I started doing yoga with a friend before I was pregnant and even though my feet couldn’t touch the ground in downward dog (and still can’t!!) I found it was the only time that I switched off completely. I am not very flexible at all, but yoga has helped with this a lot. I do weight training in the gym which is great for toning, but can cause a lot of tension in the body and yoga counteracts this.
There are many different types of yoga, two of my favourites are vinyasa flow and yin yoga. Vinyasa flow keeps you moving from asana to asana, which is good if you find your mind wandering between poses or sequences. Yin yoga is a slower paced yoga, postures are held for a longer period of time, three to five minutes. This is great for stretching the body and calming the mind. If you are used to vinyasa flow or ashtanga yoga you may find this too slow to start, but stick with it. It can be quite uncomfortable holding postures, but after the class I feel so relaxed and ready for bed! I would say yin yoga really helps people who lead an active lifestyle. I always feel distracted by “mind chatter” and taking time for this class is important to me. It is hard to build yoga into your daily life and I decided I would like to dedicate more time to this and booked a yoga retreat.
My first yoga retreat was in Ibiza in June last year, through Soulshine Yoga Retreats. When I booked this I had no idea I was pregnant and was worried I could no longer go. Soulshine Yoga were fantastic and found a new teacher who could also teach pregnancy yoga and adapt postures for me. The retreat was a lovely thing to do by myself, before I embarked on a new chapter in my life, having my first baby.
Ibiza is an amazing location for a retreat, sunbathing in-between yoga sessions and walks around local markets made it even more special. Friends have asked me “what do you do on a yoga retreat, apart from the obvious”! So I thought I would give a brief description of an average day. We had three sessions a day, meditation first thing in the morning, followed by a fast moving flow class to awaken the body, then a more relaxing yin or nidra yoga class late afternoon. Secondly we ate a lot of food!! Meals were at set times each day, so between the yoga and meals, the day was pretty structured. The food was vegan and tasted incredible, it definitely changed my opinion of vegan food being boring!
We also had treatments, such as massage, facials, reiki. The villa I stayed in was beautiful. It had a large infinity pool overlooking the ocean, so the rest of my time was spent here, reading books and chatting to the lovely ladies who were also on the retreat. We got one day off for down time, during which I went to the local market to explore. I bought different handmade items, such as jewellery, which I love, and can never have enough of!
I came away feeling rejuvenated and was introduced to a new side of Ibiza, which I fell in love with. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a yoga retreat, and I hope to go back some time in the future.
The retreat in Ibiza is six nights, which may be a little too long for people, especially with children. A great alternative is a yoga retreat in the beautiful Scottish countryside.
I went on The Happy Yoga Retreat with Sunshine Yoga in May this year. It was perfect for me now we have Flynn, meaning only two nights away yet close to home if I had to return for any reason. Stephanie who runs the retreat is so welcoming and puts you at ease straight away. The schedule for the day was similar to Ibiza, in terms of yoga and food, however it was a rural setting in Eastwood House in Dunkeld. The house is very cosy with a log burning stove in the hall ( I spent A LOT of time reading here), and many small sitting rooms for privacy whilst relaxing. Unfortunately there was no sunshine, it is Scotland after all!! But there were lots of lovely country walks, and Dunkeld is a quaint little place to explore.
The food was delicious, vegetarian and home cooked by Stephanie’s mum. I came away inspired, with new recipes for smoothies and a love for vegan cakes. Alanna from Intercity Mobile Therapists provided treatments throughout our stay. There is nothing better than a good massage after a hard day’s yoga! Again I met a lovely group of ladies, who really helped make the weekend. I enjoyed reading and sleeping in between yoga, after having had a few sleep deprived months it was so nice to just do nothing! As it was only two days it flew by, and I hope to return again next year.
There are only a couple of spaces left for the Happy Yoga Retreat in March 2018 but Sunshine Yoga will likely announce other dates for later in the year.
For those looking to detox, there is also a January Yoga Detox Retreat in 2018. I have not been on this retreat, but it sounds like a lovely way to cleanse the body. It includes six juice meals a day and pre cleanse/post detox advice to ensure the detox is carried out safely.
Information on the above retreats is detailed below:
I hope this has inspired you to discover the benefits of a yoga retreat for yourself some time.