7 Ways A Yoga Retreat Can Change Your Life

Written by Jennifer Pastiloff

I lead yoga retreats all around the world. What I have found through my experience with this is that they are life-changing. You may ask, "Why would I want to go on a retreat rather than just simply a vacation?"

Here's why:

1. You will fall in love.

I fell in love at my last retreat.

I was surrounded by palm trees and magnificent ocean views and hammocks. Part jungle, part fantasy, my heart burst open and cracked in half with wild love. I was giddy with it.

Yes, I have been married for two years and no, it was not with my husband.

And yes, I love my husband deeply. Although it may not be him I am speaking of directly, he is, in fact, directly affected by this falling in love of mine, as it were.

How can he not be?

When you embody love, anyone you come in contact with gets a little of it, whether they wanted to or not.

You will walk out of a room and they will stand there in awe, replaying your face in their mind, trying to memorize what it was that made them feel so good.

My husband reaps the benefits, you can be sure. I am more inspired, more full of life, happier, funnier (debatable), more patient, and more awake than I have felt in a long time.

What I realize now is that I can be in love, I can be love, full of all of it's cracks and holes and laughter and quirks and inside jokes and not necessarily have to own it. I do not have to have each and every body who comes with me on my yoga retreats here in my apartment every day to allow myself to feel what I felt during the retreat.

You will make friends and chances are they will be friends for life. My retreats are famous for making families among friends.

You will fall in love with yourself again.

2. You will know what it means to be courageous.

I look at the people on my last retreat. One girl came all the way from Amsterdam, alone. All the way to Mexico with a group she didn't know, having never done yoga in her life and leaving her children back home.

She had the courage to be imperfect and ask for private help from me with the poses. She had the courage to sit out and watch at times. She had the courage to make new friends and be vulnerable. My sister had the courage to leave two kids at home (one who has special needs and a very strict regimen) and take a week just for herself. Something she had never ever done in her life.

Whether you have been to 50 yoga retreats or none at all, it takes courage to go away somewhere with a group of people and be vulnerable.

You may find that during the retreat you will do things that you are out of your comfort zone. I notice during my retreats that people feel more brave so they end up taking risks. Whether it is jumping out of a plane or allowing themselves to connect with someone more deeply.

3. You will give wholeheartedly to yourself.

The minute you sign up for the yoga retreat, your life starts to change. You have taken the first step in doing something just for you! I know that for myself it is not that often that I do something just for me.

Even if you sign up with someone, you are sending a message to yourself that says "I care about you." Taking time out for yourself, whether it's a couple days or a weeklong retreat, is a magical way to remember who you really are. To escape the traffic and the emails and the work duties and to soak up the feeling of being self-loving.

4. You will deepen your yoga practice.

We hear that expression a lot. I know. When I say deepen I mean this: you will get on your mat without a care in the world other than your mat. At home, when we practice it's always with the knowing in the back of our minds that there is somewhere to be. Like work. Like picking up the kids. When you are on a retreat, there is nowhere to be. There is just you and your mat and the loveliness that comes with being away from it all.

5. You will see the world with new eyes.

I lead retreats in Ojai, California, Italy, Mexico, Maui, and Bali, to name a few. What happens when you go away to any of these places during a yoga retreat is you experience them on a very conscious level. Most days you are doing yoga twice a day. There is an awakeness that occurs with so much yoga, one that causes you to open your eyes and see the world a little brighter. A little more clearly.

When I go on vacation, I rarely do as much yoga as when I am on a retreat. There is a gift that comes with the practice of yoga. Being in Tuscany with this perspective is like nothing else. Bali, Hawaii, any of the places become more magical when you incorporate the body, breath and mindfulness that comes with your yoga practice.

6. You will transform.

During my Manifestation Yoga retreats, we journal during every single class. There is a transformation that occurs through this process. Whether you get clarity on what you want to manifest in your life or you have a breakthrough about how fear is holding you back, you will feel a shift occur.

There is something powerful about being away from your day-to-day life, among a group of like-minded people, eating amazing food (and drinking amazing wine if you are in my group), journaling as you do yoga classes and seeing the world with new eyes. There is something magical and powerful that you often cannot get anywhere else.

7. You will have fun. A lot of fun!

Bottom line: you'll have fun. If you're with me (and most retreats, I'd assume), you'll have the time of your life. You'll have belly laughs and long naps and delicious savansanas. You'll do something you have never done like take a Mexican cooking class or surf or try a handstand. You will relax deeply and play deeply. You will meet people you wouldn't have met before and connect with them in a way that you wouldn't trade for the world.

To come on a Manifestation Yoga® retreat with me visit jenniferpastiloff.com. My next retreat is Maui with Wayne Dyer's daughter Sommer Dyer in February.

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