Retreats With Annette now features its own labyrinth which can be walked alone or with others. It is located on the opposite end of the swimming pool from the yoga studio. The way to enter becomes apparent as you approach the labyrinth. Follow the path to the center at your own pace and feel free to pause there and reflect before continuing on your journey out and back into the world. This feature is used during meditation retreats and other times as instructed by your host.
A Labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools.
Labyrinths are thought to date around 4000 years and have been incorporated into many cultures including ancient Greeks and Romans, India and China, what is now Europe, and the Native American southwest in this country.
Labyrinths are often confused with mazes but they are very different. A maze is a complex branching (multicursal) puzzle that may have multiple entrances and exits and choices of paths that can lead to dead ends. A labyrinth is unicursal in that it has a single, non-branching path which leads to the center and then back out the same way, with only one entry/exit point.
People have walked the path of labyrinths for centuries to meditate, pray, reflect, and focus on their inner self. Labyrinth walking represents a journey to our own center and back out again into the world. It is a metaphor for life’s journey. Some general guidelines for walking a labyrinth are:
1. Focus: Pause and wait at the entrance. Become quiet and centered. Give acknowledgment through a bow, nod, or other gesture and then enter.
2. Experience: Walk purposefully. Observe the process. When you reach the center, stay there and focus several moments. Leave when it seems appropriate. Be attentive on the way out.
3. Exit: Turn and face the entrance. Give an acknowledgement of ending, such as "Amen” or “Namaste".
4. Reflect: After walking the labyrinth reflect back on your experience. Use journaling or drawing to capture your experience.
5. Walk often.