So you are going on a Yoga Retreat, Congratulations! Here are some helpful tips on getting the most out of it.
Drop expectations – you are (probably) not psychic, so you cannot predict what will happen or how you will feel. Drop expectations of your host. Drop expectations of the venue. Most importantly, drop expectations of yourself in order to allow yourself to come to the experience curious, open and new. Like taking off a heavy overcoat, shed it all. Shed all of your roles in life. Shed all of the should, all of the planning and all of the to-do’s, they will wait until the retreat is over. Highly recommended to shed your phone too! Having done this myself it is an incredible way to deepen your pleasure – mind blowing really. Let the retreat be like one long yoga pose as you indulge completely. It’s what you deserve.
Start with a light touch – be gentle and kind in your thoughts, words and actions. As I am sure you know, the mind thoughts can run crazy; creating stories, judging, comparing, criticizing, fantasizing. I often, lovingly, call the mind a gangster – it will try and drag you all over the place. As you notice this happening, with an inward smile say “there you go again”. Notice the emotional experience that goes with the wandering and come back to feeling your breath. Reconnecting with yourself and the moment in a soft way. Notice if your words to yourself are harmful or virtuous, and invite in loving self talk. Acknowledge your courage and willingness to spend time with yourself. Observe the actions of your practices, hearing what your body desires; is it an early morning practice or does your body want to sleep in. Does your physical practice require more strength or more softening? Can you let go of the architecture of the pose and feel into it? Unaware and uncaring of the precision or what is happening on anyone else’s mat. Letting go of over efforting is also a practice.
There is no need to dig for the profound to happen. Getting away to reconnect with yourself, a friend, a partner with nature is a renewing experience. Simple insights will crop up on their own. All that’s needed of you is to listen in as you enjoy the yoga classes, the teachings, the nourishing food, and serenity of the environment. Breath deep breaths and let your self be revitalized!
Let the Echo linger – when you return from retreat. Before you head out on retreat, have your home ready to receive a relaxed and inspired you. What you enjoy when you arrive home? A walk alone or with a partner or friend. Time to reflect and journal on your experience. Sharing the experience with someone. A favorite meal already prepped. A plan for a bath or some inspirational reading before bed. I especially love to write myself a note, sentence or mantra that I will read in the morning when I awake at home to reconnect me to the goodness I have experienced.
Happyheart yoga hosts an annual “Re-Vitalize Me” Yoga retreat the first weekend in June.
Wishing you well on your next retreat – dive in, give over and let the magic happen
Be well, and let the goodness that is inside you shine brightly.