For me, a yoga retreat is an opportunity to dive deep into daily practice with qualified teachers who, like me, have a passion for yoga. We spend a lot of time breaking down everything from meditation, pranayama, asana, and philosophy. A space where you practice every day “intensily keen,” as the “father of yoga,” Indian sage Patanjali, used to say. A space where you can really notice changes in your practice. This can be a place right next door or far away. The retreats I attend 3-4 times a year last between 5-10 days.
Every retreat shakes up my day a little bit and I’m so grateful for it. Why? Because we so easily get caught up in our daily routine and at some point we even realize it, but don’t know how to get out of it. A retreat gives me a chance to step back from the daily grind: some fresh air and a new perspective. Personally, I would say that the longer the retreat, the more profound the “results/impacts”.
There is an aspect of solitude, self-study and reflection that I love. You allow yourself the time to be in nature, to practice, to eat well, to sleep well, and almost naturally, if unconsciously, you create space for transformation. This transformation permeates your practice and becomes part of who you are.
It is no coincidence when people say that their lives have changed after a retreat. If you allow changes to happen, they happen miraculously. After all, yoga is also transformation. And from my own experience I can tell you that this transformation goes on all the time. On a retreat you are just more aware of it. 😉
💫 Creating new healthy habits
I admit that the first few days at the retreat are challenging. You have to get used to a full day yoga practice that starts at 7:30am and ends at 8:30pm. Getting up, washed, dressed, and straight into meditation and pranayama practice for at least 2 hours without drinking the first coffee of the morning is a big challenge for me. Silence during the morning break is another challenge when you want to quickly share the experience you just had. 🤣
Focusing on my yoga practice and my studies is something that requires attention and discipline: How much do you allow your practice to become part of you? And for me personally, it’s definitely a MUST on retreat! Just accept and observe how it makes you feel. Don’t judge yourself! No should or should not!
And I guarantee you that you are not the only one struggling with this. Many of your colleagues feel the same way 😉. Especially those who practice yoga maybe twice a week for an hour, which fits perfectly between work and dinner. And most probably don’t give much thought to what yoga actually is. At a retreat, you step outside of your normal routine and allow yourself to switch off and reconnect. You want to create new healthy habits that you can incorporate into your daily life.
💫 Improvement of my own practice
This definitely has a big impact on my practice. Even though I am a dedicated practitioner, I can’t protect myself from getting caught up in my own practice routines. It is great to observe the practice of other teachers and participants. You watch closely how they move into a pose or to a breathing exercise. It reminds me with joy that yoga is an adventure, and at the retreat I feel deeply touched by this sense of exploring it in every way possible, not just mine.
💫 Connecting with like minded people
It’s great to meet people from all over the world who have the same passion as me. At my last retreat I met people from Israel, Denmark, Sweden and China. They become my community on retreat, and these connections often develop into lifelong friendships. We support each other on our yogic path in a wonderful way.
💫 What does it mean to re-treat?
For me personally, a yoga retreat means to withdraw and focus exclusively on the practice of yoga in its wholeness. It is a different perspective and approach for those seeking the truth. I disagree with yoga retreats that offer a yoga practice and additional group activities. I wonder, if one is seriously practicing yoga, how can one focus on anything other than one’s integrity towards one’s yoga practice?