Going on a retreat can be a powerful way to recharge and reprioritise your health and wellbeing. I’ve been on a lot of retreats myself in the last 10-15 years and so I’m very excited to be co-running a yoga and meditation retreat in south west Scotland in May 2020.
How can going somewhere else for a few days help you feel restored, recharged and rejuvenated? Partly it’s from the removal of visible reminders of things we should have done, being away from daily chores, and from being in a more natural and relaxed setting. There’s generally nothing you ‘have’ to do (even the programme of sessions may be semi optional), healthy food is made for you, and you can often be away from distractions which can cause micro-doses of stress, such as the news. (Although, with mobile phones total disconnection is slightly harder!)
I’ve found yoga and meditation retreats that I’ve been on to be rewarding on a personal, physical and mental level. I try to get away for a weekend retreat once a year, and occasionally a week-long retreat. If you like writing in a journal, having time to be creative with drawing or photography, or like wandering about a new place, a retreat will often give you that free time and space to do things which are important ‘coping mechanisms’, but often feel like luxuries we can’t afford to fit into our weekly schedule. Particularly if you experience stress, anxiety or mild depression, ensuring that we do enough of the ‘good stuff’, can be really helpful in keeping stress, anxiety and low moods at a manageable level. It’s also recognised that spending time outdoors in nature is healing for mind and body.
A retreat can kick-start beneficial habits, such as a morning meditation practice, and give you the space to refocus or reprioritise when you get back to your ‘normal’ life.
My Reconnection retreat is taking place on 8-10th May at Allanton Peace Sanctuary about 10 miles north of Dumfries, Scotland. Myself and fellow yoga teacher Kerry Riddell will be exploring the theme of reconnection through yoga and meditation sessions, and there will be free time for unstructured relaxing, or sitting in the grounds, going on a guided walk, or some slots for massages. There’s more info on the retreat page and bookings are open. Get in touch if you have any queries about the weekend!
If you’re in another country how about finding a retreat closer to you? There’s quite a few online directories, or ask friends/colleagues for recommendations.
You can also read a slightly longer piece I wrote for the Green Handbook on the benefits of going on a retreat (on page 4, the first article).