Is a Virtual Wellness Retreat Effective?
Whether you attend a retreat in person or virtually, “retreating” is a deliberate act to revitalize and nourish your connection with yourself. With travel being limited at this time due to the global pandemic, a virtual retreat, such as BeWell Retreats is a perfect antidote. When you prepare for a virtual wellness retreat, you can get the most from it, much like any vacation or get-away.
Why Are Retreats Important?
As a retreat goer of decades, I can speak personally to the spiritual evolution, personal growth and transformations I have experienced. One of the most transformative retreats I attended was how to start meditation. Now, years later, I’m teaching meditation for several companies and include meditation as a component of the retreats I lead. Many times, retreats can lead us exactly where we need to be. To be changing careers, to be forgiving our past, to be with different people, to be vulnerable, to be safe in being ourselves.
Retreats allow us to immerse ourselves in consciousness, healing and wholistic health. Retreating can give us the time and space to reflect, explore, inquire, learn and share.
By attending a retreat, regardless of where and how long it is, we give ourselves the opportunity to be renewed and enter back into our everyday lives with a new (and usually better) perspective. We also learn techniques, methods and skill which can enrich our personal, interpersonal and professional lives.
Since most of us live a fast-paced life during stress-filled and stressful times, it is even more necessary to give ourselves self-care. Virtual retreats provide a convenient, affordable and easy way to relax and rejuvenate from the comfort of our own home.
How do I Start to Prepare?
The best way to start is to define your intention. In regard to attending or going on a retreat; what do you most need or desire? What would you be open to? What would you like to receive? The expression; “energy flows where intention goes” pertains to where you place your attention during the retreat.
When you know what your desire is and give it your intention and attention, you can be more successful in receiving that which you desire. This is true in living an intentional life as well.
Oprah Winfrey speaks about how she decided to become aware of her every intention in order to create a different outcome. “Beneath each thought and choice lies your deepest intention.”
Regardless of the retreat theme, setting your intention will carry you through your experience with the best outcome, and perhaps serendipitous surprises too.
Allow Yourself to Open Up to New Experiences
Beyond your intentions, retreats, whether in-person or virtual will fulfill you in unexpected ways if you are open to this notion. Retreats invite a safe container for many different people to come together sharing a mutual risk of vulnerability.
When we try something new or beyond our comfort level, it can feel scary and disconcerting. However, when we know we are with skilled professionals and those who’ve had the experience we are about to embark on, we can trust the process, and being guided for our best interest. Being open to this is where the transformation can occur.
Retreats are usually a blend of fun and relaxation with adventure and exploration.
I recently came across Bold Spirit Travel that brings women together for inspired adventures around the globe. These real-live journeys and virtual tours offer an experience of different cultures crafted by women travel pros who know and love the destinations touted. Even a few moments exploring their website eases trepidation.
“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.” – ANAÏS NIN
What Does Vulnerability Mean?
Most people avoid putting themselves in a vulnerable position to reduce the risk of being emotionally attacked or ridiculed. This can extend to physical vulnerability, especially when traveling outside of the familiar. Virtual retreat experiences provide the opportunity to open up your heart and open yourself to others from the safety of your own home (or wherever wi-fi exists), whereas in-person retreats are longer in length and thus, a greater potential for vulnerability. Recently, after going through a revealing activity at BeWell Retreats, I felt compelled to share with the attendees. The retreat focused on self-care, yet I fell guilty in not heeding my own advice. Regardless, most personal growth retreats are well thought out and crafted to support benefits of vulnerability:
- Builds trust and intimacy in relationships.
- Fosters healthy communication.
- Builds empathy and understanding.
- Increases our self-worth.
- Helps us feel more connected.
- Allows us to work together more.
- Helps us overcome our negative emotions quicker.
How to Set Up Your Retreat at Home
Let everyone know you’ll be taking the day “off”. Off of social media, phone calls, emails, obligations, responsibilities, etc. Maybe put a sign on your door that you’ve gone on a retreat. Like going on a retreat in another physical location, you would not have anyone or anything distracting or interfering with your time and attention. Think of this as a digital cleanse, a tech detox or a “disconnect to reconnect”.
With kindness and love, set healthy boundaries for your day.
The day before prepare your favorite meals, snacks and beverages that aligns with your intention. Perhaps a lovely fresh salad, a detox tea or kombucha, a piece of dark chocolate or a favorite fruit. Maybe your retreat is a fasting or liquid retreat, which you would still need to prepare for. If the retreat is professionally organized, suggestions may be made, or you may need to research for your dietary needs and the purpose (intention) for specific foods and/or beverages.
Think about what your home space could be for retreating. Think of fulfilling all of your senses; sight, smell, sound, touch and taste. Do you want to use different rooms of your home? Where can you sit, lie down or lounge throughout the day. Is there anything you can do to make this more enjoyable or accommodating, such as moving furniture, or clearing clutter?
Do you want to be outside some of the time, on your patio, porch, yard?
You may be doing a movement or yoga class which is done barefoot. Do you need a yoga mat, or other props? What items would be nourishing to have around you?
Here are some ideas: flowers, a diffusor, essential oils, candles, a childhood photo of yourself, crystals, mala beads, something from nature such as a shell, leaf or stone.
Finally, be in comfy clothing. Wear what you can move in, lounge in and be active in. Wear layers or have a shawl or wrap close by.
Retreating is the ultimate self-care experience, which you choose for yourself. Make yourself a priority and give yourself this gift as often as possible.
Barbara Badolati, founder of BeWell Retreats has been a key player in the evolution of wellness since 1986. Her dedication to this field has included creating corporate wellness cultures, opening several yoga studios, providing health and life coaching for individuals, and leading worldwide retreats. The foundation of her work is to empower the individual toward greater health and well-being through lifestyle, mindset, movement and meditation. You can experience all of this and more through her virtual retreats and classes at BeWellRetreats.com
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