With 2020 soon to draw to a close, I am seeing lots of "end of the year" type articles and posts. 2020 has certainly been one for the memory books. With the pandemic raging, this year has had us all home a lot - possibly more than ever before for many people. Even as someone who has worked from home for a while, never have I spent *this* much time at home! It has led my husband and I towards many things to make our time at home more enjoyable. We've done some small projects like redecorating. He has done some lovely woodworking projects that add pleasure and function to our space. We've reorganized rooms and closets. We've also done some rather big projects around the house that included painting and remodeling. Things we've put off for another day. And being home *all the time* became the time. I've also spent a lot more time in the kitchen. I have found a lot of joy in cooking new dishes, experimenting with new foods, and baking, baking, baking. As a way to add peace and joy to the season, I'm offering this invitation to create a little At Home Yoga Retreat for yourself. We can't fly away to an island retreat, but we can create our own oasis at home to recharge the body and mind.
Step 1: Clear Your Schedule
Determine how much time you would like for your At Home Yoga Retreat. A few hours? A day? A weekend? Whatever you can do and as much as you can do, plan for it. Commit to the time. Wipe the slate clean. Make sure you have arrangements for the children. Have your spouse either join you or if going solo, let them know you will be unavailable. Turn off the phone. Alert any family members that might call that you are temporarily unavailable so they won't worry about unreturned calls. Make time to recharge your batteries.
Step 2: Plan Your Meals
Alexander Graham Bell said, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” Consider your goals when planning meals. Do you want to experiment with raw foods, vegetable smoothies, or juicing? Or would you prefer warm, nourishing foods? Decide ahead of time what you will eat for each meal and then do the grocery shopping with your list. I like to write out every meal in advance. This removes the mental energy to decide what you will have. It's already queued up and ready to go.
Step 3: Diffuse Essential Oils
Choose a blend for your retreat. Maybe it's a long time favorite or a new experiment. Take time to deeply breathe in the oils that you choose for your unique needs and goals. Maybe you want to uplift your spirit with a citrus or floral blend. If you are feeling a need to release difficult emotions, try frankincense. Maybe you just want to unwind with something simple instead of a blend - maybe some lavender oil. If you're looking for some inspiration, check out these 8 essential oils to try for releasing anxiety. Whatever you choose, you can tap into the benefits of nature for support.
Step 4: Get out that book you've been wanting to read
Have a juicy fictional tale that's been sitting by your bed for a while - just waiting for you to jump into a new world? Now's the time! Maybe you're more inclined to reach for inspiring biographies. Perhaps it's a how-to book for a project you've been eyeing for a while. Whatever your flavor, make room for what uplifts you. Select a book or two before your retreat. Then snuggle up with a warm cup of tea, a blanket, and a captivating read. Enjoy the time to give back to yourself.
Step 5: Journal
Journaling is a great way to process your feelings and experiences. Write freely, and start with a goal of just 2 sentences. Maybe once you get started, you'll find the sentences flowing. Even if you don't have pages to write, it will get you started. Be gentle with yourself and your reflections of this year (it's been a doozy). Some ideas for reflection: review the year and how it impacted your life (what did you learn, what were some highs and lows); gratitude (say thank you for the lessons learned and how you've grown), celebration (what did you accomplish - yes you accomplished stuff this year, where did you make progress big or small; closure (what are you ready to move on from this year); intention (begin to set the stage for the energy of the new year, what would you like to be a part of your next chapter). Let it flow, and don't worry about content or grammar. You can always toss it when you're done.
Step 6: Get Extra Rest
As you process through some of the weight of the year, you may find that you need some extra rest. Take time to honor your body’s needs and rest. Try going to bed an hour or two earlier than normal, or take a nap on your retreat day(s). You may find that the extra rest wipes years off your face. Beauty sleep is not just a myth. Sleep is also incredibly important for your cardiovascular system. Our brains can go on less sleep, but the heart requires the full 8-9 hours without having to pump against gravity. For the cardiovascular system, getting good sleep may help prevent damage to the heart. Recharge your heart on your At Home Yoga Retreat.
Step 7: Practice Yoga!
I saved my favorite part of the retreat for last. Practice yoga as much as you desire - it's a retreat after all! Gather some of your favorite videos and get ready to stretch, strengthen, and balance your way into the new year. I have some videos available in my video library that offer a variety of lengths so you can practice as much as you'd like. Perhaps you'd like to hop in on one of my group classes or schedule a private yoga coaching session in advance. Yoga has so many benefits for your body and spirit that it's a great way to rejuvenate during your retreat.
I hope you enjoy your At Home Yoga Retreat. I'll be practicing along with you. This is a great time to nourish yourself on all levels. Let's ring in this new year feeling more empowered, anchored, and balanced. More resilient, more you.