Do you look for silence on retreat?

Do you sometimes long for silence amidst the hubbub of our busy lives?

Previously we wrote about the rise of digital detox retreats. What’s also becoming popular is Vipassana meditation retreats also known as silent retreats, where, essentially, you don’t utter a single word for as long as you’re there. The days are filled with meditation, short breaks for meals and rest, a brisk walk – all in complete silence. Interaction with anybody else is prohibited.

Vipassana means ‘seeing things as they really are’ and is one of India’s most ancient techniques. These silent retreats are designed to help you focus on the connection between mind and body through self-observation, resulting in a balanced mind.

Overall the effect of being surrounded by silence can initially stir thoughts and over-thinking, but soon comes inner peace. We have an overload of information and too many distractions in our lives that we easily feel out of touch with ourselves. Silence can bring you back ‘home’.

Are silent retreats right for you?

While silent retreats are successful experiences for some, they are not necessarily the right thing for everyone. Sitting still in the lotus position may not be the best option for some to start with, and not for several days without speaking a word.

There are different ways to find silence that gradually help you find it easier to sit or move in silence for longer, e.g. from the meditation part of yoga classes like hatha yoga and Kundalini yoga, pranayama breathing practices, or tai chi and qi gong that is practiced in silence, or taking part in silent walks. Ironically, chanting meditations (making your own sound) can assist with finding inner silence.

If you’re looking for silence, you can simply go to a place that is off the beaten track or somewhere that is a technology-free zone. You might be surprised how much peace you find without a phone in your hand.

What retreat may be right for you? Read more…
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  • Half term retreats – where will you be relaxing?

    This half-term why not treat yourself to a getaway where you get to do nothing but relax, walk or practice yoga?

    Neal’s Yard Holidays has a number of half term retreats available during this October and we’re featuring a selection of them below. If you’d like to see the full range of retreats available this October, visit this page.

    At this luxury retreat in Marrakesh, practice yoga and Pilates and stay in the middle of the old town. What’s great about this retreat is, you won’t miss any of the sites – you can have guided tours of the souks and Imperial City. Surrounded by the snow-capped mountains, escape with yoga, Pilates and a Hammam. From 27 October – 15 November. For more info see this page.

    Visit the Spirit of Life Centre in southern Greece and practice yoga and Pilates surrounded by the beautiful mountains and olive groves. This retreat also offers a number of other activities includes horse riding, cycling, and walking (see photo).

    For a half term retreat a little closer to home, Read more…

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  • Ayurveda Tip: Drinking Water

    There’s actually an art to drinking water to make sure your body gets the most out of it.

    Drinking water in big gulps and chugging it down will mean that most of it does not get absorbed. Instead, it’s important to sip water throughout the day at a steady rate. Here are some Ayurveda tips to get you started.

     Ayurveda tips for drinking water
    • Sit down to drink
    •  Take small sips
    •  Sip throughout the day
    •  Do not drink too much during meals
    •  Avoid drinking water straight after a meal
    •  Drink when you’re thirsty
    •  Drink warm water
    •  Drink a glass of warm water upon waking
    •  Sip hot water for a hot water detox
    •  Ensure you do not get dehydrated

    Drinking warm and hot water has long been a practice in Ayurveda. Sipping it between meals can help flush out toxins and prevent digestive problems. It is also known to enhance the radiance of the skin and calm skin conditions. Read more…

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  • Walking Holidays

    Walking has a number of health benefits and is something that everyone can do. Walking holidays can be a great way to boost your health and energy levels while relaxing away from home.

    Walking lowers risk of disease

    As an exercise, walking is low impact, meaning it’s kind on your joints but it’s also weight-bearing, which means it strengthens bones and muscles surrounding the joints. It’s recommended that we walk 10,000 steps a day to keep our hearts healthy and lower cholesterol and risk of type 2 diabetes. But even a brisk 30-minute walk everyday can dramatically reduce the risk of disease. A 15-minute walk after eating can lower blood pressure and regulate blood sugar.

    Getting out and about for a walk can help tone your whole body and reduce body fat. Though it may not be as effective for fat burning as a more vigorous exercise minute by minute, it can certainly help. It will just take longer!

    Walking improves mood

    Walking is also great for getting a boost of much needed vitamin D, which most of us are deficient in.  Exercise is a renowned energiser, and walking is perfect for that. A walk can improve circulation and increase oxygen supply to the brain, which will make you feel more alert and improve concentration. If you ever have a low mood, then walking can help improve this. Exercise releases endorphins, which makes us happy, so even a 10-minute walk is enough to make you feel happier. Read more…

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  • Yoga holidays in Greece

    Later this year, take a yoga holiday in Greece and experience island-hopping like never before.

    Hellenic Seaplanes will be launching their fleet of you guessed it – seaplanes – to make travel between the Greek islands faster. The seaplanes will fly from ports all over Greece including mainland Athens and Thessaloniki to the islands of Crete, Mykonos and many more. The seaplanes can take 19 passengers at a time and will have scheduled flights to the various ports. In addition, flightseeing tours of the islands will be available so you can bask in the Greek beauty from the skies. Read more…

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  • Digital Detox holidays – Can you switch off?

