how to prepare for a yoga retreat or training
So you've booked your tickets to a faraway tropical land, now what?
Yoga retreats and trainings are wonderful opportunities for one to connect to themselves at a deeper level, tuning into their truths and allowing for an expansion of consciousness. Yoga stays allow individuals to sever ties from their unhealthy habits of poor sleep schedules + peer pressured trips to the bar + late night sugar fixes + endless hours on the clock working for "the man". Removing yourself from your routine for 2-4 weeks at a time can do wonders for ones level of body + mind awareness. But as I mentioned a few posts back, you never want to show up to the party unprepared or else you might get stuck drinking bad vodka. The same goes for your nama(yoga)stays.
My Ashtanga teacher training was a month long intensive, to say the least, experience that took place in a remote small fishing village south of San Juan Del Sur on the pacific side of Nicaragua in Ostional. Personally, I chose to go to my teacher training only 3 months after graduating from college as I knew I wanted to as quickly as possible begin my immersion into self care, a daily grounding lifestyle and a chronic craving for self discovery. I wanted to allow myself an entire month to absorb + drink + sweat all things Ashtanga yoga + Ayurvedic nutrition. I got all of that, plus an extreme connection to my inner body on a completely different level than I ever expected. Face to face with hijacking my nervous system, I learned how to practice on an empty stomach + survive on only cold showers for a month + truly feel what it was like to live a humbled yogic lifestyle full of humiliation, honesty, doubt, certainty, love, and compassion for the entire practice. To say it was the best month of my life was an understatement, as I honestly feel as if I began a whole new life after about two weeks of sweat + exhaustion + self-discovery. My entire perspective on life and what was truly important to me shifted. I found that with proper sleep + adequate nutrition + daily movement on and off my mat + positive conversation + freedom from the ego, I could be as free as I wanted. Revelations of breaking free from alcohol + party + food addictions + unhealthy relationships began to slowly (and they are still slow to dissipate!) began to feel lighter on the mind. When I tell you that i opened up new neurological pathways bursting with alternative channels of consciousness, I kid you not.
I believe that I prepared for this immersion as best as I could, and there were no surprises other than the occasional scorpion in my neatly (Im a neat freak) folded underwear along the cement counters in our bungalows + our hostesses hanging my brand new lulu lemon pants on the barbed-wire fence to dry. But had i a little more food for thought upon prepping for this experience, well it couldn't have hurt.
Although you will be doing X amount of hours of yoga, something that you must have a connection to in the first place, know that it will be hard on your body and will require immense levels of endurance + buoyancy. Be prepared to endure long days of extreme physical exertion in high levels of heat, on lesser quality of sleep than you are used to (atleast for the first week of acclimating to your new environment.). You will be absorbing heaping amounts of information and just when you thought your yoga mind couldn't be stretched any more, you will start to break down Trikonasana breath by breath. There is A LOT more than meets the eye to such a powerful posture as this! Your digestion may suffer due to changes in diet + sleep cycles + level of physical activity + physical and mental stress + anxiety detox, so be prepared for this. Pack lots of shelf stable probiotics, adaptogens, fennel seeds, Smooth Move tea, and essential oils. Be prepared to let out some of your deepest thoughts and secrets to a group of strangers who will inevitably end up being your best friends, as the heart tends to release emotions from all over the body the deeper into a detox we get. Be prepared to not get into all the postures you hoped youd learn how to do and be prepared to enjoy every minute of chatarunga dandasana as you will find yourself here a lot. Be prepared to scare yourself by just how powerful the body and mind can become when working in unity. The days will only get longer, but take note that you're body and mind are only getting stronger. You will begin to deconstruct and reconstruct your body and mind all at the same time. You will learn that everything you see in others is actually what you see in yourself, and be mindful that this quality is only human and we must embrace it as being a connection to the universe and everything within it. Dont hesitate to ask as many questions as possible throughout your training as you will wish you could go back to each and every morning + evening practice and philosophy session more often than not. EXPLORE THE TOPICS OF CHAKRAS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, you would be surprised how much knowledge of inner body is attained once you get an idea of the purpose and actions of each energy center. Know your history, embed your own teacher statement in your mind, and dont forget to breathe.
So you've mentally prepared yourself, what on earth should you pack + what should be left back at home in the concrete jungle we call our reality. Heres three things you should most definitely bring and three things you should most definitely not bring:
yes || adaptogens such as Ashwagandha + Cordyceps + ginseng to promote ongoing nervous system support || Nontoxic shampoo + conditioner + face scrub || glass water bottle || TRINKETS TO TRADE WITH NEW FRIENDS || COCONUT OIL MIXED WITH OREGANO OIL (BEST BUG REPELLENT THAT CONDITIONS YOUR MUSCLES AT THE SAME TIME) ||
NO// SUGAR LADEN PROTEIN BARS: ENJOY THE FOOD THEY PROVIDE YOU WITH AND LEAVE THE PROCESSED STUFF AT HOME! WHOLE FOODS WILL ALWAYS BE THERE WHEN YOU RETURN. || FANCY YOGA CLOTHES! USE THIS TIME TO NOT WORRY ABOUT HOW YOU LOOK WHILE YOU PRACTICE. NO ONE WILL LOOK YOGA JOURNAL READY PAST DAY 5. || ALL OF YOUR ELECTRONIC DEVICES || MAKEUP || HAIR APPLIANCES.....YOU WONT HAVE TIME NOR WILL YOU HAVE ANYWHERE TO WEAR THE VICTORIA SECRET WAVES.
Practice and detachment are the means to still the consciousness. -Patanjali
Happy teacher training beauty bellies! You are about to enter a blimp in your life that can and will change your energetic frequency if you let it. To explore Allison Waltons' take, of And Be Well, follow the link here.
Im ready for my next one! Whos with me?