If you have a look at the definition of “retreat” it is described as both a noun and verb, and translates to “the act of withdrawing for study, meditation or prayer, an area you can be alone, a place of privacy, or a place of affording peace and quiet”. I used to feel some resistance with the word “retreat.” It had come to mean in my mind something to do with running away. Running away from life, turning away from what you should be facing, giving up. When in fact the word is derived from Latin and Old French and its meanings are “to pull back”, “to fall back from battle”, “to draw back”, “to call back”.
Rewind about 6 years and my life compared to what it is today, was very different. I was working 60 hours (plus) a week in a corporate roll, after leaving a very stressful and burnt out career as a high school teacher. Although the corporate life was a pleasant relief from the trails and tribulations of a life as a teacher, there was still this deep desire for “peace” and space! My time was not my own, long hours and lots of travel time on top of my day, I soon became very exhausted, both emotionally and physically. In amongst this was my very highly reactive and explosive teenage daughter that was hell-bent on self-destructing and sabotaging any chance of peace and happiness both in my life and hers.
Through some kind of miracle, or some would say I finally listened to my inner voice and guidance, that I booked myself in for my very first yoga retreat….. I found that far from running away from myself and life, I had found a portal back to myself and a connection to life that perhaps unwittingly I had been craving with all my heart and soul, but could not find while I was busy working and putting out daily “fires” and trying to manage the chaos that surrounded me and was inside of me.
I remember vividly the moment that I had a deep sense of “coming home”, with tears of joy, anger, frustration and absolute surrender, that I had stumbled across something so powerful, so beautiful, so familiar, yet had been such a stranger to my being for quite some time,…… and that was ME. This spark ignited the fire that burns so deeply within me, that what you see here, as the manifestation of Soul Coast Yoga, was born from this very moment.
So, what does this mean, coming home to our true nature? How can going away for such a short amount of time have such an impact?
That, I think, has to do with the potency of intentionally going away for the sake of going in. Going in to your own body through yoga, meditation, pranayama, walking in nature, massage and eating nourishing foods, experiencing the delight that a nourished, engaged body can reward you with. Going in to your own heart and soul, the parts of it you simply do not have time to hang out with in your busy life, the parts of it you may not have visited for a long time because there are wounds there, and who has time for wounds and healing when there are so many other people to look after? Going in to intentionally enter a deeper connection and conversation with yourself. Going in to your true nature – that nature that sometimes barely has time to breathe – and remembering who you are.
By answering the call to retreat, you have afforded yourself the time, the space and the perfect ingredients for a reunion with the real you. By drawing back from the usual routines and obligations, shedding the usual roles and demands, you get closer and closer to your essential self, your true nature and remember what it feels like when it is well rested, well nourished, nurtured by yoga and breathed full of prana from a peaceful and tranquil environment.
A retreat offers the space to call in the resources, strength, support and inspiration needed to return to life with your highest vision of yourself in full activation.
A retreat has nothing to do with running away, but it does have everything to do with coming home.