Invest in Rest: How a yoga retreat can change everything
Over the years there are many things I would easily invest my time and money in, another drink for example or that holiday with friends that you need a holiday to recover from.. Investing in slowing down, and taking time for myself and connecting to my body, mind and soul was not one that came easily. It always seemed somewhat indulgent or luxurious. I was obsessed with “doing”.
The first time I had a “yoga holiday” was when my Dad suggested that we spent a family holiday in an ashram. So my brother and I had an unforgettable journey from Goa to an Ashram near Mumbai on New Years Day 2010. Our week was filled with yoga classes, meditating and studying The Five Elements with a Swami. I had done yoga for about five years on and off but doing it every day made such a difference. It was transformative and even inspired a jewellery collection. Still, it wasn’t until 2013 that I went on an actual yoga retreat and it was an experience that changed everything.
The biggest thing it gave me was the space to see what happened when I listened to my body, my mind, my self for a week and put me first. It gave me a chance to make a deep connection to spirit that wasn’t being interrupted by duties or other people. It gave me space to see what I needed to keep and change in my life.
Building time to stop, slow down, and focus on my body and rest has become a vital part of my lifestyle. I have recently got into restorative yoga for example. I could never understand why anyone would pay to go and lay down on a bolster, until I realised how hard it is to do at home, and how being in a room full of people also needing to lay down on a bolster and to be guided by a great teacher can help us open in places and relax deeper than we can get to on our own.
I have long been wondering why is it that we find it so hard to make time and money available to do the things that are truly good for us? It seems to be something that we all struggle with. That it somehow feels too luxurious to look after ourselves. It was not doing this for years and then HAVING to that led me to make it central to my life. But why do we often wait til burnout or illness strikes before we make space for these kind of things?
I am always reading about in the media, or hearing from my students or friends how much anxiety, stress and pressure we all live with. Things like overthinking, being unable to relax, feeling isolated, feeling fearful, craving sugar, feeling overwhelmed, being sensitive to noise, sleep problems, shallow breathing, digestive problems, poor posture, aches, pains and exhaustion are just everyday issues. We are constantly dancing on the edge of a burnout.
Of course going on one yoga retreat isn’t going to cure all our stress, anxiety and depression. But it does give us space for a new perspective.
You don’t have to be “good” at yoga before you go, they are open to everyone.
A yoga retreat gives you space for you, in the comfort of a space where others are doing the same thing as you, connecting to their bodies and themselves.
It’s a digital detox somewhere in nature, where you get a chance to unplug and listen to the sounds of the wind or the waves or the birds. Where the last thing on your mind is your e-mails..
You will learn to meditate or given the experience of what is it really like to get up and meditate before you do anything else. It’s much easier with a group of people and this will help you build it into your routine when you get home.
Whether you are new to yoga or have been going to a weekly class for a while, doing it twice a day over a weekend or a week, allows you to take it to the next level and build up new patterning in your body. You can end up really surprising yourself with what you are capable of and how you feel in yourself.
You get to eat healthy food that is served to you and give your body a detox from some of your eating on the go habits, or after work glasses of wine. And you get to share these meals and your whole experience with new friends often from different parts of the world that you often realise you had more in common with then you could have imagined. Even if you go on a retreat on your own, you may come home with lifelong friends. This has happened to me and these are some of the friendships for which I am the most grateful for.
A yoga retreat is a simple easy way to de-stress and chill out. It’s a space to find out what’s really going on for you, a space to re-evaluate what’s important to you and a space to appreciate all that you have to come home to. You can bring that all back with you, more energy and joy for your relationships, work and life.
Why not invest in yourself?