Retreats – are they for me?

I was asked to write this blog for Health & Fitness Travel and seen as it is possibly my favourite blog topic to date I thought I would share it with you too…

I love yoga, I love holidays, I love nourishing food, time spent with a book, the chance to unwind.. and when you bring that all together you have yourself a Retreat. So if you are sat on the fence and thinking about wether or not a retreat is for you let me share a few words of encouragement…

“I am a beginner and I am worried I haven’t done enough yoga to book a retreat”

Hold that thought. Retreats are perfect if you are a beginner – you have more time with your teacher over the course of the retreat and neither of you are ever rushing off anywhere after class which means if there is anything you are struggling with you have the opportunity to break things down and explore. It is also a great opportunity to speak to others who enjoy the practice, maybe take on board their tips for teachers and styles, what they have loved and what they have learnt. Retreats also provide you with an opportunity to pull yourself away from the pace of real life and focus simply on your practice – your mind isn’t on the weekly food shop or the parking permit running outside – instead you are more present, you hear instructions with more clarity and you actually get more out of each class.

“I have been practicing for several years, will I still learn something new if I book a retreat” 

I would like to think so. Pretty similar reason to the above really.. having more time and a clearer headspace will allow for you to be more present and more focused. Longer classes and more time after class with your teacher gives them longer to explain the more complex postures (binds, balances and sequences) that they just don’t have time to breakdown in a regular class.

Booking a retreat with a new teacher is also very complimentary to your practice. As students we quite easily turn on auto pilot mode.. our teachers may be offering us new instruction but we learn to predict what is coming and we miss these small little instructions that can have a great impact on our technique (and also ensure we avoid injury). Different teachers also have different view points, different experiences and different teacher trainings behind them so I would be astonished if you booked a retreat and only learnt one new thing! Step our of your comfort zone, go on I dare you…(I think you will thank me).

What I am trying to say is that as a newbie or a more experienced student there is honestly so much magic in a retreat. And I may be bias as someone who teaches and hosts Retreats, but just imagine you have done a great yoga class and you have had an amazing restful nourishing savasana…now times that feeling by 10 and that is how it feels to be on a retreat!

Other perks include:

  • Seeing and exploring somewhere new and beautiful;
  • Enjoying and tasting different and delicious foods;
  • Meeting new people, listening to their stories and making friends;
  • Giving yourself chance to slow down and chance to unwind;
  • Deep and restful sleep (there is something magic about not setting the work alarm or worrying about sorting out breakfast for your kids!); and
  • Prioritising yourself and your health.

I am going to end it there because we only get one body and one chance to look after it.

If you have any questions about retreats then do reach out to me, I will help if I can because I know how much you will thank yourself if you do go ahead and make that time for yourself.

Jess x

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