5 Lessons I Learned On A One-Day Retreat
Sometimes you don’t have the ability to leave for a whole week. Maybe all you have is 2-3 days, and that includes your travel time.
Don’t knock the ability to take a one-day retreat if that’s the case.
There’s so much that can be done in just a day and you’ll be amazed at just how much more rested and relaxed you feel when you come back home.
Check out these 5 lessons learned from a one-day retreat:
Sure, a week-long yoga retreat is what you really want. But if you think you won’t get a lot out of a one-day getaway, think again.
As a mom of three and full-time midwife, I feel like I am constantly treading water—barely able to keep my head above surface level as I juggle carpools, after-school activities, two 24-hour shifts at a busy Philadelphia hospital, finding time to connect with my husband, friends, and family, and more. And, while I manage on most days to wake up at 5 a.m. to squeeze in a yoga practice, run, or spin class before the rest of my house wakes up, the time I carve out for myself is limited, at best.
Which is why I’ve been longing to go on a yoga retreat for a while now, and find myself daydreaming about a solid week of meditation and asana practice each morning, mid-afternoon naps in a hammock, and nights spent luxuriating over organic greens and inspiring dinner-table conversations. (No 3-year-old, sweet-potato slinging to contend with! Dreamy!)
Yet while it was clear to me that I needed some kind of getaway that involved more than an early morning sweat session or guzzling coffee with my mom friends, leaving family- and work-life behind just wasn’t in the cards. Which is why the Rise Gatherings Day of Renewal Retreat, a one-day event designed specifically to nourish and empower women, intrigued me. I could swing a one-day getaway—but would it make that much of an impact? Turns out the answer is a resounding yes. Here’s what this day-long retreat taught me—and how it’s reconnected me with the true purpose of my yoga practice at this point in my life.
Lesson No. 1: There’s serious power in surrounding yourself with like-minded women.
When we sat in an opening introductory circle and I explained the “doozy of a year” I had just experienced, and shared that I was looking to get back on some sort of a path, I felt vulnerable—but also comforted by all of the sighs of recognition and nodding heads. And when a woman in her 60s who sat across the circle from me talked about all of the times she had re-invented herself throughout her life, I thought “Brilliant! If she can do that, maybe I can, too!” There was a warmth, and an instant vibe where I felt safe and understood—and that feeling only grew throughout the day.
Lesson No. 2: Just one day of relaxation can be invigorating.
I am all about efficiency. Much of it is my Type A personality, but the demands of my life with three littles and a full-time job also keep me on a tight schedule. So, whether it’s my girls’ bath time or my own exercise time, I tend to stick rather tightly to my routines. Which is why I was surprised how amazingly liberating it felt to do so many different things for a day: an hour of Kettlebell Kundalini (which kicked my butt as it linked breath, strength, and movement); a “forest bath,” where we took a meditative hike in the woods; and even Breath Yoga, where I had to challenge myself to slow down and sink into a softness my go-to vigorous Vinyasa practice doesn’t always include.
Lesson No. 3: Introverts don’t always need a solo getaway to feel rejuvenated.
I’m an introvert, through and through. While I do seek out social experiences with others, my cup tends to be re-filled most fully by solo, quiet time. Which is why I was somewhat shocked at how being with 20 strangers for eight straight hours didn’t leave me feeling drained. But, the retreat’s two facilitators made sure to keep both the introverts and extroverts happy.
Lesson No. 4: Food can be fun.
I consider myself a health-conscious person. I read the latest studies about what we “should” and “shouldn’t” be eating, and I often put this information into practice. I also try to nourish my family in positive ways. But even with these best of intentions, mealtimes often end up feeling like a chaotic battleground. In short, somewhere in my adulthood, food stopped being fun for me.
But, something at the Rise retreat shifted as I witnessed the other women eagerly standing around the beautifully-presented, plant-based meal that was prepared for us.
Lesson No. 5: That advice to put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others is cliché for good reason.
Yes, we all know how important self-care is for our sanity. And there’s also a reason we need to be reminded of this—often! What I’ve come to realize is that the root of what has thrown me off my game this year is that I’ve been putting my own needs on the back-burner for so long that, at times, I don’t even know what they are any more. And that needs to change.
At the end of this one-day retreat, we were each invited to pick a card from a big pile around our yoga mats. No two cards were the same. I chose my card and kept it face-down as I sat comfortably on my mat. When I turned it over, I silently read: “Nourish: One day she woke up and she understood she must nourish herself first … and then she could nourish others.”
There it was—the exact reminder I needed.
If your time is limited and you can’t do a full retreat, maybe a one-day retreat is just what you need.
If I can get enough people to go for a one-day retreat, I’ll consider planning one. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know that you’re interested. I read and reply to ALL of my emails. I promise.