Three signs it's time for a yoga retreat
If you’re breathing, you enjoy yoga, and you're partial to vacations, then yes, it’s time for a yoga retreat. It’s that simple. We often complicate things far more than we need to, which is also a sign that it’s time to retreat.
There’s a misconception that yoga retreats are for reserved for those who are overwhelmed with stress and desperately seeking escape from civilization for 30 days in the Himalayas. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s a misconception that yoga retreats are for those who are already immersed in daily yoga practice, the yoga professionals, would-be teachers and jobless free spirits.
While these two extremes exist, many who attend yoga retreats are just like you. Most yoga retreats offer middle way experiences that combine yoga with nature, culture, or adventure and are perfect for all levels of practitioners.
Check-in with these three simple signs to determine if it’s time for you to retreat, and learn which type of retreat is perfect for you.
Are you breathing?
Yoga retreats are for everyone. If you’re breathing, you qualify, but more importantly, how are you breathing? Close your eyes and take a moment to notice your breath. If your breathing is impatient, if your inhale is much longer than your exhale breath, if your breathing is shallow or laboured in any way, then it’s time for a yoga retreat.
Our stress shows up in our breath. If we’re lucky enough to be mindful in a moment of unease, we may notice that our breathing is no longer steady, patient, and full. The good news is, by changing our breathing patterns, we can change the body’s perception of stress. Studies have shown there is a link between the neurons that control respiration and those that control anxiety, excitement, attention, and relaxation.
While we can always do a simple breathing exercise to feel greater peace, yoga retreats give us the opportunity to literally breathe deeper by taking us away from stressful conditions. Although a retreat may be temporary, a yoga retreat is also the perfect setting in which to practice relaxation techniques that we can carry back to our every-day stress triggering circumstances.
If you’re looking to breathe more easily, you’ll likely enjoy a yoga retreat with a focus on relaxing, gentle practices such as restorative yoga and yin. You might seek a meditation retreat to spend time immersed in building a daily meditation practice. It may be enough just to spend a long weekend in paradise, away from cell phone service, practising yoga by the sea.
Do you like yoga?
The question isn’t if you’re good at yoga, or if you need to get better at yoga, but if you enjoy yoga, then a yoga retreat is for you. Yoga retreats aren’t just for those who’ve been practising daily for the past ten years or more, nor are they only for those seeking to become teachers or continue their education. There’s a yoga retreat for every level of practitioner, and the only requirement is an interest in yoga.
In fact, a yoga retreat may be the perfect place for a beginner to immerse themselves in a yoga practice. On retreat, you’ll practise yoga one to three times daily, without a 60-minute time limit on class. Yoga teachers enjoy the format because they can take extra time to break things down, tailor classes specifically to each practitioner, and get to know their students and what they need.
Beginner yoga students benefit from the extra attention a retreat allows, the long format classes, and the consistency of practice. Advanced students benefit from all those same things. Whatever your level of practice, a yoga retreat is for anyone who’s interested in learning more about yoga and spending more time practising.
If you love yoga and it’s your main priority on retreat, you might consider a yoga retreat in India, a retreat led by a particular teacher you wish to study with, or a far-off destination retreat where you’ll be immersed in yoga and yoga culture each and every day.
Fancy a Vacation?
It’s always beneficial for us to get away from the routine and spend time somewhere new, doing new things. A yoga retreat can provide that opportunity even if it’s not all about the yoga. Yoga retreats will take you to a beautiful destination, and some put the destination on par with the yoga by offering cultural activities, site-seeing, adventure and more.
Travel is important because it spurs growth. It coaxes or hurls us out of our comfort zone, helps us develop new perspectives, teaches us about new cultures and invites us to develop new connections to ourselves and to others. Yoga does all of these same things, which makes yoga a powerful partner to travel.
What better way to travel the world than with a daily yoga class? A yoga retreat enhances your vacation experience by shifting prana, opening your heart and mind, and increasing your awareness. Practising yoga while travelling calls for us to travel sustainably, appreciate our experience, and be present.
On a yoga retreat, you’ll be surrounded on your travels with like-minded people who are interested in the same things you are. For the single traveller, attending a yoga retreat provides the same type of comfort guided group tours do. Yoga retreats make travel simple; purchase a plane ticket, and the rest is pre-arranged.
If you’re interested in yoga as a means of travel, look for retreats that offer additional activities, tours, or classes outside of the yoga shala. Many retreats will include these excursions as part of the practice, an opportunity to take yoga off the mat.
It’s always time for a yoga retreat, and everyone who attends a retreat benefits. It’s time for a yoga retreat if you’re stressed, haven’t been to a yoga class in months, and all you need is a vacation. It’s time for a yoga retreat if you feel great, practice yoga daily, and are seeking an immersion. Browse the opportunities and book the trip!