It’s an amazing way to relax. Yoga retreats are usually held in beautiful surroundings and offer a variety of programs, classes, and extras that are designed to enhance your yoga practice, rejuvenate your body, and relax your mind. In our busy, modern world where we are expected to be always connected, always rushing and always achieving, a yoga retreat can be a perfect way to escape into a world of movement and mental and physical health.
There are a lot of things you can expect from a yoga retreat and some of the descriptions online can make it sound either intimidating or scary. But the most important thing to remember about yoga retreats is that it’s your experience.
The ideal yoga retreat is one that meets your needs and wants, with activities and pastimes that are the right mix of challenging and relaxing for you and your body. Donna Farhi, a famous yoga teacher stated, “The asanas are useful maps to explore yourself, but they are not the territory.”
The old idea of yoga retreats as ashrams high in the mountains, barely accessible, and full of people eating dry bread and looking for enlightenment has been phased out lately; though, you can still find this type of retreat if you want. However, most retreats today are designed specifically for the modern yoga enthusiast.
Yoga retreats can be found all over the world in beautiful natural surroundings such as Costa Rica, Thailand, and Mexico, as well as closer to home. They offer shorter, sometimes week-long programs, with yoga classes for all levels as well as classes on nutrition, meditation, and personal development. Some offer hours of intensive yoga sessions, while others take a more casual and relaxed approach to the practice.
Many retreats these days are like expensive hotels, with spacious and luxurious rooms and five star, nutritionally balanced foods. The most important thing to remember is that your retreat can be whatever you want it to be, so make your choice in accordance with your own needs.
Although the new surroundings are a welcome change, some of the stereotypes about yoga retreats still apply. Owners of these retreats still request that participants go ‘off the grid’ at least for part of the retreat. This digital detox is seen as an essential part of the process of healing and rejuvenation; although they are obviously not going to throw people out if they need to stay in contact with people back home. However, disconnecting from the rush and noise of the digital world is part of the reason people go to yoga retreats today, so the preference makes a lot of sense.
Another thing that has not changed is the emphasis on personal connection. This is perhaps the most important part of the yoga retreat, the concentration on an individual’s connection with themselves and with the people around them. While on a yoga retreat, you are surrounded with like-minded people with nothing to distract you from making deeper connections based on shared values and the lessons learned through the program.
This is why people who attend yoga retreats claim that the chance to make new friends from all different walks of life and even countries is one of the most rewarding and lasting benefits of the experience. A quote from Ghandi that is often used in yoga classes that expresses this perfectly is, “I offer you peace. I offer you love. I offer you friendship. I see your beauty. I hear your need. I feel your feelings. My wisdom flows from the Highest Source. I salute that Source in you. Let us work together for unity and love.” This is what a yoga retreat can offer to everyone who walks through its doors.
Your yoga retreat can be anything you want it to be. It can be an intensive experience where you push your body and cleanse your system and mind of all the toxins from everyday life or it can be a relaxing, healing holiday in lovely surroundings. Whatever you dream of for your retreat, you can find. That is really what you can expect from your yoga retreat.