Yoga is one of my favourite forms of exercise: energetic sun salutations are my quick morning wake-me-up, meditative yin yoga on my slower days. I can’t do any of the really hard yoga poses, but that’s not what I do it for: there’s something very comforting about moving my body in sync with my breath, a reminder that my brain and body are connected. Meditation goes hand in hand with yoga for me, especially yin yoga where the poses are held for minutes at a time. If you’ve read my about me section you’ll know I’ve had a few tough years, and meditation has been a massive part in keeping me sane through that time. I go to it when I need that extra bit of support, or just to slow my mind down: it’s been a huge help to me at times when I needed it the most.
I’ve had go on a meditation or yoga retreat on my to-do list since it’s conception, obviously that’s not going to happen any time soon so I took matters into my own hands creating my own version.
I looked at the schedule for many different retreats before creating my own, and merged a lot of them into one afternoon. I wanted to combine some different meditation styles, with some different yoga styles, and keep it balanced throughout the day.
I put some energising lemon oil in my oil diffuser, prepared my cucumber water, and got to work.
1.30pm – 2pm – Isha Kriya guided meditation
I started off with a guided meditation I’d saved to my YouTube a while ago – I can’t recall how I came to it, or who led me there, but I decided to try it nonetheless. Not my usual style of meditation, but I found the breathwork at the beginning very interesting.
2pm – 2.30pm – Mindful cup of tea
Next up was my mindful cup of turmeric tea, something I took inspiration from here. This really forced me to be in the moment and be mindful of all my senses: watching the steam rising, hearing the water boiling, smelling the tea brewing, wrapping my hands around the warm mug, tasting the spicy tea – all things I would generally do on autopilot. A nice exercise in living in the moment.
2.30pm – 3.15pm – Yoga for self discipline
There’s no deeper meaning behind this yoga, I chose it because I like Adriene’s videos, and I wanted a longer practice with a flow and some heat. I appreciated the message behind it though – sometimes it’s worth it to push yourself a little further.
3.15pm – 3.45pm Bodyscape practice
I used the recording from Mindful for this, and I have to admit I couldn’t get into it. It could have been busy brain, but I felt like there was so much talking that I couldn’t just be in the moment. There were some nice parts, but overall I felt fidgety and distracted.
3.45pm – 4.15pm Walking meditation
This was something I’ve never done before. I love walking, but mainly see it as a great way to clear my head. This meditation really slowed my speed down and made me notice how I walk, what was around me, and how it made me feel. A lot like the tea practice for earlier, this made me focus on my sense at a time when I’d normally be on autopilot. A valuable lesson.
4.30pm – 6pm Yin Yoga
This is my absolute favourite way to practise yoga so I was really looking forward to this. I put some lavender oil in my diffuser to make it a more relaxing experience and put one of my favourite videos on. This is an intense practise, where the poses are held for 5 minutes and above. Normally you’d come to yin yoga cold, without doing any prior exercise, but I decided to include it at this point to slow things down and ease myself into the evening. I really felt this in my muscles afterwards, but it felt so good.
6pm – 6.30pm Yoga Nidra
This has been saviour in so many times of stress and discomfort. It is the first thing I recommend to anyone who wants to relax, or take their mind of their troubles. In my mind it’s where yoga and meditation meet, but in reality there is precious little yoga to it – you lie on your back throughout the whole session. The voice guides you to take your attention to different parts of your body, one part at a time. It is deeply relaxing: I’ve done this with my mum a number of times and had to wake her at the end. I found it the perfect way to round-up my at-home yoga and meditation retreat as it really focuses on the mind and body connection I love, and helped me relax into the evening.
I loved my at-home retreat, and I could see me doing it again in a couple of weeks. It was a really great way for me to reconnect with my yoga and meditation practice, and a chance to explore some mindfulness. I especially loved the walking meditation: I live in a beautiful neighbourhood and I often just breeze past everything. It was fantastic to slow things down and literally smell the flowers. I can only recommend it.