I am only back from a one week yoga retreat with KaliYoga in the south of Spain. When people hear “yoga retreat” they imagine some sort of paradise where you practice yoga, relax and do little more. A place where you find yourself, where all problems disappear and you come back all zen and enlightened.
And I do feel more connected after having had the gift of time to disconnect from the crazy day to day. However, my life has not changed after this week. I am still the same person, with the same monkey mind, with the same fears, anxieties and mental exhaustion who packed her bags a week ago. What this week has given me is the space to come back to myself. That pause that I so much needed to remember who I am. To recognize what I need and what I need to let go of. The time to be amongst strangers who have become part of my life after only a few days together.
“Enjoy the gift of time”
Let me tell you a little more about my experience and also some tips for those of you who are on the fence of booking such a trip because of the investment it requires (economic, time, etc.).
Yoga and meditation
The morning meditation sessions in the astonishing beautiful ‘shala’ made my days. Morning yoga was dynamic and evening sessions where more ‘yin’. Although my practice is different to what I experienced, Lely and Arantxa (yoga and meditation guides) helped me walk a little closer to myself.
There were 13 of us. Two couples and the rest solo travelers. We all had different ages, experiences, nationalities, backgrounds, lives. Every conversation has been incredibly interesting and respectful. I have learned so much from these companions. In such a group I cannot say that I felt the same affinity to every soul, but there were some that touched my own. I will forever be grateful for that.
From the venue itself – a place in the middle of nowhere – to the yoga shala (yoga room), the bedrooms, everything felt really welcoming and cozy. It made it easy to feel at ease and difficult to leave.
The (so called) Healthy Focus
The absence of alcohol and coffee was no struggle for me, but the food was. I have been vegetarian for more than half my life and have a diet based rich in unprocessed fruits and vegetables. And yet this week I have really struggled at times. Evening ‘mocktails’ were far from healthy with loads of sparkling water and honey or other sweeteners. There were 3 chefs cooking for us on different days of the week and, liking more one than the others, they all abused so much of nuts that I honestly can’t take an almond, walnut, hazelnut, pistachio or anything of the kind anymore. My stomach has had enough cheese that the mere mention of feta or goat cheese makes me nauseous.
I was lucky that the rain made no appearance during the week despite the weather forecast. We did get unusual strong winds everyday instead that made sleeping at night challenging and encouraged my monkey mind to move faster and faster. After the first days, I decided to embrace the challenge of finding inner peace despite what was going on on the outside. An example of mindfulness at its best!
Was it the best time I have ever had? No.
Would I return? Of course!