This is the first post on my new blog and I thought I would start off with a post that is all about another first! My first yoga retreat! This year I had ‘attend a fitness retreat’ on my list of things to do, so when my #bff (who is very into yoga) suggested we go together to a mini 24-hour yoga retreat, I thought it was the perfect introduction to the whole retreat experience!
I had the pleasure of attending the 24-hour mini yoga retreat, hosted by long-time yogi and DJ, Mickey (owner of Sparkly Yoga, Brunswick) in the peaceful hillside of Clonbinane.
The retreat began at 3pm with sweet warm Chai tea on arrival and the chance to settle in by lounging around the fire and chatting to the other eight retreat members.
The schedule of the pop-up mini retreat:
4-5.30pm Yoga Asna
7pm Yin Yoga
6.30-8am Pranayama + Meditation
10.15-12pm Yoga Asna
Dinner was a hearty home-cooked vegetarian coconut curry. All the meals were vegetarian and prepared fresh on site. Breakfast included chia seed pudding with corn flakes and goji berries, scrambled eggs, spinach and avocado. Lunch was make-your falafal wrap, with hommus, salad and pita bread.
The yoga sessions were unlike anything I have every experienced from attending ‘gym group yoga’ classes. Although the retreat was short, we were able to squeeze in four varying yoga sessions including Yin, Asana, Pranayama and Meditation.
Photo of Mickey in the Studio, by Mark
The yin yoga was a kind of relaxation and deep stretching session before bed and was started by a ceremony involving drinking a small amount of Kava elixir with sedative, euphoriant and anesthetic properties. While laying back on a comfy bolster, eyes closed, Mickey worked his unique percussion relaxation techniques, rhythmically beating gongs, symbols and rattles in time with the music (which he also composed himself). The percussion instruments assisted to open the sensory feelings to the body and helped the mind relax. All I can say is, I had a very good night sleep after yin and will definatley look into how I can incorporate this practice into my fitness regime.
In the morning we all participated in a period of silence from dawn until lunchtime, part of the mindfulness practice of all the Sparkly Yoga retreats. At first I didn’t think I would be able to do this, even scared I would forget and start talking to someone! I actually found it to be very calming in the fact that no-one had to say anything to one another in the morning out of need to be polite (perfect for me, as I am not a morning person!).
Photo of the Studio, by Mark
The yoga session in the morning included mediation, stretching and easy movements of the body, waking up the limbs and mind. After breakfast the Asana yoga was the most demanding and the main practice session of the retreat, delving into more strength based flow sequences and poses.
Lastly, after lunch the retreat ended with a sitting circle of all members in a practice called Satsang, meaning ‘a spiritual discourse or sacred gathering’. It was a chance for all of us to discuss our yoga practice or any other comments we might want to share with each other. It was a great way way to find common ground and openly discuss our current feels with the group.
So, how do I sum up my first yoga retreat? It was everything you could want in the fullest, but also the most relaxing 24-hours. Beautiful surroundings, friendly company, inspiring and professional teachings, great experiences and delicious food!