What I learnt from going to a Yoga retreat

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.

Have you ever been to a Yoga retreat? How did you find it? Would you like to go to one? Let me know!

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Twenty-something lifestyle blogger from Essex. Book lover, Slytherin, organisational wizard and enjoys Motorsport, Disney and Yoga.

67 thoughts on “What I learnt from going to a Yoga retreat

  1. It’s great you came to this realization after giving it a go yourself. I spent a lot of last year reading many spiritual books and practicing yoga. But this year I feel a different call in my spirit and I enjoyed reading your post which strengthens the point that what’s really for you is only up to you to figure out. That said, I am going on a yoga retreat in October so we’ll see how that goes!

  2. This was not what I was expecting from your yoga retreat but I still loved reading it anyways! I actually loved that you had a completely different experience and were honest about it. Great read!

  3. I don’t think I would be comfortable or find it enjoyable at a retreat that was heavily concentrated on spirituality. It sounds like although it was what you expected you still managed to take positives away with you. 🙂

    Sarah x || Boxnip

  4. What an excellent, in-depth analysis of your perspective on this experience! I’m not into yoga myself, but to be honest, I think I’d come away with a lot of the same things you did. I’d probably find some things strange, others enjoyable, and others not my cup of tea at all. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned about myself this year–similar to you in this situation–it’s that I’m actually a lot better at socialising & interacting with other people. I’ve been in school my whole life essentially, and I’ve always known how to properly greet & address people, but I’ve always felt like I was awkward in some way. Turns out, that’s not true, and I’m actually fairly good at carrying conversation & approaching people. It was a little scary to push myself, but I made myself do so at the beginning of the year, and I’m so glad I did. Sorry for this long ramble haha! Really enjoyed this post x

    twinklexthoughts.blogspot.com

  5. The photo’s you took are amazing! The view looks incredible. It sounds like it was such a good experience for you, for more then just the yoga side of things. It’s a shame some of the things you did, didn’t work for you, but it meant you learnt a lot more about yourself which is a great thing. I really enjoy waking up early too, I used to love having a really long lie in but now I don’t really like waking up late – especially over the weekend as I feel like it’s a bit of wasted time! I still have a bit of a lie in though and wake up at 8:30-9 compared to 6:30 during the week for work 😛

    Amy,
    https://creativenails.uk

  6. It’s great to hear about the other side of yoga. I would love to go on a yoga retreat and as I plan to include it in my daily rountine as it helps with my knee and back pain. I have been to the OM Yoga which made me realise that Yoga (like you said) is personal to each person and it is not just spiritual x

    Bee | makeeatrepeat.co.uk

  7. I really enjoyed reading this post Jenny and I’m glad we had very similar thoughts on the whole experience! I 100% agree that spirituality isn’t something I want to explore further but I am glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried something new. I love that you have taken so many positives from the retreat, it was definitely a great confidence booster and an experience I’ll never forget. I am so happy we got to meet and spend time together, that (and the food) was a huge highlight for me. Fab post, thank you for sharing ❤ xxx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    1. I’m glad you agree! I remember when we were like “is it JUST us that hasn’t got a clue what she’s on about?” 😂😂 Meeting you was definitely one of the biggest highlights of the weekend! Would love to meet up again in the New Year and maybe have some slightly less weird adventures 😂😂 xxx

  8. I’ve never really tried Yoga but I’ve always been intrigued and wanted to give it a go. It’s a shame the retreat wasn’t 100% what you hoped it would be but at least you know now and still seem to have got something from it. I find in social situations I’m sort of forced to be in that I can interact better than I thought I would. Like you, I work from home too so I don’t really talk to that many people other than those online so I always worry what I’ll be like in ‘real life’ I suppose but I think we surprise ourselves sometimes! xx

    Tiffany x http://www.foodandotherloves.co.uk

  9. I’ve been thinking of going to a retreat with my sister in law for a while now but we always get put off, feeling we might not be up to the standard of others yoga wise. The place you and Bexa went to looks lovely and it’s great that you learnt a lot from your experience even if it was in a unexpected way.
    Kate x
    http://www.katesbeautyhome.com

  10. Actually, even though this wasn’t what you were expecting, it’s clearly been a valuable experience. As you say, it got you outside your comfort zone where you discovered you could cope very well. That’s something that not many people are brave enough to do so I’m glad you found so many things that were good in it, as well as clarification on what really works for you 🙂 xx

    Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com

  11. Glad you enjoyed this retreat despite it not being what you expected. I had to learn new ways to embrace yoga after my first teacher and her specific teaching went to live far far away. I found that I enjoy a good challenge and the mix of spirituality and physical exercise given by Ashtanga yoga.

  12. “I need to stop doing things just because the internet or society or someone else is doing it.”- These words are golden. I’m from the land of yoga itself and still prefer to do it at home, in a more flexible way. Loved how you self-introspected <3.

  13. Very interesting to read your experience. I have been thinking of going to a yoga retreat to learn new things about myself and work on my anxiety. I love how positive and honest you wrote this.

  14. I have never been to a yoga retreat, but it’s great to hear that you were able to learn more about yourself even though the retreat wasn’t what you expected. It’s also great that you were able to get out of your comfort zone & meet some wonderful women 😊

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