I recently had the pleasure of an interview with Editor-in-Chief of LA Yoga Magazine, Felicia Tomasko. We talked about my personal journey of healing and what motivates me to share the "magic" of a retreat experience, and especially the magical Mayan Riviera, in offering healing retreats for others.
Retreat Leader Enicia Fisher is focused on helping people find their way home.
Magic helped her find her own way home, to the feelings of safety and belonging many of us seek, at home, and on retreat.
“My dedication to sharing the healing power of an immersive retreat experience came after I experienced hugely transformative healings during the first yoga retreat I led in the Riviera Maya in 2015. During a Temazcal on that retreat, I experienced a ‘magical’ sense of ‘coming home’ to safety and connection to the earth, and to myself as part of the earth, to the earth as the Mother of all of us. This sense of belonging and homecoming meant the world to me, as I had experienced a childhood of continuous upheaval and it was the first time I ever truly felt “at home” anywhere.
She continues to offer this way home to people, whatever they have felt up until the moment of the traveling to the space of the mat.
“All of the work I do with yoga, which is greatly enhanced in a retreat experience, revolves around bringing people back ‘home’ into their body, heart, a balanced nervous system (homeostasis), a peaceful mind, and connection to Nature and Spirit. When one’s inner world is balanced and the body is restored to optimal levels, one’s whole life experience receives the benefits.”
It is a path she has been walking not only since her youth, but her childhood. She began singing spiritual songs when she was four, gardening, taking care of animals, and playing music for her sister with special needs. Enicia has taken this commitment to her life work through a masters degree in education and through founding an international yoga teacher training school.
Back to the magic. Enicia describes the blessing of receiving insight during sound healing.
Even after being engaged in a variety of healing modalities, years of unprocessed grief (after the unexpected deaths of her youngest sister and her father), and PTSD was still affecting her. She says, "The sound healing created a mystical experience in which I felt still connected to my loved ones, and I was able to feel a shift in my body where I still held onto the grief physically, somatically, and energetically. This kind of deep healing, I believe, is possible on a retreat when a person can fully relax into the present moment, be open to new experiences, feelings, and sensations, balance their nervous system, and are safely held in a container designed to facilitate healing.”
Enicia says, “My greatest passion and commitment is to create sacred space for others to experience healing and gain the peace and vitality that comes with an appreciation for the phenomenal gift we have been given: one precious human life. I truly believe that the healing work we do individually and in a group experience creates a ripple effect of healing and positive change in the world. So I’d like to share this Sacred Journey with as many people as I can.”
What inspires you about teaching, speaking, and doing this work?
The felt experience of sharing sacred space with others inspires me most. When I am guiding a retreat or healing experience, I feel the most connected to Spirit and Nature, and I feel I’m truly 'in my element.' I feel that sense of flow and authenticity that comes when one is in connection to their divine creative nature. It feels great! And I am motivated to give to others the opportunity to experience that sense of connection to Nature and Spirit, in a way that can heal troubled hearts and restore balance to the body and nervous system, while giving people the tools to maintain this sense of wellness in their daily lives.
What are some of your personal go-to self-care practices?
I maintain several daily practices that are essential to my self-care and well-being.
Every morning I write in my journal. (Hint: this practice is tied to my pot of tea, so I never skip it!) Daily journaling has been the best cognitive therapy for me for two decades now.
Most mornings I also practice yoga and sit to meditate, and I love it when I have time to also read something inspirational or write intentions or affirmations for my day.
I spend a little bit of time each day in the garden, nurturing and being nurtured by plants, earth, water, and the sun. Even though I live in the city now, I maintain a connection to nature by tending a tiny permaculture food and pollinator garden and walking my dog in the parks.
I believe that a healthy connection to nature is vital to well-being and self-care, and I hope that all of humanity realizes this very soon!
What are some of the go-to practices you suggest to people to help support them making powerful shifts in their lives?
Breathing fully. Making the time to connect to themselves and to community through a positive practice such as yoga, and slowing down.
I am an advocate of having more free time and less stuff, being a creator more than a consumer, and finding ways to live in harmony with others and in right relationship to the earth.
What are you reading that helps you maintain connections to yourself and the world?
I’m currently finishing my first book, a spiritual romance adventure, which I hope will be ready for publication in the next few months. Other than writing, I usually read about seven books at a time over several months. I’m currently enjoying Intimate Conversations with the Divine and Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss.
Being immersed in the indigenous culture of Mexico for the past several years has made me interested in learning more about my ancestral spiritual heritage, so I’m currently reading Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul by John Philip Newell, while also re-reading The Time of the Black Jaguar by Arkan Lushwala and Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerrer, two very powerful and inspiring books.
I love wisdom poetry, and my “desert island book” is Love Poems from God, a collection of beautiful works by mystic poets compiled and edited by Daniel Ladinsky.
Where do you go for inspiration?
My favorite place to get inspired and renewed is walking barefoot on the powder white sands of the Mayan Riviera, with the lush tropical forests on one side and the sparkling crystal Caribbean Sea on the other. Sunrises over the ocean and sunsets over the jungle are definitely the most inspiring moments! I also love spending time in forests, with trees, and in the garden with my hands in the dirt.
What does community mean to you?
To me, community defines what it means to be human. We learn so much about ourselves in relationship to others, and we can heal much within ourselves through positive experiences in community and relationships.
I cultivate community in all the work I do: every retreat group or Yoga Teacher Training group becomes like a family and I maintain lifelong relationships with most of my students and retreat participants.
When I started offering retreats in the Riviera Maya, it was not enough for me to just go visit and spend a week at a time. I started to spend 2-3 months at a time, and then up to 6 months at a time, to cultivate community connections there.
I spent a lot of time at an intentional community at a retreat center, being part of women’s circles and community meals and Temazcals.
I also developed relationships with a Mayan village in the jungle, where I volunteered regularly over several years at a one-room school, enjoying friendships and collaborations with the teachers and students.
I still visit my friends there every time I return to the Riviera Maya, and I have enjoyed seeing the kids grow up over the years!
What are you looking forward to sharing with people while on retreat?
I am most looking forward to sharing the “magic” of what I consider to be my spiritual home.
There’s a special energy in the Mayan Riviera.
I’ve heard it’s attributed to all the crystal clear water–both the Caribbean Sea and the underground rivers and cenotes that form a web under the land there. Plus, with all the beauty of nature there–the lush green vegetation, gorgeous turquoise waters, pink sunrises and iridescent sunsets–it’s impossible not to feel a sense of wonder and awe at the magic of creation. It feels spiritual and earthy all at once.
I also look forward to sharing how simple and accessible yoga practices can make a huge difference in our enjoyment of life and our abilities to feel connected, healthy, and whole.
I look forward to teaching some simple yet powerful meditation practices that have been my go-to over the years. And I look forward to nurturing people with inspirational words from wisdom poetry, a sprinkling of life-enhancing yoga philosophy, and to share deep relaxation and restoration with Yoga Nidra and sound healing.
I will also bring into the retreat a c
ouple of the community connections I have from the region– a local ceremonialist from the Mayan Village, and a sound healer from the spiritual community who made the harp that I play in my own sound healing practices.