Empower the Soul Review - A Yoga and Personal Development Retreat

You may have heard of Wayne Dyer, Anthony Robbins, or Marianne Williamson, all part of the positive psychology movement.  This movement motivates and inspires people to look at problems, obstacles or setbacks from a more optimistic outlook, and hopefully to help yourself overcome tough situations that are preventing you from living happily. It’s all about self improvement and inspiration.  Dr. Robert Holden is a best-selling Hayhouse author and internationally known speaker who is also part of the movement and was the leader of a retreat this past weekend at the beautiful Ritz Carlton, Dana Point.

This four day “Empower the Soul, a Yoga and Personal Development Retreat” was from November 3-6. The event was founded by Kimberly Spreen-Glick and Rob Glick through their Empower Fitness Events brand.  Dr. Holden covered topics from a few of his books.  Each day participants practiced yoga, meditated, enjoyed delicious, healthy meals, relaxed on the property with amazing ocean views, had inspiring conversation with like-minded individuals, and most important attended Dr. Holden’s motivational lectures.  

Each day was structured by a theme: Day 1: Living Your Purpose, Day 2: Shift Happens, Day 3: Happiness Now, and Day 4: Authentic Success.  I was able to attend the session on day three.  Dr. Holden presented the daily seminar with lectures and interactive exercises with breaks in between lasting until about 6pm. 

The highlight for the day was to “Follow Your Joy” which is part of the Happiness Project that started in 1994 as an 8 week program in England with the purpose of knowing the difference between searching for happiness and following your joy.  It is also based on Dr. Holden’s book, “Be Happy.”  When one is searching for happiness, they are going outside of themselves and searching for happiness which is beyond themselves, or something in the future tense.  When one is following their joy it’s like a choice, not a chase, and it’s about being in the present.  Joy should come from the heart, body, and mind.

What is the purpose of happiness?

1.  The purpose is to help us follow our joy.  It’s a spiritual path, if you like it to be.  Our spiritual path usually starts with pain and suffering.  The problem is we keep thinking we need the pain to continue or like we don’t want or deserve to experience complete happiness.  Happiness can be our teacher if we think of times we are really happy and what is real for us. 

2.  It is to show us when we are being authentic or truly happy.

3. We need to be our GPS to follow our joy right now and we have to trust what that joy is up to.

He selected one person from the group to demonstrate the process of fears that are preventing ourselves to reach joy and the help we can seek from someone else. The participants had a chance to experience the same exercise with a partner.  

Each partner had to share responses to the following questions.

  1. What is the joy you want?
  2. What is your fear?
  3. What is the help or a person that can help us with this fear?

This exercise gave a chance to connect and listen to another person who is processing what is going on in their mind aloud by sharing and while the other person gets insight into their issue may provide perspectives that the other person cannot see.  They can get an “Aha” moment which may prompt them to take the first step in facing what is preventing them to experience this idea that will bring them joy.

Dr. Holden explained that sometimes our fear is of having too much happiness and it would be like we wouldn’t know oneself if there is too much or the happiness is too good to be true. It’s like we have a “joy tolerance.” Also, joy doesn’t mean it is always something we have planned for ourselves in an event or situation, but sometimes when we face our fear it takes us to a place that was unplanned.  These are conversations we need to have with ourselves or our life is on hold.

Dr. Holden also covered Enneagrams which are nine different types of descriptions for people’s personality types and if you want more information visit: Enneagram Institute.  Here you can read about each type, their strengths, weaknesses, and areas of focus.

When you hear other peoples stories, passions, dilemmas and sense their energy, it empowers you to listen or help and realize there are so many people that want that sense of joy and satisfaction that regardless of our gender, socioeconomic class, career, age, or ethnicity, it’s something all of us strive to improve.


If you would like more information of these retreats visit:  www.empowerfitnessevents.com

To get more information about Dr. Holden’s books and speaking engagements, visit: www.robertholden.org



Photos By: Tania G.





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