Marathon Training Days #111 & #112: Retreating

All photos provided by JK. Thanks, JK!

All photos provided by JK. Thanks, JK!

I spent this weekend at the Kula yoga retreat. I’d never been on a retreat before, but Jill loves them. JK wanted to sign up for this one and is the person who sent the info my way and encouraged me to sign up too. It being only for a weekend + it being run by my favourite studio + it being at one of the greenest buildings in Canada + having a friend there with me = it seemed like the right time to give a retreat a try. After all, it was only 2 sleeps. If I really hated it, I’d be home soon.

I was into the idea of giving my body a break, eating amazing food and having access to outside. I wasn’t into the potential of sharing all the feelings. So, off we went on Friday. Over the course of the weekend, there would be four classes: Friday evening (Linseed), Saturday morning (Christi-an), Saturday evening (Linseed) and Sunday morning (Christi-an). Each session was about 90 minutes. Linseed’s classes were pretty gentle while Christi-an’s were more active and involved mini-handstand workshops. I still can’t do a handstand, by the way. This is driving me crazy.

Other than the classes, the retreat was relatively unstructured. JK and I went outside and hiked at pretty much every minute we weren’t reading in the great sunroom. Lots of tea and sunshine were consumed.

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Instead of giving you  day by day recap, I’m trying to structure my retreat into lessons I can bring with me into my daily life. How very yogi of me.

1. Four classes in three days is a lot of yoga

I’m training for a marathon, I thought I was in shape! But by the end of the third class on Saturday night, I was sore and achy from all the classes. Of course, all the hiking didn’t help. Expect yoga retreats to be relaxing, but not too relaxing. Especially if you aren’t doing yoga 3-5 times a week already.

2. I need to deal with my feelings

Even though this was my first retreat, I got the impression the spiritual side of this retreat was toned down a lot — and I still found it to be too much. I tried my best to be game, sharing my intentions and devoting my Sunday morning practice to someone,  but it didn’t feel authentic to me at all. I’m game if it works for you, but I just felt silly dedicating my practice to someone. But I still feel silly ohming and bowing (it is waaaay too much like church for me).  This is more about me than the retreat and I need to work on this by either being more comfortable about opting out or trying to understand this side of yoga better.

3. Being outside is awesome

I need to go outside more. When it’s cold and gross in the city, I tend to stay inside, hunker down,  block the outdoors with computer screens and tablet screens and television screens. The weather on Friday and Saturday wasn’t great, but we went outside anyway and hiking through hail was more idyllic than it should have been. I know being at a retreat put me in that mindset, but there’s no reason I can’t bring a little bit of that back to my day-to-day life.

4. Being unplugged is about purpose, not disconnect

The first night at the retreat, the Boston Manhunt was happening. It drove me insane that I couldn’t follow it. Then I decided I could. This was an important, developing story and I am a journalist. Once it was all over, I read a few key articles, then put my phone away. For the rest of the weekend, I didn’t check Twitter. I didn’t “surf” the internet. But I did let myself use my phone. Everything I did with a screen was done with intention. And that’s how it should be all the time — not just when I’m at a retreat.

5. I need to be more open

Open physically, but also open emotionally and open to experiences. I enjoyed the retreat a lot more than I thought I would. It was beautiful and relaxing and fun. I’m glad I went. Now if I can get my shoulders and hips more open, I will win at retreating.

I’m sure there are others, but these seem to be the big ones. My intention for this summer is to go outside way more, unplug more and general be more mindful and more awesome.

I can do this after the marathon, though.

Me! In a tree! Being one with nature!

Me! In a tree! Being one with nature!

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