How To Plan A Personal Spiritual Retreat

Consider how long you want to spend and when it will be possible to fit it into your calendar. It could be a single day or several days. Make any necessary arrangements to keep this time free of work and distractions. Find a peaceful place where you can spend time with God alone. Visit a visitor-friendly retreat center or monastery. Alternatively, spend a day in nature.

Before You Continue...

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How do I plan a solo spiritual retreat?

Travel is my love, but after returning to the United States after years of job-related travel, going abroad didn't hold the same allure for me. In fact, something I used to like had become tough and exhausting. In addition, travel caused me to put off other goals, such as developing my travel magazine, expanding my young women's group, and finishing my book on reporting and travel.

I realized I needed a change when I found myself locked in an endless circle of work-coffee-email and couldn't stop to enjoy the activities I enjoyed or explore the other things I was passionate about.

As a result, I've finally decided to set aside some time to work on my own projects. I applied for and was awarded a grant from the Turkey Land Cove Foundation (TLC), a retreat for determined women who want to pursue their professional, educational, and artistic aspirations away from the distractions of everyday life.

I stayed at the Foundation's peaceful retreat center on Martha's Vineyard for two weeks, four miles from the nearest town and nestled down a dirt lane in the woods. I went to the beach after turning off my phone and prohibiting texting. Above all, I worked on my projects and thought about my life.

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It wasn't easy for me to take this time off. It was, however, one of the most significant things I've done for my profession and for myself. Putting a stop to my travels and the rest of my life allowed me to reflect on all of the fantastic experiences I'd had, rekindle my sense of wonder and curiosity about the world, and get some work done!

So, whether it's for two weeks or just a weekend, I'd recommend it to anyone else. You may take time for yourself and build your own solo retreat anywhere in the globe by following these five steps.

How do you conduct a spiritual retreat?

I believe we can all agree that life is hectic, and the urge to unwind from time to time is becoming increasingly important. We're approaching Easter as I write this, which is traditionally a time of reflection for many Christians around the world. What better way to recharge your batteries than to organize your own spiritual retreat?

You don't have to spend the weekend in a retreat center. You don't even need to get out of your house. I'll offer you some examples of what I do that you can tweak to fit your needs and lifestyle.

Before I begin, I want you to know that these spiritual retreat ideas are based on my personal experience as a Christian and follower of Jesus. I've used them all my life and frequently include elements into my regular creative getaways.

How to Take a Spiritual Retreat

Get away to a peaceful location. This could indicate one of two things. You can get up early than anyone else in your house (which, in my view, means quiet!) Alternatively, you may take a stroll or drive to a more peaceful location. For spiritual retreats, I recommend staying away from coffee shops and other places where you can be distracted. Consider where you may go to incorporate nature into your vacation. Many people find nature to be relaxing. (A park, a wildlife preserve, a secluded stretch of beach, etc.)

Bring a few things, but don't overdo it. All you'll probably need is a Bible, a notebook, a pen, some water, a snack, and a devotional to guide you. If you bring too many things, you may spend the entire time sorting through them rather of thinking and praying. (Ahem, based on personal experience.)

I have a question. This question may arise during your initial reading, but it's always a good idea to enter a retreat with a notion or question in mind. What exactly do you require right now? What do you hope to gain knowledge about?

Even if it's only a rudimentary building, it's beneficial to have some structure in your hideaway. You want to feel invigorated and revived at the end of your retreat, not rushed and frustrated because you got sidetracked.

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  • Allow time for the words to sink in and keep a record about them. You can also use index cards to put down specific verses that you want to remember.

What do you do in a self retreat?

Take some time to think about why, when, where, what, and who you want to do (or not do) during your retreat before you start planning all the things you want to do (or not do).

Consider your objective to be the retreat's North Star. It's for this reason that you should take the time and make the space to fill your own cup. It's easy to organize a vacation that's appropriate for exactly what you need right now once you're clear on this.

and I'd like to set up a retreat to help me so that I can feel

Both symbolically and literally, making space is crucial. During your personal retreat, decide how you'll create boundaries with others. Are you going to be entirely unplugged? In the event of an emergency, how should they contact you? It's also a good time to consider who can assist you with childcare, employment, and other duties.

