I have accumulated quite a bit of junk mail over the last couple of years due to my health and wellness exploration. Some emails I delete right away and some I might actually open because the subject line drew me in ("WIN A MILLION DOLLARS BY ANSWERING THIS SURVEY!"). Months back I received an email about a retreat in Arizona. I thought 'nah, you don't have time, probably shouldn't spend the money, who would go with me?' But something told me to open this email anyway. Instantly I got that excited butterfly feeling in my stomach. The retreat was all on Ayurveda (a topic I love) and the location (Carefree, AZ) looked breathtaking. I had never been to Arizona and was soon fantasizing about a week of yoga, meditation, and yummy food.
I called my mom and said 'so there's this retreat!' It took her a little longer than it took me to come around to the idea but before I knew it we were boarding a plane and heading to the desert. While on the plane I was thinking about how this time away would be good to recharge, learn some new healthy tips, and get my yoga fix. One week later as I was returning home I realized not only were those expectations met but I got WAY more than I thought was possible. Are vacations necessary and relaxing? Of course! I would never suggest giving them up, especially with family and friends. However, if you are looking for some direction in your days away, a retreat may be just the ticket. Here are some wonderful benefits I found with a retreat.
Doing a retreat holds you accountable. When my mother and I showed up the first night (after traveling all day) we were given our dinner, along with the agenda for the week and a quick tour. I'm sure some people wouldn't like having an agenda while you are 'on vacation' but for me it was heavenly. All the items on the agenda were my favorite things to do. Morning yoga flow followed by meditation, breakfast, an hour or two lecture (I'm a dork), lunch, spa/swim, dinner, and we always ended the day with another yoga/meditation. As you can see, it was jammed packed with things to do. Guess what there wasn't room for? You got it, technology. I got to unplug guilt free every day for a week. Of course there was time at the end of the day to surf but by then the little computer screen seemed trivial after looking at the gorgeous views all day. Having the agenda kept me, and everyone in the group, focused on the tasks at hand and away from the "time killers," such as FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. And we were so much better off without it!
Surround yourself with positivity. Of course everyone who signed up for the retreat had similar goals and ideas of what they wanted out of the week. The instructors and practitioners were full of positivity and healthy ideas they hoped to pass along to our hungry minds. They worked in Western medical fields but decided to educate themselves with Eastern ideas as well, which gave them a hybrid version of what health and wellness looked like. From their studies they shared with us how important positivity is and how we all need to surround ourselves with it every day! Why would we want negativity in our lives when we are trying to become the best versions of ourselves??? Positivity breeds happiness, right!?!? So why not surround ourselves with it!
Meet new people. Meeting the other retreat goers was by far my favorite part! You have the opportunity to meet people who have like minded goals and can come from different states or even different countries. Their perspectives with their cultural twist may be just the formula you need to tackle an individual setback or fear you had been facing. So many different personalities and life stories meshed together for an entire week of learning across all areas. I had so many great conversations with so many remarkable people. The things I learned from the other ten women are memories I will cherish for the rest of my life, not to mention new friendships I will continue to cultivate. Our week was packed with overcoming personal obstacles and we had the space to ask for help within our group. Explaining the bonds that were formed is something that seems almost impossible to truly convey through words.
Experiencing a new location. Doing a retreat in a different state was the icing on the cake. The idea of traveling is something that always seems so exciting and intriguing to me but not something I make enough time for. I take a family trip once a year when everything aligns just right, but we usually stay on the east coast. Going on this trip to Arizona was the exact environmental landscape change that my senses craved. I could NOT stop staring at the gorgeous red mountains and cactus plants. Watching the sun set with a color palette opposite of my normal surroundings was spectacular.
All of these wonderful benefits wrapped into one retreat was truly unbelievable! Being able to spend nearly a week in a beautiful setting with like-minded people gave me so much inspiration and I couldn't wait to share some of what I learned with all of you. Also (spoiler alert!), one of the instructors agreed to do an upcoming podcast with me. I can NOT wait to sit down with her and listen to all the amazing things she has accomplished and what the future looks like for her. Stay tuned😊