This Yoga Retreat…or that one?

This Yoga Retreat…or that one?

Choosing Your Yoga Retreat: Aligning Values with Experience - By Rebecca Harvey

Reading time: 3 minutes

 One person’s idea of retreat heaven may be your idea of hell, so the research you do is vital. The research that really matters isn’t the shiniest, the smartest or the best Yoga retreat, but an honest exploration of your own values.

What really matters to you?

This retreat is offering a full timetable, that one looks luxurious and indulgent, this one is by the beach, that one has an amazing yoga shala. There are likely to be some compromises along the way so asking yourself what truly matters to you will enable you to make a choice that matches your very unique needs.

There are lots of elements that set yoga retreats apart, so bring your curiosity and look for characteristics that match the very essence of who you are and subsequently, inadvertently, soothe your nervous system and make your retreat the perfect one for you.

  1. Imagine your ideal environment

Think about your ideal environment, where do you go to feel good? To the mountains or the sea, waterfalls, lakes or rivers? If you could shape your perfect setting, what would it look like? Out of the way, or surrounded by culture? Close to activities or closer to nature? How might you spend your time there? Does the space you practice your yoga in matter to you? Will the view matter, or the props? What about the temperature and the materials of the room? What about the season and the weather outside?

On my recent yoga retreat experience the yoga shala facing the setting sun over the sea was absolutely spectacular and something that soothed my soul. Both of the retreats I run myself have yoga shalas with views that move me, there is a theme emerging here…

  1. Imagine your ideal timetable

Would you value time, space and peace to reflect and simply be, or will a full timetable feel more rewarding for your pocket and your personality type. Will another activity, or two, alongside your Yoga immersion feel like you’ve spent the week moving forward and progressing, or by doing less do you know that you’ve actually achieved more?

I’m naturally a do-er, but I also know that slowing down is an actual balm for my wellbeing. Before morning practice on my latest retreat I was being busy, planning to approach a fisherman to take us out to look for the dolphins, when they just appeared, right there – no need to ask, the dolphins’ presence suggested, stop do-ing and start be-ing, they brought me right into the present moment.

The quietness of the beach and the impromptu unexpected dolphin appearance during that morning wander made for a magical pre-breakfast memory.

  1. Imagine feeling nourished inside and out

Having organic, locally sourced food made with love is sattvic in nature and promotes a yogic way of being. Although this is a fantastic part of ‘retreating’ and wonderful for our wellbeing there is more to feeling nourished than what we eat.

What we digest with our senses and our emotions also contributes to the regulation of our nervous system and that feeling of peace can be set by the retreat host. Knowing who will be setting your emotional barometer for your time away is important, so have a look at their website, their classes and workshop themes and names.

Do they play music, will they light incense and how much social time usually happens? Consider then if any of these things have an impact on your experience? If so, make enquiries, don’t be afraid to ask the retreat provider what kind of space they like to hold, your retreat leader’s explicit values will shape your experience, so check them out.

I knew one of my retreat leaders pretty well, regularly attending her classes in addition to having some dialogue with her, so I was happy to take a punt on the second leader whose style was new to me, and this made for a more varied Yoga experience as I stepped away from the demands of daily life and focused on self-care and personal growth within my practice.

The perfect retreat

Chances are, your choices for your perfect retreat will reflect the values you want to see in all areas of your life. Whatever made those values and ideals meaningful to you, likely encompass moments where you were most at peace. Bringing some curiosity to what really matters to you at this point in your life might lead you to a transformational time away, a Yoga Retreat packed with emotional ease and joy. Retreat heaven.

You can find out more about me, Rebecca Harvey, and if the retreats I offer are perfect for you, on my website at: Pause Yoga Glossop Retreats

Rebecca Harvey

Rebecca trained for her BWYDip500 with Catherine Eastwood, and has since delivered Yoga classes, workshops and retreats both in the UK and Europe and will be sharing yoga for the second year at Soul Escape Yoga Festival this summer.