Yoga retreats have become quite popular nowadays. You see a lot of them being offered locally and internationally. When I lived in India, until about 4 years ago, yoga retreats were not something I had seen or heard about much. But after moving to the US, I notice a lot of yoga studios and schools have this as a regular part of their offerings. I was very apprehensive at first. as I did not want to give into the commercialization of Yoga that the western world is so well known for.
However, on the other side, I wanted Aham Yoga to be competitive in offerings to other studios around without compromising my long list of yogic ethics that I try to hold onto each day. My first and foremost dharma or responsibility is always to my students – to make sure they are taught yoga well each and every day. People around me, my students included, were encouraging me to put together a yoga retreat – and so I did! I must say it has worked out wonderfully! It turned out to be a fun, insightful weekend. People came with friends, made new ones, enjoyed spending time with themselves and others, did lots of yoga, and much more. We now have made this our annual summer getaway – tying it into International Yoga Day so it becomes more special to all involved.
Over the past few years, that I have warmed myself up to going on retreats. Here are my top 5 reasons why you should consider joining a summer yoga retreat.
1. Digital Detox:
A yoga retreat is a perfect opportunity to give your mind some time to digitally detox. Meaning no cell phones, laptops, emails, work, facebook, or any digital stimulation. We are so caught up on devices every day that we no longer even realize how we are being enslaved to the machines around us. When was the last time you opened your eyes, walked to a window, and stared at mountains and nature all around? Instead of rolling out of bed and staring at your notifications first thing in the morning. Most yoga retreats, though not all, encourage you to stay present in the moment and not be immersed online.
2. Relax and Unwind:
The way Yoga looks at relaxation is very different from our understanding of relaxation. Swami Satyananda in his book on Yoga Nidra speaks about how we do not know how to relax. Most of us end up indulging or over indulging in some form of sensory distractions as a means of relaxation. All this does is exhaust us more than before and give us a fleeting sense of relaxation. The yogic repertoire is full of rich techniques that will help one experience wholesome, deep relaxation with long term benefits. This will in turn have lasting effects much after your yoga retreat ends. We all love relaxing, why not try to do it the right way?
3. Being outdoors:
Lao Tzu said, “nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished”. There is something about being outdoors amongst earth, trees, birds, plants, water, and mountains that heals the soul in more ways that I can list here. When you dive deep into the study of yoga philosophy, we talk about Purusha and Prakruti. Purusha being referred to as the ‘self‘ or us as people. And Prakruti being Mother Nature. The ancient books tell us that the two are inseparable – more alike than different and are meant to co-exist in complete harmony. So why not dedicate a full weekend to connecting with your ‘self’ and nature all around?
4. Being around like-minded people:
Mahatma Gandhi said, “A small group of determined and like-minded people can change the course of history”. While I am sure we are not looking to change the history of the planet over one weekend, there is something magical about being around people who share the same interests as you do. Really connecting over things we truly enjoy, and learning together. Man cannot live in isolation. Even though in everyday lives we are surrounded by people who we do not necessarily think like us, a weekend well spent with loved ones and friends will prove to be highly rejuvenating.
5. Try something new:
When was the last time you tried something new? Or gave yourself permission to have a little bit of fun, away from the hustle bustle of everyday life? Away from being a mother, a wife, an employee, a business owner? When was the last time you put yourself on top of the list? Maybe this summer will be the perfect time!
Join us this summer in the mountains of Leavenworth, WA at The Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort from June 2nd to 4th, 2017. Find all details here.