A new year a New You - 4 important reasons for going on a yoga retreat!
A very good reason to start with, is the importance of a Digital Detox!
We are so used to carrying around a small, hand-held computer device in our hand on a daily basis that we feel naked without these tools for social networking, news updates and means to do business. We are constantly checking our social network pages, answering emails, texts and other instant messages immediately. When we hesitate, many people take it personally and think we are deliberately ignoring them or being flakey, or that something happened to us. Where has this compulsion to stay “connected” and announce our whereabouts and emotional status come from? How did we get here? And are we really more connected and less lonely than we were before this digital craze has infected us? Are we all now victims of internet addiction?
How are we supposed to feel less lonely by staring at a computer screen reading about what is happening in others peoples lives? Or by posting our status? Or by watching hours upon hours of television? Or sedating our minds with substances?
Look around in a restaurant and most people will have their face in their phone, rather than have a real, live, deep, meaningful talk with the person they have chosen to go out with. It is a compulsion to look at our phone the moment it lights up. Why?
Reason 2: Meet People From Around the World with beliefs that vary from YOURS!
I have been teaching Yoga for almost 20 years and have been listening to people say how lonely they are. How depressed they are. How all the good men / women are already taken. And how people have just given up completely on relationship. When I go out, I see people who rely on drugs and alcohol to feel the freedom to communicate their feelings freely, to unwind from their day, to turn off their mind, to have sex with people they don’t even know. We all have our addictions and flaws. I am not saying this with judgment, just to be clear! I am equally guilty of these things I am talking about at varying times in my life.
On a Yoga Retreat we almost instantly become intimate with strangers! We eat all our meals together; some people share a room and a bathroom together (well, some of us any way!) We meet on the Yoga Platform, twice daily, as a unified group even though our practice is an individual journey. We relax together, swim together and walk together. Tight knitted relationships are inevitably formed. Some friendships last for the retreat only, while others last longer....The point is that we are truly connecting with each other without the digital distraction! We go on retreat as strangers and leave as family.
Reason 2: Switch Up your Diet!
Ever wonder what it feels like to eat a meatless diet but didn’t know how to cook vegetarian meals for yourself? Now is your chance to use your body as an experiment and test out a vegetarian diet! Why are many Yogis vegetarian, you ask? Great question! There is a whole “how-to” book written about how to reach the goal of Yoga called the Yoga Sutras. Within this book is listed Eight Limbs of Yoga which is meant to be a code of morals and ethics to live by. The first limb is called Yama. There are five principles under Yama. The first one is called ahimsa. This is a Sanskrit word for “non-violence”, in action toward ourselves, toward others, toward our environment and toward the creatures who live in it.
Without going too deep into the philosophy, we Yogis, learn and yearn to eat a completely harm-free diet, of fresh foods, grown locally. As our sensitivity deepens, we begin to feel the subtle effects of eating meat. Depending on the conditions the animal lived in and was killed, we can even take on those subtle feelings of unhappiness, anxiety and fear. Why would we willingly ingest violence?
Lissa is an absolutely AH-Mazing cook! She makes some of the best food I have ever tasted! It’s all seasonal, sourced locally, vegetarian and will create some magic alchemy in your mouth! Every meal is so fun for me as a returning instructor to witness! The “OOOOHS” and “AHHHS” when Lissa and Corné place the food on the table almost makes me laugh out loud every time! People enjoy Lissa and Corné’s cooking so much that they are printing a Silver Island Cookbook, which will be available for sale sometime next year! (I’ve already placed my orders!)
So, if eating vegetarian was a concern for you, for just one week, fear not! Your body, mind and spirit with thoroughly enjoy this gastronomical delight! And your GI Tract will return home well nourished and rested!
Reason 3: Shed the Stagnation!
Many people think I am a freak for not having a “regular job”, not being married, not being a mom, trying to eat only organic food, not eating meat, making most of my meals, not drinking at social gatherings, the list goes on and on... Yet as I age and dedicate more and more time to my spiritual practice, I see things naturally shed, like layers of unnecessary clothes on a blazing hot day. Shedding layers isn’t an easy thing to do because our habits (vasanas as they are called in Vedic texts) run so deep but the work is simple when we make a conscious effort to change. I said, “Simple!” That doesn’t mean easy!
It is my belief, based on my own experience with feeling a victim of life, dealing with massive depression and suicidal thoughts, that the answer to all these questions lies within ourselves. When we give ourselves the gift of “checking out” of our daily lives and routines, and go on a Yoga retreat for example, we gift ourselves time to do the inner work that needs to be done. When we are off-grid, with no wifi connection and only a few hours of allotted electricity, we are forced to find other things “to do” with our minds.
Taking long walks alone, practicing Yoga, meditation, pranayama, etc, are all methods that begin to quiet our busy minds, which allow us the space for amazing transformation to occur. We begin to look at ourselves, I mean REALLY look at ourselves. The make-up and masks of the various people and roles are no longer needed. We are on a retreat among strangers. No one knows of our issues. We are all clean slates. And since we don’t know anyone, we can be whom ever we want to be. We don’t even have to really even speak to anyone if we were to make that choice. Energy is exchanged on a profound level and often no words even need to be spoken.
Reason 4: Learn Mindfulness Practices that Deepen Your Awareness!
Yoga teaches us to move with awareness. Because we are moving more slowly, with our breath, more awareness is cultivated naturally. We spend 4 hours a day moving our body in Yoga practice which focuses the mind, develops strength and endurance, releases endorphins and hormones, reduces depression, stress and anxiety, stimulates the subtle body, and moves blocked energy. Mindfulness develops our ability to discover nooks and crannies in our body that we have never felt or paid attention to previously. We realize how our words and actions affect others and the impact we have on the world. We develop our sensitivity and intuitiveness.
When we are doing mindfulness practices, we are creating space! We give ourselves that gift of unplugging. We reduce our dependence on other people and the outside world for affirmations. We discover that within each of us, there is an eternal source of love and compassion and energy!
Silver Island Yoga is the perfect place to go for this kind of inner work. As soon as you step onto the island there is a deep sense of stillness and healing that can be felt. Lissa and Corné cultivate a deeply compassionate environment for this delicate inner work by making each person feel as if they are an old friend, being welcomed back home. They put time and care into every detail of their work they do, which reflects their mindfulness. These details make each guest feel so loved and cared for. And isn’t that what we all crave the most? To feel loved and part of a tribe, family, or community?
“Come aside, by yourselves, to a deserted place, and rest a while.” Mark 6:31