For a peaceful and healthy week of relaxing in the sun, I went to a yoga, Pilates and detox retreat on the beautiful island of Fuerteventura. I knew I would come back rejuvenated, but I didn’t expect to learn so much during my time away. I learned about my body, my health, myself, and so much more. Here are 10 things I learned during my yoga retreat and 10 reasons why I can’t wait for the next one.
I love yoga
This may seem obvious to anyone who has gone on a yoga retreat, but my weeklong vacation reminded me just how much I love yoga. When you don’t have time to do something regularly, it’s easy to forget how much you love it. (Except for custard donuts. No matter how much time passes, I will always remember my love for custard donuts.)
While attending Azul Fit, I was reminded of how good it feels to practice yoga regularly and how important it is to incorporate yoga into your daily life. Even if it’s just 15 minutes a day, it’s worth the effort.
I don’t need to eat as much as I thought
Most people overeat from time to time, but it is only when we shrink our stomachs to their natural size that it becomes easier to stop overeating.
Azul Fit didn’t leave me hungry, but the portions were noticeably smaller than my usual heavy meals. For the first few days, we all served bowls like Oliver Twist and kept coming back for refills. Within a few days, I realized that I was full from one meal and didn’t need anything more. The only thing on my mind was the desire to eat more food.
There’s a happy balance to be found with food
I don’t have any allergies or intolerances, and I’m lucky enough to have a pretty fast metabolism, so I think it’s really important to not obsess over food.
If you don’t have any allergies, cutting out foods like wheat and dairy products will only make life difficult for you.
Mealtime is meant to be enjoyed, so find a balance between foods that make you healthy and foods that make you happy. So for me, it’s a huge healthy salad followed by a custard donut.
Always buy animal products from a farm shop
I’ll never give up meat or dairy, but after speaking with Joe, Azul Fit’s food specialist, I realized how important it is to buy quality animal products. I have no idea what these animals have been eating or what kind of environment they have lived in, so I will try to be as ethical and healthy as possible while shopping.
Having nice clothes makes you feel good
It may sound shallow, but wearing nice clothes really does make you feel good. While I was on a yoga retreat, I had a bunch of lovely Betty Sweatshirts that made me want to work out just by wearing them.
Azure Fit has a small shop selling nice, soft yoga wear, and by the end of the week most people were heading out there wearing their kit. We find that people stand up straighter, try harder and look more confident when wearing nice new kit.
I’m not saying everyone should go out and buy expensive designer clothes, but clothes that make you feel good are really important.
I can push myself much further than I thought
As I mentioned in my first review of Azul Fit, a good yoga teacher understands your abilities and gently pushes you toward them. The teachers at Azul were amazing and I found myself in positions I didn’t think were possible.
I believe this applies not only to yoga, but to everything in life, and my new motto is ‘If you don’t try, you’ll never know’.
I love hanging out with different types of people
At Azure Fit, our ages ranged from 25 to about 65. We all came from different backgrounds and came to the retreat for different reasons, so we had a diverse group of people. I love how people can be so different from their first impressions and it often surprises them.
The most interesting people are the ones who are different, so I learned that I shouldn’t stick to people who seem familiar and comfortable.
Having time to relax is vital
It can be difficult to realize how stressed you are until you relax. And the longer stress lasts, the harder it becomes to relax. I’m usually a pretty calm person and don’t get too stressed out, but after using the Azul fit for a week, I felt so relaxed and floating.
You don’t have to take a week off and go on a retreat to relax (although we recommend doing so if you have the time!). Simply taking 15 minutes each day to consciously relax is enough. Some people like to meditate, some people like to walk, some people like to cook or read. Whatever you do, make a conscious effort to relax instead of idly sitting in front of the TV.
Careers should not be all consuming
Most of the people who come to Azure Fit are professionals in stressful jobs who need a week’s escape from work. That’s what I was told when I arrived, and I knew right away who they were. For the first few days, they were nervous, rounded shoulders, very nervous, almost convulsive. As the week progressed, we could physically see them relaxing. I could see their shoulders lowering and they gradually letting down their guard and opening up. They ended up talking about their families, jobs, and long working hours, and how they didn’t know how to break out of the work-eat-drink-sleep cycle.
It’s important to have a job you love, but I think it’s important to never let that job take over your entire life.
Gorgeous accommodation makes all the difference
While at Azure Fit, I was staying at the Sahara Tent. Look how amazing it is!
All of the rooms at the retreat are lovely, but the Sahara Tent is in a class of its own and made my stay even more special. You don’t have to stay in a five-star hotel to make it special, but a unique and interesting location can make all the difference.
And one more thing…
I’m kind of freaked out by reiki healing
I had my first Reiki massage at Azul Fit and was amazed. It was like a nice, relaxing, soothing massage 90% of the time perfection. This is exactly what you need for a relaxing vacation. And she said something that made me sit up and say, “How the hell did you know that?’
It was like she knew things about me that I hadn’t thought about in years. I mean, really. How did she know?
I don’t believe in psychic powers, but this woman had the most amazing talent for knowing things. She used to be a psychologist, so she should be able to read your body language just like anyone else can read a book.
After receiving a Reiki massage, most people will feel a little shaky and wipe away tears as they try to recover.
Among other things, she knew I was moving. I hadn’t mentioned this to anyone else at the retreat because it was a few weeks away and it hadn’t come up in conversation. I hadn’t started packing yet, so my arms and shoulders weren’t hurting from lifting boxes how did she know!?
When I asked her, she looked down at her feet, smiled shyly, and whispered, “Magic’.