Seva – how do you think about it?

This is my last article for Inner Tapestry, which did not go to Press. The topic given was Selfless Service. I decided to make it a little more personal. For 13 years I have gratefully been asked to write on various topics. Here is the last article- let us know what you think! Thank you!

“If You Have Much Give Of Your Money, If You Have Little Give Of Your Heart”

DON’T CONFUSE YOUR PATH WITH YOUR DESTINATION. THE PATH MAY BE ROCKY BUT IT ’S GOING TO LEAD YOU TO AMAZING PLACES”

In 1997, at age forty one, on a wing and a prayer, I approached the three elderly relatives who had inherited our historic family home, where my great aunt had lived until she was one hundred and one. My decision to offer to purchase the house, which had stood empty for eighteen months, was a sentimental one. My humble roots stemmed from a small unknown town in northern Maine. The town was beautiful to me as my mother had seaped a love for these roots into me with summers in a rustic lakeside cabin reachable by no road, far from the suburban pressures of Connecticut city life. Maine offered lessons of nature, including healing. The family home had been originally inhabited by my aunt’s father, my great grandfather William Sewall. He had been the nature guide to a young Theodore Roosevelt for three consecutive fall expeditions, which included climbing Mount Katahdin.  An unlikely lifelong friendship evolved between the two. My great grandfather had been of service to Theodore Roosevelt, the privileged young college student so eager to know more about nature and the people that lived simply among it. The second time my great grandfather was of service when he was called upon to move West and build the ranch where a grieving young Theodore needed his supportive presence.

Nearly 150 years later my staff and I continue to serve others with this belief in the healing attributes of natures’ beauty created here where once lived a small slice of American history. Where can we be of service to others in their life journey and what opportunities arise? How can we create a legacy or carry on another, such as this one, that we are passionate about? Who knows what wonderful lessons lie with the risk of selfless service (called seva or karma yoga in yoga).

Yoga today is a split practice, on the one end a billion dollar industry of commodities and commerce  and on the other end a five thousand year old practice that can heal  prevent physical and mental ailments. It is wonderfully admirable to work for charitable organizations when you have no worries of putting food on your own table. What is more touching is to see one who has little give much of themselves to others with unconditional love. In its brightest light yoga is a practice that serves the innocent, less privileged or injured. In another light yoga has become an elitist practice with high-end clothing, equipment, accessories and studios. Thus goes the polarity in our lives. Without darkness, no light. Without soft, no hard. Without hot, no cold.

A wonderful thing happens when you begin to become of service. Life becomes interesting, more spacious. To work only for your own selfish needs feels very different, out of balance and removed from your heart. Seva allows us to experience compassion and higher awareness or consciousness.

“The dedicated every enjoy peace, purity of heart.”

Ask yourself when and how are you of service? Perhaps your life feels too full of the complexities of your own existence. Yet something amazing can unravel when we put our needs aside to help another. When we put our energy into saving a shelter animal’s life, take a day of our weekend to volunteer at a shelter, give our time to environmental causes we believe in (my past two years has been trying to raise public awareness of the Goliath destructiveness and expense to nature that industrial wind turbines create) or take time to write a note to another in need we feel the reward of unconditional love. There are many moments a day when we can serve another, from a smile to showing up to help a neighbor, friend or stranger who needs our ears, our helping hand, our encouragement- the power of a word, an eye to eye contact, a smile, a soft hand on the shoulder.

These 7 steps give us happiness as taught by Yogi Bhajan:

Note that the 6th step is sacrifice.

1-    Commitment

2-    Builds Character (“JoyceMeyer: A lot of people have a gift that can take them somewhere but not enough character to keep them there.”)

3-    Leads to Dignity

4-    Then Divinity

5-    Grace

6-    Strength to Sacrifice

7-    Happiness

“ I cannot imagine anything nobler or more national that that for, say, one hour in a day, we should all do the labor that the poor must do, and thus identify ourselves with them and thus all mankind.” Gandhi

“Duties to self, to the family, to the country, and the world are not independent of one another. One cannot do good to the country by injuring himself or his family. Similarly one cannot serve the country by injuring the world at large.” Gandhi

I started on a personal note and am ending on one- I hope this reader does not mind that I share part of her message to me as it shows the power of serving yourself and others and never knowing how you touch another. (small parts have been edited to honor her privacy but these are all her words):

“Your words made me stop and think about how disconnected I had become from life itself, with all of this wonderful earth around me, I had forgotten that we are all part of the earth and the earth is part of us.  With that being said, we all are responsible for each other in some way or another.  I work in an environment that is very hostile to my way of thinking.  My point, I have forgotten how to be “human”.  Thank you for your words, They made me stop and think of ways to start to connect with the earth again and find harmony and peace. Thank you.  Yoga is offered here in many places in the valley.  I will find a way to give myself permission to spend time with all that surrounds me.  I also (with my husbands help), am taking of my aging mother whose health is not always the best.  She developed osteoporosis and has reoccurring facture events.  So, you see I will be learning how to give myself permission to attend the yoga classes.   Thank you again.     Peace be with you always,”

When I followed up to see how she was doing:

“I have not found time for yoga.  But this last spring and summer I got walking my “butt” off.  I entered two foot races, I came in a sad last but I finished the races.  I managed to walk off a lot of negative energy and went from a size 10 to a size 4.  Anyway, I also got myself involved in “The Walk for the Cure” here in North Conway.  I am going to be involved again this year.  It is great to be involved with something bigger then me.  Yes my husband and I are still living in Moms’ basement trying to keep her safe. Growing old(for her) has not been something she has embraced as a right of passage.  I feel very sorry for her, she is missing so much of life, and it’s beautiful gifts that a person can enjoy at this time of  life.  Yes I am still working for the same company.  And I quote “it is what I do, not what I am”.  I have not picked up a recent copy of Inner Tapestry in a long time.  But when I do I always look for something from you.  You always seem to be talking to me.  And I thank you for your gift of love, life and peace. ”

IMG_5137I thank Inner Tapestry for these years of opportunity to be of service to others and hope I have touched other’s lives as this precious woman let me know I had touched hers. May you remember to do the same for yourself and others every miracle of a day.   Donna Sewall Davidge (Amrita)

 

Donna Amrita Davidge has been involved in the healing arts for many years. Donna holds a Masters in Nutrition and has been teaching yoga and meditation since 1985. Her retreat in Island Falls Maine www.sewallhouse.com offers small personalized retreats since 1997 for your healing. See our Trip Advisor reviews and join us on facebook and for our monthly e-newsletter. Thanks for reading!