With Christmas over, New Year's resolutions already starting to wane and the cold setting in, are you starting to think about your next escape? If you're also feeling like you need some time out to regroup, enjoy some headspace and give your body some TLC after the festive indulgences, why not try a yoga retreat?
Whether you've never practised yoga before, always been intrigued but never taken the leap or are a seasoned yogi, Catherine Gallagher from Yoga with Catherine addresses some of the most frequently asked questions and concerns about yoga retreats in the latest guest post. With upcoming retreats in Italy, Ibiza, Cornwall and Morocco, you'll be spoilt for choice!
This guest post is written by Catherine Gallagher who runs international yoga retreats:
Aside from the obvious logistical questions around the venue, food, prices etc… these are some of the most commonly asked questions/obstacles (or questions people are too shy to ask me!) about coming on a yoga retreat. Take a peek! Do any apply to you?
1. I’ve always wanted to go on a yoga retreat but don’t have the confidence to travel alone, attend alone or feel comfortable to step outside of my comfort zone. How can I get past this?
Travelling alone is empowering. Attending a yoga retreat alone is an amazing option as there’s the chance to get to know yourself, get to know others, to get fit, healthy and well, both in your body and mind. By attending alone there’s a chance to make this truly your experience, not wasting any time worrying about how your partner or friend is finding the experience. Feeling the different sensations of adrenalin, fear, anxiety, excitement – these are feelings that help us grow as people and make us feel alive! It’s good to live a LOT not just a little.
Yoga retreats are also a beautiful place to make new friends, share experiences together and retreat out of any shell or barriers you may have built around yourself. If you choose the shared room option but don’t know who you’re sharing with, I’ll go out of my way to pair you with another awesome solo traveller!
I also do everything to make sure that your travel is as stress free and smooth as possible. My retreats always include airport transfers if you’re flying abroad so these will be pre-arranged, and you’ll be met at the airport and then driven straight to the venue (included in your price upon booking).
2. I’m not good enough at yoga to go on a retreat. I can’t touch my toes! I’ll be rubbish compared to everyone else.
If I had a penny for every time someone has said this to me…. !!! Yoga is not about touching your toes, or flexibility, or gymnastics! I aim on my retreats to re-build people’s notions of what yoga is… I could write an essay on what yoga is but ultimately it’s about union, connection to your true self and ultimately love.
Also if you don't feel good enough, stop judging yourself! Yoga teaches us to honour, respect and love ourselves more to love others better. If you are highly critical of yourself (and others) it’s probably time to ask yourself why and try working through that thought process and why it exists. Yoga teaches us how to do that.
If you’re worried about being judged on the mat by the other students (or me!) for a start, I won’t! I’m honoured and privileged to have the chance to share a practice with you and guide you. If anyone else on the retreat is judging, that’s their issue and not yours. They have stuff to work through and it’s possible they are not judging but you have made that story up and projected it onto the situation.
You might like to try a few yoga classes in a community class or online to build your confidence in yoga. My Yoga with Catherine retreats can also accommodate complete beginners who’ve never stepped on a yoga mat before. We all just do what we can and more importantly, have fun!
3. I don’t want to be with other people all the time. Will I have to be?
No! People attending yoga retreats are usually more similar than you might think! A lot of people are happy to socialise to some degree and join in on the activities such as yoga, excursions, maybe surfing, eating together.
However, if you want your own private space there is ample time to do so whether it’s going for a walk, reading a book by the pool, taking a swim in the ocean and people will respect that. It’s a very common feeling to crave solitude, especially if you’re usually around a lot of people and/or children and holding space for others. I’d recommend the option with your own private room and perhaps private bathroom if that’s also important for you.
4. What if I don’t like anyone or they don’t like me.
This is very unlikely! The chances are that in a group that have come together at the same time and same place for the same reason to enjoy yoga, a beautiful setting and delicious food, that’s already something you have in common. I’ve never experienced someone not finding at least one other in the group that they bond with.
If worrying and anxious thoughts and feelings are something you suffer with, all the more reason to get away and embrace the yoga. It helps with lowering your cortisol levels (the stress hormone) in the body, so you’ll come home feeling more relaxed, healthy, fit, revived and refreshed with perhaps a fresh perspective on a lot of things.
5. I’m completely new to yoga, and surfing… so it’s not for me!
Then all the more welcome YOU are! There’s no time like the present to try something new… take my dad STARTING yoga aged 65. Now, that’s pretty cool.
If you have any other questions that haven't been covered, do feel free to contact Catherine at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Catherine, from her global brand "Yoga With Catherine", runs international yoga retreats in Morocco, Italy, Ibiza and Cornwall, as well as her "Zen Do" party packages for Brides-To-Be.
Her classes focus on compassion, acceptance and self-love, combining both dynamic asanas with deep relaxation taught truly from the heart. She completed her teacher training with Bryony Hamerton at Be-Yoga Sussex, with Rachel Brathern (@yoga_girl) & Laura Heimann at Island Yoga Aruba and Vidya Heisel at Frog Lotus Yoga International Spain.