Yoga retreats vary considerably depending on where you go and how long you attend. If you go on a weekend yoga retreat at an upscale spa, your experience will be much different than if you travel to India for a month-long yoga retreat vacation. For details on what to expect on a particular yoga retreat, you'll need to contact the specific retreat center and ask questions. However, most yoga retreats have the following characteristics in common:
The food served at yoga retreats will be nourishing and healthy, most likely served in modest proportions. Meals are usually served in communal fashion in a central dining area. If you need access to junk food or chocolate, you'll want to bring it along yourself.
Most yoga retreats have simple but comfortable accommodations. You may or may not have a roommate, depending on the package you purchase. You may want to check to see if there is access to the Internet and electronic entertainment, as many yoga retreats do not provide televisions or Internet services. Don't expect a coffee maker in your room or a wet bar.
Most yoga retreats offer classes featuring guided meditation and pranayama sessions, during which you will be instructed in controlled breathing and meditation practices.
Time devoted to asana practice
You will want to find out what styles of yoga are taught at the yoga retreat. Most retreat centers will teach a form of Hatha yoga and then some other style of yoga. Some have classes outside, some inside in studios.
Chanting or mantra sessions
Many yoga retreat centers start and end the day with optional chanting or mantra sessions. These guided sessions will teach you methods of seeking enlightenment and self-awareness.
Communal sharing of chores
If you stay for a long period of time at a yoga retreat, you may be asked to participate in some of the housekeeping shores such as cleaning bathrooms or doing dishes or working in the gardens. Check with the staff before enrolling to find out what kinds of chores are shared by long-term residents.
Observance of silence
ome visitors to the yoga retreat may also be practicing the observance of silence. You may be asked to respect this with those who are engaging in silent contemplation.
Depending on the types of yoga classes you attend, you may be exposed to varying degrees of yogic philosophy and spirituality in addition to what appears to be a deceptively simple workout. Regardless of which type of yoga you practice, learning yoga basics will help to improve your physical, as well as mental self.
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While breathing the 'essential breath' and returning to our natural rhythms is key to our journey of self-knowledge and vibrant good health, we need not ignore or turn away from the mundane and often gritty aspects of our basic selves.