Once a year I like to take some time out of my regular life and go on retreat. I find that it not only helps me to restore and realign, but it also allows me to get more creative inspiration for my writing.
In fact, there are so many benefits of going on retreat and dedicating time to your mind, body, and spirit.
This year, Lake Louise which is located in Alberta, Canada was calling my name. There is also said to be an energy vortex on the lake, which also highly appealed to me.
Energy vortexes exist in areas around the world where there is a concentrated source of life force energy. This strong energy has the potential to recharge your batteries faster and can help align you with your highest path. It is also said that energy vortexes allow you to heal and manifest things in your life more rapidly.
Whether you believe in energy vortexes or not, there is no denying that Lake Louise has a magical energy. Perhaps it is just the beautiful views that take your breath away, or perhaps it is simply the healing power of nature.
The Fairmont Hotel which is located right on Lake Louise has been conducting meditation and mindfulness retreats for quite some time. Their retreats include everything from yoga, to writing, self-love workshops, and spirit medicine, so I thought it would be the perfect place to escape to for a few days- not to mention, the hotel is pretty luxurious!
While I highly recommend going on retreat, especially to a high energy place like Lake Louise, I wanted to bring my experience to you and share some powerful takeaways that I gained.
Here are 4 life changing things that I learned while on retreat and I hope they can inspire you too-
1.) Just 2 Minutes of Meditation Can Change Your Life
One of the biggest components of the retreat was learning how to meditate. While I am a regular meditator, I will admit I go through phases. Sometimes I do it every day for months and then other times, months will go by where I do nothing at all.
The teacher of my retreat, Kim Roberts shared however, that meditating for just 2 minutes a day can be life changing and can help you to dramatically reduce stress and feel connected. She also shared that it is much better to meditate for short periods of time consistently than longer periods of time inconsistently.
By making the commitment to just 2 minutes a day, slowly you will start to get into the pattern and routine of regular practice. You may even find that on some days, you organically decide that you want to sit for longer.
Anyone can make the commitment for just 2 minutes a day, and why wouldn’t you when the benefits of meditation are so plentiful?
2.) Don’t Be Afraid to Share Your Story
One of the best things about going on retreat are the people that you meet. While on retreat I spoke with some amazing people and loved listening to their life stories. Actually, one of the most profound moments of the retreat for me was meeting another participant who had also lost someone young and dear to them.
As some of you know, I lost my sister earlier this year due to an aggressive cancer. Her death came very suddenly and it definitely rocked my world.
Through chatting with this other participant about their experience, I found it to be very healing and comforting. It also helped me to gain insight and perspective on my own healing journey.
While you may not want to share your story with everyone, sometimes you never know who you are going to meet or what pearls of wisdom they are going to be able to offer you.
I do feel there is such a benefit in sharing your experiences with those you trust and those you feel guided to.
3.) Listen to Your Body
While on retreat, the golden rule was to listen to your body. While there were many exercises to participate in, the most important thing was listening to your body first.
In our regular lives, it is amazing how many of us rush through the day and through our routines without ever stopping to tune in and listen to what our bodies want or need.
It is so important to bring your awareness back to your body, especially if you find yourself getting stressed or anxious.
To help you listen and get in touch with your body, an excellent technique is to breathe in and out of the nose for about 10 breaths. This simple exercise can instantly help to calm and center you back into your body.
Another technique that I learned while on the retreat was to place your legs up a wall. This extremely relaxing posture helps to clear your lymph system, can reduce your heart rate and can instantly lower stress.
Staying in this position for 20-30 minutes is recommended, however even just a few minutes can help to bring you back to a state of calm.
4.) Spend Time Alone
While on retreat there was plenty of time to spend in solitude. Many people have a fear of being alone and often gravitate towards their phone or even a book, but there is really something to be said for just being alone and present in the moment.
While on retreat we were encouraged to take mindfulness walks around the lake. Our teacher, Kim Roberts called these walks- “aimless wandering”.
In our daily lives, most of us never give ourselves permission to just wander aimlessly. Even if we do take a walk outside most of us go with a purpose.
By having no purpose and setting out into nature, I noticed that I was much more observant and far more tuned into my intuition. Instead of ‘thinking’ about where to go next, I simply followed what direction felt best.
This was a fantastic exercise to help me get out of my head and into my heart. It also allowed me to really tune into my softer, intuitive voice.
If you need some time out and want to tune into your intuition, simply take a walk outside with no intention except for following your feelings. Try to not bring your phone or get caught up in distractions, instead just focus on your breath and the present moment.
These simple techniques were some of my best takeaways from this retreat, and will definitely be a part of my regular routine.
Why not try them for yourself too and see how they can shift your life to a place of calm, centered ease.
For more information on the retreats offered in Lake Louise visit Lake Louise Wellness.