Top 10 Reasons You Should Retreat!
In 2001, I went on my first yoga retreat. It was only a weekend in Connecticut, not a week in an exotic destination, but it changed me forever. It showed me that I could really relax, learn new things, deepen my yoga practice, but most of all experience a unique experience with like-people who were also there to find respite from the usual busyness and possibly some clarity on life. It was just weeks after 9/11 and everyone needed healing. Just 2 days on this retreat gave me so much and encouraged me to continue to seek out similar experiences. After becoming a yoga instructor myself, I started hosting my own retreats and even co-founded a retreat business www.onehundredskies.com. After 13 years now of retreating, I still highly recommend it to everyone!
Here are my top 10 reasons why one should retreat:
1. Time to Really Relax
Unlike a vacation that takes lots of planning and scheduling and then doing, a retreat is a trip in which all you do is sign-up and get yourself there. Your retreats hosts usually do everything else for you. Eat amazing and healthy meals without cooking or finding a restaurant, take classes, go on excursions already planned, or DO NOTHING. Everything is optional on one of our retreats. No one ever feels pressured to do more or see everything. It’s up to you. Time to relax comes easily on retreat as you unwind from the ongoing busyness of your regular life.
2. Have a Unique Experience
Retreats vary in what they offer but when a group of people get together for a retreat it always winds up being unique. Each teacher offers something special, each guest brings their unique self, and each destination offers something new. I have never been on two retreat that were the same, even though I held retreats in the same locations several years in a row. Each one offered a new way to experience life!
3. Get a New Perspective
Going away on a retreat can give you a new perspective on life. Discovering new ways to look at things can help you evaluate how you are showing up in life and inform your future decisions. Sometimes to help get through current challenges we are facing, we need to be in touch with our creativity. Often the answers we need come when we are immersed in something. Clarity flows when we give ourselves time to retreat.
4. Meet Like-Minded People
Moments that I feel most energized, inspired, and alive are when I am having conversations and spending time with like-minded people. Research shows that we all want to experience a sense of community and connection -- to have a group of like-minded people, who speak the same language, who support each other, share ideas and interests. Without a doubt, whether you go alone or with a friend, you will definitely meet like-minded people on a retreat and I’ve seen many people build lasting relationships from a chance meeting on a retreat.
5. Learn Something New
On retreat, teachers have the opportunity to share more of what they love and what they know. It is a great opportunity to learn to meditate, learn more about yoga philosophy, art, cooking, nature, the list is endless.
6. Deepen Your Practice
If you already have a yoga or meditation practice, being on retreat is a great way to immerse yourself in the teachings. To refine and align your practice and to explore new ways of practicing. With the extra time and attention from your teacher, you can learn a lot in a short amount of time which will also have profound benefits to your mind, body, and spirit.
7. Commit to Healthy Living
Going on a retreat is a perfect place to commit to eating healthy, getting good sleep, practicing yoga daily. Once you get a dose of good ‘ol healthy living, you may be inspired to take it back home with you and incorporate what made you feel good into your daily life!
8. Get Inspired
The word Inspire literally means “to breathe into”. On retreat you can breathe life into your life. Inspiration can happen at any time but it usually doesn’t happen when you are moving through your days on auto-pilot, doing the same things over and over. Inspiration can be sparked from a change of landscape or trying something new.
We’re all creative. Creativity and inspiration happen when you take the time away from your day job to remember your day dream.
9. Take a Digital Detox
Anne Lamott said “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” Not only work again but will work better! Technology has a profound effect on our ability to focus, relax, and actually experience life. Life, at its best, is happening right in front of you and most of the time we are missing it. According to the research group Dscout, the average person touches their phones around 2,617 times a day, 2.5 hours per day, while heavier users up to 4 hours per day! On retreat you will take a much needed break from screens so you can experience life, just as it is.
10. Reconnect with Nature
Reconnecting with nature has so many benefits. Numerous studies in the U.S. and around the world are exploring the health benefits of spending time outside in nature, green spaces, and, specifically, forests. Being in green spaces boosts our mood and immunity, reduces stress, helps with focus, and improves healing. Immediately when I moved to the Berkshire Mountains in Western Mass. last Spring, I felt a change in my being as a result of living in a more rural area and surrounded by natures beauty.