6 Things I've Learned From Yoga Retreats
Before I left to run my seventh yoga retreat, I had a clear intention; I wanted to inspire and help everyone there to live the best 2019 they possibly could. It might sound cheesy, but it's true.
Amongst others, I asked everyone - How do you want to feel in 2019? What promise are you going to make to yourself for 2019? What activities do you want to do in 2019?
2019 is almost upon us! Are you ready? Are you happy to see this year go or not? Either way the new year is on its way. This is the perfect time to reflect on your 2018 and then look forward towards 2019 and consider how you can create the best year.
So let's look onwards, let’s let go of distractions and the oh-I-would-love-to-but's and ask yourself those three same questions I asked.
Then ask yourself:-
Are you wanting to commit to a yoga practice?
Is your promise to take better care of yourself?
Would you like to feel healthier?
Maybe you want to feel more settled and calmer?
You may wish to feel full of energy and life in 2019!
Do you want to put yourself first for a bit and switch off while you have fun too?
Hands on Harmony Yoga retreats are a wonderful place to focus on yoga; to learn ways to be healthier in body, mind and spirit; to take time out for you and they are specifically designed to furnish you with everything you need for complete joy and revitalisation.
Everyone and every body is welcome into our relaxing atmosphere, whether you’re looking to unwind, gain energy, connect with kindred spirits, start your new year perfectly or just create some time for you.
Here are 6 things I've learned from running yoga retreats:-
1. Choosing Your Retreat
Every time we start a retreat we ask people why they have chosen to come on that retreat. What made them decide to attend that retreat at that venue?
The answers can vary. Some come to spend time with a friend and others come to meet like minded people. Sometimes it's more planned than that. Some attendees want to expand their knowledge of yoga or get back into a lost practice and some want to give yoga a whirl in a safe environment. For others its a time for self-care, to treat themselves to rest and relaxation. For most it's to experience a sense of nurturing, being immersed and uplifted in peaceful yet energetic surroundings.
So ask yourself why do you want to come on a yoga retreat? What is your connection to it? Then let your heart guide you.
2. Leave The Guilt Behind
You know that backpack of guilt that you carry around with you? Leave it at home. Seriously. We can only give what we have and we can’t pour from an empty cup so give yourself a pat on the back for making the decision to take time for you, to look after yourself so that you can be a better person when you get back home. You, your loved ones and friends will thank you for it.
3. Do Right By Yourself On Retreat
This flows on from the last point. We get so used to being there for everyone else that we can forget ourselves. When you're on retreat be there for yourself.
There are blocks of free time – not a few minutes snatched here and there, but blocks of hours. How often do you have that amount of free time to do what you want?
One thing I always try and emphasis on retreat is for everyone to listen to their body and just attend the workshops that they want to and feel unquestionably no pressure to do everything. I have no expectation of attendees and there is absolutely no judgment whatsoever.
You can get up for early morning yoga – or not. You can get a treatment – or not. You can sit around and chat in the evening – or not. You can get a cup of tea or some fruit whenever you like. You even take a nap whenever you like!! Just make sure you're doing right by yourself.
4. Keep The Mind Open
If you have made the decision to come on retreat then you will most likely have come with predisposed ideas. We all do! It's natural. You may feel a bit apprehensive or worried but I will do everything I can to make you feel at ease and at home. The retreats I run are suitable for all bodies, all abilities and ages. Relax and open your heart and mind. I will help with any queries as much as I possibly can.
5. Be Fully There
This can be challenging if you’ve got a lot going on at home. We rely heavily on our phones these days and it can be tough not to look at it. If possible, try and leave it in your bedroom as often as you can. The retreat weekends are a time of reflection, meditation and deep yoga practice and there is a considerable benefit to ensuring our minds are not filled with unnecessary bits and bobs.
If you find yourself on a yoga retreat you will have invested to be there, so give the practice, the conversations, the food and the place your full attention to enjoy every moment.
6. Tune Into Your Mind
On retreats we spend some time in meditation. Meditation provides you with space to reflect and feel into everything so much deeper. The mind can be unruly and it can create wandering thoughts, which can create negative feelings. When we realise that we are in control of the mind and that we have the power to change our thoughts, we can also feel so much stronger emotionally. It’s a strong tool to be able to control your own mind. It's not a skill that is perfected overnight, but much like anything, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Once you control your thoughts you realise that you can do anything you set your mind to.
So what is it in your life that needs re-assessing? What are you choosing to put first in 2019? Start living in accordance with what is most important to you. This doesn’t mean that you are being selfish or forgetful. We can only give what we have and we can’t pour from an empty cup, so what would you like to fill it up with this New Year?
For more information please visit www.handsonharmony.co.uk
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by Jenny Dowling - Jenny is passionate about yoga and yoga health. Her love of yoga began at the age of 11 when she was introduced to it by her mother. When Jenny isn't teaching or recording classes for her online yoga members, she is busy looking after her little family (daughter, fiancé and Finnish Lapphund), walking in the nearby moorland or trying out new delicious Ayurvedic and vegan recipes. Connect with Jenny on Facebook or Instagram.