A Retreat To Tune In
The lessons coming out of our Finding Balance In Business retreat last weekend
What a weekend. 11 remarkable women, two days, 6 amazing meals and a lot of laughter, reflection and relaxation.
So what did Vicky and I learn from running our first retreat together in this format? And what did our attendees learn? Below we reflect on our experience.
Firstly - this isn't a regular 'yoga' retreat, it's so much more than that. We knew that when we designed the content, but it's one of my biggest reflections. The work we do over two days is challenging and although there is a huge amount of relaxation and reflection there are also moments to ask hard questions and really begin to understand who you are - that's where the magic lies, I am unapologetic about it and think it's critically important.
The content and the concept really do work. It's an extraordinary pairing, coaching and yoga, allowing people the opportunity to do some deep reflective work on themselves, their behaviour and approach to life, whilst giving the space to allow this to process, to switch the brain to another mode and just let things percolate in their own time. Many attendees reflected in their feedback about how powerful this is as an approach and how well the two compliment each other, allowing deeper insight than either would have created on its own.
We covered a lot in two days - from values and priorities, to self-care and balance. Our biggest take-aways?
There are a few:
1. We rarely tune in to ourselves - we spend our whole lives consumed in the external environment - other people, other places, things that happened yesterday, things that might happen tomorrow. Providing the space and time to just reflect and inquire of ourselves is valuable in and of itself.
2. It can be a challenging and emotional process getting to know yourself and that is OK. You have to face up to some facts you may not like - you need to dwell on uncomfortable things and be honest with yourself about how you feel when you remove context and other people's opinions. Sitting with the discomfort of not knowing is a hard-won and valuable skill. Both yoga and coaching can gently help you start that process of reflecting on your own abilities and challenges with equanimity and kindness. It is one of the brilliant things about this combination of activities.
3. Yoga and meditation are powerful tools for preventing 'over thinking' and allowing ideas to take their time to develop in private while you're not looking directly at them. Amazing insights can suddenly blossom whilst standing on one leg concentrating on that, and not on the question you've been puzzling over all morning!
4. We believe its imperative to create an environment where our guests feel welcomed and accepted just as they are, no matter the state of their business, or the depth of their yoga experience and we think we did that this weekend. Wonderful, generous and honest conversations happen when there is this atmosphere of warmth, empathy and vulnerability. Within 24 hours, women who had been complete strangers were having authentic, heart-opening and deeply connected conversations. This is probably some of the best therapy one can get.
5. We all have our struggles. We are all learning, growing, working with the inevitably of change. Life will throw us some curveballs. We all have insecurities, fears and doubts. Nobody can avoid this - no matter how perfect their life looks on the outside. Knowing this can actually be of comfort. Knowing you're not alone is even more of a comfort.
6. Yoga, meditation, mindfulness are all training tools for helping us to remain steady, calm and centered. We practice staying, calm, present and connected to our breath as we work through tightness, tension, discomfort and unsteadiness in our physical bodies. This is all training for life - how do we handle the setbacks, the difficult client, the traffic jam? How we work through difficulty or challenge on the yoga mat or on the meditation seat says a lot about how we will deal with it in the real world.
7. Everyone's journey is unique. What worked for you may or may not work for another - even if that person is in the same situation as you. Advice can sometimes be useful but more often than not you already know the answer to your most challenging questions. You just need to get quiet and still enough to hear the answer.