7 Reasons a Retreat is Better than A Vacation

In my 10 years of being a yoga teacher, most of my income has come from yoga or yoga teacher trainings. Until I moved. Though California is full of blessings and abundance, it’s harder to make ends meet here as a free-spirited yoga teacher.

So I did something drastic.

I got a muggle job. A muggle job is any non-magical job; for me personally, it’s anything other than teaching yoga. I now work for a wonderful company that cares about helping people and the world. But those rewards are mixed with the position being stressful, demanding, and too extroverted. I put so much into my job, that many days I have nothing left to even drag myself through the door, let alone teach yoga.

When I accepted the offer, a girlfriend of mine gave me some advice on how to balance my job with my love of teaching yoga. She said to draw deeply on the muggle struggle to figure out how to serve the students better.

Because I know many of us out there feel this way, I set out to create what I most need to better serve the students who come my way.

I need to break free. I need to indulge in all the most lovely pleasures. I need someone to think through all the details for me, so I can just enjoy myself. I need to eat glorious food and have someone guide my practice. I need to be someplace beautiful, inspiring, and comfortable. I need for every moment to be filled with grace. I need practices to help me stay connected in the seat of myself. I need to be re-inspired.

I need a yoga retreat. Here’s why just a vacation isn’t enough for me, and I suspect, won’t cut it for you either.

  1. Remember

Like the frog slowly boiling to death, our stress built up gradually. We don’t always notice how taxed we’ve become. We are overloaded, over-acculturated, and under-souled. We have to jump out of the pot for a moment to realize how hot it was getting in there.

  1. Indulge in Bliss

How often do we put the needs of others before our own self-care? I know I’m always last on my own to-do list. Those moments when everything is right with the world are so fleeting and priceless, but they can rejuvenate us for years to come.

Every person needs to take one day away.  A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.

-Maya Angelou

  1. Do New Things with New Friends

The best retreats will balance activity and rest against things to experience while nurturing community. We can form supportive relationships and have expansive experiences. We get to giggle, laugh and have just plain old fun in a gorgeous place full of wonderful people.

  1. Do No Things with No One (if you want)

We pack vacations full of activities and sightseeing, and make them just as frantic as our lives. On vacation or otherwise, I’m an expert at getting wrapped up in endless activity and to-do lists.

A good retreat won’t overschedule; it will allow flexibility for alone time, spontaneous adventures, or rest. Whatever strikes one’s fancy.

In the first moments of retreat, it can be a little uncomfortable to abandon all that doing. But being still enough to connect with what’s underneath is vital to one’s wellbeing. We all must make time for the deep work.

  1. Deepen Your Practice.

Even a few days of commitment can provide enough boost to really see gains in one’s physical practice. Practicing yoga multiple times a day will allow our bodies to restructure themselves around healthy, balanced movements. The gains will long outlast the retreat itself.

  1. Actually Meditate

For many of us meditation is high on the list of shoulds, the things we mean do more of that get pushed to the back of the list. On a retreat we see what is possible when it comes to meditation. Knowing how good it can feel will inspire us to actually keep meditating at home.

  1. Create New Patterns

Taking space from our lives affords us more clear seeing on what really matters and what doesn’t. We only have so much energy to give, how can we allocate it more powerfully to support what feeds our souls?

A yoga or wellness retreat will do more than relax us and take us on adventures. They also give us tools to take back into the trenches of the day-to-day. They empower us with the skills to bring our retreat with us everywhere. Retreats are investments in a more nurturing, blissful, connected life.

Who’s coming with me?

2 Comments

  1. Barbara Burke

    Hi Lauren, What a great idea to have a retreat in one of the most amazing places on earth. I can’t join in this year – but next year I’m IN. Assuming you repeat the event. I miss you. I hope the retreat is a BIG SUCCESS. Barb

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