You might have seen the movie Eat, Pray, Love and fantasized about the possibility of opening your third eye amongst the serenity of the rice paddies in Ubud, but if you’re someone who is yet to experience a wellness re-treat, you’re in for so much more!
I embarked on a Wellness Retreat with Yovada, keeping an open mind, but without any real expectations. After completing my 5-day stint under the rejuvenating Indonesian sun, I was surprised to find myself not only relaxed but refocused and re-energized with lifestyle transforming experiences and so many lessons learned along the way.
What to expect?
What makes the majority of wellness retreats a treat, is the tranquil, stunning surroundings they are set in. Think plush green foliage, tropical paradises, picturesque mountaintops, and crystal blue water, or a combination of the above in a resort-style setting that will aid in resetting and restoring your inner-wellbeing. These natural environments are key in helping you relax, unwind, and disconnect from your otherwise busy life, and with a myriad of options available on Yavoda – you’re spoilt for choice.
Once you arrive at your chosen oasis, you will be guided to your residence to unpack and start to unwind, leaving your baggage (both physical and mental) at the door before you get to work. I say the word work, because although you’re not working in a physical sense, wellness retreats are geared in a way to work on yourself – something that most of us avoid doing.
This is where you need to pick your retreat wisely. Make sure you indulge in something that you are comfortable in doing, a place where you can relax, enjoy the activities on offer, and ultimately, where you can work on yourself.
For me, this happy place was in fact in Ubud, Bali. Set amongst the tropical paradise of palm trees, crystal blue water, rice paddies, and mountaintops. I immediately felt relaxed and at peace with the world around me. Part of the program at Oneworld Ayurveda is to find your superior health and happiness – and that’s exactly what I did.
With a range of activities specifically selected to suit my needs, my qualified Ayurvedic physician crafted my retreat with daily yoga, meditation, therapeutic massages, deep detoxification techniques, herbal medicines, and personalized diets. I certainly felt like I was in good hands.
Jumping into these activities and learning and experiencing new things, really helped me let go of the stress and worries from ‘real life’. Feeling that sense of freedom with an unburdened mind, I was able to rediscover myself and reflect on what I would like to manifest upon my return home - better self-care practices, healthier foods, and a stronger commitment to reducing stress.
However, it wasn’t just rainbows and butterflies. Part of my self-discovery caused me to look inward, confronting parts of myself I hadn’t yet explored – or perhaps was avoiding. I knew through my initial research that this may be something to address during my retreat and I was a little cautious and slightly concerned at what this might entail. Coming out of the retreat, and reflecting upon my time at the retreat, I can now honestly say it was a deeply profound experience and one that I most definitely had to have in order to move forward in a more positive trajectory. It changed the way I not only see myself, but also my aspirations, relationships, and the world.
5 Things I Learned During My Wellness Retreat
1. How to Reset, Refocus, and Re-energize
Turning off has always been a struggle of mine – but having the time to truly disconnect from everyday life (and my phone!), and recharge the batteries, gave me the space to prioritize and reflect on what’s important to me.
2. Adding New Skills to My Resume of Life
With a range of activities such as mountain biking to yoga, I test drove a number of new hobbies throughout my retreat to see what gave me the best sense of happiness and relaxation. I now practice yoga more regularly and make time to cook more exotic foods every week that I've back in the ‘real world’.
3. A New Path to Self-Discovery
On top of a bank of great memories and experiences, I not only made great friends with others I met at the retreat, but I became a better friend to myself. I learned more deeply about my fears, my desires, and a strength I didn’t know I possessed. I certainly haven’t learned all there is to know, but I now know how to connect with myself and have some great tools to further this great relationship with myself.
4. Learning to Be Open to New Experiences
An important lesson I took away with me was to be open to new experiences. Sometimes I find it easier to stick to what I know, convincing myself I’ve got a great thing going and I’m too busy for things that might not be worth the change. But learning ways to enjoy and indulge in what is different, helped me learn more about myself and changed the way I enjoy my life. I am now more excited and curious instead of simply satisfied.
I learned to find peace in the present, accept the past, and not worry so much about the future. Settling into a relaxed state and stepping away from the constant notifications on my smartphone for the duration of the retreat, helped me gain clarity on my life and made me realize I was spending a lot of unnecessary energy worrying about things I had no control over. Instead of crafting anxiety-inducing scenarios in my mind, I spent time in the present and mastered tools to help me focus on acceptance and gratitude. Now, you wouldn’t believe how well I fall asleep and stay asleep!
Going into this experience I thought, yes it will be nice to chill out for a few days and come home not as exhausted, possibly with a bit of a tan and few nice photos for Instagram. But what actually happened was so much more than any brochure can depict or any testimonial can give justice. I discovered more of me and I feel like that’s the best trip anyone can take!
Have you had a life-transforming experience on a retreat? Share with us in the comments below!