    Can you switch off? – Have you tried a digital detox?

    STOP PRESS: Since publishing this blog we’ve been interviewed by Grazia magazine about silent retreats and the need to switch off from technology. Their article is now published in the print issue of 8th September 2014, page 119.
    Digital detox and silent retreats seem to be the latest travel trend. – Sainsbury’s magazine also contacted us and have now published their article in print in the October issue on page 159, also featuring AdventureYogi’s relaxing yoga retreats in Somerset.

    Here’s our blog on this topic:

    Going on holiday is meant to be just that – a holiday. It’s time away from the mundane, from everything we would normally do. But for most people, we still don’t completely switch off from our lives back home.

    On Facebook we often see people ‘check-in’ on holiday. On Twitter, we see endless tweets of people telling us about what they’re getting up to, and on Instagram we see the photo evidence of the fun they’re having.

    Using social media, checking emails or listening to voicemails while on holiday doesn’t allow us to switch off. Sometimes we want to, but with our smartphones glued to us, it’s difficult to do, especially when sharing a photo or a tweet is so easy.

    Have we become addicted to our relative newly formed habit? Doesn’t the use of our gadgets sometimes get in the way of our immediate experience of where we are and the person we are with?
    So why do it? Spending hundreds or even thousands on a holiday is not worth it if you check your phone at every opportunity because you may miss things.

    What are digital detox holidays?

    For people who truly want to switch off and get away from their everyday lives, there are digital detox holidays available. This type of holiday means leaving your phones and tablets behind, or keeping them locked up safely in your chosen retreat. There is no wifi and there’s no ability to connect, except to connect with yourself and nature instead.  This can make for a healing and nourishing holiday in itself. Read more…

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  • Green Holidays and volunteering holidays

    Are you looking for green holidays? Or volunteering holidays that also offer yoga?

    We have yoga holidays with a twist offered by Ecoteer, a well-established provider of responsible travel and volunteering opportunities.
    Their Karma Yoga Retreats could be just what you’re looking for if you wish to help local communities in a beautiful setting. As well as daily yoga, you can take part in a number of volunteering opportunities. Animal lovers can assist with wildlife conservation and animal care, and adrenaline junkies will get a thrill from jungle trekking and hiking. Other opportunities to help out include teaching English in Thailand and organic farming in Japan. Read more…

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  • Ayurveda Tips for Better Health

    It’s relatively common to feel sluggish in the morning, lethargic in the afternoon and restless at night. According to Ayurveda, to have good health and feel energised, we should live in tune with nature’s cycles. By implementing a simple morning and night routine, you can achieve harmony.

    Ayurveda recommends morning and night time practices called Dinacharya. The morning routine promotes focus, a calm outlook and sustainable energy to help you throughout your busy day. The night time routine will help you wind down and prepare you for sleep.

    Ayurveda Morning routine

    According to Ayurveda, before sunrise is the ideal time to get up in the morning because of the vata dosha – a subtle energy. The atmosphere is still quiet at this time, which also makes it easier to meditate. Energy after the sun rises, is heavy, which can make you feel heavy and tired. Read more…

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  • Make your Next Holiday a Yoga Retreat

    The thought of going on your first yoga retreat can be daunting. You might have many questions such as am I experienced enough?

    Who else will be there? Am I fit enough to keep up with all the classes and activities? Will it even feel like a holiday?

    No worries, when you get there, there’s no need to plan anything. It’s all done for you. The days are mostly structured and you will be catered for. So there is nothing to do but relax and unwind, and take it in your stride.

    A yoga retreat could be the perfect next step from your regular weekly class if you want to learn more and develop your yoga, or even if you just want to spend more time practicing without all the distractions of life. Most retreats cater for everyone from beginners to fully-practiced yogis and yoginis so there’s no need to worry about your fitness levels.

    What are you looking for in a yoga retreat?

    Before booking a yoga retreat, be clear about what you hope to get out of it. Having an intention will help you make the most out of the holiday. Next, think about the location. Would you prefer to be in a hot country on the beach or close to home in the countryside? Near majestic mountains or a tropical paradise? It’s usually best to choose somewhere that will inspire you; that gives you the energy you’re looking for. Read more…

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  • Tai Chi Retreats Europe

    We have a number of Tai Chi retreats in Europe on offer, but for those who don’t know much about this ancient practice, we’ve put together a little guide below.

    What is Tai Chi?

    Tai Chi, also known as Tai Chi Chuan, meaning ‘the supreme ultimate’, combines deep breathing and relaxation with flowing movements. It’s long been used as an exercise to promote harmony between mind and body but it can also promote physical balance, health and increased energy and strength.

    In traditional Chinese medicine, humans are considered miniature versions of the universe, made up of the five elements – wood, fire, water, earth and metal. The energy from these five elements, known as ‘qi’ (pronounced ‘chee’), flows throughout the body, and practising Tai Chi helps to channel this energy in a smooth and balanced manner – also known as ‘balancing your qi’.

    Where did Tai Chi originate?

    Tai Chi is centuries old, and descends from Qigong an ancient Chinese discipline, meaning ‘energy cultivation’. Both practices used to remain secret in China and were only taught to selected students or family members, or were practised by monks and nuns. Read more…

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