I have been leading international retreats for well over a decade and love seeing people embrace the magic and joy that retreats offer. Yoga retreats are truly transformational and can open up your heart and elevate your spirit. Imagine spending a week soaking in the sun, relaxing by a pool and swimming in the sea, eating healthy cuisine daily, and of course practicing yoga twice daily. You leave the week feeling totally relaxed and blissed out! Retreats leave you feeling like the best version of yourself. Your heart is wide open, and you’re connected to the fearless nature of your spirit.
Then you arrive back home and reality hits. Once you're back into your routine, life happens and you're quickly reminded of regular daily stresses. It's easy to get back into the place where you were before you left. You long to be surrounded by the bliss of your retreat: nature, whole food, and daily yoga practice. The transition can be a challenge for some. Where as before you spent your days with like-minded yogis, suddenly you're surrounded by others who cannot relate to what you've just experienced.
1. Take your time. In the magical space that yoga retreats create, time slows down. There's no such thing as the daily grind and no longer a need for that fight-or-flight response. You begin to soften and in exchange heal what needs healing. Arriving back into your real world can be stressful. What I've found to work well is giving your self at least a day or two to do nothing except connect deeper to myself and slowly prepare for your re-entry.
2. Avoid electronics. These days, it's safe to say that, the majority of us are addicted to our hand held devices and the Internet. It's rare that you'll want to “stay connected” to the outside world while you're visiting paradise. It is through this disconnecting that we are able to reconnect with ourselves. However, the outside pull can be strong. Recognize this when you are transitioning back and take things in stride. Notice if you start to feel overwhelmed and make an effort to pull back to maintain your peace. More importantly when you start to get sucked in, stop what you are doing and go into nature. This will give you an automatic reboot.
3. Continue your yoga practice and whole food diet. The best part of a yoga retreat is getting back into your practice. In the “real world”, most of us don't all have two or four hours a day to practice yoga. The good news is that twenty minutes can go a long way, especially if it’s consistent. Continue with food that is healthy for you. Your yoga practice and the food you eat combine to can create a healthy perspective on life and more positivity.
4. Be patient with others and remember they haven’t experienced the bliss you have. One truth I have come to know over the years is that people who are stressed out or feeling down can be hurtful to others. Practice keeping an open heart toward those who might not share your bliss and commit to staying on your path. Remember that nobody can take away your positivity unless you give them permission.
5. Plan your next trip! As we settle back into our regular lives, it's easy to fall into old habits. Having something to look forward to will help. Make time for your next opportunity to reconnect with yourself, even if it’s just a weekend away. Any amount of time can be extremely beneficial for finding that space to unwind and re-connect to the peace you felt before.
6. Seek nature. Nature is such an immediate healer and our best dharma teacher. When you start to feel weighed down, remember to take a walk or go outside where you can hear the birds, feel the breeze, smell the flowers and be reminded what is really important.
7. Stay connected with fellow travelers. Often times, a yoga retreat will leave you with a shift in perspective. Staying connected with those who shared the experience will keep your new perspective fresh. Whether near or far when we are back home, it's easy today to stay connected with friends all over the world.
Adopting these tips will help you transition from that retreat bliss to your every day reality much smoother. Some of you might find that you're able to integrate the teachings and inspirations you gain into your daily life. Ideally, you're not only benefiting during your retreat, but for months or years to come.
Join Joan for her retreat to Mexico, Rest and Renew over Memorial Day Weekend, happening May 25 – 29, 2018!