It's also crucial to consider your actual surroundings. Choose a few items that will help you center yourself, stimulate your curiosity, or support your retreat aim in addition to a clean, peaceful, and comfortable atmosphere.

Let's talk about how to really use your time now that you have the framework of your retreat in mind. Consider creating a theme for your retreat that supports your goal. Then write a list of the things you'd like to incorporate to help you achieve that goal.

Tip: Don't feel obligated to pack your calendar as well. It's also beneficial (and vital) to set aside time to do nothing.

Returning to Daily Life

It's just as crucial to complete your personal retreat as it is to have the experience. At the conclusion of your retreat, set aside some time to consider how you'll incorporate your most important takeaways into your daily life.

What can I do, even in a tiny way, to include this exercise into my daily routine?

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Ready to Retreat?

I hope you are encouraged to arrange your personal retreat at home or away, whether you have an afternoon, a weekend, or a week. You deserve to refresh, reconnect, and revitalize on a regular basis!

Can you do a retreat at home?

Lucy Hill, the founder of Chaya Yoga Retreats and a wellness specialist, discusses how to build your own at-home vacation.

A simple (and inexpensive) getaway weekend at home can have a significant impact on your general well-being. We all experience burnout from time to time, but regular self-care in the form of alone time and nourishing activities at home can be life-changing.

Making a commitment to yourself and your boundaries with people, time, and space is critical to the success of your rejuvenation weekend.

Taking one or two days off from social, family, and job interactions on a regular basis is essential for actual well-being.

Make a plan ahead of time, gather everything you'll need, and notify your friends and family that you'll be taking a break – then put your phone and electronics away. To rebalance yourself, create a sanctuary space at home and try these simple routines.

Step #1 Go a few days without stimulants and stick to water

Simplicity is the key when life becomes overwhelming. It doesn't matter how we treat our bodies or what we eat. There are three primary parts of food and drink that assist physical wellbeing and the restoration to balance: hydration, alkalisation, and feeding.

Because stress and dehydration are related, hydration is essential for soothing the neurological system. So a few days without stimulants like coffee, sugar, or alcohol will do wonders for your adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are two small glands that reside above the kidneys and regulate your response to stress by releasing stress chemicals like adrenalin and cortisol.

This is also similar to yogis”sattvic' diet, which prohibits caffeinated beverages and red meat, among other meals and beverages that stimulate the body. This is thought to foster deeper meditative states in Ayurveda, India's traditional healing system, because the body is more likely to be in a condition of rest.

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Treat your body to a variety of nourishing beverages during your retreat, including as plant-based milks, alkaline-forming juices (see the green juice recipe below), activated waters, and your favorite herbal teas.

On our retreats, we mix everything from crystals to mantras, charcoal to goji berries into the water. It may sound strange, but everything has a vibration, and water, we believe, is a carrier for energetic signals. On a cellular level, you can easily absorb these messages because you're made up of up to 75% water.

Step #2 Try eating ‘mono' meals (one type of food per meal)

The concept of eating only one type of food per meal appears to be a bit tedious. However, the body prefers simplicity and digests better when there are fewer intricate ingredient combinations in the stomach. By allowing the body to focus on one thing at a time, you can absorb up to 25% more nutrients. This isn't a long-term eating approach, but it can assist soothe your digestive system during this time.

Try eating one meal a day as fruit, one as steamed veggies, and one easy-to-digest healthy prepared cuisine like kichari for a few days (recipe below). Simple meals also have an influence on the psyche, allowing for a calmer mindset and more time to rest.

Step #3 Make time for some cleansing yoga

Yoga provides a plethora of advantages. It doesn't matter if you want to increase your flexibility, muscle strength, blood flow, bone health, or immunity. Yoga is purifying and detoxifying by its very nature; every time we touch the mat, we actually empty the rubbish from the trunk.

The mere act of moving about, in and out of positions, aids in the lymphatic system's cleansing. The lymph drainage rate increases as muscles tense. The lymph nodes are located throughout the body and are responsible for fighting infection and eliminating toxic waste.

