Value of Retreat
Carly Stong, facilitator of this fall’s Restore & Breathe Yoga Retreat, shares the value of retreat…
This past month has been one of the busiest of my entire life as I prepared to open a second Life Yoga location while running on less and less sleep. This was not the week to check out, but I had already booked myself for four days off the grid at Northern Edge Algonquin, a retreat centre six hours away.
Leading up to my departure, I was caught up in a flurry of planning, coordination and productivity. Once I was on site in Algonquin, being nourished by organic and locally-raised food, inspired by handcrafted surroundings designed in harmony with nature, and completely cut off from email and phone, I realized just how rundown I was. I don’t think we have the language to adequately express how much sensory stimulation we are exposed to. With marketing campaigns designed to infiltrate our consciousness and so many competing forces clamouring for our attention, we are bathed in an information soup that we are ill equipped to constantly handle. Is it any wonder why we have difficulty connecting deeply with ourselves and others, being alone, or even being still and quiet? Retreating this weekend taught me the power that comes from time away spent in quiet reflection; time away to concentrate on those things that you know are so important and time away to connect with your deeper self. Bombarded with sound, the modern woman is unaccustomed to the sound of silence and her own spirit whispering to her.
While it may be difficult to organize initially, undergoing a period of spiritual incubation will have untold benefits to you and all those that surround you. You will receive a new perspective on your life and the spiritual strength to make difficult decisions upon your return. The whole world benefits from your time away.
Following this retreat, I feel more empowered to come back to my day-to- day life. I see this retreat, not as a way to escape from the realities and challenges of life, but as a momentary time away to seek a path of discernment — to find meaning and guidance to live everyday more fully.
The magnificence of this special place is not from running away from the reality of the world, but learning to master life in balance. Northern Edge Algonquin is, for me, a place to connect or reconnect with the spirit that guides me everyday as I live authentically. Retreats like this empower the participant to remember her purpose in life. It can be a way of renewal when the path is hard, to refresh the soul and to renew commitment to a goal.