What is a virtual retreat?

Everything is virtual at the moment isn’t it? 

Virtual meeting, virtual dance classes, virtual yoga classes… and virtual retreats.

Traditionally, retreats are all about taking time away from your daily life to go somewhere lovely, do some yoga, meditation, go for walks and take time for yourself. 

How does that work virtually?

How do you get that feeling of being away without leaving your house?

How do you relax and make the most of it if the dog still needs walking, food still needs to be cooked etc etc?

I attended a 1-day virtual retreat a few months ago. And I thought I’ll share my experience.

First of all, we had an early start. 

7.30am on zoom… That was definitely early for a Saturday morning!

At the beginning of the first session, we were encouraged to stay away from the news, to refrain from checking our social medias and to avoid checking our phones for the day. 

It was also suggested that in between the zoom sessions, we spend some time outside to avoid too much “zoom fatigue”.

We then started with a gentle breathing and meditation class before taking a break for breakfast around 10.00.

Personally, I can’t function without breakfast, so I must admit that I had woken up early enough to eat a little something before the first session!

The second session, around mid-morning, involved some more yoga and another meditation, which was infinitely calming.

By the time, we have our lunch break I was really hungry.

As I came down from my bedroom to make my lunch, I felt so relaxed.

My husband, daughters and dog were about, doing their usual things and not being particularly quiet and mindful of my retreat, but I felt so calm, relaxed and chilled out that none of it bothered me. 

I also noticed that my daughters bickering endlessly, didn’t seem to affect me at all! Result!

The calm of the yoga and meditation was clearly staying with me, even when I was away from the mat and back in my day-to-day environment. 

The afternoon session started with some yoga nidra (relaxation) followed by another meditation and a Q&A session to close the day.

I can honestly say that – by the time I had finished the retreat at 5.00pm that day – I felt as if I had been away!

The calm and relaxed atmosphere of the retreat definitely spread to my entire day and well into the evening. 

So here are my tips to make the most of a virtual retreat:

Make sure that everybody around you knows that you are going to be on a retreat

Make it clear that you are not available for the day (or whatever period of time you require).

One thing that amazed me when I did my retreat was how much my daughters and husband just got on with things, when normally it would have been “Mummy….”, “I need help….”!

So even if you think that they will need you and you can’t possibly take the time for yourself. You can!

And even if things don’t run as smoothly as when you are around, it’s only for a few hours. 

So, don’t let the “I don’t have the time” and “they will need me” get in the way if a virtual retreat is tempting you. 

Have everything you might need in one room

To avoid being distracted during the sessions, make sure that you have everything ready in the room that you will use for your retreat.

Depending on the retreat, you will probably need a yoga mat, a blanket, some cushions, maybe a yoga strap or blocks, some water, a notepad and pen and the charger of whatever you are using to access the sessions.

Stay away from the news and social media

On a real retreat, you wouldn’t have access to your phone as much as you do in your own house. 

So for the time of your virtual retreat, try and stay away from it.

After all, you are taking that time for yourself.

The last thing you want to do is open the door wide to FOMO, jealousy and negativity.

And sadly, social medias and the news tend to carry a lot of that!

Be gentle to yourself

Depending on the length of the retreat, you are likely to have several sessions to attend. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t make all of them. The point of a retreat is for you to relax and feel good about yourself. Keep criticism away.

 There you have! A virtual yoga retreat is definitely worth it!

To find out more about my first ever virtual retreat, check out the link below!

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