I was 20 years old when I went on my first yoga retreat. Although that is a distant memory now, there is a lot about that retreat that stuck with me... getting woken up early in morning in the dark, getting up in the freezing cold and then going on a vigorous run, getting really hot and then being told to have a cold shower. Yoga class followed and after all that we had breakfast! A tiny bowl of brown rice and an equally small bowl of miso soup. I had missed the info in the brochure that it was a half-fasting retreat. When I came back 7 days later I was definitely a lot lighter!
It was definitely a turning point in my life. My mind was crystal clear afterwards, I felt more supple and was connected to a deeper, powerful inner energy. It is hard to describe, but the feeling was intense on many levels - physically, mentally and spiritually.
Fast forward to today and the retreats I run follow a similar model - we wake up early, go down to the beach, joggle along the sand and then jump in the water. It is truly an invigorating start to the day. We then go back and do some yoga and afterwards have a nourishing and healthy breakfast. We do three yoga sessions a day - yes, that’s a lot of yoga - but it is paced in a way so that each class builds on the previous class and gives everyone the opportunity to get a deeper connection to their body, mind and spirit.
I like to do my retreats at the beach because I live inland and I find the energy of the ocean deeply restorative to my soul. And the people who come on retreat with me usually find they feel the same way too.
As I’m writing this, the sun is setting over the ocean. It dips slowly down past the horizon and casts and amazing glow in the sky. The beauty of it is breathtaking. I come on retreat to experience this, and share this experience with my students. I am grateful that I can offer this to my students and hope that you may be brave enough to adventure on retreat one day too.