Have you ever stood in front of a monolithic mountain or an endless ocean? Being in the presence of majestic nature can make our heart expand. The chest opens and we feel more connected to the world and the people around us. And that is why yoga retreats take place in beautiful places, where we feel more inclined to take care of ourselves and the beautiful environment around us.
I feel very lucky to have spent some time on the dream-like island of Corfu (Greece) teaching surrounded by breath-taking sunsets, heart opening dawns and crystal clear waters, but especially for having shared all this with some inspiring and remarkable women, who joined me through vinyasa sequences, restorative yoga, yoga nidra, meditations and a little Qi Gong, giving a go to all of these different - and challenging on different levels - practices.
Teaching in such inspiring natural environment, with no specific end times - so we could explore different aspects of the practices - with open and beautifully honest women, refreshed me deeply. Although I was teaching and holding the space for others, by the end of it, I felt replenished too.
Taking time out for ourselves is SO important. It's essential. If you are like me, you often operate dipping into your energy reserves, but that is exactly that: using up reserves. It is vital to recognise this and take time out in order to replenish those reserves for when they are truly necessary. When I feel I'm working too much, I often think about my mum: she is caring for three people and taking no time for herself. What happens the day she'll burn out? You heard it before but I'll repeat it again: you can't pour from an empty cup.
Whenever you have a little time and the possibility, spend time in nature, even if it is the park down the road, your garden or your balcony. Breathe in deeply, taking in the world around you. On our last practice on the beach, the group was sitting quietly on our wooden platform on the beach, taking deep breaths to live the moment and store memories deep down in ourselves, and a big fish flipped out of the water a couple of times as to wish us goodbye: that was such a treat.
Rachel Stephens, one of the ladies on retreat, sent me some words:
I met Flavia on my first yoga retreat in Greece in August 2017, she was our teacher and mentor for the week and what an absolute joy it was! I was nervous as had not done yoga for a while and am a novice, but she made it extremely enjoyable, challenging, enlightening, relaxing and uplifting. She is a very good teacher, would adjust poses as and when needed, was very vigilant to everybody's needs and reactions and, if any restrictions, she would immediately adjust for an alternative pose or movement. I felt excellently guided through all sessions. I loved the yoga early in the mornings by the sea and the more gentle sessions in the evenings in the gardens with the warmth and beauty of the setting sun.
I highly recommend Flavia for her knowledge, her absolute care, her attention to everyone in the class, detailed instruction, 1-2-1 tuition (all my questions!) her guidance, patience and her calming voice and sense of humour. She made my first yoga retreat worth every penny and I got a whole lot more out of the experience than I was ever expecting to. I returned to the UK feeling totally refreshed, buoyant, happy, relaxed, confident, uplifted and ready to take on anything!
The group also gave me a wonderful gift which I will treasure forever. It means so much to me. Bring on the next retreat!