Reflections on Retreat

Exciting news yogis – I am in Thailand, on a yoga retreat no less! I have packed my bags and traded beautiful autumnal Scotland for a few weeks in Thailand and Myanmar. This is an epic trip by my standards, but the really exciting bit is that the trip revolves around a yoga teacher / business coaching retreat.

Yaay! I am a few days into it now, and I wanted to jot down a few words as a record of this experience, and to share some learnings. First off – Thailand. Wow. We didn’t spend long in Bangkok – just enough to know it is busy, and massive. And there are golden statues along the motorway. So far so good. As my retreat is in northern Thailand, to the north of Chiang Mai – we headed straight there, to Lanna Country. Temples, parks and street food – we soaked up as much as we could. The blue mountains and the forest in the distance were calling, but with just a couple of days in Chiang Mai, it was simply not enough time to really get to know this beautiful, chilled out city.

Anyway – I am all about the retreat right now. I am in the countryside, at the International Women’s Partnership for Peace and Justice – a training organisation and retreat centre guided by three principles – feminism, social activism and spiritual practice.  This is a calm and inspiring place, it’s pretty awesome.  Simple, elegant accommodation, incredible spaces for our yoga practice, business workshops, one-to-ones, meditation, and of course eating – the food is delicious.

The retreat itself is run by the fabulous Amy McDonald, a spiritual business coach from Australia. So we are a small group of yoga teachers and holistic practitioners, coming together to learn all about abundance mentality – Amy’s specialty – something that doesn’t always come naturally to a yogi!

This is Day 3, and we are already quite deep into the coaching and personal journeying and – well – let’s just say it’s an emotional process. I particularly love the post-dinner meditation and japa mala (silent mantra with mala beads). From this point until the following breakfast and journaling time, we observe Noble Silence. Absolutely no talking. No communication. Just peace and quiet. It’s bliss – an inward-focused, meditative experience – very powerful.

And if that wasn’t enough to keep us occupied, of course there is also hardcore yoga while we are here! Amy is an alignment yoga teacher – that’s a bit of a new concept for me. I like it – but I think that might be because I adore Amy’s sense of humour. It keeps me going – which is necessary, because I am also keeping up my own morning practice as ashtanga is a big part of my life, my routine. So – up at 5 for my practice, then, still sweaty, and one coffee gulped down, I am back on my mat for more sun salutations, handstand reps, down dog drills, and abs crunches. Eek.  Did I give the impression this was a relaxing holiday?! After some recovery, in the form of breakfast and some furious journalling, talking can resume. This happens at Class, which is a heady mix of business coaching, advice, sorting through often deeply-buried personal baggage – and everything in between – in a group setting. This is gruelling, difficult, and at times painful. It is also rewarding, uplifting, empowering and liberating – the shift in energy is tangible.

Noble Silence  is so amazing for allowing all this stuff, all this learning, all this understanding to assimilate and take root and develop. It has given me a chance to check in with who I am and what I am doing, and right now I am overwhelmed with gratitude not only for this opportunity to join the abundant yoga teacher retreat here in Thailand, but more importantly for the opportunity I have now to share yoga in my local area, and to have such fabulous, eager and supportive students.

I am so so super grateful for all the support, and hugely grateful to all the wonderful people I have encountered on my yoga journey.

And as much as I really love it here, I just can’t wait to get home and share all this glorious goodness with you guys. The Universe really is abundant, and Life is awesome. Namaste xx