I just spent the weekend at a beautiful yoga retreat in Zion National Park, and it was OM-mazing. We had fresh, healthy cooked meals, woke up with morning yoga, hiked through the beautiful park, and ended the day with journaling, meditating and restorative yoga. It was exactly what I needed to unwind, let go, and get refreshed. But more than just finding some relaxation time, I gained some valuable knowledge that can be applied outside the yoga retreat. Here are five things I learned after spending four days meditating, practicing yoga, and hiking.
You’re a lot happier when you go with the flow
Don’t get me wrong, it was apparent how much planning went into it. Everything down to the very last detail on meals, yoga classes and activities were very thoughtful and intentional. But no matter how much planning goes into something there are still some road bumps — like the unexpected amount of people inside the park, how it delayed some activities, and last minute schedule changes. However, everyone on this retreat was so easy-going, and no I don’t mean passive. They spoke up and said what they wanted, but when it came to the small stuff everyone just laughed it off, made the most out of it and had a great time. If one person had become upset, or rigid at not sticking to the exact schedule the vibes of the entire trip would have been ruined. So next time plans change last minute (which they always do) see if you can find some ease and laughter through the situation.
You can do anything with support
The second day we set out on a pretty ambitious hike - Angel’s Landing. And if you haven’t heard of it, this hike requires you to hold onto chains as you climb across 200 foot cliffs after you’ve hiked up 2 miles of switchbacks. Pretty intense! During the climb we all became very frightened and a little anxious. Luckily, we had the support of the group to help us get across the hike and without them I truly don’t know if I would have completed it. When fear and doubt take over, the support of others can help keep you on track and get you through even the scariest of situations.
You are braver than you think
That being said, there is so much strength, courage and bravery inside each of us. Sometimes we need scary situations (like hiking Angel’s Landing) to help us realize that. But think about how much you have gotten through already and you’re still okay. So next time things go awry, remember you have the ability to endure, learn and grow from it.
We need time to recharge
Yes it is important to take time everyday to rest, but when I say we need time to recharge I mean more than that. It is important to take breaks from your life, to step outside of where you live and find quiet time. Giving yourself space like this, removing yourself from your routine, gives you room to reflect on how things are going. Every person on this retreat had a huge change in perspective or new realization about what they wanted and needed. Some also found new appreciations for what they did have at home. So allow yourself the time and the space to reflect on your life and your happiness.
People are nice
When I first arrived, I had so much fear come up. I was intimidated by the other attendees, comparing myself to them, thinking they all probably knew more about yoga than me. But by the end of it, I realized every single person was fighting a battle I knew nothing about. And more importantly, everyone ultimately wants to love and be loved. When you take time to get to know people and find real connections, you will find that everyone has kindness within them.
So yes, I highly recommend attending a yoga retreat, because what you learn will help open your heart, will shift your perspective and you will make lasting connections with new people.