Yes — yoga retreats really are very good for you!
Going to regular yoga classes is, without a doubt, a hugely beneficial thing to do for yourself. But a yoga class once a week is only an hour or two away from the challenges of daily life — which is not always enough to balance out the stressors you encounter.
Think about the key struggles you manage every day, and how much they affect your emotional wellbeing.
Perhaps you devote all of your time to other people; to work, family, or friends; and have no time for yourself.
Maybe you’re stressed or dealing with anxiety; and perhaps you’re not sleeping well at night. Or maybe you feel lost, and you haven’t had time to figure out why.
I understand that it’s often vital, in order to function each day, to put your struggles aside or minimise them — rather than focus on them. But if you give them the space they deserve, you’ll be better placed to give yourself the care and love that you deserve.
A YOGA AND MEDITATION RETREAT GIVES YOU THAT SPACE
On retreat, you are completely immersed in a loving, nourishing environment, where you’ll explore practices and techniques that will ease you into a prolonged state of deep relaxation.
This gives your entire body the rest it desperately needs. Your nervous system is soothed, and as tension drops away, you reach a sense of clarity.
You are able to reach a new perspective on the strengths and weaknesses of your current lifestyle. And you can see, then, which jobs, activities, obligations or relationships in your life are bringing you down.
Weekly yoga classes do help to an extent. But at a retreat, you’re focus can be on nothing except you for the whole duration.
WHAT DOES A YOGA RETREAT INVOLVE?
At my upcoming retreat in Bali each day will start with a morning class including asana (yoga postures), pranayama (breath techniques), mantra and meditation. This class sets you up for profound reflection and makes you feel peaceful, strong, and grounded — the perfect recipe for personal growth.
At midday, there is Yoga Nidra, which will guide you deeper into blissful relaxation. And then in the afternoon, you’ll experience the delicious soul-soothing benefits of a restorative yoga practice.
And this retreat includes many more offerings off the mat, too. From Mantra Meditation to bathing in a waterfall; to playing percussion with local children at the Tejakula Sound School Gamelan Orchestra, your time in Bali will be filled with spiritually enriching delights.
And in between all of these offerings you are free. It’s not ‘free time’ as you know it, because with the vibrations of each daily practice energising your body and mind, you will feel truly liberated.
Surrounded by stunning tropical gardens and with the ocean just moments away, you can explore your thoughts and feelings with inspiration and without judgement or pressure. You can simply be.
NO DISTRACTIONS MAKES FOR A DEEPER EXPERIENCE
When you practice yoga and meditation on a retreat, distractions are minimised. This means that you can go deeper than you do in your regular weekly class.
Each practice builds on the previous one because you haven’t diluted it with the muddles and mundanity of your usual life. So the benefits of each practice also build, hour by hour and day by day.
This means that by the end of a whole week of immersive yoga you feel amazing. And you get to take that feeling home with you.
Two questions that often arise are: is it selfish to go away on retreat? And: do I really deserve this time for myself?
The answers are, respectively, a resounding No! and Yes!
Research shows that taking time out for self-care is not only good for you, but good for the people close to you as well. It makes sense: if you feel happy and healthy, calm and collected, then you’ll have more patience and positive energy to bring to your family and work.
If you’re not in touch with yourself then you can’t be genuinely in touch with others.
So, by giving yourself permission to delve deeply into your own self and give yourself a chance to heal, you can become more empathetic and better at managing the emotions of the people you love — as well as your own emotions.
RELAX, REJUVINATE, REJOICE
Some of the incredible women who’ve come on retreat with me before have said it was the most spiritual experience they’ve ever had, and it humbles me to hear those words.
These retreats are designed to guide you on your own journey: there are no gurus, no ‘fluffy nonsense’, and no expectations that you should be anything other than yourself. The spiritual experience is already in you: a retreat simply helps you learn how to access it.
All the practices that we do on retreat in Bali support the intention to relax, rejuvenate and rejoice.
That’s why you’ll be able to try cleansing practices, such as Melukat — during which the holy waters next to one of Bali's most respected seaside temples, Pomjok Batu, will wash away your troubles and ailments.
Yoga retreats offer a complete and rich experience of tradition; of yourself; and of yoga and meditation. And in Bali, all of this takes place in the most beautiful setting, with the added inspiration of learning in a culture different from your own and away from the touts and tourists.