If your new year’s resolution included health, happiness and positive lifestyle, then making time for a yoga retreat is the best gift you can give yourself. Sometimes we need distance, to see our lives in a new light, to gain perspective on our experiences and choices, to heal, to grow, to be fresh. Life is not a dress rehearsal, so inhabit your best body and enjoy your best self.
Here are ten reasons to book a yoga retreat this year.
Yoga retreats almost always take place in gorgeous locations. This is not a coincidence. The beauty and energy of these places inspire and charge us. Two of my favourite yoga retreats are Thailand and Sri Lanka, surrounded by waves and forests, sun and beach!
Sometimes we need a break from the hectic pace of life. Taking a break gives us a chance to reflect on what we love best, so we can recalibrate our schedules and return with new vigour.
Slowing down to be mindful, to reflect on the past and visualise the future, is healthy.
A retreat allows you a chance to detox from the habits that are part of your everyday life. This may mean taking a break from alcohol, cigarettes, or maybe media and technology, if you are an information junky. Retreats give you a chance to rest and relax and come back feeling renewed.
Connecting to nature is good for the soul. This might be climbing to the top of a mountain where the air is pure and clean, surfing in an ocean amidst the waves and sun, taking a deep hike in a forest cuddled in by trees.
4. MORE TIME WITH INSTRUCTORS
One of the best benefits of a yoga retreat is having access to inspirational yoga teachers who can help you deepen your practice. I like to practice with teachers from different traditions as they each bring something new into my life.
5. MEDITATION + DE-STRESS
Retreats are generally a good place to enjoy meditation. Meditation is known to be the best exercise to combat stress. Meditation gives us clarity and helps us to forgive and to heal. Sometimes it’s difficult to make decisions when we are too close to the situation. Meditating on retreat can give you the benefit of time and space to help you re-evaluate.
6. EAT WELL
The retreats that I go on offer fresh, organic, locally sourced, delicious vegetarian food that leave me feeling healthy and balanced. Every meal is a delight for the eyes and the belly. Feasting and losing weight, sounds ideal? It can happen, and be enjoyable too!
Health is wealth. I love going on vacation and coming back stronger, fitter, healthier.
Sometimes stepping outside our comfort zones, moving away from our friends and family, disrupting our routine, gives us a chance to just be, without the trappings of patterns and expectations that may have set in, so we can connect to who we truly are. This may be what it takes to look at our lives from a distance, to identify habits that do not serve us, to redesign how we want to exist. Make time to connect with your true self and discover what it is that you love to do. This can bring about profound changes in your life.
9. MEET NEW PEOPLE
It’s not just fun to meet people from other parts of the world, its critical to cultivate an open-minded and broad perspective of reality. New people can offer us new types of relationships and new insight into ourselves. Deep connections can form when we meet people in a safe environment with a common interest. You can expect some laughs and some lasting friendships.
10. SAFE SOLO TRAVEL
We might dream about exploring the world but feel frightened of going entirely alone. A retreat is a great opportunity to travel alone within a safe community.
Retreats give us an opportunity to explore unknown places and unknown parts of ourselves. They allow us to dip into novel experiences, shake up old paradigms, and re-evaluate our choices.
If you do one thing for yourself this year, be sure to book a yoga retreat.
Photo courtesy: Shazia Omar