They tell you not to judge a book by its cover. The same is true for yoga retreats. Whatever the title, whatever your expectations, whatever you think you’ve signed up for, it’s best to leave it at the doorstep of the yoga shala.
Your experience is directly co-related to what you bring to the mat. Your mat. No one else’s. This is not a reality check. It’s a realm of possibilities. And though everyone is doing the same downward dog position, each person is stretching themselves differently.
Shazia Omar’s yoga retreat in Valencia, Spain was titled: “Awaken your Intuition”. It did a lot more than awaken. Here are my top five take-aways from it:
Learning to Surrender:
Finding peace in the unfolding of life when things don’t go as planned; keeping faith that all the different pieces will eventually fall into place. I was reminded that the more we trust the journey itself, the more fluid and joyful life becomes.
I discovered the healing power of being self-compassionate. We are so busy ‘being there’ for others that we forget to also nurture ourselves. This simple act is like putting on the oxygen mask first in case of a flight emergency. Only then can we help others too.
Step Two of ‘Learning to Surrender’. Once we appreciate the flow of life, we have a better understanding how life exists in a fluid state of polarity. Much as we would like to steer our boats only over gentle waters, this is a delusional goal. Sharp rocks and strong undercurrents are inevitable. I understood that the doable goal is to find my centre of gravity and hold on.
Nurturing your True Nature:
Weighed down by familial expectations or societal norms, we sometimes forget how to nurture our true nature. Making a living becomes more important than having a life. It makes us feel alone even when we are surrounded by people. “There is a Beautiful Creature, Living in a hole you have dug.” says Rumi, “Someone Who hides inside you. We should talk about this problem.” This was an empowering recalibration for me.
Returning to Wholeness:
Releasing that which does not serve us – the past hurts, whatever feels heavy in our hearts currently, the possibility of future stress. With smiles and gentle nudging, Shazia taught us how to mindfully create space, light, openness and peace by breathing in and breathing out. I left Spain feeling renewed and whole again – equipped to find pleasure and joy in the every day.
Happiness depends on your mindset and attitude.