5 Reasons To Go On A Yoga Retreat

Seeking Stillness Seeking Stillness

You may be a seasoned retreater or a yoga retreat may be something you’ve dreamed of doing but have never quite had the courage to book yourself a space, YET. 

There’s nothing quite as magical as time spent away on retreat. A chance to completely unwind, to shed all those responsibilities and to be energetically held within the nourishing bubble of time spent away from everything, whilst diving deeper into your yoga practice. 

I have been successfully running yoga retreats abroad and in the UK since 2018 and they are honestly the highlight of my year. The anticipation, the excitement and the fulfilment they offer is unsurpassed – it is an absolute joy to facilitate these events.

Here’s my take on some of the highlights of retreating based on the countless positive feedback I have received. I urge you to get yourself booked on one now, as you will not regret it. 

1. EXPLORE YOUR YOGA PRACTICE

While away on retreat, whether that be a weekend or a week, dedicated time spent on explorative yoga practices while alongside other like-minded individuals is an ideal opportunity to deepen and improve your yoga practice, completely immersing yourself within its absorbing and nourishing energy. There’s nothing quite the same as dropping into this deeper level of practice and allowing it to suffuse into your very bones. 

There are a number of reasons for choosing a particular retreat, one of which may be a particular focus for the stay. You can find retreats that specifically look to deepen areas of your yoga practice such as mindfulness or meditation, or perhaps are a journey towards a particular pose such as Handstands. When deciding to go on these types of retreat, ensure you know your instructor well or that they come well recommended, and have faith that they can guide you on this journey. Do remember, there is never a final end goal – yoga has no finish point; it will continue to evolve as you grow, improve and deepen your practice. A retreat is the perfect opportunity to do just that. 

Besides, Yoga is so much more than whether you’re able to nail a perfect Pincha Mayurasana after a week’s intensive and whilst that may be a very reasonable practice goal for you, please don’t be disappointed if you’ve not quite reached this target by the end of your stay.

Quite often, I take groups away on retreat who have very different interests, abilities and preferences. You never know who you might have sign up! Before we depart I gather information on preferences, strengths and areas they particularly wish to work on. Often this will inform how I structure classes and/or the retreat as a whole so that everyone’s needs are met. Keeping it general means that I can adapt my classes according to everyone’s mood and energy – I want my participants to feel safe, held, energised, heard and above all nourished.

2. MEET AND MAKE LIKE-MINDED FRIENDS

You may decide to come on retreat with your bestie, or a family member. This is perfect as the majority of retreat venues offer shared room accommodation, so if you know someone that will make room arrangements much easier to organise. If you’re travelling solo, do expect to share a room unless you’ve paid for a single-room supplement. The advantage of this is that you will likely buddy-up with your room-mate and friendship often blossoms. In fact, by the end of my week-long retreats away, everyone knows each other so well that many long-term friendships have been born. It’s really quite special. Not only are you exploring your yoga practices together, but also a new culture, city or country. Making memories is food for the soul.

Personally, I love to travel solo and have been doing so for years. The beauty of booking a retreat for yourself by yourself is that you can very much continue with your solo adventure, whilst in the security of being within a group setting. In my pre-retreat guest guidance, I remind everyone that they don’t have to get involved in every group activity going and that they have the freedom to say no, to spend time on their own, if that’s what they feel they need. 

Sometimes there’s nothing better than curling up with a good book, or going off to a walk on my own. As a busy mum of 3, I need that solitary time and that’s why I book these kind of stays for myself. But I also love to be around vibrant people, learning about their histories and personalities, and plenty of my retreat guests love the idea that they can form part of a group, make new friends and share the experience of yoga, travel and adventure – it is such a fantastic opportunity. 

3. EXPLORE NEW PLACES

When I first started planning my retreat offerings, I knew that adventure was what I was looking for. I wanted to see more of the world. So far, I have offered retreats in Morocco, Sri Lanka and soon, Greece. These retreats are not just a chance to practice yoga daily; they are an opportunity to explore new places, learn about a different culture and eat superb local cuisine. I actively encourage my guests to get out and about, take excursions, go on hikes, see local monuments. We are there to support the local tourist industry after all and goodness knows, after the past few years, these communities certainly need all the help they can get. 

