* Why Retreat? *
Retreat: an act of moving back or withdrawing
Every now and then we all need to slow down and pull back from our everyday lives. I mean to really slow down and have room to reset and reboot. Slowing down beyond a 60 minute yoga class and a night in. To have space held for you to reconnect, have permission to just be, digest what’s been happening in the recent past, unwind accumulated tensions and to have support, or in fact be guided as you remember yourself and the bright light that inside your heart.
Its rare nowadays to gift ourselves such time and yet it is so essential! Most of us move to a rhythm that is not our own but superimposed and this becomes the expected norm- society scheduling with a couple of our’s of me time in which we cook , clean, plan, sleep and …repeat.
That’s why yoga classes are so popular, and we are blessed to live in a vibrant city with hundreds on offer each day and a growing community of those who recognise how vital that stretched out slither of time on your mat is.
We need to sometimes disconnect to reconnect.
And this is why retreats are so important!
Retreats ( not just yoga but meditation, art, writing, hiking!) are time out for yourself with a group of people who want to do the same kind of thing. There is often the chance to set a personal or collective intention to explore as an anchor for your practice- this helps create a community bond and encourages focus and inspiration, helping to steady the mind. It may also help you realise the power of your thoughts and how you can manifest mind stuff into positive action.
Retreating gives you an opportunity to experience a new environment ( often in incredible nature) and enjoy the unravelling day in all its glory - to move with the natural flow of the space that we are in and create ritual to honour your appreciation of your sacred time within it! There’s no need to rush! Because yes (! ) your time is sacred and valuable- just like your body. So is the energy that you put into every single act of each day. Energy wastage just like food wastage is a huge issue for our planets resources and that is but a mirror of how we manage our own energy. Retreat is a time to notice where you are leaking energy and plug those gaps or redirect the flow for better functioning.
This is also the time to take a sabbatical from technology- stay away from that phone and see how you feel.
A little opportunity to flip perspective goes along way.
Sometimes we need to pull back to get a clear picture of where we are at. To listen and feel what really matters for us and too also appreciate the abundance that we do have!
This helps us bring some love back into those everyday acts that sometimes become a drain, finding joy in simplicity and honouring creativity. For this we also need a safe space, where some of the pressure is taken off you to organise anything. This is the sacred space that a retreat provides.
No joke this can be a serious concern for retreat goers- noone wants to go hungry on sparse salads and tiny juice shots! The family dinner is one of the best parts of a retreat and don’t worry you will get plenty of clean, nourishing, lovingly made, wholesome nosh. Most retreats are vegetarian or vegan as part of the practice of ahimsa ( non - violence) and vital for environmental ethics and sustainability. If this is new to you- honestly trust that it will give your digestive system a welcome break, plus you wont feel like your missing out. It is so nice to have someone present you with food allowing you to fully let go of all responsibilities. Always let organisers know of any dietary preferences, allergies or concerns.
Saying that i always take snacks and tea bags that I love just incase i need an extra nibble!
Then of course- there’s the yoga! It is wonderful to have the opportunity to go deeper into the practice with people who are on a similar frequency to you. Normally on retreat we go on a journey, carried by the collective intention and anchored by a theme that evolves day by day. This unravelling helps us to unravel too. Classes are often longer at 90 minutes- 2 hours and more workshop in style. This means you get more time to explore at your own pace and more hands on support from the teacher. It is great from the teacher perspective too as a. its an honour that you have chosen to spend your sacred time with us b. we actually have time to get to know peoples practice, needs and bodies and can be of more help and c. we get to have fun with you!!!
Many people journey on their own to retreats but leave with lifelong friends having had loads of laughs, hugs and maybe a few cries! Everytime i have buddied up in a room its been amazing. Wow and what a privilege to witness the coming together and growth of a mini community- everyone opening themselves in a relationship of trust and support but also taking the down time needed for personal transformation and inner listening. It can be good to bring a notebook for any flashes of inspiration that arise or unloading that needs to happen!
There is no pressure- do as much or as little as you need to find the sweet balance you need and enjoy to simply be.
Finally- don’t forget your slippers!
If you have been thinking about joining a retreat I hope this post is helpful for you! My Yoga Holiday to Santorini this year is sold out but there is some space in Ritual and Rest Retreat - Late Summer Yoga immersion in the Yorkshire Dales !