• Jenn Russell

How to have your best retreat ever


Pace Yourself Slow down turbo ... you're here all week! I know it's exciting and you want to nail your headstand, meditate like the buddha, achieve enlightenment and find the secret to world peace in 7 days but remember to check into your energy levels during the week ;) Remember you're here to renew, revitalise and reflect as well as to rock it. I often say, the most advanced practitioner is not the one in the front doing the handstands, it's the yogi who assesses where she is anew every time she steps on her mat and responds intuitively to nurture herself through yoga. If that means going half as deep in a yin class because you're sore or skipping a few chaturangas ... go for it ... there are no yoga police here. Be Open to New Teachings For me, a good yoga retreat is a blend of all the limbs of yoga ... both strong and gentle asana practice, guided meditation, breathing techniques, philosophy, time for community and times for silence. You should learn lots of new stuff! The key is to be open and receptive. A yoga retreat is a great time to try a new technique, go deeper into the roots of yoga history, understand meditation, get clear steps on how to arm balance or learn about how your anatomy works in downward facing dog. Be the sponge people! It's a Called a Retreat for a Reason What is is you want to 'retreat' from? If it's the pressures of work, set up your email responder and step away from the phone! If it's self doubt or uncertainty, get on your mat, do your best and you will come to understand that that is enough. If you want to retreat from attachments, leave behind the conveniences of western life and embrace local culture ... the food, the weather, the pace of life; letting go of what you think you need. Or are you here for a 're-treat'? To give yourself the gift of time or to honour your body with nourishing food and exercise. Set an Intention Whether it's to find some calm, improve your physical practice or get some much needed answers, it's a lovely thing to take some time time to reflect on why you're going on a retreat. It is truly incredible the learnings that come when we immerse ourselves in the practice and take time out for ourselves. By aligning your intentions with your week away you open the door to receive all that is offered to you. Remember to bring a beautiful journal with you and write down any revelations - there may be many! Help us to Help You It's common to get injuries sometimes and although it doesn't usually mean we have to stop practicing yoga, we do need to work mindfully. Make sure you tell your teacher details of any injuries before the retreat starts so they can offer modifications and keep an eye on your technique. It's also important to remember ... your body always knows what it wants ... so if a pose doesn't feel right or is causing pain ask for an alternative in class or skip it! Honour your body through the practice, know you don't have to master everything and understand if it feels good ... it is good ;) Get Your Requests In! Working on pose for months that you just can't nail? Want more information on different pranayama techniques or have questions about meditation? A retreat is a perfect time to go deep so go ahead and ask your teacher to include it in the practices. More and more (especially with my anatomy and techniques workshops), my classes are guided by your requests and input. What a great opportunity for collaborative learning! Get Involved One of the most incredible things about a yoga retreat is the community it builds. It is the single most important reason I teach and we have formed many lifelong friendships (and even one marriage!) during the last 5 years (and over 40 retreats!) Use your time to get to know your fellow yogi's ... there are so many interesting stories and backgrounds. We really have built such an amazing tribe who stay in contact and support each other long after our retreats have finished. It truly is a family :) I hope to see you on the mat soon! With love

Jenn

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