Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I slept with Justin Bieber aka Yoga Retreat aka Girls Weekend

Last weekend was the second annual girls weekend with my high school friends, Joanna and Susannah. Last year we went to Bayfield in November and planned to get together in January this year, but we couldn't seem to get our dates coordinated until now. Since we had such a hard time finding a date it was probably good that we decided to stay at Susannah's house in Duluth because if we had to decide on renting a place we might not have gotten together until June.

Joanna lives about 5 minutes from me so we drove up to Duluth together on Friday. Joanna is notorious for getting lost, but this year she had her Garmin so she was brave enough to drive. No getting lost!

We arrived in Duluth around 8:00 pm and headed off to dinner with Susannah and her friend, Lori, We dined at At Sara's Table Chester Creek Cafe, a farm to table restaurant with a cozy atmosphere and walls covered with book shelves. As usual we talked so much that we stayed an hour past closing time (and probably would have stayed longer if we weren't gently told they were closed). In our defense, the waitress made it sound like only the kitchen was closing at 9 pm. At any rate, the food was fabulous as was the desert and the company. We had a great conversation and realized that we all have a lot of interesting things happening in our lives right now.

We went back to Susannah's and stay up past 1:00 am - something my body is so not used to, but it was worth it for the conversation and the laughs. These ladies make me laugh like no one else.

I headed off to my suite for the weekend - a room normally occupied by Susannah's 9 year old daughter. I was surrounded by Justin Bieber, Selena and some Harry guy who has pretty awesome hair. And Joanna, got to sleep in the sports suite (Susannah's 11 year old son's room).

I'm fairly sure that we all woke earlier than we hoped too the next morning. I know I had big dreams of sleeping in, but it didn't really happen. We spent the morning eating and talking and deciding what to do. We had plans to participate in outdoors activities (one out of three ideas accomplished) and practice yoga (Joanna is a yoga instructor who has been learning about yoga therapy, Thai massage, and Ayurveda).

Once we ate we decided to squeeze in a 45 minute session of yoga nidra before we headed out for a hike.I almost made it through the 45 minutes, but must have fallen asleep for a short period of time. Why have I never done this before??? I've done a little of guided relaxation and a breathing exercise along the same line, but I now want to do this every day. All day long. So relaxing!

Once we were rejuvenated by our yoga nidra experience we suited up and walked out the door towards Lester Park for some spring hiking... in a couple feet of snow. What's up with the weather this year? Luckily, it was a nice day in the upper 30's. We kept remarking about how beautiful it was and then would remember that it's spring and should probably be nicer, but I loved being out enjoying the day regardless. 

We came across this hollow tree and decided we all needed to have a picture in it. It probably would have been smart of me to take off my camera pack before getting in, but I still maneuvered in and out and the tree didn't fall over or anything. So all is good.

While Susannah mapped out our hiking path Joanna remarked that she wasn't very good at taking self portraits which led to a whole lotta self portrait taking...

Photo credit Joanna

Photo credit Joanna

From Lester Park we headed across the road to lake Superior and down to Kitchi Gami before heading back through Lester Park to Susannah's house.

Photo credit Joanna

Photo credit Joanna

Photo credit Joanna

Photo credit Joanna

Photo credit Joanna

Did I mention it's spring?

Photo credit Joanna

Photo credit Joanna

Photo credit Joanna

After our hike we did a couple shorter session of yoga nidra. We were like yoga nidra junkies - just one more time, please. We were less successful at staying awake this time after a tiring hike, but it was still quite worth it. We then went grocery shopping as Joanna was going to make us dinner. Pasta with shrimp, lemon, tomatoes, basil, parsley, and garlic and shallots. Because my tummy hates me I couldn't do the garlic and shallots so Joanna was nice enough to make two different batches. How awesome is she?

Susannah is in school and had to finish up a paper so Joanna and I put together dinner while she typed away in the next room.

We tried to not be distracting to Susannah so naturally Joanna and I started taking pictures of Susannah's pets and each other.


Photo credit Joanna

Photo credit Joanna

Chin's down, ladies


Susannah finished her paper just in time for Joanna and I to announce we were going to sleep (sorry Susannah!). 

In the morning, we decided brunch out was in the cards and  headed off to the Duluth Grill which was highly recommended by Susannah.

The Duluth Grill is evidently a popular place to go. We had a bit of a wait, but it was well worth it. I had the duck omelet, hash browns and a gluten free slice of pumpkin spice bread. Nummy.

After breakfast we headed down to Canal Park to walk off our huge breakfasts and spent some time browsing at an art store. Susannah bought some cards with sayings on them and got us each one that reminded her of us. Mine said:

Destiny is no matter of chance.
It is a matter of choice.
It is not a thing to be waited for.
It is a thing to be achieved.
-William Jennings Bryan

It was pretty spot on based on what's going on in my life and my thoughts about religion that I expressed the evening before at dinner. Thanks Susannah!

Once we were back at Susannah's we had just enough time to do some yoga therapy before heading home. Joanna had collected some of our primary and secondary health issues and created a yoga session with moves that would help with those particular issues. For example, one of the moves was good for digestive issues. It was definitely a good work out and I felt it in my legs and shoulders the next day.

We really got lucky this weekend with Joanna being willing to share all her expertise about yoga and Ayurveda. For instance I learned that I am vata deranged. Who knew? And even better she's going to continue practicing with me.

Overall, another successful girl's weekend. I can't wait until next year!

Photo credit Joanna

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