What It Means to be On Retreat

February 27, 2014
Katherine Austin Wooley


It took something like 30 hours to circle the globe, from Detroit to Amsterdam to Delhi to Amritsar, a night in a big-city hotel, several trips through immigration and customs and x-ray scanners, to finally start our retreat.

Totally worth it.

And totally trying.

Like yoga, going on retreat takes you to your edge. It changes how you see the world. It brings up discomforts and hopefully, inspires you to look unease in the eye and come out victorious on the other side.

When I first started practicing yoga, I summoned the courage to change my life. It was a gradual transformation, and one that is still in process, but I now know that the shifting of consciousness that happens with yoga led me to the courage to live the life I needed to live.

Wanted to live.

But it wasn't all easy.

That's the multi-faceted gift of yoga. And so much a part of yoga is going on retreat, out of our element, where we practice daily or multiple times a day, and we immerse in meditation and spiritual awakening and surround ourselves with people who also seek transformation.

That's the gift of the yoga retreat.

So what can you expect if you travel with Katherine here to India, or to Mexico (next January - book your space!), or Up North to Song of the Morning for her incredibly shifting meditation retreat?

1. You will meet interesting people. Some will be on your trip with you and some you'll meet along the journey and some people will be "interesting" in ways that make you uncomfortable because they are different from you and you will have to deal with it. (Hint: that's where the transformation comes in!)

As Katherine says, "That's why this trip is so much more transformational than any other trip - because of all you have to go through to get to India, to work your way through and around India. It's going to blow your mind on the way home how much you've changed and you didn't even realize it."

2. Retreats push you to redefine what you always took for granted. Beliefs. Values. Faith. Friendships. Relationships. Are they real, or are they placeholders? Getting away from it all helps you to gain perspective - and get clear. (Hint: just like yoga.)

3. You'll redefine your life. Well, not always in huge upsetting turn everything upside down ways. (Though sometimes, yes.) What matters. What doesn't. Who to surround yourself with. This is a good thing. And it can only happen when you get some distance. Retreat will lead you to focus your life on what difference you want to make in the world.

The different flavors and scents and sights on a journey like this are exactly what we need to push us past our comfort zone and learn what the rest of the world is like. To mingle our expectations of life into the expectations of others.

On retreat, we learn how connected we truly are, and how much community exists around us. And within us.


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