Choosing Your Best Retreat

Choosing Your Best Retreat

The Cristoforo Centre

The Cristoforo Centre

The ads are on tele showing perfect beaches, laughing children and sexy couples.  However many of us are wondering if there’s a more holistic and beneficial way to spend our days away.  Consider the questions below to find the kind of retreat that is right for you…..

Is it time to focus on you?

If your work and home life is full of stress you’re probably expecting your holiday to be a nurturing time of relaxation.  Traditional holidays with the family provide a distraction from normal life but can be stressful in other ways and probably will not give the relaxation your mind and body needs.  It might seem selfish to take time out, indulging your needs, but this will help you recharge and return ready to give your best to all those in your life.

What do you desire?

Not everyone’s idea of relaxation is to be horizontal in the sun!  The key is to choose a retreat that is something you desire but sufficiently different to your normal life.  Perhaps something you’re passionate about but have not the time to get into deeply at home.  This could be an activity like yoga, walking, dance, art, acting or water-sports.   You spend enough time at home using huge amounts of will power to motivate yourself to do things you think you should do, let this be something that you really desire.

What learning do you need in your life?

Indulging in spa treatments might be wonderful at the time but how long will the benefits last?  Retreats are great for lifestyle changes like introducing a regular yoga or meditation practice.  You not only learn techniques but also but you also get into a new routine. 

Time away can also be great for self-reflection, understanding what causes stress and difficulties in your life, revealing what you really want and establishing different behaviour patterns.   When considering this type of retreat, make sure you will be practising the new behaviour and developing new habits rather than just talking about the changes you would like to make.

What type of environment do you find most nurturing? 

Would you prefer to be camping in nature, surrounded by luxury or constantly on the move exploring new territory?  Consider the kind of climate that suits you.  It is important that your environment complements the reasons you are going on retreat.

Who is your best teacher?

If you already have a degree of expertise, it might be important for your teacher to be a well-known guru or specialist.  Typically these will be less intimate retreats with the teacher being less accessible for individual conversations, before, after and during the course.  You might find your local wellbeing practitioner, who you already know and trust, offers a retreat or there is an opportunity to meet and get to know your teacher beforehand.

One of the topics to explore with your teacher before the retreat is their teaching style to ensure it fits well with the way you love to learn.  If you are less sure about what and how you would like to learn, opting for a centre with a number of teachers might be good for you. 

What kind of group and social opportunities?

Retreats can be pretty intense so there are choices to make about the size of the group and the amount of free time you will have.  Remember you are not aiming to recreate life at home or a traditional holiday.  This is again about the group who will help you gain the most from your retreat experience.

What are the practicalities?

Rather than being the starting point I suggest price, dates and availability follow from the answers above.  Don’t forget that retreat prices often do not include flights or transfers and remember to check the meals that are included.  The nature of retreats often means the venue is away from other amenities.  

Given the range of retreats available, the chances are you’ll find one that fits you perfectly.  If you do decide to compromise, at least you’ll be aware and can make plans to make sure you gain the most from the experience.

Join us for Finding Your True Voice

Our transformational retreat combines my life coaching and Lawrence O’Connor’s Meisner acting practices to help participants find their true expression of themselves.  It takes place in at the beautiful Cristoforo Centre in Tenerife in June. To explore if this is the best retreat for you, visit our website and get in touch for a chat so we can guide you through some of the questions above.

Deborah Reeds
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First published in Wellbeing Magazine

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