Being in Thailand – a country that simply exudes mindfulness is something that really made me appreciate living there. It isn’t the sense of urgency but you have a much more laid back way of making the most of your day.
After I had finished walking the Camino de Santiago (an adventure I’ve yet to put into words..one day!) I ventured back to Chiang Mai a little sad that it was over but was also anxious to see how the experience itself would unfold for me.
I needed something else to help unwind all that occurred after one hikes 800km in 36 days. Afterall, such a tremendous feat – especially when you are more used to sit for hours on end and not walk for hours on end.
I felt a little hazy as to what direction to go on next, I had a remote job that I could happily go back into, a place on this planet where I was happy to be in..sounds all like one is complaining over spilt milk right?
Anyways, I was sort of craving for a retreat, somewhere where I could just let my body vent out all that it had gone through. Once the body can release the mind will follow suit. I didn’t feel that I was at the point of completing a teacher training or a real big retreat. But I felt that if I could find a short one it would be a great way to dip my toes a little further on my yogi journey into developing more self-practice and focus on body movement. Something to balance all the sitting in front of a laptop in cafes you know?
But then..why go on a retreat? Or why even go to a yoga retreat?
Let me give you a few reasons to start you off…
- A digital detox
With social media and technology now our 24/7 sidekick, trying to recall the younger years of how life was when we weren’t grappling our phones with one hand. To actaully have both hands free and our attention awake to the rest of the world. Essentially you are presenting your mind and body a vacation from all the over stimulation.
- Listening to yourself
How often do you listen to yourself? Not the type of listening where you are rambling to yourself or even chastising yourself for doing something silly. Especially if you already find it difficult to get “5 mins a day of me-time” why not just get some extra quality Me time.
- Meeting other people, possibly those of your tribe!
What a grand opportunity to even connect or share your experiences with others who might be going through the same struggles as you. Or if you have overcome their struggles you can share your breakthrough. I have yet to attend a retreat where I don’t walk away with at least 1-2 new friends.
- Learn something new, or practice something old
We can’t just all be talk talk talk, a retreat gives you the chance to actually practice what you preach or what you would like to preach. Step out of your vocal mode and get into your physical mindset where you can get it done.
- Treat yourself to some R&R.
No one can ever have enough rest and relaxation right? On these days we are just constantly blasted with information at any direction or from any screen. It’s all about viewing instances when they have passed instead of really experiencing that moment.
- A short break before you decide you want to go to a large retreat.
Not sure if you are ready to commit to a month long retreat? Maybe start with the baby step of going on a shorter one and see how you feel. Sometimes it’s not about having a long period away but maybe a few days to a week can already provide you with a sense of renewal. Plus you get the added experience of knowing what you want for your next retreat!
- A new experience
Feeling that things are feeling like you are in a rut and just can’t get out? Well best way to get out is maybe just hopping outta your comfort box and see what’s just outside. At this retreat, it was my first encounter with yin yoga. I’ve done restorative before and thought it was healing enough but yin really brought to me another level of self-awareness within my yoga practice.
Did your head nod YES to at least 1 of these? Good, that’s all you need is one good reason to gift yourself the opportunity to go to a retreat.
Don’t we always choose to make a big shift or do something that wouldn’t normally do when something within us changes? It’s too easy just being a couch potato.
How it responds to performing certain movements with a level of regularity. The bonus positive consequence is that one gets into better shape. A great opportunity to re-integrate and assimilate how my mind and body has changed from doing the Camino.
Right, so what would be the best yoga retreat for a beginner? And I mean beginner because the only ever another retreat I’ve ever been to was a 5 day Vipassana Retreat at Doi Suthep.
A friend recommended to me the “Embodiment & Reconnection Retreat” which just the name itself immediately resonated with what I was looking for. A retreat that you don’t necessarily need to be a yogi but just a “searcher of serenity and an inquisitive human being”. Check & check – still sounds like my kind of vibe! It would be 4 days and 3 nights filled with yin yoga, somatic movement, craniosacral and mindfulness.
Sounds pretty awesome thus far right? Then you get some extra icing on your cake with the retreating located at the floating house of Om Waters in Northern Thailand’s Sri Lanna National Park.
Just getting there is already a great initiation to getting into that zen state of mind..I’m not even going to bother with describing how amazing it is. Better yet, I’ll let the following photos speak for themselves.
Have I convinced you to add Om Waters onto your must-stay/must-visit spot when in Chiang Mai?