Some postures and practices are designed to boost the body's natural ability to detoxify itself. Twists are a useful tool because they actually wring the body out by twisting the core muscles and their underlying intestinal system, which has a clarifying and cleaning effect on the body and mind.

Breathe deeply into your belly button and completely expel while twisting. This removes stale air from the inside organs and replaces it with fresh prana (life force) filled air.

Yoga poses that twist benefit the digestive tract and are beneficial not only when detoxing, but also when you're bloated and have low energy due to sluggish digestion.

To be sure, if you're doing these throughout your retreat weekend, do slowly, mindfully, and deliberately, not out of breath, and rest in savasana (corpse pose) between each posture. If you generally conduct a more dynamic practice, try taking the poses slowly to see how it feels.

Step #4 Disconnect from your devices

Make a commitment to yourself to create and maintain a tranquil and healthy area free of distractions. We waste a lot of energy by using our phones and perusing the internet. So put your gadgets away for the weekend.

Keeping your phone out of sight will make you feel less compelled to take it up. Also, turn off the television and radio. Try to stay as silent as possible, or if you must listen to music, make it ambient and beautiful. The retreat space's goal is to help the nervous systems slow down, calm down, and return to normal.

When we begin to make room for ourselves, sensations and thoughts that we've been avoiding or suppressing might often surface.

Rather than distracting yourself from these feelings, use some of the methods listed below to aid the emotional and physical healing process. Allowing what's coming up to come to the surface and then dealing with it with one of the empowering methods below will provide you more mental and emotional freedom if you let it. This, in turn, will result in a greater sense of relaxation and well-being.

Step #5 Start journalling

Start writing as soon as you wake up, before you begin your day. What you write could be a mess of words, a wrath on a paper, a sonnet, or a letter to yourself, and it could make no sense. Write out whatever comes to mind without caring about grammar, neatness, punctuation, or politeness.

You may be amazed at how much you write and how much better you feel as a result of it. The physical act of writing has been demonstrated in numerous studies to be extremely therapeutic. It can also help you develop a more serious meditation practice.

Step #6 Practice breathing exercises

Our ideas are inextricably related to the quality of our breath. yogis have been practicing breath control as a technique to relax the mind for thousands of years. Increased energy levels, the balancing of the left and right hemispheres of the brain, and lung purification are just a few of the additional advantages.

Before you begin your meditation practice, try these breathing exercises after you've finished journaling:

1. Alternate nostril breathing, also known as ‘Anuloma Viloma.' Anuloma Viloma, also known as ‘Alternate Nostril Breathing,' cleanses and strengthens the lungs while also balancing the body's energies.

2. Kapalbhati, also known as “Skull Shining Breath,” is a powerful internal cleansing breath that energises the entire system.

Step #7 Nap, snooze and cosy up

You may feel quite exhausted when you withdraw from distractions and begin to rest. The stress hormone adrenaline stops firing as you relax deeper and deeper, and what is generally revealed is a lot of tiredness.

So take it easy, nap, snooze, snuggle up, listen to some yoga nidra or guided meditations, and relax.

Listen to your body and follow its lead to find out what it need.

This period of profound relaxation allows your body to undertake its resetting and healing job.

Allow your body to sleep if it so desires.

Step #8 Get as much fresh air as you can

The lack of fresh air, access to nature, and working outside of our natural cycles are all big difficulties in modern western working life. Spending time in nature is one of the simplest methods to balance and ground oneself as a medicine.

Our way of life can easily separate us from the fact that we are “human creatures” who belong in nature. We get ungrounded and out of balance when we go for lengthy periods of time without connecting to the soil.

So get outside and kick off your shoes during your retreat weekend. Breathe deeply while walking barefoot in the grass and leaning against a tree. Lie down and gaze up at the stars. Connect to the thought that the ground is absorbing your stress and strain.

Try hanging out in your local woods or forest – practically bathing in nature. ‘Forest bathing,' or'shinrin yoku,' as the practice is known in Japan, has been shown to reduce stress hormone production, promote feelings of happiness, and boost creativity. It can also assist to decrease blood pressure and heart rate while also boosting the immune system and speeding up recovery from illness.

