Yoga Retreat for Self-Nourishment

by Erika Alcalde

7_gestures_groupAs this year is coming to an end, many of us are already planning how we will spend our time next year. The first thing I know for certain is going on my calendar is a yoga retreat with my teacher.

This semi-annual treat is something I savor, each time emerging with fresh insights and a huge deal of thankfulness for the opportunity to steep myself in the practices of yoga through asana, pranayama, meditation, and mantra.

The last night of our retreat radically coincided with the Aquarius full moon, which invites us to re-organize our perceptions of ourselves and our perceived realities. It’s a time to work with the infinite connections of mind and emotion to shift our potential from limited to limitless. Having the chance to do this inner-exploration alongside the sangha (community) we co-created over the weekend was a constant reminder that wherever we are on our individual journeys, that is okay. Actually, its perfect.

Everything offered on retreat is just that—an offering, an invitation.  I take what I need, I’m nourished by it, and I’m thrilled if my lone-wolf soul howls out to call me on a solo-hike in the woods at any given moment. I learn to sweetly listen to my inner-voice, and to respond with sensitivity and compassion. In this way, I teach myself how to take care of myself.

In our yoga practice, we are constantly invited to offer something up, whether it’s a certain attitude, habit, relationship, or simply (but perhaps not always so simple) our busy schedules. Throw it into the fire is something we’ve heard countless times in class. Yoga retreats are quite literally that fire. It’s a space held just for you, to step into, burn up what no longer serves you, and step out, transformed.

Yoga simply asks you to show up as you are in this moment, and to drop the attachment to the you of yesterday or tomorrow.  Yoga retreats take it a step further, by giving you more time to explore the you of this moment, to nourish it, encourage it, to ask what its true desires and fears are. When I step into this space, I’m given a chance to encounter and distill my goals and dreams for the months to come. I look forward to the visions I will see and the inner-alchemy that is bound to happen on my next retreat with my teacher.


Escape for three days of self-care, relaxation and deep renewal with Sonya Genel and friends at the 2nd Annual Post-Holiday Detox Retreat. January 9-11, 2015 at the beautiful Ratna Ling Retreat Center.