Sunday, November 2, 2014

Celebrating A Girls’ Weekend – A Yoga Retreat at The Greenbrier

The best laid plans of mice & men….It had been our intention to spend Halloween Weekend at Yogaville. an Ashram near Charlottesville, Virginia. We tried. Really we did. Despite the vegetarian menu and alcohol free/caffeine free environment, we thought the spiritual community would help us strengthen our yoga practices. Or, at least it would be “an experience”. But the Ashram was all booked up – unless we were amenable to bunking in a dormitory with a shared bathroom. That may have been okay 20 years ago, but at 55, dormitory stays are no longer an option.

So after a few short minutes on Google, I found a yoga retreat at The Greenbrier. The package for the 1st class resort was not substantially pricier than the vegetarian, alcohol free ashram. And, the Greenbrier boasts a world-renowned spa. So after a few seconds of consideration, we altered our expectations for the weekend and said, “yes” to the spa.

One of the original foursome developed a conflict; but we were able to recruit another brave soul to join us.  Friday afternoon we motored to Lewisburg, WV and dropped our jaws as we drove up the driveway of this palace of excess that has attracted distinguished visitors since 1788 including numerous presidents as early as 1815, the Duke & Duchess of Windsor, numerous movie stars, captains of industry, politicians, and sportsman. Greenbrier originally attracted folks to the mineral springs, which were thought to be healing waters.

Even for we less illustrious visitors The Greenbrier offers top notch service, a friendly staff of long standing employees who seem to love their jobs, a comfortable environment despite the over-the-top art deco décor, old-world charm, excellent food, champagne, a casino with a “starter” promo card, a 101 year old luxurious indoor pool, guest rooms that are not cookie cutter boring, and an abundance of activities from golf, to spa treatments, to bowling to falconry.

Our yoga classes were taught by an engaging, Yoga-Fit trained, instructor who made the classes fun, challenging and friendly. The group was small but collegial. The retreat gave us a purpose or excuse for the road trip. But we all enjoyed some individual pampering at the spa (for me a hot-stone massage and time in the steam room) as well as some delightful meals together and yoga practices.

While it had been eons since I’d indulged in a girls’ weekend, I was reminded why they are so important for my wellbeing.  Sometimes it is just rejuvenating to spend an extended time having girl talk, reminiscing about slumber parties from our youth, not having to worry if our significant others are bored by our interests or conversation, chatting for hours, laughing, bonding, sharing our experiences, shopping for shoes or pottery or jewelry or essential oils, and collectively understanding the challenges of night sweats, hot flashes, kitchen renovations, and the difficulty of finding stylish clothes when we are no longer the target demographic for fashion designers.  But most of all is it sharing laughter, & camaraderie & experiences as women who have lived interesting lives and plan to continue doing so as vibrant, relevant, well-rounded, individuals. I do believe a fabulous time was had by all.

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