April 28, 2017

How to create a 5-star ‘DIY’ yoga retreat at home.

‘Ahhh…..’ (Insert wistful sigh here...)

Yep, those yoga retreat ads in the glossy magazines look amazing don’t they? Don’t despair, friends! Even if you don’t have the cash, passport or annual leave to attend a luxurious ‘destination retreat’ right now, you don’t have to miss out on all the fun and benefits.

With a little planning and imagination, it’s totally possible to design a nourishing, effective and budget-friendly retreat at ‘Chez YOU’!

Here are our best tips so you can create a wonderful DIY yoga retreat at home.

Plan it
Grab your diary and choose a day when you can feasibly carve out time for your retreat. Get real about your availability and the amount of time you can dedicate; in light of work, family and other commitments. Have just a few spare hours? Then plan a 3 hour ‘mini retreat’. With more time you could linger longer over an entire day or weekend.

Lock it in
Once you have a time penned in, make a commitment. Advise friends and family that you’ll be ‘off the grid’ for a while; firmly, yet politely decline social invitations that clash with your allotted time. Remember, this time is for YOU, and you deserve it!

Name it
OK, so if this was a fancy private retreat in a glamorous location, what would you call it? Create an irresistible name by pondering what you truly need at this time, and/or how you want to feel as a result of your retreat time.

Think about what’s inspired you to take action in the form of this sacred self-care time. Are you craving more energy? Rest? Respite? ‘Me time’? Perhaps you want some time to work on a particular pose or meditation technique. Do you want to feel pampered or nourished? Maybe you simply want to dive deeper into your practice.

This naming process is a simple, effective way to breathe life into your overall intention.

Create your space
Assess your retreat venue. Make sure you have enough room and that your chosen space is clean and tidy. Consider lighting, noise and warmth. Will you be distracted by activity in other parts of the house? Make any necessary adjustments so you can dive into your day as free from potential distractions as possible.

Add little touches
Infuse your space with any items that invoke a zen-like vibe for you. Think with your senses - include scented candles, essential oils diffuser or incense, soft, chunky blankets and pillows. Will you swaddle yourself in silence, or get your yoga-groove on with a playlist of soulful tunes?

Choose your yoga
Your choice of yoga poses for ‘insert fabulous retreat name here!’ will depend on your overall intention, the amount of time you have available and perhaps even the time of day. Active sequences are well suited to jump-start the day, while longer, juicier restorative yoga and meditation practices seem fitting for lazy afternoons and evenings. Don’t forget to include a luxurious savasana and/ or a long guided meditation practice.

If you’re an experienced yogi, you may feel comfortable designing a couple of sequences yourself. If you are less confident, grab a yoga magazine or yoga book for inspiration, or go online and choose a couple of classes that appeal. You could even ask your teacher for a few tips or to provide you with a simple written sequence.

(Be mindful of ahimsa (Non harming) in your choices and stick with poses and practices that are within your current capabilities. Always work with an experienced and qualified teacher for more advanced yoga techniques to ensure your safety.)

‘DIY’ yoga retreat at home.

Photo: Keely Thomson, Hatha Yoga Teacher, 432 Yoga Studio

You’ll be your own event manager and road-crew, so be sure to have all your equipment prepped and ready. Likely you’ll need a yoga mat, and some props like a bolster, blanket, strap. Don’t have all the gear? Get creative with items you already have! Bath towels, pillows and belts make good substitutes for real-deal yoga equipment until you are ready to splash out on some fabulous purpose-made props.

Food, glorious food
Spoil yourself with lots of yummy, healthful food while on your retreat! Of course you can make some delicious treats ahead of time, but why not consider outsourcing to your favourite wholesome cafe! Grab a few pre-prepared salads or soups prior to your retreat, and stock up the fruitbowl and herbal tea cannister!

Keep your meals light, seasonal and sustaining, so either a grumbly or uncomfortably full tummy doesn’t distract you from your precious zen-time!

Optional upgrades:

If taking pen to paper resonates with you, include this powerful self-discovery practice in your timetable. You may like to begin with some journalling around why you need this time and what you are hoping to gain. Or ask big questions like: ‘What is my true purpose?’. Need to rant? Go for it! Set a timer for 10 minutes and start scribbling!

Not a writer? Borrow your kid’s pencils and textas and rekindle the joy of creating images and colouring-in!

Soothe your body and senses with a long, hot soak in the tub. Add a handful of Epsom Salts and a drop of lavender essential oil for real relaxation decadence.

Wrap up
Include some reflection time to conclude your DIY yoga retreat. Imagine you’re filling in an evaluation form at a real retreat! What did you like? How do you feel after your special time? What would you do differently next time? Share any insights, observations or notes with your journal.

Most importantly, sincerely thank yourself for taking time out to nurture yourself with your practice.

(And get out your diary and plan your next DIY home retreat!!)

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