Why I got more than I bargained for on a yoga retreat

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How it took a yoga retreat for these women to rediscover the joy of sharing, bonding and connecting.

Even if you’ve never been on a yoga retreat before, you can imagine all the wonderful benefits it brings. As well as being able to immerse yourself in daily yoga and meditation, there’s usually planned excursions, workshops, and periods of relaxation where you can indulge in massages and other treatments etc

Like a wonderful vacation, you return feeling refreshed, renewed and restored, but therein the similarity ends. For a yoga retreat also gives you the opportunity to do something exclusively for you. To step away from your normal life and go beyond your comfort zone; to challenge yourself to new adventures and to find inspiration from your experience.

Of course, being no stranger to retreats, I embarked on my latest trip with all of the above in mind, but boy did I get more than I bargained for in Asheville, North Carolina. Accompanied by a group of ladies and teachers from the local yoga studio where I practice and teach, I anticipated feeling comfortable in the presence of like-minded people. After all, we all have a love of yoga, right?

However, what was totally unexpected were the wonderful friendships and deep bonds that were formed within just a few short days. Not only did I connect with all of these women on a personal level, I rediscovered the joy of meeting people and opening up to strangers in ways that I long forgotten.

Sharing a room is not something I’ve done since my last school trip but I was lucky to have the most incredible ‘Roomie’. Despite the 31-year age difference, our fireside chats often went well past midnight, when we talked, shared, laughed and learned so much from each other. And that’s when it struck me. When we open up to each other and we share something about ourself and our life, that’s how we learn that we are really all the same. We all have hopes, dreams, ambitions and worries. We all have childhood experiences and memories that are both wonderful and sad. Deep down, we are all truly connected.

We may have met as strangers but over the period of four days, we parted as firm friends. All it took was to step away from ourselves, begin a conversation and share ourselves with each other. You can bet that my name is already down for the next retreat. It’s an experience not to be missed!

If this inspires you to spread your wings and book a yoga retreat, check out Yourself Yoga’s next wellness retreat in North Carolina. All are welcome, including those who have never stepped on a yoga mat before, and there’s quite literally something for everyone. www.yourselfyoga.com/retreatI

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