It doesn’t matter if you want to get into it or are an experienced yogi, there are some excellent reasons to go on a yoga retreat. One of the keys to the success of yoga is finding the time and the peace and quiet to practice it. We don’t all have the opportunity to escape into our own little world and find our center, so it’s very easy to justify the reasons to go on a yoga retreat.
One of the basic reasons to go on a yoga retreat is finding your breath. A primary focus of any yoga practitioner is breathing. Focusing on and controlling our breath has great health benefits, such as improving brain function and reducing stress levels. Whether you take an adventurer’s yoga retreat or a more conventional, yoga-centric one, breathing will be (and should be) one of its major focal points. And learning how to breathe will be just one of the many sustainable benefits of attending a retreat.
With its 5,000 year-long history, yoga has survived the test of time for many reasons, its health benefits among them. Yoga improves your body’s everyday functions, firstly by lowering blood pressure and actively stimulating blood flow, which in turn boosts heart health. While practicing yoga, your internal organs are being massaged, which aids the body in preventing disease. Further, becoming more attuned to your body allows you to better realize when something is amiss, thereby allowing for you to head off disease before it becomes an issue. Yoga can also improve your metabolism. Controlling hunger and maintaining a healthy weight are the keys to a balanced metabolism. Practicing yoga consistently helps you find your own personal balance, and thus creates an efficient metabolism. Additional benefits include developing posture, flexibility, strength and balance; improving sleep and energy levels; as well as positively impacting emotional habits, such as mood, memory, concentration and self control.
Anxiety melts with your every move. Tense muscles ease and relax. In the absence of noise, you can actually hear your breath enough to focus on your breathing. The sublime nature of a yoga retreat – the trees, the mountains, the sea; whatever the surroundings of your chosen destination – is the perfect atmosphere within which to immerse yourself when looking to de-stress and arrive at harmony and peace.
We’re not all wired to find relaxation in peace and quiet. Some may require noise and lights and movement to feel at ease. If you’re one of these party people, there’s still a place for you in the way of yoga retreats. Some, like Greenbrier Resort, offer more party-friendly options. At Greenbrier, you can meditate and attend your yoga class in the morning, and once you’ve grown bored and restless with the silence, throw on your party garb and hit up a restaurant or a casino in the evening. Las Olas Surf & Yoga in Mexico even offers salsa lessons and, once dancing’s made you thirsty, a class on mixing the absolutely perfect margarita.
If you live in the city and aren’t allowed much exposure to Mother Nature, one of the best reasons to go on a yoga retreat is you will be fully exposed to nature at its best and most beautiful. Whether in the cloud-coated mountains, swallowed up in the greenery of a tropical forest, or within a stone’s throw from the soft waves of the sea, breathing in air untouched by a city’s pollutants is like the first breath of life. Nature, in its good grace, immediately adjusts your mood levels, reducing anxiety and stress and kicking pure joy up a notch.
To help attendees not only find their peace but grow in it, many yoga retreats offer learning experiences which you might otherwise lack the time to explore. From painting, to kayaking, to lectures on Chinese medicine, retreats can provide you with a chance to either get in touch with an old hobby or begin one anew . The aptly named Adventure Yoga Retreat in Portugal offers surfing or rock climbing to help you take advantage of the area’s gorgeous nearby beach and cliffs. At the Yoga Barn in Bali, you can take part in classes ranging from ecstatic dance to Yin yoga and Vinyasa flow. What’s more, all classes are located inside a spacious thatch-roofed mud hut with grand views of terraced rice paddy fields.
Practicing yoga is a great way to become more attuned with your self. You meditate, you come to know your body, and you find the deeper you. But a yoga retreat does not necessarily require you to focus entirely on self. Volunteer opportunities offer the opportunity to help others and are an integral part of some retreats, such as Monte Vista Retreat in Thailand. At Monte Vista, you can be a member of a small international community, working together in service to others. Volunteer work at Monte Vista includes cleaning, kitchen assistance, project work around the property, and supporting the retreat guest programs.
Frankly, I think that most yogis require very little persuasion or need to be told of the reasons to go on a yoga retreat. The issues are more of finding the time and the money to do so. Would you consider giving up your beach vacation to go on a yoga retreat instead?