As well as surf lessons which is an integral part of the trip, while we are in Morocco, we visit a local Argan Oil factory which is run by a women’s cooperative, where we are shown around the garden and taught about the wonderful plants and how they are harvested, before sampling the organic products for ourselves. I get to stock up on the gorgeous rose scented facial oil I use in my cosmetic facial acupuncture treatments back home too. We also get to demonstrate our haggling skills in the local Souk market and honestly, it’s the best fun. It’s a good idea to leave room in your case for shopping – one year I came home with a beautiful hand-woven blanket; it covers my 3-seater sofa!

In Morocco we stay in a small fishing village – there’s winding streets and colourfully painted buildings.

In Sri Lanka, there’s whale-watching, Buddhist temples, safari parks and tea plantations, as well as a wealth of history and culture to whet your appetite. And the best thing is that you can do as much or as little of it as you like. There’s always time to chill on a sun lounger if that’s your thing too and the beach is stunning with crystal clear warm water, surfing and coconut juice freshly prepared while you wait.

4. RELAXATION & PEACE OF MIND

The yoga schedule on retreat is quite simple – I like to offer an early morning meditation followed by vinyasa flow practice before breakfast and then an early evening slow, Yin-style practice before dinner. What happens in between is entirely up to you and you can do as much or as little as you wish.

For those who like to keep active, there’s plenty to do. For example, in Morocco we schedule two days of surf lessons with fully-qualified instructors. We take excursions and go explore. There’s the opportunity to visit the beauty salon and take a massage. We have a movie night and a BBQ party. 

In Sri Lanka, my personal highlight is visiting my friend Patham in his little beach hut for quite simply the best holistic massage in the world. Imagine being immersed in total relaxation and listening to the sound of the waves as you lie literally meters from the shore. It’s worth the trip just for that. 

If a complete escape and total seclusion is what you’re after, then my luxury retreat to Greece is the destination for you. Here we are situated on the island of Lefkada, high in the southern hills overlooking the most glorious panoramic views of the sea and the surrounding islands. Of course there’s plenty to do in the local area, but if tranquility, peacefulness and space is what you require, then this is your retreat. Here we are held in the soothing energies of Ourania and her amazing food, all vegetarian or vegan. Jason, her son, makes sure our stay runs smoothly and it is their passion and dedication that makes this retreat exceptional. This allows us to totally relax and completely unwind.

All in all, taking it easy, practicing yoga and then spending time doing not much else is what’s on your agenda, then that’s exactly what you need to do and make no apologies for it. You must take what you need from your retreat and I am here to facilitate that as best that I can.

4. CONNECT WITH NATURE

There’s nothing quite like waking up to the sound of the ocean. So far, my retreats have all been beach-side and I make no apologies for that. I love to be by the sea. Often, I’ll get up before sunrise to watch the fishermen returning with their catch, to breathe in the salty sea air and go for a swim or a walk along the beach. It’s magical. It feeds my soul and that of my guests. 

In Sri Lanka, our yoga shala is surrounded by tall trees in which the monkeys play as they watch us practice. They are quite cheeky, chatty animals, especially the little babies which cling to their mother’s body. They watch us and we watch them – its lots of fun. At night time, once the monkeys have gone to bed, the trees are full of fireflies.

I wasn’t prepared for how stunning this sight was. It gets very dark quite early in Sri Lanka and when the stars come out with the little light pollution that there is, the nighttime is perfect for sitting near the ocean and taking time to breathe it all in. Mostly it is the simple things that bring the most pleasure.

And so there you have it.

A selection of reasons among many to take a yoga retreat. It is a magical experience and one not to be missed. If you would like more details about the retreats that I offer, visit here or send me an email here to enquire about spaces on forthcoming trips. I can’t wait to retreat with you.

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