I remember going to my first ever yoga retreat over a decade ago. I was filled with anticipation, whilst wondering if I was 'weird' going away solo and engaging in an activity which at the time, I didn't have much knowledge about. The thought of having to share a room with a stranger didn't help with the comfort factor either. However, after participating on my first ever retreat I was hooked! So much, that in the end, I became a yoga teacher and continued going on retreats consecutively for over 7 years. After going on my first few annual retreats, each year I attended thereafter, a voice in my head would tell me 'you should be hosting your own retreat,' yet the other voice of fear kept creeping in and saying I wouldn't be good enough and no one would attend. In the end, after much deliberation and hesitation with weeks worth of sleepless nights, I nervously took the plunge and booked out a gorgeous organic farm in the Tuscan Hills to facilitate my first ever yoga retreat. The rest is history...
The aim of a yoga retreat is to create a serene and conducive environment to help deepen your spiritual reflection, personal practice, and renewal. A yoga retreat to some amazing locations gives practitioners the opportunity to explore some mouth-watering scenery, such as the serene countryside, panoramic views of stunning mountains and the opportunity to embrace nature at its finest. Yoga retreats, can be described as a journey into self-discovery. The yoga sessions on retreats are transformational and a suitable option for beginners including all practitioner levels.
You'll be able to deepen your relaxation
Yoga retreat takes you away from the world alongside the stresses accompanied with it. Even if you're a regular meditator, there is something unique about being shut down from the world outside that releases your constant mental worries. Allowing yourself to be freed from all worries and distractions will help you realise that by detaching yourself, that problems will simultaneously work themselves out or even lose their stance and strength in your life.
You'll notice a progress in your practice within a short period of time
Yoga itself can be considered as a journey and though it focuses less on achievement, this doesn't mean that you are not progressing in your path. Deepening one's practice has different meaning to each individual. In fact, it can even be just as simple as learning how to maintain a still seat for your meditation practise or giving yourself permission to be happy.
You can travel alone without any feel of self-consciousness
Sometimes we just feel like getting away from it all. Yoga retreats will offer a secure environment to travel solo, thus you will discover that though you arrive alone, you will leave with many friends. Yogis are sensitive to each others feelings and needs, so if you go alone, it's ok to tuck yourself up somewhere quiet with a book if you feel you need some space.
You can take a step back and renew your life
It is difficult to make new decisions when you are used to some certain routines. Most of us go through our daily activities without diverting a bit from them. Taking a step outside your daily routine activities brings out something new in you. Retreats offer great opportunity to set new goals and reflect on difficult issues. Within time, you'll be equipped to discover how to overcome some inner challenges. You might find the answer to long term questions which have been troubling your mind. The best gift you can give yourself and take away from retreats, is to be present.
Ladan Soltani- 'A dedicated yogi and author of fabulous fitness at 40'
Enjoy my yoga video practice for beginners