I’ve just come to the end of my second ever yoga retreat. The first retreat was last year in the UK with lots of different people, of different ages from different backgrounds. This second retreat was in Ibiza with a group of Yoga Teachers, most from London.
I chose this retreat because I knew the teacher and enjoy her style of teaching. I was also intrigued to go on holiday with people who would have similar passions and practices to me. Aside from that, I didn’t know what to expect and I wouldn’t have expected what did happen.
As you would expect on a yoga retreat – there was a lot of yoga. What was super interesting was the huge difference in everyone’s practices. Different styles, strengths, preferences; it was beautiful to see. A great reminder that yoga is a journey – everyone’s journey is different as are our bodies and minds.
The retreat was really focused on connection – with others and with yourself. We had sessions which included acro yoga, eye gazing and therapeutic touch. I’m not used to sharing such intimate practices with others and so it was quite uncomfortable at first. The more we shared connection with others the more comfortable it became and the more we connected on a deeper level – getting past the surface. Really seeing someone properly and being vulnerable enough for someone to properly see you for who you really are. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to experience.
On a more personal level we spent a workshop really delving into ourselves as well as quite a focus on introspection in the yoga sessions. It brought up a lot for me that I wasn’t expecting. I’ve always thought I’m pretty good at self-care (since I left my previous career that is!) I meditate and practice yoga most days; I exercise, I eat well, I read often, I cook, I give myself space and time to do things that make me happy. What I realised on this retreat was that everything I had been doing was pretty surface level. I was doing all this ‘stuff’ because I knew I should but not really actually delving in and acknowledging what was going on inside or even what these practices meant for me.
I learnt a lot about myself. I realised that I don’t particularly like myself – my body, my emotions, my mind. I’ve not been being kind to myself; I’ve been practicing yoga from a place of punishment rather than kindness – pushing myself to get into postures I ‘should’ be able to do rather than honouring where I’m at and enjoying delving a bit deeper into how I’m feeling in my practice. Allowing myself to move a little deeper where my boy wants it and backing off giving my body space to relax where it needs to. I’ve also learnt that I depreciate myself a lot. I need to value myself more. Have faith in my journey and the path I’m on; have patience for the future. I know it’s all been said before but – ‘practice and all is coming’ is something I need to remember more. Also putting more value into what I’m doing.
A big thing I learnt was about being vulnerable. I’ve been quite good at opening up and sharing; I’m quite an emotional person – I feel a lot and am aware of my feelings – because of this I find it quite easy to talk about things. Being vulnerable on a blog to an audience I can’t see is one thing but opening up to another person right in front of you can be super hard. The fear of judgement, of a lack of understanding can be difficult to navigate. This week has made me much more able to be vulnerable; to open up, share, truly connect with someone else on a deeper level.
o I’ve spent the week really sitting with these uncomfortable revelations. Taking time to work on myself. I still have a lot of work to do but that’s ok; it’s a process. Life is a journey and I’m looking forward to what comes next, seeing how I can change and develop. I’m excited for the next step. Cannot thank Steffy White and the other girls on the retreat enough for the experiences; so much love for them all.