I have attended several yoga retreats over the years and have reaped the benefits of immersing myself in practicing yoga every day in an environment which restores, relaxes and heals. The nature, the sunshine, the delicious healthy food, being away from the stresses and strains of modern life all combine to offer a transformative experience and an effective way to recharge your life .So this year I decided I would broaden my teaching experience and start my own yoga retreats. My first retreat was a couple of weeks ago at Tribewanted Monestevole in Umbria, Italy and the experience turned out to be something I will remember always.
Monestevole itself is beautiful and offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature and others in a very special way. Sharing mealtimes, washing up duty, helping out with the animals or in the garden, Monestevole has a way of creating that sense of community that may be missing in our busy city lives.
Our group was made up of people from the UK, Germany and Italy. One woman had never done a yoga class and decided to join the retreat to try it out. Another had done a couple of casual classes, another hadn't practiced for years. This small mixed group of beginners and more seasoned practitioners had the opportunity to practice together twice a day and explore yoga at a level suited to their own needs. The morning yoga workshops, to discuss and explore the yoga tools we can practice to change, grow and heal, combined with the evening therapeutic and restorative yoga practices, made it a truly holistic experience.
There was free time in the afternoon to do whatever you liked to make the most out of your day, walking, swimming, connecting with nature or just lying in a hammock reading and chilling. Then there was the evening “get together” for food, chat and music.
Something happens when a group of like-minded individuals gather together in a beautiful location to share the practice of yoga. New friendships blossom and being in a new and different place creates an opportunity to see the world, and yourself, in a new perspective. Not only do you find your own inspiration, but you come back to the hustle and bustle of everyday life with renewed energy and optimism.
For me as the teacher it was hard work – I had been told this by friends who have run retreats for years. But wow what a magical experience. In all my years of teaching I have never felt such a strength of connection and union as I did as the yoga sessions progressed and developed throughout the 4 day retreat. I started with a group of 15 individuals and ended with my little ”tribe”. Reminding me that although everyone is unique, we are all connected and it’s that connection we all seek throughout our lives – that’s what makes us complete.
Would I do it again - absolutely - Monestevole 2016 is already being planned.
My deepest gratitude to Monestevole and my little “tribe” for giving me a unique teaching experience which will stay with me always.