Despite the fact that I’ve been practising yoga near daily for nearly a year now, when I got the news that I would be doing a yoga retreat at Raithwaite Estate (read more about it here), I immediately panicked that I might not be good enough. Now that might not actually be true (I have no idea yet!), and the details do say that they offer modifications for beginners and intermediates, even those who have never done yoga before. But, like a lot of people, there’s always the niggling worry that I might not know enough; I might not have enough strength and stamina to complete everything; I might not be good enough.
So even though it’s probably mostly just my self-conscious mind, to put my fears to rest, I’m doing a few things to help me to prepare for my yoga retreat. These are also so that I’ll be able to get the most out of the yoga retreat. I want to be fit enough to try out new things that I’ve never done before so that I can learn from a different teacher. And I want to have the mental capacity to be able to get what I can out of the meditation practices that we’ll be doing.
So here are 3 things I’ve been doing to prepare myself for my yoga retreat at Raithwaite Estate:
Even though this was something I was doing before, I’ve been trying to choose a few more challenging videos to do. I’ve tried out a few more instructors on YouTube such as Lesley Fightmaster who has some videos that I find require more stamina than Adriene’s, so that’s great to try. I’m trying to push myself just that little bit further to extend my capabilities.
My fortnightly private yoga sessions with Jo (at Jojoba Yoga) with Laura (my now ex-colleague, boohoo!) are also starting to push us further – we’re venturing into headstands, new arm balances and more. Jo also helps to point out where we’re progressing which is awesome because it’s difficult to see in yourself. Having that motivation really helps me to keep pushing but still having fun with yoga.
I didn’t actually take this one up just because of the yoga retreat. A group of people at work are doing a Tough Mudder – they asked if I wanted to join and I said “HA! No.” Can you imagine me doing that in the mud?! But work have started up “Crossfit Wednesdays” for this group to get in training for it with a Crossfit session with our very own personal trainer during our lunchbreak and offered it to anyone else who wanted to join to. And, for some ridiculous reason, I said yes.
I’ve been wanting to work more on my fitness recently as I can see the difference it makes to my yoga as well as to my life in general, actually. I like feeling fitter and stronger. I just have an issue with making sure I stick to it. Being part of a group that does it weekly really motivates me because we’re pushing each other – they’re people that I sit with in the office every day, so if I’m wanting to skip it or slack on something, they’ll call me out on it.
So far I’ve done two sessions (I’m writing this immediately after my second) and I haven’t died…yet. My legs will not be thanking me tomorrow though…or the next day, or the next…
Decluttering my brain
I don’t want you to think that yoga is all about how good you are at the poses and how fit you are, because it’s not. You might not have done exercise for 10 years but want to do a yoga retreat, or you might be plus size and worried that everyone else will be tiny – it’s not the case. Yoga is for everyone – we all started as beginners at some point. I’m going to come across new poses despite doing it a while; I’m going to find things tough.
But one thing that’s a massive part of yoga that I find sometimes more difficult is the mind part. Yoga, for me, is a form of exercise, but one that is calm, quiet and collected (most of the time! There have been many times where Laura and I have collapsed in fits of giggles!). There is time in every class to focus on breathing and relaxing in Shavasana. And if you know me and how fidgety I am, you can understand why I have problems sometimes!
So in preparation, I’m attempting to declutter my brain a bit more – focus on getting things out of the way so I won’t worry on thinking about them too much. I want my yoga retreat to be peaceful and relaxing, not one where I’m stressing about what I have to do, when I have to do it. I’m generally an anxious person so I’m already worried that I won’t be wearing the right thing; what time meals will be at; what the meals will be; what the other people there will be like. But I’m trying to remind myself not to worry about those, not to get stressed, and to just let it happen and enjoy it.
I’m super excited for the retreat and what it will bring. Do you have any recommendations for me to help prepare?