Why are Retreats becoming more and more popular and why would anyone want to be with a bunch of complete strangers, sitting cross-legged, listening to nothing but my own cynical voice in their head – for hours? This is how many people still see Retreats but this couldn’t be further from the truth! In this blog, I’ll debunk some of the myths around Retreats and what they’re about and explore why everyone should be booking these in each year as a matter of course.
Why are Retreats becoming more popular?
Today’s society demands that we run around, trying to do a million things at once, tending to obligations and duties and pushing our own needs to one side to please others. Despite improvements in technology, increased social networks and populations living longer, we are becoming sicker, more anxious, more depressed and feeling unfulfilled in our lives. It is very often when we become ill or are diagnosed with an illness that we are forced to stop in our tracks to re-evaluate our lives in the hope that it’s not too late.
Alongside the madness that typically pervades our lives, there is also an awakening happening. It is perhaps because so many people have experienced burn-out, melt-downs and breakdowns and have learnt healthier ways to live in order to survive, that there is now a vast pool of learning available to us on what it is to live a healthy and meaningful life. Perhaps we’re wired to ignore the subtle messages our bodies and minds have been trying to alert us to until we reach a point of no return. After we crash and burn there’s no other way than upwards.
And what better way than to make that journey back to balance and health than to attend a Retreat. It may be that it’s a one-off on your way back to sanity or perhaps you end up attending a different Retreat each year so that you can keep experiencing the benefits that they have to offer. Whatever your reason, it is my strong belief that everyone should experience at least one Retreat in their life time!
GP’s would be advised to prescribe at least one Retreat per year as a preventative measure against all manner of health problems. But you don’t have to be ill or suffering in any way to attend a Retreat! They can be great fun and a great tonic for all of us, no matter where we are in our lives.
What happens in a Retreat?
This depends on the Retreat! These days, there are many different types of Retreats – from the more traditional silent meditation Retreats and Yoga Retreats to week-long Retreats in foreign lands where you also get to do para-gliding, hiking, or any number of interesting and exciting activities.
I currently run three different Retreats, all of which include different types of activities.
My One-day Wellbeing Retreat includes learning about relaxation and breathing techniques; EFT; guided visualisation; coaching activities around wellbeing; meditative walk; lunch and space for reflection.
The One-week Yoga and Spanish Retreat that I run with Spanish teacher Mayte Alvarez is held in Spain and offers beginners Spanish classes, Yoga and other activities.
There’ll usually be a structure to a Retreat day and if there’s Yoga involved, you’ll be doing this first thing in the morning and some time during the evening too and possibly some Yoga in between. There’s usually food provided and time for you to re-evaluate your life as you know it. Other activities will depend on what you’ve signed up for.
What would you like to get from a Retreat?
This is perhaps the best question to ask yourself if you’re considering attending a Retreat. From that place, your search for the right one will be much easier. Personally, I like a Retreat to offer me space, opportunities for me to stretch from my comfort zone, interesting activities, a sense of being nurtured with good food and a safe supportive space. Creativity, healing and being inspired also come to mind. All with the aim of making me feel reflective, calmer, energised and ready to meet the world again.
Swami Chetananda states that Retreats are an ‘opportunity for having flesh and blood contact in an authentic energy field in which spirit is being cultivated’. I love this description; a Retreat is indeed a particular space in which particular things can happen that just can’t happen in other types of reunion. You get to know people in deeper more meaningful ways as a result of sharing a space in which you are invited to be a more real version of yourself. If you weren’t this at the start of the Retreat, you will certainly be this as you leave. Your spirit will have a chance to begin to re-emerge from the conditioned self.
So what might you be drawn to? What would you want to gain from a Retreat? Is there an activity that perhaps you’ve wanted to have a go at for some time? Or perhaps you’re open to trying out anything as long as you also have the opportunity to rest, relax and recharge. Retreats can be fun as well as growthful; restful as well as playful and at the very least an ‘escape’ from the every day.
Please post below; I’d love to hear what you think about Retreats. Click here if you’re interested in finding out more about the retreats I offer.
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