Matriarch Rising Retreat Tkaronto, July 21 2023
Friday, July 21, 2023
The Sun Room at Downward Dog Yoga Centres
Reflecting on Our Recent Retreat:
We began our enlightening day with an opening ceremony led by the knowledge keeper, Luana Harper.
The first workshop we experienced was “Two Spirit Identity and Resurgence” facilitated by Kai Potts (he/him). Kai, with his vast experience, guided participants through the intricate history and cultural depth of Two Spirit identity. Throughout the hour-long session, we delved into the term's origin, its cultural context, and the empowering manner in which individuals are reconnecting with their traditional roles and identities. Kai highlighted the intersection of Two Spirit identity with health and wellness, underscoring the paramount importance of mental health and holistic well-being within the Two Spirit community. We were fortunate to gain practical insights for fostering personal growth and resilience. At the workshop's conclusion, Kai generously shared a curated list of resources to help participants further their understanding and introspection. This invaluable session closed with an interactive Q&A, granting everyone the opportunity to discuss and clarify various topics with Kai.
Our journey continued with the “Four Directions Yoga Flow” session led by Shayla Stonechild. For 45 minutes, we immersed ourselves in a hatha vinyasa yoga class suitable for all skill levels. The sequence centered on embracing the medicine of the four directions as depicted in the medicine wheel. This physical and spiritual exploration was followed by a deeply introspective future self meditation and visualization.
Subsequently, we danced our way into the “Powwow Dance Workshop” under the guidance of Deanne Hupfield (she/her). In this rhythmic 60-minute session, participants joyfully practiced powwow footwork, dancing to both electronic and traditional powwow tunes, with the added flair of fancy shawls and hoops. Ensuring inclusivity, sitting options were readily available for those who preferred them.
Our next transformative experience was the “7 Teachings Vinyasa” with Shayna Thomas. Engaging in a 60-minute vinyasa yoga class, we explored the 7 Sacred Grandfather Teachings from the Anishinaabe/Nakawe lens. This practice was more than just movement; it was a deep reflection on the teachings and their presence in our lives. The session culminated in a heartfelt sharing circle where participants contemplated the teachings, discussed their personal resonances, and brainstormed ways to further incorporate these teachings into their daily lives.
To wrap up our fulfilling day, we participated in a closing sharing circle & panel discussion. This dialogue featured each of our esteemed facilitators, shedding light on self and community care, the reclamation of Indigenous healing practices, and the indispensable role of Indigenous voices in the health and wellness sector.
Looking back, it was a day of profound learning, introspection, and community bonding.
Photography by Denita Gladeau @lushtre on Instagram.
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