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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

Let Go and Let Grow: The Power of Retreat

by HawaH

Join HawaH and and Mimi Rieger for Let Go and Let Grow, from May 29 to 31, as they create a transformational space for those living in the greater Washington, D.C. area to find peace, quiet and sanctuary at Yogaville (Satchidananda Ashram) located in Buckingham, Virginia. It is a beautiful oasis of 100-plus acres, walking trails and wonderful practice spaces. Participants will have time to be in retreat, turn off their phones, listen to the birds and meet new friends who are interested in similar paths of evolution. As attendees peel back the layers and dive into deep asana, pranayama, meditation and discussion circles, they will be surrounded by a bounty of love, support, laughter and fun.

The impetus for this retreat came to co-leader, HawaH, as he went through a period of discernment in his own life—over the decision (or not) to cut off his dread locks. He notes, “When I decided to start growing out dread locks about eight years ago, I wasn’t prepared for all the ways that I would be treated differently. Being a man of color in the world and then trying to manage to be taken seriously and professionally with dreads always felt like an uphill battle. It’s strange, but when you grow dreads, somehow all of your interactions, relationships and dreams get knotted into your head. At some point, the dreads can start to feel heavy and that’s when it is time to reassess.”

What HawaH came to understand is that dreads are often more about energetics than their physical weight. His decision to shed the dreads was not impulsive. Months before cutting them, he was already beginning to feel tired of all the maintenance—the longer showers and the need to constantly maintain the roots so he could look presentable at meetings with principals and foundation representatives. He knew that they were nearing the end of their life, but where is the opportune moment?

The decision to finally let them go came while on retreat in Jamaica at the end of January. HawaH recalls, “I can’t overemphasize how essential retreat has been for me throughout my life. I believe there is power and necessity in retreat. We can’t always be pushing forward. Sometimes the greatest ideas take place when we can pull back and remove ourselves from all the noise, clutter and monotonous haste. If we are constantly in the washing machine, when will the clothes ever have a chance to dry? ”

By the sixth day of his Jamaican retreat, HawaH knew that it was time to let the dreads go. “It was hard for me to make such a big decision in the middle of my life in Washington, D.C. Thinking clearly is sometimes hard when you are in meetings all day, teaching from school to school, and then trying to also have friends and community to play with. Going on retreat alone, or with others who have the same intention of reflection, slowing down and exploring the not-so-obvious is what can give us the courage to make decisions about our lives that propel us in new and healthier directions.”

The May retreat weekend promises to ignite change, evoke a deeper appreciation for life and further their yogic journey.

Location: 108 Yogaville Way, Buckingham, VA. Cost: For more information, visit

Hawah Kasat has authored four books and produced three documentary films. He is executive director of the nonprofit organization One Common Unity and also the founding editor of The Poetry of Yoga book anthology that contains more than 300 yogi poets from 19 countries.

May 2020



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