Slowing down and taking the time to relax has been on my list of priorities for the last 18 months or so. Those of you who follow my blog or train with me know that I have really had to ‘work’ at changing pace and not race along at 100 miles an hour day in, day out. It might sound crazy to have to try so hard to slow down but that is the reality for many of us. I have managed to build a weekly yoga class into my schedule and am feeling the benefits. Going on a retreat has been on my ‘Vision board’ for a while and I have finally done it. I have just returned from a weekend of yoga and hiking in the Lake District with ‘Yoga Hikes’.
What was involved?
We arrived at Rydal Hall on Friday evening after having had a relaxing day travelling down from Glasgow and spending time having a leisurely lunch and a walk around Windermere. On Saturday and Sunday the days followed the same format – 7.30am Yoga, 8.30am breakfast, 9.30am Hike, Tea & Cake on our return and then dinner on the Saturday evening (we left after Yoga on the Sunday).
Was it as expected?
I had chosen the combination of Yoga and Hiking so that there would be activity to balance the calm. I knew that I would struggle with too much yoga, meditation and sitting still! Hiking would ensure time outside and moving.
I really enjoyed the weekend and felt that I had had some quality time out and had a good break. The weather was amazing, the scenery breath taking and the food and company were great too. I met and chatted to lots of people from all over the world and really started to relax. There are not many days in the year that I don’t work so 3 in a row was a real treat. I came back with more knowledge of the yoga and real desire to fit more hiking into my schedule.
What did I get from the weekend?
The big ‘lightbulb’ moment for me was that I really do overcomplicate everything and I am sure that I am not alone in that one. It was so easy to get to the Lakes and to have some time away. We all waste so much time wishing we could get away and waiting for our next holiday when actually even a night away and a hike would do us the world of good. Working for many means being stuck at a desk and that activity levels are low all week. Many of those on the weekend get out as many weekends as they can to counter the inactivity in their working week. It was amazing to hear of all the places that they have visited and to see how being active and walking is right up there in their priorities.
I found the yoga quite intense which is largely because I have not done that much of it until the last couple of months and then only a class a week. Four classes in 48 hours was a big jump and I really felt it. My body coped with it – the challenge was in my mind. I concentrated so hard with lots of unfamiliar postures and flows and had to work really hard to keep my focus. I am however determined to stick at it and to find the serenity that I saw from those more established in their yoga practice. I did learn that yoga is about more than flexibility – it is about strength and stability and being grounded. I can feel my flexibility returning and as always was bendier than anyone else. Already I can feel my back starting to arch too far and my body is starting to slip into old poor habits. I need to temper this with building strength in my joints and countering my excessive flexibility with strength and stability. It is great to learn more about your body and to see how your needs change over time.
The hiking was challenging too and we certainly didn’t just stroll around the Lakes. We were up and down on some very uneven and rocky ground. We did around 17 miles in total and certainly worked our muscles. From a fitness perspective I was absolutely fine and haven’t been overly sore. I can feel that I have done something different though and that feels good.
Will I do it again?
I would definitely recommend ‘Yoga Hikes’ particularly if you have not done anything like this before. It was well organised and Kevin and Yen worked hard to look after us all. Rydal Hall was a beautiful place with great facilities. The weather made the weekend with bright sunshine and we saw the lakes at their best. I will definitely be making some weekends away a priority with my husband over the months to come. It is only a couple of hours away and we both love the area.
So all in all a great weekend and I am inspired to do more of the same. Why don’t you give it a go and schedule some time away to recharge your batteries? There are lots of options so you can find something that you would enjoy and take some time out. Have you been on a retreat or organised weekend? Who was it with and how did it go? I would love to hear about your experiences too.