It’s been only 5 days since I said goodbye to my last group. I’m still in Andalucía, the land of the eternal Sun in Southern Spain. But even if the sunlight and warmth is trying hard to keep me in a good mood, my spirit is somewhere else –I’m overwhelmed from the past week.
This is what usually happens on the day after a retreat. You’re back to reality without previous warning: you stumble on the familiarity of your home, your pots and pans, your emails, your job, your gym and your cat. The shock of going back home collides with your struggle to bring back with you those moments of bliss and connections you felt while on retreat.
Your body might feel sore, yet you are relaxed, flying, you feel your body soar with every breath… and you wish you would feel like this forever. You start noticing the happiness that invaded you on your holiday slowly fades away…
I’m at this point right now, so I’d like to share a few tips on how to overcome your post-retreat gloom:
Keep up with your practise
One of my biggest struggles when I go back home is finding the time to practise. The schedule we usually follow on retreat is completely shattered once I get home. Morning alarms and mealtimes are a lot more relaxed on my daily basis (after all, I live in Spain!), and that’s specifically true for the first few days after a retreat. But the opposite may also be true for you: you have a family and children to care for, or a very demanding job that leaves very little room for yourself. All in all, it’s quite easy to make excuses and complain.
However, the post-retreat high should remind us that our yoga practise is non-negotiable, and no matter what is going on, we should always make time for it, just like we take time to brush our teeth and do our laundry. If you committed yourself to go on a yoga retreat in the first place, it’s because you needed some sort of push to change something in your life –so why not starting now that you’re still pumped from your last retreat?
Do not be too hard on yourself
Letting go of your graceful practise on retreat and finding the right time and space on your daily life will be hard. Obligations and stress will take over, and you may just not feel up to it. Forgive yourself. Everyone can have a bad day, or a bad week, or a bad month…!
Do not beat yourself up or get too disappointed for choosing to just throwing yourself on the couch in front of the TV instead of meditating for a few minutes. If that’s what you needed today, just acknowledge your needs and tell yourself tomorrow will be another day. Discipline is needed, but so is kindness and self-compassion.
Share the love
I will not stop saying one of the most beautiful aspects of yoga retreats are the people you will meet. People from very different walks of life come together with one same goal, which usually revolves around bettering oneself. You will undoubtedly open up, so will the others, and in no time, you will be bonding with possibly life-long friends and sharing beautiful stories you will want to tell over and over again.
Sadly, these connections will be missed back home. Make sure your yoga-friends support you and can give you the same sort of real and positive environment you experienced on your retreat. If you’re lucky, you might live in the same city with some of the participants, but if you don’t have such a community, look for one! There are plenty of meet-up groups that will help you find these like-minded people and build new and inspiring friendships!
Live in the present moment
The most important yogic teaching is to live in the moment, so it’s highly possible that holding on to your past experience will only make you miserable. Instead of dwelling in your travels or your retreat nostalgia, ty to cherish your current situation while being conscious of where you’re coming from. Tell your story to your friends, but don’t forget where you are now.
Sometimes I’m afraid I’ll forget these feelings and sensations I went through, and that’s why many of us hold on to the memories… so I like to keep a diary instead. Try that! Carefully write all your experiences, describe the retreat, the location, the teacher, the other participants, how you felt every morning and every evening before going to bed. This will help you release the experience while keeping it safe forever.
I hope your yoga retreat was SO AWESOME it was hard to go back to reality. But I also wish you a graceful transition and that you will book again soon!