Hi everyone! This week I am talking all things yoga retreats. Don’t worry, I am not talking hippies, tie-dye clothing and copious amounts of herbal tea (although there is nothing wrong with that!). I am going to be talking about exploring a new area of the globe, connecting with likeminded people and returning from your holiday feeling prepared for the months ahead.
Going on a yoga retreat used to be a thing only the hippies embarked on and they were unheard of to the normal population. Goodness me… Times have changed. Honestly, yoga retreats are now on people’s bucket lists. From yoga & meditation to yoga & hiking, I can assure you, there is a retreat out there ready and waiting for you – especially at Kaliyoga Retreats.
The magic of whisking yourself off somewhere for a little self-love is not something experienced yogis only do… If you’re a newbie to yoga or to retreats, you don’t need to be experienced to reap benefits. What happens on the retreat is all part of the journey.
In 2002, two avid yoga teachers (Rosie and Jonji Miles) left their chaotic life in London to delve deep into the realms of yoga retreats. They had a passion they wanted to materialise and that was to create a destination for a yoga retreat. Somewhere that had picturesque surroundings with healing elements… But also a place that will grow with charm and love as people stay, learn and develop. They travelled to southern Spain and the rest is history.
‘In gratitude, Kaliyoga was founded’. Some years later they opened a second Kaliyoga Retreat in Puglia, southern Italy and they continue to grow and expand. I was very fortunate to have been able to go to their retreat in Spain (for the 2nd time! Featured in the images throughout this post).
At the beginning of March, I embarked on a Yoga and Hill Walking retreat in Órgiva, Spain with Kaliyoga. I may talk about yoga a little on here… But trust me, I am no yoga expert. I was a little apprehensive about this retreat but I was incredibly excited to try something new.
When it comes to practising yoga, I find it hard to mentally switch off and focus on my breathing and yoga technique. I do, however, love yoga that’s restorative and relaxing. In fact, my favourite moment of yoga is when the yoga teacher announces ‘savasana*’ aka, the moments of bliss at the end of the practice (anyone else with me on this?!). *In savasana, you lie flat on your back while resting your arms and legs at 45 degrees. This is a pose used for relaxation at the end of the class and it’s truly wonderful!
Whether it’s your first yoga retreat or your twentieth yoga retreat, it doesn’t matter. Everyone is welcome to the retreats. It’s your time to connect and reconnect. On many yoga retreats, many people from around the world, have transformative experiences and go home feeling a new sense of life. Some attend retreats to get away from their ordinary life chaos, some are coming for deep healing, some are coming for a digital detox and some are coming to strengthen their yoga practice and learn new skills.
People also attend retreats if they’re going through a life-changing transition and need some confirmation, whilst staying healthy and travelling the globe at the same time. Some people go to the retreat with no intentions… And feel nervous, apprehensive and unsure. Whatever the reason, you won’t be alone.
What I have learned from attending a few yoga retreats across the globe… Is that no matter the reason you’re attending the retreat, these intentions change throughout your time. You may leave the destination with skills and learnings you never thought you needed. At the end of the day, that’s what happens when you relax and unwind in a healing and supporting space.
Going on a yoga retreat is a big step. Flying to an unfamiliar place to spend time with people you don’t know. Booking your retreat experience can be a little daunting. Don’t let doubts set in before you go, Find out here what to expect before you go…
Downtime is essential
The goal of a retreat is to get what you need and not overcommit. At Kaliyoga, there is a daily schedule assigned to the retreat. This varies depending on the retreat you choose and what time of year it is. This does not mean that you have to commit to every activity. The retreat should be used to your advantage, what you put into it, is what you get out of it. If you don’t want to do yoga one evening and you would prefer to read your book beside the fire – that’s ok. Go with the flow!
Also, if you visit a retreat, don’t forget to take advantage of their holistic therapies. Whether you want to enjoy a full body massage or a sound healing gong bath, let go, have fun and relax.
There is something magical about retreats. Whether you choose to go on your own or with a friend, partner, boyfriend, girlfriend… Yoga retreats bring together the most amazing people from all walks of life. Expect to have fun conversations over dinner with new people. You may come away from the retreat with a new friend… Or friends! But don’t worry, you don’t always have to socialise, at Kaliyoga, feel free to eat on your own beside the pool or overlooking the mountains. Remember, this retreat is for you. No guilt should be experienced.
ALL the food
At Kaliyoga, meals are primarily vegetarian… But if you’re a meat and fish eater, you won’t be disappointed with the colour, variety and flavour they offer. Trust me, there is enough to go round and more. All meals on the retreat are prepared by a team of experienced chefs and nutritionists who are extremely creative too.
A retreat is a perfect opportunity to try a new way of eating and experience fresh local produce. If you have dietary requirements, these can be catered for if you advise in advance. Also, you will begin to realise how amazing it is to have free time and not be in the kitchen preparing your own food!
Most retreats take place in a beautiful natural setting. Kaliyoga retreats are set within tranquil surroundings that offer nothing but healing and purity. Yoga retreats have a primary focus on taking you out of your ordinary surroundings and bringing you back to what is important. Nature is a great healer, especially with the accompaniment of sunshine and fresh air. High up in the mountains, birds singing in the trees and twinkling lights in the distance as you overlook the far village in Órgiva… Kaliyoga offers some of the most spectacular views. Yoga retreats offer the opportunity for you to explore a new area of the globe in safe and relaxed surroundings.
You’re not expected to be a pretzel in yoga class
If you are a beginner, a yoga expert or a complete newbie… It doesn’t matter! Yoga practices are adaptable depending on your level of experience. You may suck at doing certain poses (I know I do!) and that’s ok. Everyone is there to have a good time, unwind and relax. Don’t be intimidated, not everyone will be doing headstands and have their legs behind their head. Yoga is a male and female friendly practice and offers multiple benefits. Whether you’re a rugby player, weightlifting junkie, pilates whizz or a none exerciser, you’re welcome. Don’t be afraid! You’re not alone.
Laughter and memory making
Although some retreats can be very serious and scheduled. During my stay at Kaliyoga, I have laughed a lot, relaxed a lot and experienced a real sense of adventure. A healthy dose of fun and laughter is the best kind of healing. Expect to feel a real sense of freedom on the retreat – it’s normal and it’s the most spectacular feeling.
Will I have to lock my phone away?
This is completely optional. Some people use yoga retreats as a chance to switch off from their technology. No one is going to take your phone off you when you arrive! However, you have to respect others. Some people are having a digital detox and their downtime is crucial. So it might be worth using your phone in the sitting room or in your own bedroom. You might want to give yourself a break too – fully submerge yourself in the retreat and later-gram your sunset pictures at the end of the week.
If you’re wanting to escape reality for a little while and submerge yourself in relaxation, take my word for it and book yourself onto a retreat. Alternatively, a retreat would make a wonderful gift for someone so you could purchase a voucher for them here – Kaliyoga.
Remember, yoga retreats are a place of sanctuary, relaxation and fun. Don’t be intimidated with what you see online – it’s what you make of it. From the retreats I have been on, Kaliyoga has treated me in a spectacular way and they have made me feel so at home. Kaliyoga in Southern Spain is my new home. It’s the best! Counting down the days until I can return again… Who wants to join? Book here: RETREATS
Read more about the retreats using the links below:
Purchase a Kaliyoga recipe book here: Recipes for the body and soul
*Thank you Kaliyoga for collaborating with me on this post. I am forever grateful for your amazing support. Love you always!
All my love, Jess x