travel

Yoga Retreat 2019

Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees

B.K.S Iyengar 

Last summer I went on my first ever yoga retreat which was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I have never felt healthier or more at peace than on this trip and it taught me so many life lessons that I continue to carry with me today on how to prioritise my wellbeing, both emotionally and physically. If you are considering going on a yoga retreat or wellbeing trip then I would really recommend this one, you won’t regret it!

Location

I went on the Shanti Som retreat in the Sierra de las Nieves Nature Park in Spain which was situated in quite a remote location to allow for peace and quiet on your retreat. The accommodation was truly stunning, with fountains and plants all around to enhance the calm atmosphere of the place. There was both a yoga studio inside and outside and also an outdoor pool which was the perfect opportunity to soak up the stunning weather.

Schedule

I signed up for the yoga programme which meant that there were specific classes that you could attend within this. Other retreat options were also available including weight loss and detox. The staff at Shanti Som were absolutely incredible as they were all so friendly and happily chatted to me throughout my stay there even just bumping into me in the hotel. The yoga instructors were also happy to give extra advice and consultations to meet your own personal goals which was so beneficial to the classes.

The schedule is shown above for the activities that I took part in during that week. The morning yoga was less intense than the afternoon as it took place before breakfast which I’m normally not used to as I always wake up hungry in the mornings. However, I actually found it very beneficial although I was definitely ready for breakfast after I was finished! In the later evening there were different types of meditation that I found very interesting to learn about as I had never done some of these types of meditation before. I found the death and rebirth meditation particularly interesting where you had to picture yourself dying and then being reborn in order to reset your mindset and afterwards, people were sharing their bad or traumatic experiences that they would want to leave in that so called ‘past life’ which I thought was a very therapeutic method. Of course, people were warned not to share or visualise too intensely if there were traumatic memories in their life that they did not wish to relive so this particular class did come with a few warnings and it certainly wouldn’t be for everybody but personally I found it fascinating to try something so new and different to me.

The chakra meditation was also something that I found very interesting and I was very keen to learn about the chakras as this was something I didn’t really know much about but had heard it mentioned a lot during the yoga classes. As someone who is fairly logically and rationally minded, I was a bit skeptical at first but I actually really enjoyed it. The visualisation in the different areas of the body is something that really worked for me and allowed my mind to focus rather than drift off during meditation and it also helped for me to think of the practical links between the chakras and health issues in those areas of the body which I could see was a clear link.

I was given my own personalised timetable upon arrival where I had also booked in some spa treatments, shown in green, to try. The body drainage massage was something I had never had before and I really enjoyed it. As well as being very relaxing, it also was designed to stimulate blood flow and reduce the appearance of cellulite and reduce water retention and I have to say that when I came out I did feel more stretched out in my legs. My favourite treatment was the facial which included a steam machine that allowed extractions to be made from my skin. At some points this was like a small pinch on my face but it didn’t hurt and I was happy to see a real improvement in my skin after this.

The food was absolutely the nicest I have ever had and it really helped with my portion control as well as being nutritious. My diet has never been better than on this trip and with the addition of some healthy deserts including quinoa chocolate cake I didn’t have any sweet cravings either, which is quite unusual for me! I wrote down most of the meals that I had on this trip because they were so healthy and delicious that I would love to learn to make them myself at home.

Days Out

I also went on a hike whilst I was there in the Andalusian mountains which was pretty tiring, particularly in the heat! But the location was so serene surrounded by the mountains that I wanted to make the most of it, particularly as there were some good hiking trails to follow.

One of the best visits and most stunning places I’ve been to was the Alhambra which absolutely took my breath away. It includes the palace and its beautiful grounds that is full of so much nature. I also went into the small town nearby to look around and do some shopping and have lunch in a small traditional cafe which allowed me to practice using my Spanish even though I was a little rusty!

If you ever get the chance to visit the Alhambra I would highly recommend it as it is so beautiful, however it is definitely worth booking in advance as sometimes tickets can be sold out even months in advance as it’s such a popular location.

Top 10 Highlights

  1. Learning new types of meditation– I had never tried much meditation before as I have always found it really difficult to switch my brain off but I was intrigued to learn new methods and find that Chakra meditation really worked for me.
  2. Doing yoga multiple times a day every day– My core strength and flexibility was never better than this week where I really was able to do yoga moves that I would never have been able to do before.
  3. Delicious and healthy food– I still have dreams about the food at this place it was so yummy! Not only that but it was healthy as well which was something I wasn’t sure could be combined!
  4. The climate– Needless to say that the weather was stunning, it was summer time in Spain and doing yoga in the sunshine was one of the most relaxing experiences of my life, it also meant that the outdoor pool and sun beds were put to good use!
  5. Visiting the Alhambra– This place was truly beautiful and somewhere that I had always wanted to visit so I was really happy to tick this off my bucket list!
  6. Being able to relax– I have never been in a more peaceful environment than Shanti Som and it was honestly the best I have ever felt both emotionally and physically.
  7. Spa treatments– There were so many options of treatments that I didn’t know which to choose but I absolutely loved my massages and facial and I was so glad to have an additional massage thrown in as part of the package which was much appreciated!
  8. Spending time with my dad– My dad and I have always been really close but he does work long hours and so sometimes I don’t get to see him as much as I would like to. It has also been a dream of both of ours to do a Yoga retreat together as he was the one to introduce me to it so being able to share this experience with him and spend time together meant the world to me.
  9. Hiking– This was a lot of fun and great exercise but also extremely exhausting in the heat! Nothing would stop me from admiring those views though!
  10. Practicing my Spanish– Having learned Spanish at school and continuing it in GCSE and AS level, I have always been really keen to make sure I don’t lose the skill so this was a great opportunity to try and speak as much of it as possible and learn some more whilst I was there.

Yoga is a light, which once lit will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter your flame. 

B.K.S Iyengar

Thanks for reading about my Yoga retreat! I hope you enjoyed! Remember to look after yourself and prioritise your wellbeing always! XOX

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