Why do people go on retreat?
If you have been exploring yoga or mindfulness or other wellbeing activities for a while you will have noticed that there are “retreats” on offer but you may be wondering what it’s all about and if it is for you.
Does a day or a week to yourself without the pressures of everyday life, in peace and quiet, with good food and beautiful surroundings sound like just what you are yearning for? then a retreat might be just what you need. This is one of the many reasons to go on retreat. You may be thinking “how is that any different from a holiday?”. Holidays are great but they are not necessarily focused on self-care, in fact they may be a wonderful opportunity to indulge in food, wine, culture, sun or sea but often we pack so much in to our holiday we come back feeling like we need a rest.
On a mindfulness retreat the invitation is there to slow down everyday life. To become aware of our own natural pace and processes. Think of it as a spa day for the mind. How wonderful it is to just focus on one thing at a time like making yourself a cup of tea and then enjoying it fully, not in a hurry to do the next thing or working at the same time. The view you spend the afternoon enjoying is of the internal experience of living in this one amazing body, this one amazing life. A retreat can be a great place to experience mindfulness practices for the first time away from distractions and with the support of an experienced teacher. Or it might be an opportunity to renew your mindfulness practice, to reconnect with why you meditate or deepen your practice. On my mindfulness retreat days I welcome beginners and the more experienced. We practice different meditations and mindful movement with plenty of time for discussing and understanding and we have a good lunch and nice treats through the day. The next retreat I will be running is at the lovely Arkwright meadows community gardens, a haven of growth in the heart of Nottingham, a short walk from the tram and the train station.
I always include a period of silence on my retreat days. When faced with the idea of silence in a group for the first time people can often feel very apprehensive: will it be awkward? what if I need to speak? what if I make a noise by mistake? However once they have tried it most people find silence can be a welcome relief from small talk, trying to perform well for others or just having to speak in a group. In silence we have the chance to get inside our own experience, to allow feelings to arise without silencing them with chatter. It can also help us notice the world around us more clearly and rediscover the wonder we used to feel as children at small details in our world. We move from silence into speaking again gently with the understanding that silent contemplation can be a powerful experience. Some people don’t want to give it up!
To book on the next one day mindfulness retreat:
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