This post was written by Tracey Delfs, life coach and wellness speaker that has been teaching mindfulness and meditation classes and retreats for the last 15 years.
Going on a wellness retreat is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, de-stress and spend time at a beautiful location. As a mindfulness, meditation and yoga teacher, I have had the opportunity to facilitate over 40 retreats around the world and would like to share some tips that I have learned as to how you can make the most out of your wellness retreat experience.
TIP #1: ENJOY THE PRESENT MOMENT
You have given yourself this gift of time to be at a retreat, so try to get the most out of it by being as present as possible and savouring every moment. One of the best ways to help you stay present is to focus on your senses. When you’re eating all the wonderful meals, really taste and savour each and every bite. If you’re out in nature, listen to the birds, feel the breeze on your face and feel grateful for the beauty all around you. Focus on being fully present, engaged and enjoy the other retreat participants. Remember the greatest gift that you can give anyone is your ‘presence’.
TIP #2: TRY A DIGITAL DETOX
A weekend retreat is a great opportunity for you to get away from everything - including technology. If you want to get the most out of your retreat, try to unplug from your technology (social media, emails and texts) as much as possible. If you can’t switch off your phones for the whole retreat, maybe try switching your phone off until a certain time in the day, for example 6:00 pm. If you decide to go technology-free for the whole retreat, make sure to let the people in your life know your plan. You can share your wonderful experiences with your social media friends and family after the retreat is done.
TIP #3: RELAX, RECOVER AND REJUVENATE
Whenever there’s free time in the schedule enjoy some time to relax and to ‘just be’. After all we are called ‘human beings’ not ‘human doings’. Get a massage, have a nap, sit on a bench and watch the clouds go by, read that book you never make time for, or do some journalling. It’s amazing how just a couple of days of relaxation can really recharge your batteries.
TIP #4: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Being at a retreat is a great opportunity for you to truly tune in and listen to what your body is telling you. Do you need to drink more water, get some fresh air or go to bed early? If it’s a yoga retreat, there will often be many different levels of experience from beginners to advanced participants, so make sure to do the poses that are at your level and modify poses for any injuries that you may have. Remember that yoga isn’t a competitive sport! If your body is uncomfortable sitting on a meditation cushion, then feel free to use a chair instead. Honour your body’s needs both at the retreat and when you go back home.
TIP #5: ARRIVE EARLY OR STAY LONGER
If possible, come earlier or stay longer to savour your retreat experience even more. Whether you arrive a day early or even just a few hours before the retreat starts, you will have the opportunity to settle in and become more present, so you can get right into retreat mode when it starts. If you add an extra night on to the end of the retreat then you get to integrate all the benefits that you received from the retreat a bit longer before you head home.
I hope to see you at one of my upcoming mindfulness, meditation and yoga retreats in Lake Louise. Until then, remember to slow down and enjoy the present moment.