Thank you to Lucy who shared her thoughts and experiences of our week together with the absolutely best bunch of people we could ever hope to have altogether in one spot!!!! Kitty and I absolutely loved our time guiding our retreaters. Retreat Into Wildness 2 is coming next October…
With love, Jess & Kitty xxx
Benefits of going on a yoga retreat ~ By Lucy Heard
I’ve just returned from a week-long retreat in the mountains of Portugal with Kitty and Jess.
Our retreat into the wilderness took us to Amieira, in central Portugal.
To Sue and Pete’s welcoming retreat centre, Yoga Evolution, a traditional Portuguese farm with room for 16 guests in the various cottages, houses and gipsy caravans around the land alongside a purpose-built yoga shala, treatment room and swimming pool.
Our home for the week was also home to 4 dogs, 3 cats, a donkey, a goat and some wild boar, which brings me to the first benefit of going on retreat
* connecting with nature
Being away from the noise and bustle of the city meant taking time to look and see the landscape around the farm.
I ate figs, pears, grapes, blackberries and pomegranate off the trees and plants that surrounded us. The numerous olive trees that surrounded us heaved with olives almost ready to be picked.
* disconnecting from work
I love my work, I am very lucky to be in charge of my freelance career and be gifted amazing opportunities to work in the arts. However, working doing something I love means I sometimes over commit, this retreat came at the right time to switch off the emails, stay away from social media and forget about work.
*Step back and evaluate
Each morning from 7 am, I watched the clouds drift and the sunrise from my caravan while drinking a cup of tea in a form of meditation.
I really enjoyed this silent space to reflect on the previous day, contemplate what was important to me that day and to set an intention.
* Concentrating on Practice
With 4 hours of yoga every day, it was a great way to concentrate on my practice, showing up on the mat each morning and evening, accepting the challenge that was before me whether it was physical or meditative. I really enjoyed pushing my practice and trying new things that I never thought I would be able to do. Improvement is always possible.
*Quality time with your teachers
What an absolute gift to have 2 teachers on retreat! Both with so much knowledge and willingness to tailor the classes to the group’s needs and wants. Jess and Kitty both paid careful attention to the holding of the teaching space and the retreat as a whole.
We arrived in during Hurricane Lesley (one of only 5 hurricanes to reach mainland Portugal) and left in the sunshine, which is a pretty good reflection of my emotional weather over the week, the blue sky was always there I had to wait for the sky to clear.
“You are the sky, everything else is just weather’ – Pema Chodron
*A chance to challenge and deepen my practice
Each morning we practised an elemental flow, a challenging set of asanas themed around each element – Earth, Air, Water and Fire. With the whole day to recover, rest and recuperate it was a great place to really push my practice within a group and revisit asanas I had convinced myself were out of my reach for all manner of reasons. This week has lit a fire under my practice again, I’m looking forward to going to testing myself a little more back in Bristol.
One reason I love going on retreat is being looked after and fed delicious food at every meal. Our Chefs Amy and Selina served up delicious vegan meals 3 times a day with such care and attention, homemade nut butter with breakfast, onion baji’s with one of the tastiest curries I’ve ever eaten and a coconut & goji berry bliss ball that was just incredible are just some of the highlights.
*Returning refreshed and invigorated
While returning home from the beautiful Portuguese sunshine to the English autumn was hard I am glad to be home. My body has had the attention it needed to bring my energy back in to order in time to move into winter.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Portuguese mountains with Jess, Kitty and the rest of the crew from Wild Wolfs.
I will always cherish my time in the mountains and look forward to the next time I can focus on developing myself in such a nourishing way.
Lucy, and all of our retreaters, thank you for making this sooooooo special. It was an absolute honour for me to teach at the very place that inspired me to deepen my yoga journey!