You may have seen my post all the way back in July about what I hoped to gain from going on a Yoga retreat. It doesn’t feel like two minutes ago that I sat there and wrote that post and as time always does, it absolutely flew by and before I knew it, my Yoga retreat was here. I went with the lovely Bexa from Hello Bexa and we set off on Friday 9th November to Norfolk for the retreat, which was held in this absolutely beautiful house in the country. Bexa has a photo diary of the retreat, which if you’d like to see more photos of the location and the food etc, do go and take a look! But for me, I wanted to a more reflective style post about the retreat and discuss what I learnt from going to one. Because honestly, it wasn’t what I was expecting at all.
Despite the retreat not being entirely what I expected nor what I hoped in certain aspects, I still took plenty of positives from it so I don’t feel like this is a negative post at all. The particular retreat I went on was extremely spiritual, quite mentally intense and a little over-whelming. But it had a lot of great points too, such as the incredible food all cooked by the in-house chef for the weekend. The stunning house and decor, the comfortable bed and meeting some of the other incredibly interesting, funny and strong Women who attended.
On the Yoga side of things – which is obviously what I went for first and foremost – it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. If you know me, you’ll know I follow Yoga With Adriene religiously – I love her personality, her attitude to Yoga and the carefree and friendly way she teaches. But this retreat couldn’t be further from what I’m used to. Like I said, it was extremely spiritual and focused a lot on seasons, cycles, elements and an array of other things I absolutely did not understand nor could get to grips with. At first Bexa and I thought it was just us but as it turned out, after talking to some of the other attendees, they felt exactly the same.
So, would I go to a Yoga retreat again? Probably not. But I’m so glad I did go because it was a great experience (good, bad and downright weird at times too!) and I’ve taken a huge amount from it. I’m rarely disappointed in anything, even if it is something that didn’t go entirely the way I hoped because I do tend to look at the positives and that’s very much the case here. So, here are some things I learnt from going to a Yoga retreat:
I learnt that spirituality isn’t me
Spirituality is something that I’ve been thinking a lot about this last year. It’s something that I’ve loosely found an interest in and wanted to learn more because I thought I’d like it and understand it and be able to get to grips with the concepts. Turns out, spirituality isn’t for me and it’s not something I’ll be pursuing further. That’s perfectly okay and going to a Yoga retreat made me realise that.
I learnt more of what makes me “me” by not feeling like me
I felt completely out of my depth for most of the weekend. I was going along with the schedule, doing the meditation, the Yoga sessions (well, some of them) and doing what I felt like needed to be done. But deep down, I knew that actually, my “normal” life is what is the real me, I just hadn’t realised it yet. I’d much rather me watching a Formula 1 race with a Domino’s Pizza then playing a PS4 game. That’s me. And that’s perfectly okay.
I learnt that I’m doing stuff just because I feel like I should, not because I actually want to
Which brings me nicely onto this point. Throughout this year, I’ve done so much stuff I felt like I should do not because I really honestly and truly wanted to. I started buying crystals because I thought I wanted to get into crystal healing or I’ve cut out certain things from my diet for absolutely no reason and I’ve not stuck with anything because nothing felt like me but I carried on anyway. Going on this retreat has made me realise I need to stop doing things just because the internet or society or someone else is doing it.
I learnt that I can step out my comfort zone and that anxiety hasn’t got to control me
Being completely out of my comfort zone meant that at times my anxiety was on high alert but looking back, I can see that I coped pretty well with the new routine, the new environment and all the people. I well and truly stepped out of my comfort zone and it didn’t kill me, it actually made me learn more about myself than I have in a very long time.
I learnt that I’m more social than I thought I was
Working from home means I don’t get much interaction with other people and I always assume that meeting other people and having to socialise will be a draining and overwhelming experience for me. Turns out, I’m much better at it than I thought I was! I met and spoke to a bunch of incredible Women on this retreat, all of which came from a different background, had different jobs and were there for different reasons. I learnt things from them and found things in common with them (like we all went to bed on Saturday in our respective rooms and watched Strictly!)
I learnt that I enjoy getting up earlier
Each day of the retreat started with an early morning gentle stretching and meditation session at 6:30 and I made the effort to get up for those and it turns out, I really enjoyed it and getting up early doesn’t have to be the chore that I’ve made it out to be.
I learnt that Yoga is what you make it
Finally, I learnt that there is never a one size fits all approach to Yoga. It is what you make it and if your approach is different to someone else’s then that’s absolutely fine. I learnt that the Yoga practiced at this retreat isn’t my sort of Yoga. And the Yoga I was already doing at home actually was. So I’m going to continue doing what I was doing because that was more “me” all along.