Monday, November 19, 2012


Wikipedia definition: A Yogini is the sacred feminine force made incarnate

Wikipedia also says that a yogini is a female master practitioner of yoga. In truth, I don't know that I'll ever qualify as a "master practitioner", but I've found that yoga is a really good practice for me. I make it to a class at least weekly. I'd love to go more often, but it's hard to fit it in with everything else.
This photo displays some incredibly poor form, but you try doing yoga in jeans and heeled boots in the middle of a meadow. Dare you. The photo idea was cute anyway...

I have a few favorite teachers. These are women I really enjoy. I get something out of their classes every time I go. One of my favorites is Rebecca.

Rebecca does a "yoga retreat" on the coast every year. I missed it last year. I just didn't sign up in time. But since then, she's changed her weekly class schedule such that I can't go...and that made me extra motivated to get to her retreat at Costanoa Lodge this year.

I booked myself a little tent cabin. By tent cabin standards, this one was very nice. Electricity, queen bed, a couple chairs and, importantly, an electric blanket. Didn't manage to think about the fact that it might be COLD in November, especially in a canvas-sided cabin!
It was. It was very cold, but it looks cozy enough, doesn't it?

I arrived at Costanoa around 11:30 in the morning. Yoga didn't start until noon, so I checked in super early and wandered around a bit. We had two hours of yoga, then took a group walk to the beach, then another two hours of yoga before dinner.

Too bad I didn't take pictures of the yoga itself, but that would have been weird.

I dined with a couple of women I had seen before. I'd met one of them briefly, at a baseball meeting. The other, I'd seen at yoga classes before. It was a nice time. The restaurant was warm and the food was good. The local cats wandered in and out at will, which was kinda entertaining.

I slept with my electric blanket on all night long, but after all that yoga and walking, I slept really well. In the morning, I had a nice, quiet breakfast, packed the mommymobile and headed out to do some real exploring.

Turns out, Costanoa is really close to a state park I'd been wanting to check out, so I took a short drive to Butano State Park and set out on its "grand loop".

It was a beautiful day and this is a really beautiful park on a day like that.

I have a hiking book that highly recommended this loop, but it also said it would take me six hours to complete. It was 11 miles. I scoffed. Six hours seemed like an awfully long time for a solo hiker in pretty good shape who isn't planning to stop for a picnic. The trail I set out on was steep and it was steep for a good, long ways. I figured it was a loop and I'd have to get to the top and start going down at some point, but I kept looking at the map, in case I wimped out and needed a shortcut back. There were plenty.
Something about knowing there are plenty of options for ditching your plans makes it easier to stay on track, at least for me. The weather was sunny, but cool. There were banana slugs everywhere. I couldn't help thinking how much Mam would have enjoyed trying to count every one of them. I even saw a newt making its way across the trail. Apparently, it's the season for that.
There were surprisingly few people out on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. I think I ran into five...and one of them was a toddler, so make that 4.5. They were all friendly and happy. I chatted with several of them as we passed each other.

It's easy for me to pass the time thinking and walking. It was amazing that the fern-filled canyons were so deep and the autumn sun so low that hiking through them made me worry I was running out of daylight.

I wasn't. It was only mid-afternoon.
It was a great hike. There were tall stands of redwoods, sycamores dropping their leaves and spanish moss that glowed in the sunlight.
I made the entire loop in almost exactly four hours. Those people who write books? They walk awfully slowly, apparently! I was pretty disappointed to learn that my ankle still isn't 100 percent since being sprained on that trip to Alamere Falls. It was stiff and sore by the time I got back to the van.

But it was just 3 o'clock, giving me just enough time to visit a beach before heading back home. The coast itself was breezy and chilly, but I was reminded that I don't spend nearly enough time at the beach in the fall, even though I know it's one of the most beautiful times of the year along the Northern California coastline.

The beach was nearly deserted as well, so I hung out for a while, taking pictures, getting perfectly windblown and appreciating my time away, before making tracks towards home.

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