By Dr. Melissa West
(1) Time to Yourself
A yoga retreat is an opportunity for reflection free from the demands of everyday life. Imagine a time of solitude liberated from the daily needs of your children, partners and co-workers. Retreats offer plenty of space for quiet and solitary reflection.
(2) The Food
During the retreat you will be nourished by seven nutritious vegetarian meals. Many retreat centers specialize in fresh menus created from nutritious whole foods that will nurture your body and soul and promote optimal health during your stay. You will leave inspired to make healthy improvements to your diet.
(3) The Yoga
Imagine an entire weekend of yoga classes especially designed for your retreat. A yoga retreat allows ample time for extended yoga practice. Often you will receive more hours of yoga instruction during a retreat than a whole session of weekly yoga classes! Extended yoga practice allows more time for the body to unwind, release, let go, and find peace in your body, mind, and spirit.
(4) The People
The people I have met on yoga retreats are some of the most enlightened, intelligent and thoughtful people I have come to know. Yoga retreats are an amazing venue to form lasting friendships and deepen existing ones.
(5) The Location
Retreat centers are often located close enough so that it is a short drive and far enough to free yourself from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Most people need 8-9 hours of sleep to function optimally, yet we rarely get that much sleep in our day to day lives. Practicing yoga all day prepares the body for an early night’s rest.
(7) Pranayama (Breath Practice)
Most yoga retreats will have some portion of the practice dedicated to pranayama or breath practice. Pranayama calms and steadies the mind, helps the body use oxygen more efficiently, and can increase your rate of metabolism to aid in weight loss.
(8) Walking Meditation
Many yoga retreats begin each morning with a slow and quiet walking meditation through the natural surrounding area. This beautiful form of meditation allows you to quiet your mind and connect more deeply with nature.
(9) Time of the Year
Any time of year is a great time of year for a yoga retreat. Go away in the fall to enjoy the beautiful colours of the leaves on the trees, retreat in the winter to escape the winter blahs, spring retreats offer a time of rejuvenation and summer is a perfect time for a mini vacation.
A weekend yoga retreat will allow you to reconnect with your greater, divine purpose. Learn to reconnect with your spirit and the truth within you. A yoga retreat will quiet your mind so you can once again hear your heart’s desire and gather the courage to live in spirit.
Melissa West is a yoga instructor and lifestyle coach who leads retreats in beautiful Southwestern Ontario, Canada. For more information see her website at http://www.melissawest.com
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