A yoga retreat is a place and space for re-connection with a forgotten part of your self. A part of you that has been clouded by the pressures of daily life, the confusion of the thinking mind, and the emotional suppression inherent in our adaptation to society. During your time on retreat you have space to explore how these three aspects of your consciousness are entangled together. A good quality retreat gives you the tools and perspective to understand, embrace and untangle them, bringing light to what was subconscious.
When looking for a yoga retreat we must clarify our intention. I know by experience running yoga retreats for several years now that what people are really looking for is to experience healing, love, relaxation, and clarity of mind. They also want to learn skills that nurture their capacity to deal with the difficulties of life in a more efficient way, beyond the boundaries of our retreat time together.
Choosing a good yoga retreat therefore is inevitably related to the depth and quality of teaching. The teacher/facilitator offering a yoga retreat must be mature enough, with the tools and skills, beyond just the physical dimension of yoga, to support and nurture the whole group. Simultaneously helping each individual in their intention to reconnect with a deeper and more loving dimension of themselves.
Many so called “Yoga Retreats” nowadays should be really just be called “Yoga Holidays”. That is not to say that a yoga holiday isn’t beneficial, but is a different concept altogether.
In a Yoga retreat or Yoga holiday you have a group of people that normally don’t know each other, all with different physical capabilities, different ages, different needs, etc. and all of them have something in common. They all want to reduce their level of stress and reconnect with who they really are. Having fun and enjoying each other’s company is only possible to the degree to which teacher leading the yoga retreat has the skills to bring every person in the retreat to the same place of re-connection with themselves, regardless of their physical capabilities.
In a yoga holiday you may or may not find the same possibility of re-connection with the self. They usually offer a yoga class twice a day, often with an athletic teacher (mostly young), with minimal capability and experience. It is unlikely that they understand how to fulfill the needs of all participants, and fuel and support the transformation process. Often the teacher leads a vinyasa flow class at a fast pace. This can be very good if you do have the capabilities or the previous experience, but if you don’t you would be inevitably left behind or even ignored. The result of this is a dismembered group that doesn’t really support the process of re-connection for each individual equally.
That is why is so important that you choose what you really want to get from a yoga retreat experience before hand. Do you want to feel absolutely bonded with a fun group and go beyond what you thought it was possible inside your self, really remembering who you really are, getting a great insight about your yoga practice and your life?
Or maybe you just want to be relaxed alone and do your yoga practice every day without much concern for the rest of the group, or the quality of the teaching imparted?
If the latter is your expectation, then perhaps a yoga retreat isn’t for you, although ultimately you may not quite get what you are looking for in terms of relaxation and renewal.
In our retreats at Suleyman’s Garden you can expect to find the re-connection not only with your self but also with the land and the most beautiful part of each other. It is a real loving, nurturing and healing experience.
In my retreats at Suleyman’s Garden I teach from a place in my self of great sensitivity in which I connect with the needs of each individual. We go beyond the ego urges of achievement or the physical restrictions of others. This leads each participant to embrace all that it is present. We refine that connection as the days pass until you get to feel not only relaxed but deeply connected with others and the spectacular and beyond beautiful place where the retreat is set. We certainly have so much fun together and laughter that by the end of the retreat no one wants to leave!