I Tried A Yoga Retreat – This Is What I Learned
Although I love yoga classes, I always assumed that I’d never have the time or money for a retreat. That was until I managed to make friends with someone whose sister just so happened to own a yoga and wellbeing business. Long story short, networking pays off! So, what did I learn from the experience?
1) Not everyone who goes on a yoga retreat is a gym bunny
I tried to go with an open mind, but I secretly expected everyone to be in perfect shape with a penchant for kale. Thankfully, I was wrong!
There were men, women, college students, seniors, gym bunnies, and people at the start of their fitness journey. Whatever your shape and size, you will fit in. As long as you can do basic yoga moves and are in reasonable health, you’re good to go.
2) You might experience some intense emotions
If you’re a yoga nut like me, you might have noticed that particular poses trigger difficult feelings. Yoga puts you in touch with yourself at the deepest possible level. I’m not ashamed to say that I shed a few tears a couple of times.
Focusing on physical movement allows our subconscious emotions to the surface. Psychologists advise that body and mind are closely interlinked. Releasing tension in the body can trigger a strong release of grief or anxiety.
You can always talk to your instructor about your experiences. Self-soothing also works well. For instance, giving yourself a quick massage can ground you in the present and help you feel calmer. Why not pack a small bottle of lotion or massage oil in your suitcase? Lavender, sage, and ylang ylang are good choices.
3) You’ll meet a lot of spiritual people
Sure, there’s a lot of diversity when it comes to body type and background, but most people on your retreat will be spiritual. That doesn’t necessarily mean they all believe in Reiki and crystal healing, but they will probably be on a personal journey.
At the very least, they won’t think you’re crazy when you talk about self-care or nurturing your higher self. The first day or so can be daunting, but you’ll soon realize that most of them will be on your wavelength.
4) It’s relaxing, yet intense
You’ll be unsurprised to learn that you’ll be asked to practice yoga for several hours each day. Sounds relaxing, right? Well, yes – but yoga is still a form of exercise, so expect to work hard. Your teachers won’t push you beyond your limits, but they will encourage you to give it your all.
My retreat also included nutrition workshops and mindfulness sessions. Our nutritionist was awesome, but the sessions were absolutely packed with information. By the end of the day, my brain was slightly fried (in a good way). As long as you’re prepared to be challenged, you’ll be fine.
5) You’ll be encouraged to turn off your devices
Yoga retreats are a golden opportunity to unplug from modern life, and I mean that in a literal sense. My retreat had a strict digital detox policy. We were told to turn off our devices for all but essential calls, and no one was allowed to use their phones or tablets during classes or mealtimes.
6) You’ll be expected to eat healthy foods
Most retreats are all-inclusive, meaning that meals are included. If you’re a junk food or caffeine addict, your system might be in for a shock. Try to get into the habit of eating a light, nutritious diet a week or two before you leave. I normally have a couple of espressos every day; the caffeine withdrawal wasn’t fun.
Are yoga retreats expensive? Yes, usually. Is the cost worth it? Again, I would say, “Yes!” OK, I didn’t have to meet the costs myself, but the feedback session at the end spoke for itself. Several were already planning how they could save up for their next retreat.
If you’re in a position to go, I’d urge you to book a place right now! I’m not exaggerating when I say that you’ll come home truly refreshed. It could even change your life.
Clara is an entrepreneur and content marketer. In a former life, as a corporate business executive, she relied on yoga, reflexology and other alternative practices to fight stress, anxiety and find balance. At Massageaholic.com she’s on a mission to bring massage therapy closer to those who want to live a balanced, healthy life, connecting body, mind and spirit. You can follow her on Facebook and Pinterest.
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