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  • Writer's pictureHazel

What I learnt working in retreats

Updated: Jan 25, 2022

I was reflecting today on my time working in retreats - it was the first time I'd really invested in myself as an adult and it was a real turning point for me in regards to realising my true potential & that what I really wanted to do with my life was to help others & make a difference.

Initially I started working in retreats as a 'karma yogi' which is a voluntary position, and was happy to work on this basis as I knew my yogic practice would develop deeply in my time there, but what I didn't count on it just how much I would get in return for my time and service whilst there.

Here's 4 truths I learnt whilst working at a yoga retreat...

🧡 Self care often gets deprioritised because of "TIME" (my fave subject!) so next time you use this excuse, ask yourself "whose time am I referring to"? You own your time & it's up to you to decide how you spend it, but it's very easy to silently subcontract it out to the needs of your work/kids/spouse before your own. If you recognise this in yourself, remember that everyone else will benefit even more from you when you take care of No.1 first. Retreats are so healing for many because it's often the first and only time the people attending them have invested in themselves first and foremost - it is this that is most healing, not necessarily the offerings available on the retreat itself.

🧡 Ask yourself regularly "what do I need right now?" and FEELING into the question rather than thinking. Sometimes our needs are buried under so much B.S. (limiting beliefs, societal pressure, the needs of others) that our minds don't know what we need, but in my experience the body always has the answer, and this is why physical practises such as yoga and massage often play an integral part in the daily retreat schedule. Tingly hands? Maybe a relaxing manicure with a hand massage. A tight chest? Some time alone for deep breathing, meditation & aromatherapy. Heavy eyes? A nap (frankly always a great choice 😊).

🧡 If you've ever taken yourself on a retreat solo, you'll know how valuable the friendships that are formed whilst there can be. Despite being surrounded by people who initially are complete strangers, you find yourself growing together, learning new things, sharing personal stories and encouraging each other to be your best selves... and it's magical! Surrounding yourself with an uplifting, supportive tribe who do not see the boundaries of your past but only the possibilities of present moment is so invaluable, and is something so many can lack in their day-to-day lives. I'm not dismissing solid, long-lasting relationships as I know how much comfort and stability these can bring to our lives (especially in times like these), however the friendships formed when you step outside of your comfort zone will be a constant source of inspiration and reminder of your courage.

🧡 Doing something just for you doesn't need to come with a set of conditions - you don't need to have worked out to treat yourself to a more nourishing meal, you don't have to complete all your deadlines before you allow yourself to relax, and you definitely don't have to earn your right to invest in yourself. If you feel like you need permission to invest in yourself, here it is... YOU HAVE PERMISSION TO GO DO SOMETHING FOR YOU BECAUSE IT'S YOUR LIFE & YOU DESERVE TO FEEL GOOD! 💫

Have you ever invested in a retreat, and if so what was your most memorable moment? Let me know in the comments.

Hazel x

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