Top 10 Benefits of attending a yoga retreat

Nourishing your body, mind and soul is not a luxury, but a necessity.

Often, a break from your busy schedule, bad habits and constant digital bombardment is the best way to set you back on track towards living the life that you dream of.

Here’s the top ten benefits of attending a yoga retreat a friend of mine asked me to summarize for her beautiful blog.

1. Deepen your asana practice
Whether this means finally mastering handstand or simply being able to sit still throughout a whole meditation, the regularity and frequency of classes during a retreat will steepen the learning curve significantly.
2. Dive into the philosophy
Whilst mastering the poses is fun and rewarding, there’s so much more to Yoga. The noble eight-fold path subscribed in the Yoga Sutras brought closer by an authentic and inspiring teacher without appointments either end of a yoga class can help you understand and treasure much more of this ancient art of living.
3. Improve your health with mudras, kryas and pranayama
Yoga and its sister science, Ayurveda, can be used as a powerful way to improve your immunes system and overall health. How do different poses affect your liver and spleen? Have you ever learnt and tried adding a powerful krya (cleansing technique) to your morning routine to boost your digestive juices? Or a bandha to keep energies from leaking from your system? What about specific mudras (subtle energy gestures) to soothe PMS and enhance your wombs’ creative energies or further open your heart’s outreach? Possibilities for optimum health and happiness are limitless and the immersion yoga retreats provide for will allow you to get a much greater grasp on it all.
4. Cleanse your colon
Often retreats include deliciously healthy meals, with some offering the full cleanse program. This is another way of taking your health and well-being to a whole new level while expanding your food horizon. Often we get stuck in a food routine. A retreat is a chance to break bad habits, open up to new recipes and push your taste buds’ boundaries closer to the wholesome optimum.

H is for Happiness (9)
Photograph courtesy to H is for Happiness

5. Meditate – find that serenity within
Traditionally, yoga’s main purpose was to still the mind. While your usual Wednesday evening class might leave you feeling much calmer, a deeper emersion away from the business of everyday life can give you a much deeper insight into the blissful nature of Samadhi – the merging with one and all and dropping of all boundaries.
6. Take real time off
Sometimes you can go on a holiday, but phones continue to beep, laptops to peep and TV to shed horrible news. Amongst all that digital noise switching off can be a real challenge. It is of utmost importance for your health to every now and then take some time off the tremendous media input we are usually exposed to. Modern science shows that digital waves can have a detrimental effect on our mental, emotional and physical well-being. Giving the body-mind a break from the constant lightning-fast information overflow will give you a whole new perspective on life’s worries and issues.
7. Let go of fears to unlock your true potential
In a safe environment supported by an experienced teacher and like-minded people (sangha) it is easier to dissolve suppressed fears and past traumas to unlock our true potential and take our post-retreat life as close to our dreams as possible.
8. Return refreshed and renewed
Rather than coming back home feeling the need for another holiday, you’ll be ready to conquer the world and bring the relaxation back home with you. Who knows, newly gained outlook and vigour might even encourage you to changer your career, clean out the clutter in your attic or open up to a new relationship.
9. Travel inside and out
Whilst mostly yoga retreats are set in breath-taking surroundings which in themselves promise to have a life-affirming effect on your soul, the trip doesn’t only take you on a geographical, but also deeper journey inside. Connecting with nature takes us back to our alpha mind state allowing you to feel grounded and earthily blissful. Nature has a way of setting you back in tune with your natural rhythm and the world around you that no other thing has. Exploring the depths of your soul, darkest corners of your heart and brightest spots of your soul can open your life up to boundless new opportunities.
10. Make new like-minded friends
Last but not least, a yoga retreat joins like-minded people open to share their journeys and learning about yours. Practicing yoga and meditating together for several days or even weeks creates a foundation for friendship hard to topple in a busy everyday life environment. Equally, if you are after some time off, they will understand.

About the Author
Dini Martinez is a travelling Yogini, free spirit, Ayurvedic practitioner, experienced Doula, child-birth educator, mother of two, international yoga teacher, sustainability dudes and passionate writer. She lives on a sailing boat with her family, travels the world and runs yoga retreats on the way – inspiring others to also dare living their dreams.

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