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Beat a retreat: how to get the best from your yoga retreat

Kate Foster

Retreat season is well and truly underway, with more options than ever available for yoga lovers. Whether intensive Ashtanga in Umbria or beach yoga in Cornwall is more your thing, retreats can be life-changing. Here are my top 5 tips for getting the most out of your retreat:

  • Go it alone. Seriously. Yes, it can be tempting to take a friend or partner for company, moral support or to avoid those darned single supplements, but retreats can be something completely different when you go it alone. They offer you a chance to completely immerse, without worrying about whether your buddy is OK, and you'll be challenged to go beyond your comfort zone. Guaranteed: the luxury of only having you to worry about, new friends, the chance to think differently about life, a world of possibilities.
  • Let go of expectations. If you go on retreat absolutely determined to come away half a stone lighter or having mastered inversions, you’re going about it all wrong. Yes, you may well achieve those things anyway, but retreats offer you a blank canvas for your yoga practice - a chance to learn in new ways and surprise yourself. So keep an open mind.
  • Be a beginner. Whether you’re a regular and accomplished yogi or a beginner who’s anxious about keeping up with everyone else, bringing a curious and humble beginner's mind to your retreat will open you up to magic. Let go of the image you have of the yogi you are and let your true yogi unfold. He or she might just surprise you.
  • Embrace the whole shebang. If your retreat is fully vegan and no-alcohol, embrace it. The retreat environment is a carefully curated thing that’s intended to have everyone on an even footing and designed to give you the best possible experience, so think twice before smuggling that prosecco in. Be open to new experiences that might be on offer, even if they feel a bit weird - things like morning silence (mauna) and chanting can be really, really enlightening. And this is the perfect place to experiment with them.
  • Ease back into real life. If you can, take a few days after your retreat to let the whole experience percolate and take effect within you. Going straight back to 12 hour work days isn’t ideal, but if needs must, just be sure to maintain some of the discipline you brought from retreat, like 10 minutes of meditation a day or eating mindfully.

Need a little somethin' somethin' new for your yoga retreat? May we suggest a super-soft, 100% organic cotton Hold My Pose slouch tee to show the world you mean business....

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