Yesterday I attended a wonderful mini-retreat, Your Mindful Brain held at the Stillpath Retreat Center in Woodside (quick video of the gorgeous center). The mini-retreat was put on by Cassie Schindler from The Alternate Path (MBSR instructor and meditation coach) and Pushkar Joshi, a Neurobiologist and visiting scholar at Stanford University.
Your Mindful Brain focused on the lasting effects mindfulness can have on your brain/life, how stress impacts your brain, and some basic steps/techniques that can be used to live a more balanced and mindful life. It was fascinating to learn from Pushkar about the impact stress can have on your brain and the benefits of meditation. He really broke down all the science and made it very easy to follow. Cassie spoke on the need to change our daily habits and lifestyle in order to lead a more mindful life. There is so much stress and hurry in life today that we are practically running on autopilot. The big take away is that we need to JUST BE and to be PRESENT in the moment. Ahh isn’t that the truth?!
During the mini-retreat we were provided with a wonderful and delicious lunch by Lori Hofmann/California Girl Catering. OMG sooooo yummy! It was beautiful to sit outside and enjoy a meal that was not only tasty, but fresh and made with lots of love. Optional afternoon activities included walking the labyrinth and a mindful yoga session from Pattie Stafford of Butterfly Yoga. I took advantage of both activities! Stillpath is an absolutely stunning facility. There are so many amenities that I didn’t have time to use, so I can’t wait to go back there some time soon! It is really wonderful to sometimes get away from all the busy and spend some time up in the mountains. The endless views of redwood tress didn’t get old that’s for sure!
I really love Cassie and think she is an incredible stunning and motivational individual. Over the years I have truly enjoyed the retreats/workshops she puts on and always find myself looking forward to the next one. She is so kind, caring, positive, and I am beyond thankful to have her in my life. Sidenote: I first met Cassie when I took a mini-series on stress reduction at Butterfly Yoga. I later learned about and took her 8-week MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) course. Over the course of the 8-weeks we learned and practiced formal and informal methods of mindfulness, including the body scan, sitting meditation, gentle yoga and walking meditation. It was one of the best courses I have ever taken. I am constantly working on my meditation practice and trying to live a more mindful life! I encourage you to read more about Cassie and the work she does here. She is just fabulous!
Here are some pictures I took while at the retreat…they don’t really do the place justice. Oh so beautiful! I can’t wait to go back! Until then, namaste!