Athanasia Medenas combines her expertise as a shamanic practitioner and yoga instructor into an extraordinary luxury retreat February 8-11 in Joshua Tree where participants will be guided and coached through Shamanic Journey Work with Art Processing, Vinyasa Flow, Star Gazing, Yoga Nidra & Sound Baths. –Editor
It’s fascinating that your combing elements of Shamanism and Yoga for your retreat. What was the origin of that? Believe it or not, it clicked when I was in Costa Rica, of all places, during my Yoga Teacher Training. Working there in the jungle while walking the shamanic path, the connection with Earth is so essential to the path. That IS the path. Mother Earth. So being in the jungle, I was completely out of my comfort zone. It was tough. There are a lot of noises, a lot of animals and creepy-crawlies…
You weren’t raised in that kind of atmosphere. Not at all. Even though it was gorgeous, it was sticky and humid and I realized: I’m a desert person. It’s hot in the desert, but not humid. There are trees in the desert – the Joshua trees are so magical to me which has its own exotic pull. And I combine that with my love for yoga and the shamanic path. And of course, the stars. You can see the Milky Way so clearly in Joshua Tree and it’s so inspiring.
Earlier you mentioned the things that are “written in the stars.” Do you bring astrology to this as well? Yes, I do natal chart readings also. I believe our natal charts, the placement of the stars when we were born, gives us a treasure map for our life. When we see the stars in the desert, we clearly see how the energies affect our soul. Plus, I have a deep connection with the moon. As a shamanic practitioner, the lunar cycles hold Mother Earth’s rhythm.
What should people expect when they come to your retreat? To do work. It IS based in a luxury environment so we can do difficult work and be able to rest in comfort. There is downtime and massages for people who want them, but it is going to be work. In the morning it’s going to be a pretty vigorous vinyasa flow and we will be supplemented by amazing high-quality plant based meals by Chef Avril. It was important to me to have our work supported by the kitchen and Chef Avril is our “Food Doctor.” She has created a cuisine that will restore and rejuvenate the physical body throughout the four days. The Shamanic Journey Work allows us to reach altered states of consciousness through our breathing technique and provocative, chakra attuned, music. It’s a perfect way to introduce someone to altered states of consciousness without the use of plant medicine.
So, the attendees should be somewhat advanced? They should have some introduction to yoga, but not necessarily someone who can do handstands and flip all over the place. Someone with a spiritual interest. The yoga instruction will be led by Mary Ann Douvikas who specializes with All-Level flow classes and gives multiple options for each posture. This is an ideal retreat for a yogi (beginner to advanced) who is looking to deepen their connection to their practice and heal themselves – physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Do you bring intuitive abilities to your work? Yes, I read the energy during the Shamanic Journey Work. I clear, I cleanse, whatever needs to be moved out of someone’s space. Throughout the retreat, I’ll offer past life readings, natal chart readings, aura cleansings, and chakra balancing.
How did you know you wanted to do this or would be good at it? So many synchronicities happened, and I didn’t ignore them. I heard about a Shamanic Journey class and felt called to go to it.
What happened? I was in the middle of midtown Manhattan with a facilitator and my whole body was suddenly energized during opening circle. There was no medicine, no ayahuasca. I was resisting the journey at first, so the instructor did some body work on me which helped open up my heart chakra. Tears came out and I went shoom! Into the astral. It was just this floating, blissful feeling, looking at the planet and I thought “Oh my God, I’m home.” That’s where I would always go when I was little—up there, floating around!
You remembered that. Yes, it took me right back. And I was completely sober, that was the best part of it! Then when she’s calling us back into our bodies, I came back in feeling so heavy. It was a completely altered state.
Like an eagle? Was it like flying like an eagle? It’s funny that you bring that up, because that’s my totem. My spirit name is Blue Eagle. I wasn’t on Earth, I was in the astral. What’s important to me at this point is the integration.
The integration of what? Of the internal work you’ve done. The lessons you learn, particularly when you’re working with altered states of consciousness. Whatever you’ve brought back. Understanding it by speaking it—verbalizing is important to fully absorbing it. And then the integration into your daily life, right? It’s just like with yoga… you can take Bikram yoga, or Core Power, or wherever, but your daily sadhana is the integration of your daily yoga practice. The physical asanas are just a portion of the philosophical yoga. Yoga is now – we are doing yoga when we connect to our breath.
It sounds like the retreat is going to be epic. Yes, we will heal, we will grow and we will expand our light together as yogis and lightworkers. By deeply connecting with the stars, the Spirit of the Universe will be pulsing through your veins before you arrive and long after you leave the retreat. The intention of this retreat is to bring together like minded yogis in the magical desert to be one of the most healing and transformational experiences of your life