Ever wondered whether a yoga retreat is for you? Often thought about it but never found the time/money?
Here are my top 5 reasons to make sure that this year is finally the year that you take that long dreamed about yoga retreat.
1. Time Out For Yourself
There is a huge difference between going on holiday and going on retreat. Even the word itself tells us that it's all about stepping back, going inwards, and allowing yourself the treat of time out.
Quite often holidays can be more about doing, while a retreat is simply about being. Holidays mostly involve other people and compromising on where to go and what to do, and a retreat is all about you and listening to your own needs at all times.
Most retreats will encourage you to leave the outside world behind, step away from all stresses and drains on your time and energy, and instead put your focus on doing less and being more. At the very least, time away from your day-to-day life will leave you feeling refreshed, renewed, re-inspired, and deeply rested. At best a retreat can help you to gain clarity, seek for deeper truth, and possibly even find the answers you've been searching for.
2. Deepen Your Practice
A retreat really will take your practice to the next level. Maybe you've been practicing yoga for a while now, experienced its amazing benefits first hand, and are keen for more. Or maybe you've just heard all about it and are keen to experience the magic for yourself. It could even be that you have just started and caught the bug, or need a kickstart to get you back on your mat.
Whatever your reasons or levels of yoga experience, a retreat will help you to go beyond, and possibly even soar above! Most retreats will include twice daily yoga, which in itself will increase your strength, flexibility, and your awareness of your own practice more than you would ever believe.
The main gift a retreat gives you though, is that it takes you out of your comfort zone, in all ways. As humans, we like routine, and so in your regular class with your regular teacher (no doubt in your regular spot in the practice room) it's easy to get caught up in what you "can" and "can't" do in your practice and continue to do the same things over again.
On a retreat, you'll be in completely new, and often inspiring, surroundings with new people and maybe even a new teacher, with the main focus of your day being about you and your practice. It's the perfect time to explore new things, and you're guaranteed to go deeper.
3. Meet Like-Minded Friends for Life
The main concern I get most from people coming on a retreat is that they will be coming alone. They worry they'll be the only one, when in fact 80-90% of people come on their own.
The beautiful thing about going to a retreat alone is that you already share a common interest and passion with everyone else. You are all going to learn, deepen, expand, and grow in some way, and somehow the journey you go through with others in a yoga room bonds you like nothing else.
Over the short space of a week strangers become friends, all inhibitions fall away, and you open yourself to sharing with, learning, and growing from other like-minded yogis and their life experience.
4. Learn Something New
With the amazing retreat offerings out there at the moment, you could take far more than a deepened practice and peace of mind away with you.
Combine yoga with learning all about Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, or how to develop a lasting meditation or mindfulness practice. Find out all about the benefits of nutrition, superfoods, and/or juicing. Make your yoga come to life by exploring the beautiful ancient wisdom and philosophy of yoga, or even combine your passions for yoga and walking or writing. Learn to surf, ski, dive, or how to delve deep into your feminine wisdom and goddess power.
Whatever your other passions or areas of interest, there will be a retreat out there that will help you to expand your mind as well as your body and take a new skill or interest home with you.
5. Detox Your Life
Looking to cleanse your body, mind, heart, and soul? Then look no further than a yoga retreat. The delicious, healthy food that most retreats offer will help nourish and cleanse your body from the inside out, with some retreats offering one step further with juicing or the option of a full cleanse.
Your mind and emotions will be taken care of through your daily yoga practice, plus meditation and mindfulness, different workshops, or even time in silence. You may even get to speak to your soul as you take time out in the nurturing environment of a retreat, helping you to find answers or a new direction.
The main focus of a yoga retreat is often to help you to feel really, really good in all ways, so no matter what your initial reasons for going, a yoga retreat will leave you feeling cleansed, restored, re-inspired, recharged, and most of all, like new! Best of all is that you'll take away heaps of new inspiration and ideas of things you can incorporate into your daily life to help keep the retreat magic alive.
Bonus Reason — Because You're Worth It!
Really! We often do so much for others without ever stopping to fill ourselves back up. You probably wouldn't think twice about treating or spending money on a loved one, yet you'd think twice, and probably three or four times, before doing the same for you. Then come the excuses, the reasons you "shouldn't," and the million other things you should do or spend on instead.
You more than anyone else deserves to be treated and taken care of, and remember that if you aren't happy, healthy, and inspired, you can't hope to make anyone else around you happy, healthy, and inspired. By doing this for yourself, you actually do give back to all those around you.
I hope this inspires you to make this the year you give yourself the incredible life changing gift of a yoga retreat. I'd love to hear about where you go and what your experience was. Make sure to share your reasons to go on a yoga retreat in the comments below!