A yoga retreat is a unique experience which supports us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. While there are many benefits to yoga retreats, the following five reasons are what keeps me creating these sacred spaces for students:
1. Shift your perspectives
When you physically travel to new locations (even if it is only hours away!) you step out of your comfort zone. Exploring unfamiliar or foreign places encourages you to see the world through fresh eyes and in order to adapt you will need to learn from the people and cultures around you through receptivity, humility and compassion.
2. Improve your Health
Retreats are designed to aid you with a healthy routine to purify you from the stressors of modern day life. Think deep sleep and cat naps, sunshine and nature, a wholesome fresh plant based diet, daily movement and meditation, and a loving community...all of these aspects are intentional ways a retreat supports the body, mind and heart for ultimate well-being. In this supportive atmosphere, unhealthy patterns/habits often surface and are recognized, as opposed to ignored and suppressed.
The space for rest encourages reflection and awareness, which then opens up the doors for transformation. With awareness comes the desire and responsibility to make necessary shifts...
3. Build community from the Heart
Community or a tribe from the heart 'kula' is one of the most important and beautiful aspects of any retreat! Retreats encourage everyone to come together with a collective intention and hold space for the group to experience something unique together, under new circumstances. Even if you go on retreat with a friend or partner, you can expect to dive deeper into your relationship as it will evolve.
Retreats create a neutral, loving and supportive environment which encourages you to meet one another from a place of authenticity and with an open mind/heart. While you will spend plenty of time alone, you will also find that the community forms quite quickly when you meet from a place of presence. Think fun adventures to nearby hidden beaches, candlelit dinners without technology, and many inspiring hours spent in practice together on the mat.
Often these authentic connections become long lasting relationships and continue to inspire you long after you've returned home.
4. Deepen your Yoga Practice
Retreats immerse you into the yoga practices, both on and off the mat.
On the mat, practicing for an extended period of time with the same teacher(s) allows them to get to know your body/mind to give you more personalized modifications, adjustments or therapeutic advice to practice more safely and with depth.
Any integrated retreat will encompass asana (poses), pranayama (breathing techniques), meditation (guided, journaling, reflective work) and workshops (philosophy, holistic health, creativity, etc.) and set a theme or intention for the retreat which is delivered in a progressive and intelligent manner to guide you further into the experience of yoga. The teacher(s) are prepared to take you on a deep journey and are passionate about supporting students in this unique way.
Off the mat, living daily yoga through a healthy routine in alignment with nature (deep sleep and a technology detox!), clean meals and learning alongside community and adapting to a new routine/rhythm are all powerful ways to deepen your experience of yoga.
5. Align with your highest Self
Time away from daily roles and responsibilities drops you deep into your heart. When you live from the heart you live from a place of truth - you begin to notice what's important to you and reflect on what ignites your spirit and brings joy. When you take a 'time out' from life, you give yourself permission and space to fully let go and relax, play and return to your most creative, wild state. Your wild state is your heart's wisdom or intuition. It's the place within you that feels guided and at one with nature. It is the place that knows exactly what you need to do in order to fulfill your most happy, healthy life. Retreats help you to get clear on the shifts you need to make in order to live from a place of alignment with your purpose, passions and path.
LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here