So you’re back home after a yoga retreat. You’ve had a week of blissful surroundings, daily yoga and meditation, plentiful massages and wonderful healthy food. You’re feeling great and are keen to make this break a kick-start to some healthier habits, but the retreat glow quickly fades when you’re back to busy daily life with all its pressures and time constraints. So how can you make sure you don’t leave ‘retreat you’ in that peaceful location far from your everyday life? Here are six ways to help you hold onto that retreat feeling and bring your bliss home.
1 – Take twelve breaths.
Most yoga retreats begin the day in silence, sitting in meditation. Whilst 20 or 30 minutes might not be practical in your home-life, there’s no need to lose that link with the peace you found in your new habit. Taking just twelve slow, mindful breaths is a beautiful way to get the day off to a good start. Decide on a place to sit (or stand!) and close your eyes. You can do it whilst the kettle boils for your morning brew, or even before your feet hit the floor – it only takes 2 minutes, and it feels so nourishing to begin the day by connecting to yourself.
2 – Pre-prep healthy food
Ah, the delicious, vitalising spreads that greet us on retreat – if only we could take the chef home! You can retain that sense of having a healthy feast laid out for the taking by doing a little prep, so that you always have great food ready to go. Chia pudding (chia seeds soaked in coconut milk) and bircher muesli (oats soaked in apple juice with whatever seeds and fruit you like to add) take seconds to throw together and mean you have a wonderful breakfast ready to go. Slice up some favourite fruits and keep them in the fridge so they’re ready to grab too. Roasting a big batch of a colourful assortment of veggies and keeping them in the fridge ready to eat hot or cold makes evening meals easy and it feels like someone already did the work for you (thanks, yesterday-me!) And if there was a drink or infusion that you enjoyed on retreat, why not make that at home? Fresh mint tea takes seconds, coffee tastes tropical with coconut milk, and kombucha and coconut water are readily available to have at home these days.
3 – Keep up your yoga practice.
If you have a regular class, you already know the benefits and joy of maintaining your practice with a great teacher! That commitment to your own wellbeing is simply one of the best things you can do for yourself. If you don’t have a local class, try simply doing the sun salutations that you’re now familiar with and seeing what else you can remember. Or get curious online – I really love the website yogaglo.com, for their thousand of streamed classes with great teachers, which you can filter by duration (as little as five minutes!), level, style and so on. Little and often is key – if you can get on the mat even for a few minutes, a few times each week, every part of your being will thank you!
4 – Get sensual
What were the sights, sounds, smells of your retreat? If you enjoyed peaceful music as you floated around the accomodation, why not download some relaxation tunes? If you remember the smell of incense, bring some into your home. Do you remember candles and tropical plants? Invite those tiny flames and some pot plants into your space to recreate that peaceful atmosphere.
5 – Devote time to deep relaxation.
It’s so easy to tell ourselves that we don’t have the time for this, whilst watching telly and scrolling social media! There’s nothing wrong with that in moderation, but how about, once a week, lying down and drifting off for 15 minutes – or more! – to one of the yoga nidras or guided relaxations you can find online? I love Uma Dinsmore-Tuli’s wonderful and generous sharing of yoga nidra on her website.
6 – Self-massage
Massage is such a fantastic life-supporting practice, but it’s sometimes hard to find the time and money to get one regularly. Give yourself a taster of it by giving yourself a foot massage whilst you’re sitting at home, rub your face and body lotions in with more pressure and attention than usual, and best of all seek out a local massage therapist in your community. Independent therapists often have more affordable prices than fancy spas, and often offer packages and will come to your home. As a between-retreat treat, even just a few times a year, it’s a fantastic investment in your own wellbeing.
The Bonus…. Start Planning Your Next One!
A wise person once said that a happy human needs someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to. So cultivate that retreat feeling all year round, and in idle moments have a little daydream about the next time you’ll be enjoying that wonderful feeling of being blissed out on retreat!