Sarah Lemon"> 2325~1200338~
At Crater Lake, the words "depth" and "clarity" are relevant to more than the national park's stunning centerpiece.
The adjectives also describe some visitors' sharpened senses, enhanced emotions and meditative minds.
"Crater Lake has been ... a deeply spiritual place for thousands of years," says Jeff Allen, executive director of Crater Lake National Park Trust.
Inherently spiritual activities like yoga, Allen says, fit with his nonprofit organization's goal to bring more people to the park and offer them experiences beyond the standard tours, hikes and educational programs. The park's first yoga events this summer will allow dozens of participants to practice the centuries-old Hindu regimen in a setting that inspires metaphors from which yogis can draw.
"We're really incorporating that clarity and that depth aspect," says Mariane Corallo, owner of Rasa Center for Yoga and Wellness in Medford.
The more in-depth of two yoga retreats planned in August, Rasa's event incorporates a three-night stay in popular cabins at the park's Mazama Village and primarily vegetarian meals prepared by park catering staff. Instructors will host at least one of four, two-hour yoga sessions outdoors, weather permitting. Other sessions likely will take place in the historic "community house," perched on the lake's rim.
History and facts about the country's deepest lake — formed when snow and rain filled the collapsed volcano Mount Mazama — will intermingle with the programming, Corallo says.
"It won't just be a form of exercise up there," she says. "We're really focusing on Crater Lake itself."
Guided hiking in the park and group gatherings will provide social interaction when participants aren't immersed in yoga. "Bonding" is a vital aspect of such retreats, a popular format for recreation and relaxation with yoga enthusiasts worldwide, Corallo says. With Crater Lake chosen for its first retreat venue, Rasa is likely to host a river-rafting retreat within the year, she adds.
"It becomes a pretty special experience for people."
A shorter experience awaits students of Louise Lavergne's Yoga on the Go retreat at Crater Lake. The day-long itinerary gives proficient practitioners a chance to explore alternate environments while providing novices with a more compelling reason to try the Indian discipline, Lavergne says. Her workshop will emphasize appreciation for beauty and importance of living in the moment, she adds.
"I like the idea of being able to practice yoga anywhere," Lavergne says.
The practice begins on the morning bus trip to Crater Lake, when Lavergne will teach breathing techniques and explain how to incorporate yoga into one's daily routine. A yoga session will mark the beginning of the group's visit to the park, and another will close the day. Lunch and a walking meditation will divide the two yoga practices, each about an hour and a half long, Lavergne says. The group will return to Medford in the early evening, she adds.
"They definitely will walk away feeling good."
Retreaters also can feel good about raising money for Crater Lake National Park Trust, which will claim about 10 percent of fees, Allen says.
Operating on about $200,000 per year, Allen says, the trust has been an independent nonprofit group since 2007 after forming as a committee of the National Park Foundation for Crater Lake's centennial in 2002. Its budget comprises many small donations from private individuals, foundation grants and proceeds from the state's Crater Lake license plate, managed in an endowment, Allen says. Promoting the park, not fundraising, is the trust's main goal, he adds.
"This is the first of several events we're planning for this summer."
Star-gazing parties to view the Perseid meteor shower are slated for mid-August, along with a fly-fishing trip to Wizard Island either in July or August. An October winemaker dinner will follow the Sept. 26 "family day," when park admission will be free to the public with bus transportation from Medford furnished, as well as complimentary root-beer floats inside the park.