A weekend in Bali. A month in Morocco. Three weeks camping on the Baja Peninsula. Expensive, exotic yoga retreats, trainings and festivals are popping up all over the globe. As wonderful as it would be to just drop the kids off at Grandma’s and jetset around the world to connect with the yogis and energies of foreign lands, it’s not always feasible -- especially when Grandma’s RVing in North Carolina and you used the last of your PTO when your bestie was in town last month. So for the busy woman or man who needs the relief of a yoga retreat on a tight schedule, take some time to consider hosting your own personal do-it-yourself yoga retreat.
Feel free to skip parts, repeat parts, mix it up, do multiple sessions in one sitting, or spread out the sessions over a week! This is your retreat, so do what you need to do to get grounded, challenge yourself, and emerge reenergized.
7:00 AM: Pranayama practice and some green tea (or OJ, coffee, a juice box, whatever you have. Just sip something to start hydrating your body). Find a comfortable place to sit still, and turn your focus inward to your breath: a simple even belly breath, alternate nostril breathing, or any of the cooling breathing techniques found here.
Breakfast: If you’ve got the time, cook yourself this Vegan Avocado Breakfast Hash. Dashing out the door? Skip the Pop-Tarts and whip up a quick smoothie. Fresh fruit and vegetables with a hearty helping of protein give you sustained energy for a calm morning free from blood sugar spikes or crashes.
10:00 AM: Take a break from whatever you’re doing and allow yourself some movement. Desk yoga, kitchen floor yoga, a podcast, or a real class on your lunch break.
11:30 AM: Do a random act of kindness. Buy coffee for the person in line behind you, genuinely ask someone how they are doing, or offer to walk your roommate’s dog. Good karma and good vibes bring us closer together as one tribe.
Lunch: Make lunch from scratch! Perhaps this delicious, exotic Thai Green Papaya Salad. What you make isn’t as important as forming a connection with the food. Chop and sauté intentionally. Smell it simmering, and really savor each bite. When each ingredient and spice is added by hand and enjoyed with full awareness, you experience the flavors much more intensely, as well as fully reaping the nutritional benefits as you engage the gut-brain connection.
2:30 PM: Allow yourself a meditation walk. Focus on breathing and observing the things you pass, enjoying the simple movement. Your blood and endorphins will get flowing, energizing you for the rest of the afternoon. Even if it’s just a lap around the office building, do what you can to get outside in nature. Take a friend, take a break from looking at any screens, and just enjoy the fresh air.
4:00 PM: Take some time for reflection. Block out 30 minutes of quiet alone time to read something inspirational, maybe some Rumi or Pema Chodron. Or make a list of the many things you can think of for which you are grateful. When you’ve read or written to your satisfaction, use the rest of your 30 minutes to meditate, soaking in the goodness you’ve filled your mind with.
Dinner: Try this Clean-Out-the-Fridge Stir Fry to create a little more space and serenity - in your fridge! Decluttering the spaces we encounter every day keeps our routines efficient, and contributes to less wasted time, food, etc.
7:00 PM: Body-appreciation moving meditation. If you can sneak it in, do a fun form of movement you enjoy. Choose a short, relaxing yin flow, go for a bike ride, or play a game of catch. Thank your body for all it can do -- it’s an amazing, resilient, changeable tool that allows us to intimately experience this life. Thank your eyes, ears, and all your senses. Thank your heart and lungs. Thank your muscles and bones and mind and breath. Silently give gratitude to the temple that you live in.
Bedtime: Make a point to get to bed when you’re tired -- don’t procrastinate sleep with television or scrolling through Instagram. Take a final conscious, deep breath for the day, and let it out. Savasana.
Participating in a DIY retreat offers you a different experience than what happens at a cloistered silent retreat, or a destination yoga teacher training. It allows you to see how you can fit these practices into your daily life, incorporating them in the spaces you always occupy. Some are trickier than others, some you could slide into your every day routine, some require more planning and sacrifice. Integrating these practices and mindsets into your daily life is the goal after yoga retreats, and when you walk away from this one, you won’t have far to go at all.