So you've made the decision to go on a yoga retreat -- good for you! I imagine it's anywhere from two weeks away to twelve months away, so what can you do to prepare? Should you prepare? Well, the easy answer is yes you should.
Here are my top 3 ways to get ready for your Yoga Getaway:
1. Exercise: Practice Yoga
If you are newer to the practice make time to take even just a few classes. Don’t try to “learn” all of yoga. It’s over 5,000 years old and it’s nothing you can “master” so just get familiar with key poses without overdoing it. And know the format of a class which is generally something like this: Opening (a learning story from the teacher, maybe an OM, welcome); Waves of Movement (you’ll do some warm-ups, then there will be a stronger work-out phase following by the cool-down) and finally the Closing (you get to lie down and rest and absorb everything you did physically, this is called savasana, the the teacher will end class with Namaste which means thank you and you’re expected to say it back to them too). Some key terminology you should know includes:
–Sun Salutation (A series of poses linked by breath, performed in the same sequence of which there are many)
–Mountain (standing up)
–Child’s pose (sitting tush to heels and arms in front of you bowed into a little ball)
–Warrior (Standing basic poses front leg bent, back leg straight either facing forward or to the side)
–Asana (means pose)
–Pranayama (means managing our breath in an organized way)
–Modifications (do you have an injury the teacher should help you find another way to do a pose?)
2. Set your Vision and Goals for your trip:
Why are you going? Is it to relieve stress, take a time-out, try something new, lose 5 pounds, meet new friends, get clear on what you want from your life, set yourself free (let go of sadness, anger, worry). The more you are able to articulate this to your guides the more they can serve you and hold space to support you. The power of your intentions will be made more powerful if you know them yourself.
3. Learn about Where your Traveling to:
If you're going to Tuscany then read about the wines of the region, the pecorino cheese, gelato, olive oil, local history and art so you know more about what you’ll be seeing. If you’re going to Mexico then learn a few phrases in Spanish. Wherever your trip is taking you, stay inspired by looking at photos online or by getting a book. Practice opening up at home before you expand the ecology of your mind.
And as part of your final preparations find a way that you can lessen your reliance on technology. You will not need your laptop, iPhone, blackberry, iPad, iPod and 5 cords, adapters and plug-ins for this trip. The more you can be present to the experience the more you’ll get out of it. Technology will disconnect you from the people you’re with, from the beauty that surrounds you and the internal processing that we all need time for. You deserve this time and going on retreat will change you. You will return more clear minded, open hearted and inspired by your life!