Step #9 Try meditation

For healing and inspiration, try the following easy meditation as a grounding and heart-opening way to extend your awareness and connect to wider levels of consciousness:

1. Begin by sitting comfortably and bringing your body into quiet and connection, taking long deep breaths and connecting to the earth you're seated on.

2. Open your mind and feel into any questions you might have. What are you hoping to heal or shift? What changes do you wish to make in your life and where do you need help?

3. Once you've clarified a/some questions, start connecting the dots between the following elements: How do you feel each one, starting with earth, then water, then fire, then air (begin by acknowledging them, with thanks, and inviting them to connect)? What sensations, feelings, emotions, impressions and visions do you experience, as well as any insights?

4. Gently bring up any questions you have and watch what comes up — a vision, a sensation. Don't be concerned if nothing happens; the purpose is sufficient. Simply be receptive to the event.

5. Next, acknowledge, feel, and share gratitude for the powers of nature, beginning with the plant kingdom, and extend an invitation to connect. What do you think you see? What do you sense, feel, and so forth?

6. Now do the same thing with the animal kingdom.

7. Do the same with the planets, the sun, the moon, and the stars. The same thing happened this time.

8. You are free to continue with whatever aspect of nature that comes to mind.

9. When you are ready to finish, return to your body, to the serenity of your physical form.

10. In a prayerful gesture, clasp your hands together. Giving appreciation to the forces you've encountered and any form they may take, whether subtle or obvious, and therefore closing the space you've created.

Kichari recipe

1. Rinse split yellow mung beans and rice in cold water until clear.

2. Dry roast the ginger and all of the spices (excluding the bay leaves) in a big preheated saucepan on medium heat for a few minutes. The flavor will be enhanced by dry roasting.

3. Stir in the dahl and rice to coat the rice and beans with the spices.

4. Bring the water and bay leaves to a boil.

5. Bring to a boil for 10 minutes.

6. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer until the dahl and rice are mushy (about 30-40 minutes).

7. Add the cilantro leaves right before serving. To taste, season with salt or Bragg's.

For weak digestion, gas, or bloating, par-boil the split mung dahl (cover with water and bring to a boil), drain, and rinse before beginning to produce the kitchadi. Rep 2-3 times more. Alternatively, soak the beans overnight and then drain them. Cook as directed above.

Because alkalinity is linked to stress in the body, avoiding acid-forming foods for a few days (caffeine, alcohol, sugar, wheat, meat, and dairy – see full list here) will allow your body time and space to re-set. Including alkaline-forming foods and beverages in your diet, such as this green juice or cardamom milk, can provide your body with the nutrients it needs to relax the nervous system and de-stress.

Calming almond cardamom mylk recipe

1. Soak nuts or seeds in filtered water overnight or for at least 4 hours.

2. Rinse and combine with the water until the nuts or seeds are very finely chopped.

3. Strain the milk and serve it through a nut mylk bag.

Soya lecithin – gives the mylk a rich creaminess, works as an emulsifier, and aids in the digestion of the oils.

Sweetener – honey, dates, mesquite, coconut sugar — anything you want or is appropriate for the mylk's purpose.

This May 11th – 18th, in Ibiza, experience a lovely Chaya yoga retreat and feel clear and connected with a Yoga Cleanse and Digital Detox.

Lucy Hill (left), the founder of Chaya, has created a week that will include yoga to purify the body, mind, and soul, a nourishing detox menu made with locally sourced foods, shamanic rituals, breath work, holistic therapies, and a ban on the use of digital devices, leaving guests feeling reborn and radiant both inside and out when they return to the real world.

The Observer named Chaya Yoga Retreats as one of Europe's best retreats.

How do I create an online retreat?

We discussed hosting a Virtual Retreat for your Leadership Team in our Tips & Tricks for a Virtual Leadership Transition column a few weeks ago. We'd like to elaborate on that idea in this piece and provide you with some extra recommendations for arranging a virtual retreat. With the shifting atmosphere of our country, it's critical to keep communicating and bonding with your team, whether you've all been in your jobs for a while or are all new to the team. Regardless, it's time for a virtual team retreat, and here are some recommendations for making one a success.

