Five things you learn on a yoga retreat
If you’re in need of some rebalancing, have an open mind and already enjoy practising yoga every now and then, a yoga retreat could be just your thing.
A friend and I decided we needed all that and more this Autumn, and after much googling, we found the KaliYoga retreat in Spain.
About an hour from Granada, this little oasis of calm is nestled in the stunning mountains of the Sierra Nevada. Welcoming us was expert yoga teacher and lifelong Buddhist, Tashi Dawa. Her teaching was faultless, with so much background knowledge to share on how the human body and mind interact for our health.
The other thing about this retreat was its focus on treatments. We were pummelled with thai yoga massage, which the monks in Thailand are purified with (once you’ve had one you’ll know why - it involves a lot of pulling, stretching and massaging of both your body and your energy channels, so you come out feeling totally refreshed in both body and mind). Reflexology and foot reading were also on the menu, as well as a weird sounding but absolutely amazing MAT treatment – a kind of massage for your digestive system.
Friends were horrified when we told them there was no meat, no alcohol and no coffee (unless you're desperate). The food is mainly gluten free, can easily be dairy free and many dishes served are vegan. However you never feel hungry and the food is inventive and delicious every time. Think tahini dressed aubergine, chocolate dessert made with avocado and raw cacao (better for you and full of antioxidants). In fact here's a sample menu of the day:
Five things you learn on a yoga retreat:
1. That you can calm your mind. Think breathing, chanting and practising yoga poses. Believe me, it works.
2. That your mind can lie, but your body never lies. I keep thinking of this when I'm stressing out at my desk with tense shoulders. The body is clever and tells you what you should be doing to keep it healthy (be more active!)
3. That yoga is excellent for toning your core. Think plank and press ups, repeated, x50.
4. That chocolate is good for you (as long as it’s raw not roasted cacao) – full of antioxidants and delicious. In fact you can make chocolate desserts without cream that taste just the same. Using avocado instead.
5. That life is all about balance. So simple - look after your relationships, exercise, eat well and have faith (in yourself or others). Choose to be happy everyday no matter what life throws at you.