True Nature was able to spend some time getting to know Yoga Teacher and Retreat Leader, Christa Mastrangelo Joyce. Take a glimpse into her upcoming retreat in Greece.
TN: How does the idea of “Yoga Sea + Soulscape” play into your upcoming Yoga Retreat, and what themes do you see coming up throughout the journey?
C: A “soulscape” is the notion of a landscape of the soul. The sea and soulscape imagery for me brings together the artistic view of the outer landscape with the imaginative realm of the inner landscape. I see this as an opportunity to appreciate, meditate on, find wonder and gratitude for, both the outer and inner landscapes. This idea to me asks that we be present with all that can be seen, heard, felt, tasted and touched, as well as the notions, myths, and sensations that arise in our mind and spirit from our presence with the sensory world.
TN: Who has been your greatest influence and why?
C: I can’t possibly pick just one person! I am influenced by great poets–Mary Oliver, Rumi, Hafiz, and so many others; great teachers of yoga and philosophy–BKS Iyengar, Kim Manfredi, Sianna Sherman, Matthew Sanford, Parker Palmer, Bernie Clark, Hal Elrod, Krista Tippett, and so many more; and great loves, like my children, my husband, and a wealth of incredible friends. I am continually influenced by the guidance, wisdom, words, and expertise of those who are invested in knowing their self, knowing humany, and working to experience life’s joys and challenges with compassion and love above all.
TN: If there was a yoga pose or meditation practice that described you – what would it be and why?
C: I think I’d be Triangle Pose. I am working at all times to find balance, ease, and well-being in the triadic parts of me–mind, body, and spirit. This often requires a strong and centered foundation, an open heart and exuberant spirit, an alert spine and mind, and a steady attention that keeps my eyes gazing upward.
TN: Other than yoga and meditation – what are some of your passions? Will these be explored in your retreat?
C: I am an exuberant story/poetry reader and teller. I love being in nature–swimming, walking/hiking, meditating, journaling, and connecting with other humans. Over the past couple of years, I’ve become passionate about starting each day with a “Miracle Morning”–a term used by Hal Elrod–and have seen the abundance this practice has added to my life. I have made it a priority to practice moments of pause daily in order to cultivate gratitude. All this and more will be a part of our time in Greece.
TN: What is on your “Greece list” and what are you most excited about?
C: This retreat to me represents truly steeping in abundance, joy, and the miracle of life within and around us. My “Greece List” includes relishing in local food, wine, and culture. I am excited to immerse in this calm, healing environment; to swim, hike and explore, with all my senses wide open. I am especially excited to offer classes and events that provide the opportunity to come alive to this abundance. I love creating community wherever I am in the world, so the opportunity to do so will be infused into the whole of the trip.
TN: Is there a saying or quote that really resonates with you and your upcoming retreat?
C: Really good quotes and poems often shape my perspective of things so this is tough to choose, but I’m drawn to this piece of a Mary Oliver, poem: “Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work, which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.” I just know there will be so many opportunities to be astonished and filled with joy on this trip. Instead of trying to plan and orchestrate every moment of this trip, or to fill every moment with doing, I intend to cultivate space for these joy-filled moments to be witnessed–that is the best work of a life-time, after all.
Yoga Sea + Soulscape
October 18 – 24, 2020
Amorgos Island, Greece
About Christa Mastrangelo Joyce
Christa Mastrangelo Joyce is E-RYT500 hour certified through Kim Manfredi. She holds an additional 1000 hours of training through her studies with Sianna Sherman, Bernie Clark, Maria Garre, Shiva Rea, Desiree Rumbaugh, Tiffany Cruikshank, and Andrew McCaulay. Christa is the owner of Jala Yoga with locations in Shepherdstown, West Virginia and Winchester, Virginia. She blends her early background and knowledge of Ashtanga with a strong alignment-based infusion of Iyengar Yoga. Her teachings emphasize moving fluidly and safely, with a strong understanding of anatomy and Ayurveda, and incorporate her knowledge of breath work, meditation, and Yoga philosophy. She brings her love of story and mythology to the practice, as well as her understanding of Yin Yoga and Traditional Chinese Medicine. She works to create classes that allow people to feel at home in their body while providing space for them to become stronger, healthier, more attuned to life, and more connected to their self and to the world around them. Christa loves to share the gifts that yoga has offered her and to help each person find their own path to this joyful practice. She hopes that each person who leaves her class finds strength, nourishment, and balance, as well as the wonder of life within and around them.