While it was about a year and a half ago that I went to Italy, I still remember it like it was yesterday! I remember seeing a poster for a yoga retreat in Italy that was being led by two instructors I knew and liked, and thinking “hmm, maybe I should go.” I figured I would brush it off as one of my many pipe dreams, but the more I thought about it, the more I knew that I had to make this one happen. Despite being a yoga teacher, I had never been able to attend a yoga retreat before. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I know that I gained so much more from this experience than I ever thought possible. Not sure what to expect from a yoga retreat? Read on to hear what I learned from mine.
1. Deepen Your Practice
This may or may not be a goal that you have in mind, but it will happen. The retreat I went on had many teachers and strong practitioners, so we did a bit more yoga than perhaps the average retreat offers. Over the course of just one week, with dedicated daily practice, I couldn’t believe how my practice evolved and transformed. I became stronger. I became more confident. I remember playing with handstands one afternoon and saying to the instructor that I couldn’t kick up to the wall. She encouraged me to, and guess what? I did! It wasn’t until later that I learned this exact moment had been captured in a photo. Every time I look at this picture, it reminds me of my own strength, both on and off the yoga mat.
2. Explore a New Culture
Choose a place to visit that you want to experience. I am part Italian and I can remember as a child, being so intrigued by some of the customs and traditions we had in our family. So when Italy was the location of this retreat, I couldn’t pass it up. As a food and wine aficionado, I was beyond excited to arrive in Italy and eat and drink it all up (yes, literally!). Walking around little towns, exploring the markets, and trying to take it all in was an adventure. The passion people have for their local food makes every bite mouthwatering. From the breads to the olive oils and the pastas, Italy is a culinary adventure all on its own. The people, the landscape, their kindness, and their passion for life, connected me in a way that I will treasure forever. It’s also a part of what is drawing me back there next year.
3. Learn About Yourself
My retreat experience was a time of self-discovery. From landing in another culture and navigating my way around to having quiet time, each part of my trip allowed me to learn more about myself. I opted to share a room with someone I didn’t know beforehand. I tried yoga poses that I didn’t think I could do. I became comfortable with meditation. I had the chance to disconnect from my phone and computer. I was able to see how I interacted with strangers and learn what I was saying to the outside world without even using words. In fact, the first picture of me that was taken post-retreat is one of my favourite photos of the trip. When I look at my face in that photo, something is just different. There is a peace and acceptance that came only after one short week of learning and accepting me for me.
4. Connect with Others
When you attend a yoga retreat, it is a great place to connect with other like-minded souls. Retreats can bring people together from different places of the world, and connecting with them and learning their stories is a wonderful experience. You have the opportunity to relate to people on a personal level and feel that at least, for that week, you are all part of the same community and experience. In fact, my roommate (yep, the one I hadn’t met before the retreat!) and I are still connected! We recently met up this summer when she visited Toronto from Vancouver. You never know whom you’re going to meet!
5. Satisfy Your Curiosity
I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I signed up for this adventure. I knew I was curious, and that was enough for me. If there’s a part of you that is curious, explore it. It might be the wonder of travelling to a new place, exploring new things, or simply pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. Whatever it is that is calling you to explore, take the leap and make it happen. If something is pulling you to attend a yoga retreat, do it! Have fun and happy travels!
Attend a Yoga Retreat in 2018
Ready to experience a retreat for yourself? Join Christine Noonan and Sarah Memme for The Ultimate Amalfi Experience in Sorrento, Italy! It’s going to be an amazing week of food, wine, community, yoga, and meditation. Visit http://truenaturetravels.com/retreats/yoga-italy-sarah-christine/ to learn more.
About the Author
Christine Noonan prides herself on sharing yoga practices for real life with her students. She believes that yoga has something to offer everybody. Understanding that people come to yoga for different reasons, Christine wants to be there to support each person on their unique journey. With a background in massage therapy and an in-depth knowledge of anatomy, she focuses on guiding students to get the most out of every pose through clear language and an emphasis on alignment. Through the use of creative sequencing and theming, students are offered an opportunity to calm, connect to, and revitalize the body, mind, and breath. Christine has obtained her 200-hour Hatha/Vinyasa and 70-hour YHot certifications from YYoga Teacher’s College in Vancouver, BC. She continues to expand her knowledge of yoga and currently holds certificates and for Yin, Restorative, and Spin.