8 Very Good Reasons to go on a Yoga Retreat!
Why would you choose going on a yoga retreat as apposed to just going on a holiday? If you’re a parent or carer of some sort, is it fair to take time out and do something just on your own? Something just for you? Damn right is it, is what I would say.
When you hop on a flight and listen to the safety announcements given they always tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then help others. Well, we should apply this safety drill to all areas of our life!! If our cup is full, it’s much easier for us to fill the cup of others. Our wellness and wholeness serves the wellness and wholeness of all others in our lives.
I’m going to give you 8 good reasons you should consider treating yourself to a yoga retreat. Though, once you understand the benefits of a retreat (and especially if you experience them) you may not consider them a treat anymore, but a necessary accessory in your wellness program.
1. Prioritise Yourself
The older we get the more responsibilities we get. We get a job, we get in relationship, we have children, we have ageing parents and a myriad of things we have to manage, support, control and do. What happened to the times when we could just hang out with ourselves and do nothing or do those little self care things that we know nourish us?
Prioritising yourself may sound selfish, but really it’s an important element of a healthy and balanced life. Doing something just for YOU is actually very important for mental and emotional health. Spending time with yourself and your own thoughts and feelings is a healthy and sure way to claim a calmer mind and happier soul.
When we look after ourselves something happens and we simply feel much better and have more vital energy. We become more positive, caring and patient. Giving to yourself is just like giving to others!
2. Meet Inspiring People
There is something about retreats that always attracts interesting people. People who usually care about themselves, about others and about the bigger picture. We often choose a retreat because of the facilitator, someone who already inspires us and we believe can help us understand something better.
But the surprise often comes from the other attendees of the retreat. Everyone who attends always brings a wealth of wisdom and experiences. When these are shared in the safe environment of a retreat it is often their experiences that help us understand ours better. We gain so much more than we expected.
We often leave retreats with new friends, new insights and a new conviction in ourselves to make the changes we want and know we need in our life.
3. Deepen Your Practice
Retreats give a a chance to really focus on your own practice in a way general classes can never give. When you have a class every morning, working towards a goal over the week, you can really begin to see the evolution of your practice and your attitude towards it.
The consistency of getting up very day for practice and often also having an afternoon class as well, means you get to experience all the different approaches to yoga and the different techniques to use for different times of the day, life and emotional states.
Not only will you learn more, deepen your personal experience of yoga and the philosophy behind it, but practicing with others that you haven’t practiced with before can certainly help you to understand things in a new light.
4. Hand Over Control
As adults there is so much in our lives that we are trying to control. Perhaps you are a parent or you have responsibilities at work or in business. There is so much pressure on our time and the amount of things we have to achieve in that time.
One of the wonderful things about retreats is handing over that control to another. Retreats are your turn to be looked after. Lean back into the held space in order to totally let go and go inward. Once we realise we don’t have to cook, clean, call anyone or arrange anything our nervous system begins to realise it can finally really relax and rest.
And unlike just going on holiday, there’s none of the ‘holiday guilt’ about not doing or seeing enough of the place you are staying. On retreat, you hand over all control and just allow yourself to receive and be looked after. Om Bliss.
5. The Bigger Picture
One of the great things about a retreat is not just getting away from home and going somewhere beautiful, but is also the time and space given to contemplate your life. Going away from home and any situation you find yourself in, is always helpful for insight. Distance gives you the opportunity to look at the bigger picture. But having time and the right prompts to contemplate this enhances this potential even more.
We can often come home with fresh insights and understanding of our lives and any situation we are experiencing. This in turn helps us to come up with creative solutions to any problems or even just a better attitude to help us through whatever is arising for us.
Seeing the bigger picture always helps us to put our difficulties or uncertainties in prospective.
6. A Holiday for Your Digestion and Senses
Yoga retreats are focused on your wellbeing and health. So the food is healthy, clean and usually different from what you are normally eating. Especially when your are in a different country. If you are working a lot you may have formed some unhealthy eating habits, even in the form of times that you eat. At retreats there is healthy food served at the same time every day. This is good for our digestion.
Giving our digestion a break regularly is important but sometimes we don’t always feel we have the right knowledge or enough space in our lives to honour this (or perhaps even enough energy to implement it!). So going on retreat can be a perfect way to break from any poor eating habits you have, get inspired to try new foods and ways of eating. This often pours into our daily life once we return back home. Inspired by new recipes and tastes!
Also retreats offer our Senses a break too. Not using our eyes all day long looking at screens or using your phone. Having a break from the normal sounds we hear and instead listening to the sound of the waves on the beach or the rustle of trees from the forrest. Taking in new smells and tastes and allowing ourselves to be touched in a healing way through massage or treatments.
All this helps for better health throughout our body, mind and spirit.
7. Challenge Yourself
Often we come to retreats alone or to an unfamiliar country or place. We are confronted with a bunch of people we don’t know. We maybe asked to speak in personal ways in a group setting. Sometimes we have to show our vulnerabilities, our pains and weaknesses. And other times we have to physically do things we have never done before that may cause some fear.
So retreats are usually a little confronting. But its in the facing of these challenges that we get the best and the most out of our retreats. In short, retreats help us to grow; emotionally, personally and spiritually too.
8. Drop Back In (to Yourself)
Being present sometimes feels like its only for the privileged. When we have a very full schedule and busy lives dropping back into our Essential Self can feel impossible. It does take time and space. Especially if we don’t have some sort of routine to encourage this at home, and even then its very easy to lose it.
Retreats not only give you that time and space, the held environment to support it, it also gives you the tools to deepen into that experience. Yoga retreats are really made for THIS exact experience.
When was the last time you really felt present? When was the last time you really felt completely comfortable and at home within yourself? This homecoming needs to be cultivated or we can lose the experience all together.
Dropping back in to yourself deeply renewals you and gives you the motivational boost you might just need to keep fighting the good fight.
With all these benefits in mind, I hope to see you on retreat soon!
Lucilla Jane is hosting a retreat in Northern Kerala in Oct 2019. Check out our Retreat page for further details.