Lessons from a yoga retreat....(hint), it is not about the yoga

photo by Daniela Dippong

photo by Daniela Dippong

This summer, I went on my very first yoga retreat. I have been practising yoga (particularly referring to the practice of asana) for almost 12 years. In that time, I have watched it rise in popularity and all kinds of retreats pop up. I was always intrigued by the notion of giving myself a dedicated time to focus on my practice and my self-care, but what always stopped me was the gazillion pictures I have seen of yoga retreats online and in posters. All of them which had this intense focus on the physicality of yoga, on how we look when doing it, how flexible or intense the physical can be. 

Now, don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with challenging yourself physically and making your physical body strong, flexible and adaptable. I myself quite enjoy getting into that one posture that I have been working on and finally achieving it. But somehow, I have always felt that the retreats being advertised were missing a way for me to integrate my whole self in the week of self-care which they were promoting. 

For me, yoga has always been an access point as well as a tightly integrated way of being in many things that I do. For this reason when I read about the Yoga and Creativity Retreat at Suncokret in Hvar, Croatia, I was intrigued. Creativity is one of those things that for me is also an access point and tightly integrated way of being in all of the things that I do, just like yoga. 

Magic of a week away 

Led by the wonderful Daniela Dippong from Germany, we started each day with a long two hour yoga session which included wonderful body warm ups, gentle asanas, meditations and working with our creativity via the chakras and the breath. The day concluded with an extension of this practice through creative making and deeper entry into the self. This process not only allowed me to almost finish writing my first book (written in the free times throughout the week), but it also allowed me to see the intrinsic nature of yoga as creativity, and creativity as yoga. Both of these being ultimately just different expression of who I am.

Understanding this intrinsic nature of the yoga practice allows one to see that when we choose, we are doing yoga every single day. 

Photo and above gallery by Daniela Dippong

Photo and above gallery by Daniela Dippong

In this same way, we are being creative every day. We are mindful every day. We are kind every day. We are forgiving every day. We are resilient every day. We are courages every day. We are flexible every day. We are gentle every day. Every day of our life we are being whatever we choose to be. Just like when we show up on the mat, we chose how we want to be. Just like when we show up in front of a creative tool, we choose how we want to be. Just like when we step fully into the understanding that our life is ours to live it, we choose who we want to be. 

This is the magic which happens when you take a week off your regular routine. Your choices become more visible, clearer. You see that how up in your life however you want to. And it is all alright, however you choose, it is alright, because it is your choice. Wether it is a healthy one for yourself or not, that is your choice. And with each day, you are given another opportunity to choose. 

So I say, choose how you show up every day from a place of integrity and if you find that something is not working for you, see where you can soften, ease back, change positions, receive, give, just like when you get on the yoga mat. When it gets harder to choose, give yourself a break and retreat, step away from the daily life, if even for a day. If possible find yourself a community that will support you in this journey. 

Photo by Daniela Dippong

Photo by Daniela Dippong

Healing is a community act

This was the second magical thing that I discovered at the yoga retreat. The moment when a group of strangers become friends, the moment when others become invested in your well-being and you in theirs, this is when community is formed. This is when the shared human family becomes alive.

One of the things that I loved with the group that I had shared this week, was the understanding of our privilege to be able to take a week away and work on ourselves in company of others who were willing to support that journey for us. This privilege is not given to all equally.

After having been supported in my healing by others, after supporting them in theirs, and mutually creating an environment of healing that will vibrate through each of our lives and communities we are part of, I can not help but think of how it is our shared responsibility to make the magic of a week of self-care and healing available to everyone. 

So, I invite you to join me in this conversation of true community healing and accessibility. Sign up here to start creating truly inclusive, accessible healing space which allow everyone a moment to retreat, regroup, refresh and come back to show up in their life in the way that serves their well-being . Join HERE   

 

photo of where we would gather for sharing of food 

photo of where we would gather for sharing of food