Even if you practice yoga regularly, a yoga retreat may not be the first thing you think of when you’re planning a vacation. Simply getting away and spending time in a new place can shift our perspective and lift our spirits — so why a yoga retreat?
By choosing to take a yoga retreat , you make a powerful commitment to yourself. You carve out time to look inward, to listen to and honor your inner voice — which can sometimes be hard to hear in the noise of daily life. You can also take the retreat with you once it ends, in the form of new friends and valuable tools for managing life’s stresses and challenges.
Still wondering if a yoga retreat is the right choice for you? Here are six signs that it could be just what you need.
1. You feel disconnected from yourself.
It’s easy to get caught up in things that aren’t entirely in our control or that don’t bring us true happiness. It might be work politics, an unhealthy relationship, or even how we look to others in our Facebook posts. Even when we know that these things aren’t good for us, we still can get pulled back, as if by gravity. A yoga retreat gives you time and space to take a step back. You tune into your self and rediscover your inner strength and what nourishes your spirit. Cultivating this sense of centeredness gives you a clearer perspective, helping you live life in a way that is authentic to you.
2. You feel depleted.
It can be easy to go through our days feeling as though we’re constantly checking things off a to-do list. The irony is that sometimes, the more we do, the longer the list seems to get. If we don’t take time out to rest and care for ourselves, we can end up feeling drained or empty. Once this happens, we may start to become resentful or short-tempered toward the people around us.
A yoga retreat can be a wonderful reset, allowing us to relax, reconnect with ourselves, and feel truly cared for. Food, accommodations and activities are often arranged for you, so that there’s little of the stress that can come with other types of vacations. Taking this time for yourself can also kick-start better self-care habits that you can bring back home.
3. You crave meaningful connection.
The people we surround ourselves with have an enormous impact on who we are and the decisions we make. Making room for people who light us up — who help us nurture the qualities we want to strengthen within ourselves — can give us the encouragement we need to stay true to our path and to get back on track when we stray. Yoga retreats are a terrific opportunity to meet likeminded people with goals that are similar to ours. This is one of the things I enjoy most about leading retreats — the chance to connect with and learn from people from all over the world. The friendships made at a yoga retreat can last a lifetime, and they can be a tremendous source of support and encouragement.
4. You’re contemplating a big decision or a change.
Many of us have been in a place where we’re yearning for change, but aren’t sure exactly what that is or the path that we need to follow. Without a guiding light to show the way forward, it can be easy to stay in limbo. The practice of yoga helps us cultivate our intuition, so that we gain clarity — essentially making us our own guiding lights. The more you practice — the more you’re willing to give yourself over to your breath, to soften, and to trust — the more confident you’ll feel in your decisions, and the more doors will open along a path that is authentic to you.
5. Your health is starting to suffer.
Research estimates that 75-90 percent of doctor visits are related to stress. Headaches, insomnia, digestion trouble, depression and anxiety are just some of the health problems that stress contributes to. When we’re stressed, we’re also more likely to make poor nutrition or lifestyle choices, which creates a vicious cycle. A yoga retreat can provide a powerful set of tools to help break the cycle. Taking time out and eating healthy, nourishing food can set the tone for managing stress back home.
6. You want to deepen your yoga practice.
Of course, a yoga retreat is a terrific opportunity to enhance and deepen your practice, while in a beautiful surrounding. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been practicing for 30 days or 30 years — you’ll have the chance to gently explore the limits of your body and to expand your mind. You will become stronger and more flexible, but just as importantly, you’ll practice aligning the body and the breath. You’ll learn to surrender into the breath and create more space in your body, which can help your mind become more spacious and open. Through your practice, you will become more receptive to the beauty in your life and the world around you.
Want to learn more about our yoga retreats? Read about our upcoming retreat in beautiful northern Iceland in September 2016.