Retreat. It often has a negative connotation: an escape, running away, those who are not “strong enough” do not continue on.
In our society of go-go-go, we may wear our packed schedules and tired bodies as badges of honor. We believe we are so valued, so important, that we need to be in constant contact, barely allowing ourselves a moment of true rest.
But a few weeks back, I went on a yoga retreat to Nicaragua.
Now I can see if you’re reading this, and have a 9 to 5 (which as we all know is never really just 9 to 5), then you might be rolling your eyes asking if a yoga teacher really needs a retreat to recharge. I know that back in the day when I worked my corporate job I might have thought that. I wanted to go on it because I had never been on one before, I was curious about a retreat, and as I continue to build my yoga career, I may like to lead one in the future, so I needed to see one in action.
I had no idea what to expect. About any of it – the retreat, or even Nicaragua. Rarely do I travel where I am not making the arrangements, so I research, plan, prepare. For Nicaragua, I didn’t do any of that – someone choose the accommodations, and arranged transportation and the excursion, so I didn’t have to think about or plan anything. When we arrived, as we drove the 2.5 hours from Managua to our “resort” I was totally unaware that there was a famous volcano and lake in Nicaragua, but we passed it, so I did “see” it. The lack of planning alone already made this a vacation for me.
So how did a type-A, planning yoga teacher do on a retreat. Well you would have to ask those who traveled with me, but I think I was able to settle in to not being in charge, to letting someone else plan, to not having all moments of my day filled with teaching, class planning, or some other activity (definitely not running… more on that in a future post). This was all certainly a positive benefit from the retreat. Learning to surf, a double bonus. But something else this retreat got me, was a chance to have a yoga practice totally for me, again. Yes, I still had a thought or two about wanting to remember a sequence or transition that I could add to my classes, but for the most part I showed up on my mat for me. It’s been awhile since I could just practice with abandon. I was able to reconnect with the part of me that practiced yoga for years before it became my career.
I didn’t write as much as I hoped I would, but I did read a lot – and learned to surf (this was huge for me because I have always felt there is a surf girl trapped inside this body, but never made myself available to the opportunity to even try), and maybe learned to relax a little more. And I can say with absolute confidence that whether it’s a retreat or full on vacation – you need to do it for you. It’s beyond the idea of self-care, although it certainly is self-care, but also self-renewal and even self-discovery. Recharging in a place where there is a beach, and 80+ degree weather, bonus!
— Do you have any retreat travel plans in the near future? Where are you off to?