February is the month of love. If you don’t have a Valentine’s date this year, why not make a date with yourself and go on a wellness retreat to give yourself some self-love. Focusing on your own wellbeing is one of the best ways to take care of yourself.
Yoga retreats, meditation retreats, wellness, detox and healing retreats – you often hear these terms and know that retreats are a sort of getaway that’s good for your wellbeing. Some might wonder – what happens on a retreat and why is it good for you to go?
Tania Ho, founder and owner of Museflower Retreat & Spa Chiang Rai, northern Thailand’s first all-inclusive holistic wellness retreat, went on some life-changing wellness retreats that helped her get through some difficult times in her life. It was her experiences during these retreats and their power to give emotional and mental healing that inspired her to set up Museflower Retreat & Spa in order to help other people who needed the kind of support she found at wellness retreats.
Trained in a number of holistic therapies including Flower Essence consultation and Hado Counseling, Tania believes that healing can take place when we start making changes from within – and this is what you can discover when you go on a retreat and get the time and professional guidance to look for answers inside yourself.
Here, Tania demystifies what a retreat holiday is, and why it’s good for you to go on one.
What is a wellness retreat holiday?
Retreat, by dictionary definition,, means “a place of refuge, seclusion, or privacy”. To me, a wellness retreat is about getting away from the stresses, responsibilities and mad rush of daily life and letting the mind quiet down from its daily routine. It’s a time to connect with that inner silence and inner peace within. A wellness retreat provides a much needed safe space in our busy lives, to finally slow down, to relax and be with ourselves.
So what do people do on a wellness retreat?’ ‘
There are so many types of wellness retreats out there, offering different types of activities, ranging from yoga, meditation, detox, spa to spiritual, self-discovery and couple’s retreats. Depending on the retreat topic, the retreat teacher or organizer will create a program around it.
For yoga retreats, you’ll be doing yoga classes. Some of the more dedicated yoga retreats also include meditation classes, yoga philosophy lectures and yoga documentaries. Some yoga retreats that are more geared towards relaxation may include spa treatments as well.
For spiritual and self-discovery type of retreats, you will be attending guided workshops or talks by the teacher most of the time. There will be free time to integrate all the information taught and time for reflection as well.
Will it be boring if the retreat program has a lot of free time?
From my experience, this seems to be a “problem” that a lot of city people face – they don’t know how to be with free time. They are used to scheduling appointments and meetings back to back on a daily basis. Have you ever had people say to you – “let me slot you in for dinner next week”? If there is an empty space in the schedule, they will find something to stuff in that time slot, because time must not be wasted, time is precious.
Since the concept of “time is money” is very prevalent in modern day culture, having “free” time is almost a luxury that is too much to have. A lot of people are not used to having “free” time in their schedule. Even when we have “free” time finally, most of the time we will be checking Facebook, watching YouTube videos, or scrolling down the instagram feed (me included). In fact, this is the same as not having “free” time, because we are still disconnected from ourselves.
However, in a retreat, “free” time is very important. Free time, essentially, is “me” time feeling completely connected yet without Wi-Fi.
We all need time to decompress, to integrate what we have learned from the retreat, to reflect and to listen to our inner voice – this is what retreats are for.
This is a scheduled “me” time where you do not have to feel guilty for not doing anything. This is a free time to do whatever you want, to sleep, to rest, to explore, to read, write, to draw. This is the time that you can finally sit down, and ask your inner teacher, “Okay now I’m here, tell me what’s going on?”
What’s the difference between a wellness retreat holiday and a typical holiday?
Have you been on a relaxing holiday, let’s say at a beach resort, and done nothing but sleep and eat and laze by the beach the whole day?
Have you been on a sightseeing type of holiday, where you are out from the hotel the whole day long exploring the area, taking buses, taxis or trains, and visiting famous landmarks and attractions?
Have you been on a shopping and eating holiday, where you are being a happy consumer, shopping and eating the whole day?
There is nothing wrong with any of the above holidays. Do you feel recharged and refreshed after these holidays? Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. Sometimes it’s really tiring to change hotel every night, to rush to the airport or the bus station or the train station to catch the next ride. Even sleeping the whole day doesn’t make you feel refreshed. You can even feel more tired afterwards.
That’s the difference between a retreat and a typical holiday. After a retreat, you will feel rejuvenated. You will feel recharged. And most importantly, you will feel different, because the experiences you gain and learn in a retreat change you as a person from the core.
How can a retreat change you from the core?
During the retreat, you will have plenty of space and time to rest. But you will also be engaged in certain exercises or activities that release stress and open repressed thoughts or feelings that may unconsciously make you exhausted. You will be engaged in reflections. You will gain insights. You will experience ‘a-ha’ moments. You may even have the “weirdest experience” in your entire life (according to one of my guests).
So how do you know when you need to go on a retreat?
It’s a good time to consider going on a retreat if you say yes to any one of the following phrases:
- I feel tired all the time.
- I feel completely overwhelmed and stressed from my life / job / relationship / family.
- I am thinking or have already quit my job but I don’t know what to do next
- I feel stuck with my life.
- I have just gone through a huge trauma in my life and I want some space.
- I am trying to find out what my life purpose is.
- I don’t know what my passion is and I’m trying to find that out.
- I want to get into shape and have healthier habits.
- I want to lose weight and have more energy.
- My life is at a transition point now and I don’t know what to do next.
What can a wellness retreat holiday do for you?
- Feel more energized and refreshed after the retreat
- Gain new insights about your purpose or direction in life
- Gain clarity about your past, present and future
- Release any blockages in your life, physically, mentally, emotionally and energetically
- Break your normal daily life habits (and break your need for coffee) and learn new and healthier habits
- Jumpstart on your physical health and gain that momentum to keep you going after you go back home
- Reconnect with your inner feelings and allow emotions to come through
- Gain a new perspective to look at things different in your life
- Prioritize your life so your actions speak self-love
- Find new ways to express your authentic self
Generally speaking, I’m guessing that most people in the world just want to be healthy. I’m not saying that going on a retreat will make you happy or healthy. As you should know by now (if not there are so many books out there about this), it’s that nothing outside of you can make you happy. Only you can make yourself happy. Happiness comes from inside yourself, not from outside.
Going on a retreat is like giving yourself a chance to look at the world in a different way, a gift to learn something new, to go on an adventure with your inner self.
Now, what should you bring for a retreat holiday?
An open mind, an open heart, a willingness to let go, and courage to face and embrace “All of you–all your curves and edges and perfect imperfections…” (thanks John Legend)!
So how about it? Next time you feel in need of support, try going on a wellness retreat – you may be surprised at what you find out about yourself and a new way to see the world.
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