In Part 1 yesterday Joey took a wry look at her recent experience of a yoga retreat and described what she learnt from it. Here she concludes by looking at further aspects of yoga culture and heritage and what she picked up for her own health and fitness breaks. 

There is a quirky association with abandonment here

When travelling and climbing in the Himalayas I came across a few highly respected Yogis sitting in the foothills, trusting they will be provided for by others; namely us Western passers-by on our adventures.

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That’s an OK way of life if you’re willing to place your trust in the generally good nature of humanity, but I couldn’t shake the thought that these were  all gentleman who, despite their wives, families and work, had abdicated all their responsibilities and started working on their ‘within’ to the exclusion of their family.

Different strokes for different folks of course and in some areas of Indian society this lifestyle choice is highly respected. But in others it is derided. As much as dropping everything and leaving it all behind might have struck most of us as being a good idea from time to time, commitment and practicalities tend to stop us.

So you see, what with all that and my mate’s dad running off with a Yoga teacher, I’ve got lots of Yoga related trauma to work through here…

Yoga isn’t for everyone

Aside from these internal personal ‘issues’, I’m not sure that Yoga always marries too well with the more active athletic types with energy to burn.

The exercises for general groups tend to be a bit ‘fits all’, but it was noticeable that certain body types get more out of it than others – no doubt certain minds too.

But each to his or her own.

The trip was enjoyable and served a purpose

I’ve been approached about getting involved in offering healthy weekend breaks, so it was a good experience to be a punter, tow the line and observe from that perspective. Even if towing any line for two-and-a-half hours first thing in the morning is a bit of a stretch!

Despite that, being in a routine set by someone else can be very relaxing. So what if every part doesn’t appeal?

So what if every part doesn’t appeal?

It is all good opportunity to observe and try to understand what makes some tick while others are more likely to switch off. And the social side of these things can be so invigorating. With small cohesive groups you naturally natter and bond in no time and there is always great value in getting to know others.

It made me think; what are the ingredients for a great re-generating getaway weekend?

For those who just need to shut down and have no demands, maybe staying in one place serves well. But for others it can feel stagnant. To travel to another country and not discover that region beyond your accommodation might feel like a wasted opportunity.

Diversity of activities

I guess that the combination of: activity, relaxation, good food, stimulating company and absorbing the surroundings and change of culture, could be the cocktail…. all neatly fitting into two days and nights so that you get home without needing time off work.

how to change_3After all, the majority of those who fancy such breaks prefer ‘a bit of this and that’. Those more intent on single-minded and vigorous training pursuits can be catered for but on more specialist trips.

It was therefore important to put together a weekend jolly that bubbled with activity, information, relaxation and fine food. So, unlike the weekend course in Italy, our programme has light and shade and no lengthy lessons where anybody has to listen to anybody else yabber on for too long.

You can also get out and go to a town!

Maybe see a shop or two and not just from a hilltop after a hike. We’ve mixed dance and good dinners, fitness circuits and lounging by the pool, trails and cycling around the local area.

All the while offering lots of health and fitness information whilst attending to each individual’s requirement and goals.

Adjusting to all levels of health and fitness

Body shapes are taken into account and bespoke heart rates are worked out. And once everyone has been both energised and relaxed and departed for home, they do so with remote support to help sustain good living over the next month… and if they adhere to that support the fabulous results will follow.

The only problem is, is that it’s a shame to go to one of the world’s great wine regions and abstain from its offerings, especially when you are a cluster of mates out on the same quest for a good getaway. So we’ll see what we can do to work wine into a ‘healthy weekend’.

Nobody has to phone a friend to be helicoptered out! 

So whilst we’re mid winter and seeking some warmth and the promise of a newer and brighter season, maybe you can think about a short cleansing, fun and refreshing break somewhere next year.

Some say ‘A change is as good as a rest’ and I think that applies to our health and fitness too. Obviously rest is a key aspect of any fitness programme, but just when things feel like they are stagnating or losing their spark, when the buzz is diminishing under bland repetition, think about an activity retreat somewhere.

Obviously rest is a key aspect of any fitness programme, but just when things feel like they are stagnating or losing their spark, when the buzz is diminishing under bland repetition, think about an activity retreat somewhere.

It is amazing what even a single weekend can do to re-energise, re-boot and motivate!

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