What does one expect on a yoga retreat? Expectations are an interesting topic. There are expectations you should have about a retreat (clean accommodations, organized, peaceful, competent leader, delicious food, etc). And I can assure you these things can be expected during our August retreat.
But what about the experience you will have on a yoga retreat? How can you expect to feel when you get back? What impact will this have on your life? What will you get out of the experience? Is it worth the money?
I thought it may be helpful to share my own experience with yoga retreats. I have been on retreat five times in the past 10 years. In this post I will share about my second retreat, because expectations were a big issue for me. I was very pregnant with my first child and pregnancy was not easy for me. Once my husband made the casual comment that some women describe pregnancy as the best time of their lives. Note to men everywhere: never say that to a pregnant woman. I wanted to hurl knives at him. Fortunately, he’s a great husband, and I didn’t inflict any bodily harm.
So as I said, I was very pregnant and feeling like I needed to rest, regroup and figure out a way to get through the last weeks in the blazing hot summer. I heard about a yoga and meditation retreat in the North Georgia Mountains led by a local teacher who had experience in the medical profession in addition to yogic traditions.
I registered far in advance so I had plenty of time to think about the retreat and for my mind to come up with a million expectations. That’s a typical response: we want to know how it’s all going to work out, and lacking this information we often don’t take a chance and miss out on something magical. Magical? Well, yes there is a kind of magic that happens, though probably not in a way you expect because expectations get in the way of the magic.
Below is a wonderful quote that is posted on the Elohee website:
“You cannot transmit wisdom and insight to another person. The seed is already there. A good teacher touches the seed, allowing it to wake up, to sprout, and to grow.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh. Buddhist monk
I love this quote and its 100% truth. The magic of the retreat happens from the people who show up, from getting away from your daily life, and letting go of expectations to make room for magic to arrive.
It’s been nine years since that retreat in North Georgia and I remember very clearly my thoughts on the drive home. It was not what I expected; it was so much better and so much more.