Decide on the media you'll use for your retreat. Zoom, Google Hangout, GoToMeeting, and a slew of other options are also available. Each of these virtual gathering places offers a variety of choices for creating inclusive and engaging retreat environments. Break-out groups, Q&A opportunities, and surveys, for example, are all options in Zoom for gauging how much information your team is absorbing. When deciding which platform to utilize for your retreat, features like these should be taken into account.

Make a decision about the objective of your retreat. Are you planning a retreat for goal-setting, team bonding, or a combination of the two? The general goal of your retreat will assist you in deciding on various other aspects of how you will arrange it. It will assist you in determining what types of activities might be helpful to the entire group as well as assisting you in beginning to develop an agenda for your retreat, which should be distributed prior to the start of your retreat.

Decide on the length of your retreat. Consider who you have on your leadership team and how you think they would handle a virtual retreat. When deciding on the length of your retreat, you have various alternatives. Your retreat could be one day long with food breaks, such as a 5-hour retreat with a 2-hour dinner break. Another alternative is to spread your retreat out across several days, for example, a two-day retreat with two two-hour sessions each day. These are only two of the several possibilities available to you based on your leadership team.

Finish your plans and make a schedule for your retreat. When deciding what to put on the agenda, keep in mind that you want to make sure you achieve the objectives you set for yourself. Having said that, it's equally critical to ensure that your team members are busy, engaged, and having fun. While hosting a business retreat, it's critical to include activities that will keep your team members' attention. There may not appear to be many activities that can be done digitally, but with a little imagination, there are plenty. One possibility is to have everyone take a personality test like True Colors or the Enneagram and bring their results to the team meeting to discuss and get to know each other better. Another suggestion is to contact miracle families and request films of them telling their tales to integrate throughout the retreat to remind everyone of why we're doing this.

Organize your retreat. This is the exciting part; communicating and connecting with your team, regardless of the retreat's greater objective, is more vital now than it has ever been. Don't forget to take a break from the job and interact with one another as individuals while pursuing our purpose! A leadership retreat is an excellent way to start the year with team bonding and vision casting! Even if you are physically separated, you can electronically come together for a retreat. For considerations in arranging an online retreat, see our Virtual Retreat Tips. Visit the Retreats 101 folder in Dropbox for agendas, activities, and other retreat planning tools.

What does a meditation retreat look like?

various meditation sessions throughout the day, and, of course, meals – generally vegan or vegetarian – are all part of the retreat experience. Depending on the retreat you attend, there may be various kinds of meditation available, or only one. For meditation techniques that require a little more training, the opening day or few days of the retreat may contain more discussions and direction, with the remainder of the retreat focusing primarily on practice.

How do you plan a woman's one day prayer retreat?

One of the most enjoyable aspects of attending a retreat is having time to unwind and enjoy each other's company. That's fantastic news since it means there's no need to plan, plan, plan! You'll need a few activities to get started, so here are some suggestions:

  • Make preparations ahead of time. Discuss and select what your group's next topic of study will be. Bring a couple of ideas for everyone to consider.
  • Divide and conquer is a good strategy. Fun, Faith, and Food are the three categories. The group that plans enjoyable activities is called the Fun group. They could suggest a fantastic nearby hiking route, organize get-to-know-you games, go on a scavenger hunt with the group, or bring movies and boardgames. The spiritual side is handled by the Faith group. They might create a special prayer hour or plan weekend devotionals. All edibles are looked after by the Food group. They devise a menu and shop for groceries. As a result, everyone has a limited responsibility and no one is overburdened with tasks.
  • Tell us about your experiences. Encourage each woman to provide images and details about her life and faith journey. It's astonishing how much you can learn about women you've known for a long time!
  • Take a test! Who doesn't enjoy a good game show? Spend some time learning about your spiritual talents, individual strengths through StrengthsFinder, or your personalities through the Enneagram personality test. These types of activities encourage great conversation and help you learn to relate to others.
  • Make time to study the Bible. Some studies are especially suited to a weekend retreat. Check out Priscilla Shirer's Breathe or the War Room Bible Study, which would be wonderful to do together after seeing the movie.
  • From wherever you are, you can attend an event. The Priscilla Shirer Simulcast simplifies the process of organising a girls' weekend.