Our yoga retreat in Greece last week was amazing. I mean, just so, so good. There are a few things that make a yoga retreat really great. One, a great venue. That's the foundation of a good retreat, in my opinion. Our venue, Verina Astra, was incredible. The views were stunning, and the staff was fantastic to work with. The next thing is having great people. We had an awesome international group, welcoming people from England, Russia, France, Canada, and New York City. What I love about yoga retreats is that while everyone is so different, they usually have the same interests and core values, so by the end of the week you feel like you've made a bunch of new friends. The best!
I worked hard on our yoga program and received great feedback. We started our days with a meditation and breath work session and then began an invigorating hour and a half yoga practice. In the afternoon, we'd meed again for a two hour session of a specialized workshop like chair yoga or yin yoga. The intention was to build upon themes that the participants could draw upon throughout the week to take their practice to the next level. We started with the basics, and from there explored themes on the foundation, finding a balance between work and play while on and off the mat, the breath, being grounded but being light, testing our sense of trust through blindfolded yoga, and more. We also worked with arm balances and backbends, and opened up the hips and built core strength. Even though everyone was at different stages in their practice (we had total beginners all the way up through an instructor), people were awesome at applying the lessons to their own personal practice and not worrying too much about the "perfect" pose.
One thing that really stood out to me was how beneficial small retreats are. I knew I loved to lead small retreats past on past experience, but this week really drove it home for me. What happened was, when we were learning new things like baby grasshopper pose, some people would stop, sit, and just watch as I assisted another student practicing. It sort of turned into each person taking their own turn trying the pose while the others quietly watched as I pointed out what I was looking for. In headstand, I was like, "Ok, I can see she's engaging her core, and look, she's got great extension in the legs as she's pushing through the toes." Pointing out these various things was fantastic for others to see so they could take note of their own practice, and by the time this style of learning had become the norm during our more challenging sections of class, we felt as though we knew each other well enough and it didn't feel awkward at all. Rather, it felt like friends hanging out just trying various new poses. It was really cool.
Below, I created a video recap of our week. If you are interested in future retreats, let me know.
Plans for the next few months of 2014-2015:
Costa Rica, Nov 6 - 11, 2014 (3 spots left!)
Yoga weekends throughout Europe, Winter 2015