When I was organizing my first yoga and writing retreat in India, I kept thinking about my intention for it and returning to the experience I was hoping for, for my participants. I had such a profound and rewarding experience on my first trip to India that I wanted to use that experience and turn it into an opportunity for others.
I had never gone on a retreat myself but I knew the benefits of immersion. I contemplated going on someone else’s retreat before undertaking the responsibility of running my own, just to see how someone had set theirs up but something deep inside stopped me from signing up and, instead, trust that I knew. That I would inherently create a 7 day experience that was authentic to me and intuitive right from the start.
Which is exactly what happened and after that first retreat, I knew that I had found my calling. It wasn’t that I felt my best self by teaching in the retreat environment, which I did, it was that I was witness to transformation and joy in those who were on the retreat and it’s this reason that I knew I had to continue offering these experiences.
Going on a yoga retreat is one of the best ways to self-care. In a subtle way, it tells your whole being that you’re serious about making your health and wellness a priority. In today’s over stimulated, over scheduled, over prioritized and over ambitious world it’s more important than ever to retreat, re-treat and spend time to slow down and immerse yourself in healthy habits for your mind and your body.
Which is why the retreat business is exploding in options these days, there is a demand! We’re aware of how much we need to wind down and take the time to re-evaluate. Who doesn’t feel like they’re spiraling into a vortex of to-do lists, bills and obligations at certain times of the year? Who hasn’t asked the ultimate questions “How did I end up here?” Or, worse “Is this is? Am I truly happy?”
Going on retreat is a way to stop momentum fast tracking in that direction and take you back to a simpler, stripped down version of a happier and more peaceful you.
Not everyone who goes on retreat is looking for something more, though. Some just want a unique holiday and a yoga and writing retreat offers just that; a unique experience in an exotic location.
I created a yoga and writing retreat because I wanted the week long experience to have something that all the participants could take away with them. It’s easy to go on a yoga retreat, get your daily asana fix in the morning and afternoon, have a few profound thoughts, make some new friends and then go home. However, adding the writing component takes all that experience to another level. Writing is not just for the Elizabeth Gilbert’s of the world, the Sylvia Plath’s, or Tim Wintons. You don’t have to want to be a ‘writer’ to write, or want to publish a book. What I like to offer all the participants is a little insight to the power of putting words down to paper and documenting experiences that can later be enjoyed as memories.
In a sense, through the words that you write on your retreat, you have the chance to experience the retreat anytime you want when you get back home.
The yoga and writing combination is powerful in that it takes all the openness a yoga practice offers and teams it up with a blank canvas to create something magical. The benefits of this week can be transformative, here are a list of benefits that I’ve observed first hand.
1/. You connect to a more authentic self.
After the responsibilities at home have been addressed and taken care of, you can board a plane to an exotic location (Colombia, South America. Goa, India. Nicaragua, Central America) and know that everything is taken care of. Accommodation is paid for, all food is organized, the ocean is close by and now you have the time to indulge in self-care. You can strip down to your bathing suit, take a deep breath and just relax into what it feels like to be you again.
2. You will be active and feel healthy and relaxed.
Going on a yoga retreat means you don’t have to guess where you’re going to get your practice in, or where you’re going to find fresh, healthy food. It’s all set, ready to go for you.
3/. You improve your yoga practice and, or, are reminded how good it makes you feel.
There is no doubt that regular practice and immersion, in whatever you do, moves things to another level. In our regular life, it’s easy to move our self-care to the bottom of the list after house, work and family obligations. However, when you get back to the feeling that self-care offers, you are very profoundly reminded of how important it is for everything to run smoothly. It will re-ignite your desire to make it top priority once again.
4/. You’ll learn something new
On my yoga and writing retreats, we don’t just practice asana or mediation or pranayama, we also re-connect with our creative spirit. For many, this means connecting with a side of oneself that doesn’t get as much recognition as it once did. Relegated to nostalgia and childlike memories, creative immersion can sometimes be lowest on the list of self-care. However, the retreat is structured in such a way that creative immersion is really where the transformation happens. You’ll learn something new about yourself and how you move, in your body and in your mind. You’ll learn more techniques for self-care, stress-reduction and self-evaluation. If it really is true that what you think creates your life then you might find yourself opened up anew to how you’re creating your life, as you write down words you didn’t know were buried deep inside.
5/. You’ll make new friends.
Whether you’re coming on a retreat with some familiar peeps from your yoga studio, or you’re showing up alone not having met anyone, you’ll leave the week with new friends and better friends with those you knew. The retreat environment tends to be positive and healing and this kind of energy open us up to reveal ourselves and embrace others in ways we don’t always feel we can in our regular life. You are less guarded, you have time to linger in conversation, you have time to listen and ask questions. Others have time to hear you. You will leave after a week with a new appreciation for friendships and more connections to enrich your life.
6/. You get to see a special part of the world.
I’ve chosen unique and exotic locations that people might not feel comfortable going to on their own. It is for this reason that going on retreat is a great way to see, and experience, a unique part of the world with like-minded people. Colombia, India, Nicaragua…these aren’t high traffic tourist places but coming on one of these retreats now offers you a soft landing in these areas of the world that haven’t, historically, been on people’s holiday radar. And, for that alone – they’re so much cooler!
7/. You can see your life from a distance.
Try not to be overwhelmed by that statement because it’s a beautiful thing to be able to step out of your regular routine and re-evaluate what works and what doesn’t. Let’s face it, we all need to do this once in a while. A yoga retreat – a holiday with purpose – gives you time and space to actively evaluate what you’re doing with your life back home. For many, this is exactly what is needed to take the next steps. I can’t tell you how many notes I’ve received from my past participants detailing how things changed positively for them after the retreat and how they were able to get perspective and make fantastic changes or, appreciate what they already had.
8/. You’ll have fun.
This should probably be the number one reason to come on a yoga and writing retreat. It’s hilariously fun. We get together, move our bodies, meditate, relax, swim, hike, kayak, write, eat, talk and laugh. Spontaneity is so welcome on my retreats…the more expressive and weird, the better! You’ll laugh all week and contribute to group dynamic which is so healing.
9/. You’ll heal.
I don’t think you’re broken and I don’t think you need to be fixed but man…shit can happen in life and sometimes we just haven’t given ourselves the time to move through it. And I’m not just talking about trauma, it can just be regular stress; not getting the job you wanted or the job you have is soul sucking. Maybe you’re in a living situation that doesn’t suit your soul, maybe you’re going through an existential crisis and are trying to make your next move. Maybe you’ve experienced loss, betrayal or deep disappointment. These are experiences that no-one in this life has escaped and a yoga and writing retreat is a perfect environment to get a new perspective – which is what most healing is.
10/. You gift yourself something you deserve.
When was the last time you did that? And, that, my friends is the most profound reason there is!
I’ve got three more opportunities to join me on my signature yoga and writing retreats. Join us in Santa Marta, Colombia in July, Nicaragua in November or for the mothership retreat in India in January, 2016 where we’ll celebrate the first full moon of the year.