Retreat (noun) /rɪˈtriːt/
'A quiet or secluded place in which one can rest and relax.'
The concept of going on a retreat is as old as faith itself. For thousands of years, people from all walks of life and spiritual practices have used retreats as a means of withdrawing from the world and devoting time to prayer, meditation and relaxation. Even the word ashram, in Sanskrit means ‘to not toil’; embodying the idea of focussing one’s energy on personal and spiritual development, rather than exhausting physical labour.
In today’s increasingly hectic world, the benefits of going on a retreat as opposed to a more traditional choice of holiday are in abundance. Yoga in particular lends itself to this setting: offering a wonderfully holistic opportunity to reset, reconnect and re-centre the body, mind and spirit - away from the stresses and pressures of everyday life.
Whether you are an experienced yogi, or have yet to attend your first class, there will be a retreat for you. Here are five reasons to go on one:
There are few opportunities in western culture to really shut off from the noise of everyday life and enjoy total immersion in an experience. A good yoga retreat offers just this. From the moment you wake up in the morning, to the moment you close your eyes at night – you have the choice to completely immerse yourself in all that the retreat has to offer. Nothing allows for living in the moment quite like this.
Personal development through yoga comes in many forms. Be it the sense of achievement in perfecting an asana that has challenged you for so long; that moment of release when you finally let go in Savasana, or the warm sense of clarity and calm that comes from deep meditation. Even just being in a retreat environment encourages a constant level of self-awareness that will take you on a journey and open you up to new aspects of yourself you didn’t know you had.
Being Looked After
Though every retreat will differ in its level of ‘hands on’ support, the very nature of these holidays is to give guests a break from the hassle of mundane chores so they can focus their energy on themselves. From the daily classes, to the wholesome food and array of pampering treatments – a yoga retreat will free you from responsibility and nourish you from the inside out.
Yoga retreats are renowned for their incredible locations – often sun drenched and isolated, away from the hustle and bustle of civilisation. With so many now dotted all over the world, you can literally make a wish list of the surroundings you would like to be in, and find a yoga retreat that fits. Sunflower Retreats, for example, has the beautiful hilltop village of Casperia; the sun, sea and sand of Sperlonga; or the exotic paradise of Costa Rica.
Relax, Reset and Reconnect
Yoga retreats are lifestyle holidays. They are created specifically to give guests the right formula to really switch off and relax, before then learning to reconnect with themselves. The combination of all the above points – the full immersion, the personal development, the location and the pampering – is a unique and valuable means of really getting to know yourself, without the constant distractions of work and home life.