My husband and I are hosting two retreats this year in Turkey, so I wanted to give you an idea of what I believe retreats can do for you! To find out more about our retreats visit www.renaissanceretreats.co.uk
Now, clearly I’m bias, but this is not a sales pitch! This is my true, honest opinion and why we have set up this business. We are passionate about retreats and how they can change people’s lives,so obviously we think everyone should go on them!
We went on our first retreat in 2014. It was a juicing retreat with yoga, fitness and walks etc. When we told people where we were going and what we were doing for our ‘holiday’ people couldn't believe it. They couldn't believe we were paying to go somewhere that had no food or alcohol…and that we weren’t going to eat for a week. It didn’t put us off though as we knew we were doing the right thing for us, our body, and our mind. We ended up loving it and haven’t stopped talking about it since!
Since then I have worked on retreats, visited other retreats, as well as set up our own retreats (not just juicing retreats, as we want to appeal to all those people who thought we were crazy!). Now we are retreat mad! :-)
To clarify, a retreat is a weekend, week, or sometimes longer where you stay with a group and attend a program of yoga/fitness (or something else) usually twice/three times a day, with all meals provided. They are away from the outside world, which we are literally retreating from. Retreats were traditionally very spiritual and deep periods of reflection and contemplation, practiced in many cultures and religions, but more recently have mixed a holiday feeling in so that more disciplined aspects are replaced with the modern need to relax, step away and create time to reflect.
On our first retreat, even from the word go, we knew was a good decision and that it was going to change our lives! We never liked going on holidays where everything’s planned, where you can’t (or very rarely) get out of the venue and where you're surrounded by people who you have to make conversation with (well, you don’t have to, but feel obliged to!). However this felt different. We felt so relaxed as the pressure of decision making had been taken out of our hands. The people who were on the retreat were all likeminded and all had amazing lives and stories to tell. Many were so inspiring and it made us feel inspired to do what we want to do in life, rather than just ‘follow the norm’.
We love the communal dining aspect, which is surprising as we don’t usually like to socialise on holiday! Shared eating and long meals with lots of chat and laughter is incredibly nourishing in more ways than just the food. We are meant to be social, we evolved in tribes, and so many of us miss out on this in everyday life as we are so busy. It helps us feel included and there is natural joy that comes from human interaction. Obviously everyone needs their quiet time, and everyone respects that. There is always a balance. You can access the social aspect when needed, but it’s also completely accepted and not questioned when you need to take yourself away to be alone, or even sleep most of the day! It is time to just simply be who you are, rather than what you feel like you have to be.
One of the best parts about retreats is having time for self-care. This could be in the yoga or fitness classes, walking or meditation, or even just sunbathing by the pool. Many of us constantly feel as though we need to have done something and that we haven’t wasted time. This tends to disappear on retreats, as you don’t have anything to do other than possibly a yoga or fitness class, but even they aren’t compulsory! This leaves us free to truly relax. This is such a wonderful and rare feeling, that I have only ever experienced on retreats.
Obviously most retreats involve healthy food. This is another amazing aspect to retreats- having healthy, delicious food prepared, cooked and cleaned up for you! All you have to do is chew and enjoy! Because you’re relaxed and you’re eating nutritious food, your digestion works better, so you absorb more nutrients. This gives you so much energy, less bloating (if you get any) and leaves you feeling clear minded and ready to take on anything when you get back to ‘normal life’! But thats another thing….many people who are in the ‘rat race’, after being on a retreat, actually realise that they are just wasting their life not doing what they love. The clear mind, healthy energy and inspiration that retreats provide, gives them that little push to do what they have always dreamt of. I find this is one of the most amazing aspects to retreats….a total life changing experience!