Updated: Aug 18, 2018
When you really need to restore and replenish and cannot afford or don't have time to go to a place of retreat. Look to your home, you have a ready made retreat waiting for you. Here's how.
Recently I needed, more than anything, to replenish and nourish myself, so I created my own retreat at home. The most important things you will need cost nothing - focus, intention and a little bit of self-discipline.
“Retire to the centre of your being, which is calmness” Paramhansa Yoganada
Taking the Time
Either dedicate a whole weekend or a few days from work or you can even do this whilst working.
Both do require some preparation:
Firstly - have a think about what you would like to do on your retreat.
Ideas: it could be to become more #mindful, an exploration into your own n#utrition - ie #fasting, elimination of certain foods, exploring vegetarianism/veganism, mediation, mantra. Or it can be as simple as avoiding media, reading, walks in nature, daily #asana practice.
Preparation: Prepare in advance - are there books you would like to read, foods you will need to buy.
Kriya Yoga. You may want to practice one or more of the exercises from #Kriya Yoga - tapas (self-discipline) can be daily asana and pranayama - dedicate yourself to 12 sun salutations and kapalabhati breathing add in Svadhaya (Self Study) by reading philosophy or spiritual texts such as the Upanishads or the Bhagvad Gita
Intention Setting the intention for good practice.
Even if you have given yourself just a couple of days for your retreat, make this the beginning of your commitment to your #Svadhaya by continuing this practice for 21 days. This will improve not only your connection to self and source but will help you develop the art of focus.
TAKING Weekend/time off
* Let friends and family know that you won't be available for a certain time period.
* Turn off phones, internet connections (even if for just set periods of time).
* Remove and avoid all media and social media
* For a nourishing time - begin your morning slowly
* Before starting the day, practice gratitude for all you have, all you have been given and all you will be given.
Nourish Your Spirit - Write out affirmations that resonate at this time.
* I am loved, I am loving, I am loveable.
* I am enough, I have enough, there is enough
* I am healthy, fit, vibrant and strong,
* I am expressing myself with compassion, grace, ease and confidence.
or it could be things that you would like to manifest...I am manifesting well paid work that I love to do...etc
Nourish Your Body
Dry Body brushing to improve the circulation, encourage lymphatic drainage, try oil pulling with coconut oil.
Begin the day with warm water and lemon juice
Asana practice if you are new book into a class or a workshop for the weekend or try a video at home.
Pranayama practice - there are lots of great videos explaining breathing techniques, if you can't find a class to attend.
10 mins meditation practice. watching the breath, candle gazing
Breakfast - keep the breakfast light, vegetarian, vegan, eat consciously mindfully and with gratitude. Think about where your food came from, how it arrived on your plate, bowl..all that energy is what you are consuming - if it's plant based imagine it being filled with light and entering into each cell of your body, filling your body with light.
Nourish the Soul in Nature
Take yourself for a walk in nature. Don't mind the weather, accept the weather for whatever it is that day. Sit beneath a tree, feel the stillness and strength and wisdom of that tree.
If you stay out for several hours, take your books to read and vegetarian/vegan lunch.
Throughout the day, drink lots of water, be conscious of the energy of water as you bring it into your body.
Throughout the day become aware of your breath, become aware when your breath becomes shallow, if anything triggers that response and return to deep breathing in and out through the nose.
Throughout the day be aware and mindful of your thoughts - if you catch yourself following a negative train of thought, bring it back up either to stillness with your conscious breathing or add in affirmations or gratitude to take your vibration back up.
Is there something you can do during that day that will serve others? Could you pop some extra food you have made round to a neighbour - could you take your friends dog out for a walk? Or even send prayers/visualisations/healing to others around you.
I love this sanskrit prayer...
"Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu" translates into
"May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all"
Evening Routine for your Retreat at Home
You may want another asana practice, perhaps try some rounds of Chandra Namaskar (moon salutations)
Don't Eat too late
Have your last meal of the day before 8pm, this will give your body the opportunity to heal and repair itself rather than being focused on digestion throughout your sleeping hours.
A warm bath with epsom/pink himalayan mountain salt once again with consciousness and gratitude for the water. Natural body lotions with essential oils and massage in to your body with mindfulness, awareness of how your body looks and feels - send your love to your body especially any aches and pains.
Its doesn't have to be complicated
Your meditation could be as little as 5 minutes, seated with your eyes closed focusing on your breath, or eyes open and quietly gazing at a candle/a flower.
Before you close your eyes... finish with thoughts of gratitude and affirmations, not only will these help you fall asleep as you count reasons to be grateful but the affirmations when said repeatedly will help #reprogramyourbrain.#nlp
HOW TO RETREAT WHILST WORKING
If you can't get any time off work, yet you know your body and mind are craving some self-care....
Set yourself an #intention that for the next 1/2/3 weeks (make it achievable so it may even be three days).
Rise and SHINE
You will start the day earlier (this is best done in spring/summer when you are more inclined to get up earlier.
Reasons to Be Cheerful
Begin the day with your gratitude and affirmations.
BOOST Your Circulation
Body Brush - using a body brush use circular sweeping motions upwards to the heart. You can start with palms of hands onto chest or from soles of feet upwards. If you are feeling tired. #BodyBrushing will certainly wake you up! It helps to remove dead skin cells, encouraging cell renewal resulting smoother, brighter skin. It assists in improving vascular blood circulation and lymphatic drainage.
Sun salutations and up to 10 rounds of Anuloma Vuloma (alternate nostril breathing).
Sun Salutations work on every body system and energy system (chakras), in itself it is a moving meditation. A daily practice will develop strength, flexibility and tone, improve cardiovascular strength.
MIND THE GAP Heading to work especially in a busy city when there is so much energy and stimulation coming from you at all angles, now is the perfect time to perfect your practice mindfulness! Don't underestimate your challenge. Notice your feet on the pavement, the sounds around you, the way your body feels as you walk and attention to your breathing.
Be aware at work if there is anything that triggers you into a less than calm, peaceful state. Just having awareness without judgement is a great start to acknowledging possible issues (boundaries, old emotional wounds).
Lunch time, take a walk, read your spiritual text, breathe consciously, eat a vegetarian/vegan lunch, with awareness - practice your karma yoga and make lunch for a colleague.
Laughter is the best medicine - Take some time to laugh with a colleague, laughing decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease, it triggers the release of endorphins and temporarily relieve pain.
Stretch Your Body If anything feels too much throughout the day, practice some chair yoga, stretch, breathe consciously, walk away for a few minutes.
Walk part of the way home to help unwind, or promise a walk after your evening meal.
Eat consciously in the evening and have an early night.
Turn of any screens if you feel the absolute need to have a screen on, but could you be doing something else - listen to a talking book, listen to some meditative music, be creative. You could use these few days/weeks on your retreat to develop your creativity - learn an instrument or resume a regular practice of an instrument, sew/draw/paint/write. Or maybe consciously clear an area of your home that is cluttered and has been bothering you for ages. There are many alternatives to computer/tv gazing.
Part of your retreat could be simply going to bed an hour earlier. If you are used to staying up to midnight, try to be in bed by 10.30pm, turn off monitors and screens an hour before you sleep so you have time to properly relax, take a book to bed or a journal and write down inspirations or thoughts of your day and finish with your #gratitude and #affirmations as your last thoughts of the day.