yoga

7 Reasons Why You Should Pack Your Bags & Go On A Yoga Retreat

Yoga Retreat

By Rachi Perera

Every year, tens of thousands of people are choosing yoga retreats over traditional holidays to escape the stresses of modern life. If you're feeling burnt out and overwhelmed by day to day demands and seeking a holiday to relax, replenish and return to the busyness of every day life with renewed energy and optimism then a yoga retreat is the perfect choice. Whether it is by yourself or with a friend or two, it is a truly transformative experience and a magical way to add a little spark to your life.

Here’s seven reasons why you should just pack your bags and your mat and go on a yoga retreat in 2017.

1. Time out for yourself

The word retreat itself tells us that it’s about taking time out, quietening your mind and taking an inward journey. A retreat takes you away from real life, and the stressors that go with it. It gives you the luxury of self-care time and space to do things just for you. By focusing on yourself and your needs you will be able to recharge your mind, body and spirit which will ultimately energise and reconnect you with the most important person in your life, yourself.

2. Practice mindfulness
We live our lives multitasking and rushing from one place to the next. We are constantly surrounded by distractions and it is rare that we take the time to simply be aware of ourselves and our surroundings. Yoga can help you be present by focusing on your mind and body. Going on a retreat takes being present to a whole new level. Whether your retreat destination is in the misty mountains or a sun drenched island, when you take yourself away from the daily hustle and bustle you focus on simply enjoying your surroundings and the joys of life.

3. Digital detox
A yoga retreat is a chance to press the reset button on the daily grind and do things differently. It’s an opportunity to disconnect in order to reconnect. Email, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, WhatsApp, Pinterest, text messaging, and so many other things can take up a lot of your time at home. Going on a yoga retreat allows you to step away from distractions of the past and future, be fully present and make your holiday about recharging your own batteries.

4. Broaden your horizons
A yoga retreat is an opportunity to see the world and yourself differently. Choose a retreat in a location you’ve always wanted to visit and and you will find yourself on a journey of a lifetime. It will change you far beyond just your yoga practice in so many positive ways. You will broaden your horizons, learn new cultures and experience new things. You will get to see the world through a different lens making you stronger, more tolerant and open minded.

5. Push yourself to new heights
Regardless of your level of yoga experience, practicing twice a day with a small group and an experienced teacher will transform you physically as well as mentally. It will take you away from your comfort zone and encourage you to try new things. You will allow yourself to let go and open your heart. Pushing yourself to find your potential on the yoga mat may also inspire and give you the internal strength to conquer other goals when you return home from your retreat.

6. Make lifelong friends
Shared experiences are the best experiences. Whether you are a solo traveler or going on a retreat with a friend, when a bunch of people with similar interests and passions get together in a beautiful place, new friendships are bound to blossom. A yoga retreat is an intimate journey of shared laughs, meals, adventures and emotions that can end up in lifelong friendships.

7. You deserve it
You work really hard and do so much for others. You probably wouldn’t think twice about spending money on a loved one, yet when it comes to treating yourself you’d probably think of many excuses and reasons why you “shouldn’t”. But remember, if you neglect to look after yourself and live your life to the fullest then you fail to give the happiest and healthiest version of yourself to your loved ones. So go forth and book that yoga retreat- treat yourself to a week in a beautiful location where there’s no one to take care of nor to worry about. A week without deadlines or distractions. A week to find your own inspiration because you deserve it!

Rachi Perera is the founder and host of The Paradise Retreat, an all-inclusive six night/seven day yoga retreat in the spectacular south coast of Sri Lanka. The Paradise Retreat is an opportunity to rest, restore and explore Sri Lanka through a carefully curated program of yoga, meditation and other activities. Use code BLOGSOCIETY to receive 10% off any of the advertised retreats. All details and bookings via the website.

Fall in love with marketing

By Ange Hammond

Love and Marketing. These two words so very rarely go together, so much so that I bet you’re even cringing at the very thought of it. So often marketing is seen as a chore for us, like doing the dishes or cleaning the bathroom. And yet, this activity is so vital for our business or our blog and believe it or not, we can love it, we can use it to connect with so many like-minded people and it can be enjoyable. 

