I was trying to convince my friend to come on a yoga retreat with me and was surprised when she asked me if there would be any craic?
Loads! I replied. I went on to extol the joy of yoga.
- The self-exploration, breathing and the benefits of moving slowly.
- The giving your body time to rest.
- The well deserved self-love and nourishment
when I noticed the light in her usually sparkly eyes had been snuffed.
‘I know all of that but where’s the fun?’
For the next five minutes, she asked me questions that I’d never considered. She pointed out that as a mere human who only dips an occasional toe in and out of yoga classes, she thought that retreats would be no place for laughter.
- What happens if she was still hungry after eating only veggie food?
- Would she be allowed to skip the meditation classes?
She’d most probably relish a tonic laced with gin at the end of the day. It was clear that she hadn’t a rashers about what’s involved and I’m guessing she’s not alone. There was no point in me carrying on with my ‘alternative holiday / healthy choices’ mantra so I pointed out that…
NOT ALL RETREATS ARE THE SAME.
I revealed that I’d been to a retreat that I’d laughed so hard that my jaws ached. I’d been to a place (top secret) in the West of Ireland where they offered me a shot of whiskey in my morning porridge. I’d done wine tasting, cookery classes and yoga in Italy where you only got fed if you asked for your grub in Italian. I’d experienced yoga and surfing in Greece where I’d spent more time falling off the board and cursing than I spent on it, much to the -and if I may add- insensitive and unnecessary hysterical laughter from my students.
I told her that there are studios ‘not yet in Ireland’ who pair yoga and marijuana for that ‘extra’ level of immersion and then there are the quietly reflective, deeply connecting, transformational retreats. You just have to have an idea of what you want.
She was surprised and somewhat disbelieving of my answer so after Mr Google was consulted she beamed.
YOGA HOLIDAY OR A YOGA RETREAT?
Yoga holidays tend to be just that. There will be a few hours of yoga per day, interlaced with an outdoor activity like walking, surfing, painting etc. There’s a good bit of down time for book reading or for catching up on some afternoon naps. NONE of the classes or activities are compulsory. The cuisine will more than likely be vegetarian, made with love and there is usually loads of it but if you don’t like no one will stop you from nipping out to find an alternative should you want to.
A yoga retreat will have all of the above but with a heavier emphasis on the yoga and self-exploration. The food will most definitely be vegan or veggie and there is usually cake.
I’ve been on so many yoga holidays and retreats at this point and each of them have offered a special ingredient of their own. I’ve chosen what I needed for me at the time but I can honestly tell you that I have always had fun. The change of pace, the environment and time out from your own 3 ringed circus, is enough to make anyone chill long enough to release a giggle or two. I’ve made lasting friends and not one single enemy. I love going on them and facilitating them in equal measure. The more eclectic the group the more fun I’ve had.
Whatever you fancy…marijuana, juniper-laced or metamorphic, there is a retreat for you and when you’ve booked you will start to look forward to it and the fun will weave its way into your curious soul.