Finding your zen with DIY yoga retreat

You’ve been kidding yourself this whole time. Although you have made it to this point in your life, someone once told you that – what you seek, you already are. Teachers of all genres have pushed you to that prize to be won. An ideal place to be, a better place than where you came from. They made you dream of that paradise that is not here, but far away from where you are. Your university education was branded as materialistic knowledge and learning under a yoga master was called spiritual knowledge.

Conflicts arise when you look at materialism and spiritualism as two different entities. When you live in the materialistic world, you always tend to disconnect materialistic desire from spiritual aspirations. Extreme views may interpret spirituality and materialism to be completely contradictory, but in reality they are not. A hungry, sick body cannot think of God. To cleanse and channel the mind, a healthy body that supports the spiritual process is essential.

Spiritual and materialistic lives can be fully compatible. A healthy mind in a healthy body requires a mixture of both material and spiritual knowledge. To achieve the ultimate goal of human life, you must use spirituality to nourish the mind as well as materialism to take care of the body in your daily life.

Integrate spirituality into your materialistic world

Very often spiritual quest is always kept outside the home zone. Even the most expensive spiritual journey can turn out to be a fantasy and collapse like a house of cards if the nature of your pleasure in a materialistic world remains disordered. A destination yoga retreat is seen as a way to escape from everyday work, home, chores and all the materialistic noise. Attractive tour ads make you feel like taking a break from the grind is normal. Competitive pricing blinds our need to inquire about the need for such a retreat. The desire to escape and slow down is an indication that spirituality is isolated from your materialistic life.

While yoga retreats in exotic locations are rejuvenating, life-changing and refreshing, the effect of the yoga retreat fades once you return home. You accept this as a natural process and never try to create a solution with a calmer and more reflective mentality.

Creating a budget-friendly home retreat is one such way to streamline spirituality in your familiar abode. It is an incredible method of balancing materialistic and spiritual well-being, where you can tailor the itinerary that is sustainable for you.

Wherever you are in your yoga journey, give some time and space to reflect and discover new insights and perspectives that come from within. Home yoga retreat is a viable option for those who want to incorporate mindful awareness into their routine, improve food choices and diet, deepen the study of yoga practice and philosophy, learn to relax while performing everyday tasks, and create positive vibrations at home.

How do you prepare for the yoga retreat at home?

Just like you prepare for a vacation, a home retreat works without a hitch if it’s planned well in advance. Instead of aiming big with a big list and taking a long break from work, start spending your weekends on such retreats.

• Prepare as if you were leaving by finishing all your chores in advance so that your limbs don’t gravitate towards the unfinished tasks at home.

• Determine an intention for your retreat and design the exercises accordingly.

• Inform your family and friends of your plan and minimize the use of social media platforms so that you can focus on reconnecting with yourself with the utmost care.

• Pointing, clearing and making space without distraction, it’s easy for your mind to practice yoga.

• Make a list of yoga practices you want to practice during the retreat. Gather resources online if necessary.

• Keep your diet simple and sattvic. Plan your meals and store groceries.

Design your retreat

Visualize the experience you seek and design the yoga retreat accordingly. Here are a few guidelines –

1. Get up early to enjoy the natural rhythm of the world.

2. Start the day with 30 to 90 minutes of Hatha yoga/Mysore Ashtanga/Vinyasa/Iyengar or any other style of practice you feel comfortable with. End the exercise with 10-15 minutes of pranayama and 5-10 minutes of relaxation.

3. Keep as much silence as possible throughout the day.

4. Keep meals simple and plant-based.

5. Write down your innermost thoughts and feelings. If you’re not sure where to start, ask yourself some reflective questions – What is my purpose/dharma here? What am I looking for? What am I thankful for?

6. Pamper yourself and take care of your body with a warm bath or schedule an Ayurvedic massage.

7. Read whether you like to read or relax with a mandala coloring book.

8. Spend some time doing meditation/japa/chanting that suits you.

9. Spend some time walking, gardening or just sitting in the sun.

10. Restorative Yoga practice followed by Yoga Nidra can be practiced to relieve stress, calm emotions and enhance creativity.

11. Get plenty of rest without burdening the retreat with too many tasks. Select the activities that best fit the time frame.

12. You can add the shat kriyas/cleansing techniques in the morning schedule if you have learned it under the guidance of a yoga teacher and if you are comfortable doing it alone.

13. Enter the retreat with a positive attitude to revitalize your well-being. Do not judge yourself while on retreat.

Once you are done with this retreat, try to surrender to these tasks regularly. While it may not be the same as the destination yoga retreat, it still serves the greater purpose of finding your zen in your space.

Spirituality can flourish anywhere, provided you realize the fragility of materialistic life. Happiness is budget friendly.

(Yoga and You is a bimonthly yoga class by Dr. Manasa Rao. She is an MSc, PhD from the University of Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (SVYASA), Bangalore. She believes that yoga is about connecting, healing and becoming aware of a higher reality in us that extends beyond the mat. You can reach her at yogayush@yahoo.com)

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