QOYA RETREAT - Costa Rica April 6th - 13th 2013 from jodi jones on Vimeo.

If you were to be honest with yourself, what is your heart's true desire?  In that quiet moment when it is just you and you, what is calling?

When you make a decision, can you identify if you are making it from a place of love or a place of fear?

How do you remember how strong you really are?  By boldly exploring the inner and outer worlds or by keeping your fingers crossed for the status quo?

I ask these questions because I am planning the next Qoya Retreat in Costa Rica April 6-13, 2013 and I invite you to join me.

Qoya is based on the idea that through movement, we remember.  We remember, our essence is wise, wild and free.  Wise, wild and free also draw reference to the movement forms that we practice.  Wise calls on the wisdom of yoga, wild- the creative expression in dance and free- the ability to enjoy oneself through sensual movement.  Qoya focuses less on how it looks and more on how it feels, so when it feels good, that's how you know you are doing it right.  No yoga, dance or sensual movement experience is necessary, just the willingness to listen deeply to your inner voice guiding you.

For many people, when I ask them, "If you were to be honest with yourself, what is your heart's true desire?  In that quiet moment when it is just you and you, what is calling?", they don't know.  Life can have a certain momentum to it, where we can be going, going, going and sometimes not having the time to slow down to savor, to honor, to release and to dream of where we want to go next. Instead, we may feel stuck and not going anywhere or  just being carried along by momentum projecting us forward based on the past. Through Qoya exercises, rituals and free time to reflect, there are many invitations to evoke the deep truth of your heart's longing and cultivate the courage to follow it.

Qoya believes that every answer you seek "out there" already lives is in you and that through Qoya you can learn to use your body as a compass that keeps you aligned with your north star.  I have watched almost two hundred different women come on a Qoya Retreat to Costa Rica, India, Greece, Woodstock, NY or Hawaii and reconnect with their deepest truth on the retreat and go home with more confidence in trusting themselves and their ability not only to dance through life, but to let life dance through them.

I love the definition of courage as when your desire gets larger than your fear.  It makes me think of that saying, "What would you do if you knew you could not fail?"  There is a deep intelligence that we can learn to trust to guide us in every area of our lives.  Through my life and my studies, I have found one surefire way of tapping into it.  It's the experiential path.  It's where you align your mind, body, emotions, spirit and soul into the same experience.  More than reading a book, taking a workshop or doing mental gymnastics, to get out there and experience life.  To really feel like you are living.  And from your experience, locate your truth.

As I describe how we spend our time in Costa Rica, see if you can feel the opportunity here to deeply remember and reclaim the soul's journey you are on by clearing your mind, healing the past, coming into the present and dreaming a dream that resonates more whole heartedly together.

The Qoya Retreat in Costa Rica April 6-13, 2013 is an invitation to go on an adventure to explore and embody the woman in you that is wise, wild and free.  There is the outer adventure to travel to Central America, trek through the jungle, swim in the ocean and let your adventurous side come out by trying surfing, zip lining, paddle board surfing, hiking to waterfalls or kayaking. There is also the inner adventure, the inner exploration, of using morning meditation and breathing exercises, daily Qoya classes, feeling the benefit of nourishing yourself with delicious and healthy organic meals, time in the afternoon to rest by taking a nap, getting a massage, relaxing by the pool or walking along the beach and by sitting with the sacred in healing ceremonies and rituals at night.  (Be sure to check out the video above or click here.)

This retreat is about waking up as an individual and as a community.  If you slow down enough to hear your own breathing and heart beat, you'll remember.  If you get lost in the pulse and rhythm of the music and start to surrender to move the way your body wants to move instead of how you think you "should" be moving, you'll remember.  If you let nature teach you to let go, trust and enjoy each cycle of life, just like you trust summer will turn to fall, fall will turn to winter, winter will turn to spring, and spring back to summer,  you'll remember.  If you sit in a circle of conscious community with women who are willing to be authentic, transparent and courageous, you will remember all the possibilities that live in you.

In many ways this trip is celebratory and self-indulgent and a true gift to be able to experience.  And, if all you are looking for is to treat yourself, you deserve it.  We all do.  In addition, what I notice is that as women become so reinvigorated, passionate and full of life force, they start to ask from a place of their fullness, "How can I be of service?" and "How can I combine my strengths and passions for the highest good of all?"  When you experience so much of life's beauty, the natural feminine evolution is to become a better steward of the gift of life itself. (I have some ideas on how to do that that I will share with you at the retreat.)

The theme for this upcoming Qoya Costa Rica Retreat is Creating Community.  When hearing Marianne Williamson speak recently, she said (my paraphrasing), "For women to truly step forward and come into their power, they will need a woman to their right, a woman to their left, a woman in front of the them, a woman behind them, a woman above them and a woman below them. Surrounded in sisterhood, a forcefield protects us so we can be brave and true." As she said this, I received a download of six female archetypes of creating community that we will focus on in Costa Rica.  In addition, everyone will leave with a plan on how to create conscious community when you go back home.

Here are a couple other quick things to know if you are considering coming to this retreat on how the Qoya experience is unique.

  • There is free time!!! Many workshops and retreats I go on are borderline stressful by scheduling you out from 6am to 10pm.  I believe that free time is essential for rest, integration and to have space to follow your inner voice that may lead you to take a nap, write in your journal, read or have an inspiring conversation with another woman.  All afternoons are designed to have this space to create the type of trip that aligns with what you need and desire.
  • We will learn how to sit with the sacred in our evening prayer ceremonies and rituals.  They are not traditionally religious in anyway and encourage each woman to honor what her individual heart, mind and soul feel to be true.  With these practices, we cultivate our capacity to be in right relationship with the divine and learn how to create sacred space and ceremonies in your own life for when we go home.
  • There is an emphasis on building community through connecting to one another. Hence, there are many opportunities to share with other women in the Qoya classes.  I believe that when I get stronger, you get stronger.  As you heal, I heal.  As she is inspired, we can be inspired.  By being able to hear another woman honestly and transparently bring voice to her journey, we can all be reminded of the power to celebrate our journey as well.
  • This retreat is for women only.  I love men and I believe that one day I'll teach Qoya for men and possibly co-ed retreats, but right now, Qoya is a sacred space that it is created where we can all be together as women and learn from one another.
  • There is a large emphasis here on music! Some yoga classes or retreats may use a little music here and there, but in Qoya it is a huge part of the teaching and transmission to let the music take us deeper into our emotions and up to a higher vibration.  Another Qoya teacher, Kitty Cavalier, recently wrote in her blog, "We dance to playlists that take you from the ocean caves of a desert island to the Lower East Side of NYC, up to the clouds of heaven and back down to the dance floor of Soul Train, all at the same time.  The music is as much of a teacher in Qoya than the actual human teacher." Exactly.  Here is a link to one of the playlists on spotify from last year titled Costa Rica Qoya Highest Destiny Playlist
  • Really incredible women come on these retreats.  Every time, I am so grateful and inspired by the amazing community of women that are drawn to share this experience together.

So, there it is! This is the 4th annual Qoya Retreat in Costa Rica and there is a video to get a visual taste of the week, the description of above of the theme being community, a list of insider info on how Qoya retreats are unique and in invitation to go deep inside yourself and see if your true heart's desire is to join us.

If it is, here is the link to register.    (After I wrote this blog post, I found out that Pamela Madsen, the author of Shameless, wrote an article in Psychology Today that talks about the new trend of women taking women only retreats and features Qoya!)

Yee haw,*


*Here is a group of us horseback riding at Sunset on the beach at last year's Costa Rica Retreat.