Retreat: 'the act of moving back or away, change ones mind or plans especially as a result of difficulty or something hazardous or unpleasant.'
There is something immensely powerful, and transformative about literally 'stepping out' and spending time on retreat to practice yoga, to meditate, to simply be rather than 'do'. We don't need catastrophe to warrant this: with winter, work, family, and the fast pace of life and the mind - regularly 'retreating' is a natural and crucial way for the psyche and body to reset and recharge. We do it daily as we sleep to some extent, but the real power of retreat comes from subtly rewiring our unconscious thoughts, habits, behaviours and making them mindful and consciously nurturing. By doing this we access more of the full power and energy we could have available to us to really live full whole lives. As the practice of yoga teaches us, it is about knowing yourself, knowing what you need, knowing what you want to give in balance and equanimity. Retreat offers the pause, the stillness to take stock of ourselves for long enough to review if we are giving to ourselves and the people around us all we honestly can in our every day.
So naturally - returning FROM retreat, is every bit if not MORE important than going on retreat. If you have notes, music, pictures or a book that you read on retreat - keep them by your side to remind you of who and how you were in those moments of stillness and peace. They are still resonant in you even in moments of rush and panic as you face the every day once more. Reflect on what you found helpful and inspiring on retreat - whether it was the food, the practices, the way of communicating to one another, the pace of your movements, the nature. Be clear about why and what you would like to bring into your days. Dont be limited by judgements about time and resources available to you.
Set aside a corner or cushion at home for just being / meditating and set phone alarm to remind you to go and be still at a time that works for you. Stick to it with 'tapas', discipline!
Beginning your day right - below are a few recipes for the first meal of the day. Try and intuit what you actually need nutrionally each day afresh according to the season, your energy levels, your mind and the demands of the day you meet. For grounding, look to pulses, grain and protein. For cleansing, lightness and energy, look to juices, fruits, raw foods.
LEMON TEA - hot not boiling water poured on sliced and squeezed lemon
MATCHA/ Green Tea
Green Cooling Juice:
The best breakfast ever! Kedgeree is the Brisitish version of an ayurvedic Indian dish 'kitcheri' that was brought into our diet from Colonial India. I blend the two recipes together and add a few tweaks. Make the night before and warm gently in the morning. I dont measure, and make in bulk to eat all week... so play around and see what works for you!
CURRY POWDER / GARAM MASALA
Cook the brown rice, mung beans and pearl barley in boiling water until cooked and tender with cardomom pods, cinnamon sticks and ginger in the pan if you have.
Meanwhile, warm a couple of cloves of crushed garlic and chopped fresh ginger in a pan with ghee (to be ayurvedic), coconut oil or sesame oil. Don't overheat the oils. Stir in the spices (turmeric is a must as very good for joints in morning and anti inflammatory). Cook the mackerel in shallow water... or use ready cooked. Add cooked and chopped eggs, chopped coriander and cress and mix fish with rice.
Banana and or mango
Omega Oil Seeds
Whey / pea protein powder
Almond / nut butter
Yoga practice! Enjoy a regular practice, work out when you can attend classes, have private tuition and develop your home practice intuitively.