Nowadays, yoga retreats are truly a dime a dozen. In every beautiful corner of the world, for every stage of life and every style of movement, yoga retreats are as diverse as we are. If there's anywhere in the world you want to travel, you can almost surely find a yoga retreat there. Yet retreats themselves are certainly not a new fad. Many cultures and spiritual traditions have valued seasonal retreats for hundreds of years as a way to cultivate a deeper sense of devotion.
What is it about taking a full day (or multiple days) toward a specific focus that can be so transformational?
As I touched on in my recent online mini-series, "Take a Break," one of the main benefits of time off, a vacation or a retreat is that we're stepping outside of our routine. Doing something new is a fairly effortless way to experience an immediate sense of renewal. Our brains, bodies and minds slip into ruts that can carry us away if we're not paying attention.
So even if you practice yoga, meditation, prayer or devotion regularly, you may eventually come to a point where you feel stuck or stagnant in your practice. And you will not uncover new zest until you do something completely new.
The word retreat in a physical sense means to withdraw or to get away. Spiritually, it means the same thing, but we're not using a retreat as a way to escape reality, but to practice withdrawing from the constant pull of our attention, our senses and our minds. For a period of time that is longer than a few hours, we immerse ourselves with that intention and self-control.
Did you know that only 5% of our behaviors are actually driven by self-discipline and conscious thought? The other 95% of our existence is subconscious. Sit with that for a minute. Most of our days, we function as hamsters in a wheel of ignorance, thinking most of the same thoughts we had yesterday. Withdrawing from those habits can help us to break the cycles that bind us and transition toward a renewed sense of purpose.
Yogis teach that a retreat need not be complicated. It can be practiced alone, in a corner of your house, in the forest or at the ocean. But we are not meant to process and carry all of our burdens alone. Having the support of others who are willing and open-hearted, all going through the same yet different journey is deeply empowering and inspirational.
During a small group retreat, we spend time listening, knowing, seeing, and lifting one another up.
So what can a retreat really do for you? The answer lies in your willingness...but I believe that the real power comes from holding space for one another. As a yoga sharer, I am creating a peaceful opportunity for you to simply go inward and explore. Practicing connecting instead of just communicating. Being instead of doing. Feeling instead of thinking.
If you're feeling the need to draw inward or are interested in a yoga retreat, I would love to have you join my upcoming weekend immersion. This retreat is for the burnt-out, over-achievers who don't have time to rest. Make the choice for self-care while you still have a choice.