Should I Go On a Yoga Retreat? [Spoiler Alert: Yes, You Should]
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Retreats can teach you how to be in harmony with yourself, to eliminate anxiety and physical or mental ailments through the use of different techniques and connection to nature.
Why then, can’t I just make the decision to go on a yoga retreat? –You might think; Himalayan yogic tradition calls this a clouded buddhi, a higher mind that is not harmonized with the center of consciousness. This is not a bad thing, most of us are often clouded buddhi. Our job as human beings, however, is to see past our conditioning to remember who we are. Only then, will our day-to-day actions will be harmonized with our True-Self and living will become as easy as breathing: effortless and profound.
Knowledge does not equal experience, and it is only through experience that we achieve understanding. Retreats provide the environment for you to go inward so you can experience yourself fully. Once there, it’s easier to achieve understanding and reduce your karmic cycle by removing bad habits, incorrect thinking, and so on.
If you’re still doubting yourself, here are some reasons why you should go on a retreat:
Reason 1: Reduce or eliminate mental or physical pain
Overcome sadness or dejection, restlessness, shakiness, anxiety, and irregularities in the exhalation and inhalation of breath.
All of the above conditions are direct consequences of obstacles happening at more subtle levels of our mind. These obstacles can be overcome by training our being, so it is not easily distracted.
Nature accelerates the process of going inward by calming the mind. When the mind is still, we are able to observe, accept, understand, and train the subtle aspects of ourselves that are at the root of our ailments. People have cured themselves throughout the ages, from all kinds of diseases by establishing a loving and honest dialogue with their inner-selves.
Reason 2: Find the answers you’re looking for
“The whole tree is contained within its seed.”
All the answers you’re looking for residing within. Tapping into them can be difficult because of the constant distractions of modern life.
Nature makes it easy to listen to your inner truth by inviting us to get rid of notifications from your phone or city stimuli. During a retreat, you might learn techniques that allow you to tap into your inner-truth at any time anywhere. In that sense, a retreat is not only an escape but also the foundation on which to build a stronger sense of being.
Reason 3: Remember who you really are
Throughout my years of yoga practice, I have found that our inability to remember what we already know is one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome. This causes fate to repeat over and over again until the lesson is learned.
Sometimes, the reason why things don’t stick is that there are more subtle aspects at play that have not been contemplated yet. Attending a retreat can provide the necessary environment to isolate these subtle aspects and bring them forward so we can understand what is the real reason why we keep forgetting who we are.
Most common excuses not to go
Excuse 1: “I Can’t Afford It”
“Where there is will there is a way.”
Money is the primary concern for most people because they think of money as the goal, not as the tool.
How to get around it:
1. Ask the organizer for a payment plan. By splitting the cost of the retreat into several months you won’t risk leaving yourself without capital.
2. Book sooner rather than later. Things are cheaper when you do them with time. You will most likely get an early bird price and get special bonuses for jumping in first. Flights and hotels will also be cheaper and you will have time to save.
Excuse 2: “I Don’t Have Time”
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” — John Lennon
You will never have time unless you make time. Most people live their lives thinking they’re immortal, only to realize one day they’re not.
How to get around it:
1. Stop procrastinating, book it. When you take a stand, the cosmos conspires to help you. If you don’t make a decision nothing will happen because you’re telling the cosmos you’re fine where you are.
2. Invite people to come with you. When you invite other people to come with you, you make yourself accountable to each other. This will create a circle of inspiration for you, and others, to make the time.
Excuse 3: “I’m afraid”
“Life is an infinite stream of moments happening one after another.”
Fear paralyzes most people. The problem is: where there is no movement, there is no life. When you move, you invite the opportunity.
How to get around it:
1. Take the moment for what it is, a moment. Not because you’re afraid one moment, it means that you need to be afraid the next. This is the difference between living a conscious life versus an unconscious one.
2. Observe your fear and go for it. Fear is an aspect of yourself that must be observed in order to be understood and overcome. It’s also an indication that there is something preventing you from becoming fully realized.