On a yoga retreat, we step away from daily life. We have the time to pause, to listen and to become deeply aware of ourselves. By doing less and having the support we need, we can re-discover ourselves and start manifesting.
There are also certain realisations that will pop up but that nobody tells you about…
Let’s have a look at what you will realise on your yoga retreat.
Instant bliss is a joke.
Most people do not live in a monastery, on a mountaintop or somewhere high up in the jungle. Instead, most people engage in pretty stressful lives. With stressful environments, obligations, partners, jobs, kids, family situations, friends, clients, patients, customers and so on.
And then one day, you decide to go on a yoga retreat, travel half across the globe, spend a fortune and expect instant bliss. To expect this of yourself, and the surroundings is quite a violent thing to do.
Your mind could still be on the crazy treadmill of life, your adrenaline levels could still be sky high and you might still be thinking of all the practical things that could go wrong in your absence.
So, we need to build a foundation first. Before we can even think about bliss or developing some kind of emotional stability, we first need to learn how to relax. That’s why, on the first days of my yoga retreats, we take the time to relax and to settle in.
Gentle morning classes to distract the mind and to stress and stretch the muscles. Massages to slow the body down. A silence day early on in the week to use the stillness and exclude social chatter for a day.
There is no point in engaging in a vigorous vinyasa flow classes if the body is still stiff and tensed. If the shoulders, the back, abdomen and hips are still tight from all the stress.
We are not lying on our backs for two hours and for sure there will be some sweating involved but in a very gentle way. We get the body moving and you might suffer a tiny bit but you also start listening very carefully to your body. And have full focus on creating mental and physical relaxation.
We take the time in order for the tightness to unravel and the bliss to kick in.
There is time to soften and to heal as we work on untying the knots in body, and mind.
“You are a spiritual being having a human experience.”
Most of us have heard these words from the French philosopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and when we sit with this statement for a while, it becomes more clear.
However, on a yoga retreat, this phrase can really start resonating as there is time to be still. And, it is in this stillness, that we can reconnect with the knowledge that we already have.
It is about knowing that we are the creators of our own reality instead of feeling ourselves to be victims.
A gentle way to become more aware of our reality is to come into the body more.
By having a physical practise on a yoga retreat, we re-connect with our deeper layers, going beyond our daily thoughts.
Especially in yin yoga classes, we have the opportunity to go within as in these lessons, the poses are slow and static and they might be held two to ten minutes.
Yin yoga is using the poses to get to know your whole body. Rather than using your body to do the poses.
You are a neurotic freak!
Awesome! Aren’t you happy we got that one out in the open?
It’s true though. At a certain point during a yoga retreat week, you will start to relax the mind enough so that you can start observing what goes on in there … Observing that constant stream of thoughts. Realising that it is a total chaos in your mind.
Being fascinated that you are super ‘smart’ too as you can produce thoughts in between your counts of the breaths! Or in between your inhaling ‘so’ and exhaling ‘ham’ (for more information on meditation, check out these posts).
It will be crystal clear to you that you are in fact a neurotic freak, going back and forth between desires and cravings, memories and the future, dreams and reality, love and hate and so many other conceptual ideas.
How can we ever stop these thoughts?
Here’s the answer: Not. And, you really don’t want to stop these thoughts.
It’s like being fine with a good crisis to stir things up. Crises push us forward, when we know how to deal with them. They push us out of our comfort zones. Not settling for comfort.
The same goes for our thoughts, they can stir things up but it’s very fine to have them when you know how to deal with them. On my Revealing Vajra Yoga Retreats, I share many tools, theories and techniques on this very topic.
Training our beautiful minds leads to more contentment, more joy, calmness, confidence and simplicity. This way you are stepping up in reaching your full potential, beyond the ‘neuroticness’ of it all.
Stepping up can mean being more loving towards ourselves and others for example. More loving in our thoughts, actions and speech to every single person we interact with.
The art of stepping up or not is a personal choice but for sure the world would look different if we would be cured from selfishness and focus a tiny bit more on generating more love and kindness.
Feel free to share your experiences and realizations that you might have had when going on a yoga retreat!