For me, I never used to like marketing; in fact I dreaded the thought of it. Back when I studied my Bachelor of International Business many, many moons ago, there were some interesting, really engaging subjects that I signed up for, such as Modern History of South East Asia. I loved learning about the world and how countries have evolved and how they now engage in business. My degree was fascinating for the most part. And then there were the subjects that I was less enthusiastic about, the ones that were compulsory in first and second year… yep, those subjects were all based around marketing. 

I could say it was the lecturers; perhaps they could have made it more interesting for me, perhaps I didn’t give the subjects enough of a chance; whatever it was, I just wasn’t into it. All of those marketing theories and case studies about how big corporations took the world by storm with their well-placed and highly researched strategies… yep, still doesn’t do much for me. 

So what was it about marketing that really didn’t interest me? I can now see that it stemmed from a belief that marketing equaled a desire to make lots of money and a manipulation of consumers to achieve this desire. That’s what came across during those tedious university lectures. It just felt wrong to me back then… that it wasn’t coming from a good, wholesome place and because of that, it wasn’t something that was worth investing time into. 

Fast-forward seven years and in 2009 I took the trusting leap of faith and left behind the world of working for others and started up my own little business. 

And wouldn’t you know it, marketing stepped back into my life in full swing. All of a sudden I was putting my business plan together, needing to dive into the 4 P’s of marketing and I was overcome with dread. Marketing and I didn’t get along in those first few months of business. We were like acquaintances who kind of liked each other but not enough to invite around for dinner, and by no means were we anywhere close to becoming besties. 

That very same year I also trained to be a yoga teacher and it was during those days spent at the training that my teachers became my unknowing business mentors. A lot of the principles behind teaching yoga so easily translated into the world of marketing. We don’t teach yoga for the money; we teach it to assist our students to de-stress from their busy days, to calm their thoughts and help connect themselves with their body, breath and spirit. They’re the reasons why we teach yoga; they’re the ‘why’ behind doing what we do.

Be authentic, always have your students in mind when sequencing a class and always teach for the love of helping and supporting others. Money will come but it’s not the main focus. Yep, the same can be applied to marketing.

Our intentions behind doing what we do can make all the difference between loving an activity, or dreading it. With marketing, leave behind the intention of making money and focus on the ‘why’. Why do you offer the services that you do? 

I bet it’s ultimately because you want to help people in some way, improve their lives, on some level, whether it is related to health, lifestyle or relationships. Whatever the ‘why’, tap into that wholesome intention and let it shine through your marketing. 

Every time you post on Facebook, take a moment to check in with the intention behind it. Are you wanting to connect with your like-minded peers, clients and interested followers? Or are you hoping to sell more of your products or services? Ask yourself these same questions for all marketing activities you engage with: social media, your email newsletters, your website content, everything.

The more our intention shifts from money to connection, to helping our community, the more we can come to like and even LOVE marketing ourselves and our services. There’s no need to shy away from marketing; embrace it with confidence and do it with a genuine knowingness that it’s coming from a good place. Your community will see that too and before too long, you’ll notice that your followers will increase at a rate never seen before… but again, this isn’t the main intention, just the reward for being authentic.

These days I use my scheduled marketing time to contemplate, to think about what knowledge, insights and news would be of most benefit for my community. 

I am generous with my advice, knowing that it will help at least one of my followers. And I actually enjoy this time. The little gems of ideas that come to me for my blog posts and Instagram images excite me and I know that it’s time well spent. 

Yep, marketing and I now meet up on a regular basis, sometimes for a flat white, and other times we’ll sit on the couch and chat for hours. She’s pretty cool like that.

Ange Hammond is an inspired web designer at Resonant Imagery, creating beautifully vibrant and easy-to-navigate websites. She loves working with other conscious entrepreneurs who want to be positive influences in their community. She moonlights as a yoga teacher, specialising in gentle hatha flows. She is the author of Conscious Online Marketing, available on Amazon as an e-book and hard copy book. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.