Having decided to treat my self, a yoga retreat was a gift to myself.  I was overwhelmed with my options. There seemed to be a retreat for every possible style and budget. In the end, I decided on Kerala. I chose this little slice of heaven because I wanted to go to a quieter part of India. I didn’t want the noise, or the hustle and bustle of the major tourist sites. In Kerala I could walk about at night by myself and feel completely safe – even at 10 o’clock at night!

The other reason I chose Kerala was because of the learning environment. The retreat was a small place that that my teacher had set up by himself and ran by himself. This created a really homely, intimate feel to the retreat. I learnt with two other girls who had both come for similar reasons to me.

The pace of life was so much slower and really relaxing in Kerala, although it was very hot! The food was completely organic and beautifully prepared each day by a wonderful lady who came to the retreat. All the water came from a well that was fed from the mountains. There were no hot showers (not that you needed them!). The whole place offered a really rustic, back to basics experience. I really felt like I was nourishing every part of my body and hitting the reset button on my mind.

I was lucky enough to spend four weeks in this amazing place. There was a strict routine, which was an intrinsic part of the retreat. This was my typical day:

6:30                meditation

7:00                pranayama

7.30                tea break

8:00                yoga

9.30                breakfast

10:00              spare time to read, shower, do your washing

12:00              yoga philosophy lesson (this sometimes went on for 1.30-2 hour in the heat of the day.)

14:00              lunch

15:00              another hour free, expected to read/study philosophy and postures

16:00              yoga

21:30              bed

Wednesdays were the only day we were allowed to break this routine and have a day to spend how we pleased. One Wednesday we went into Alleppey – about an hours train journey away. Once there, we took local busses and rickshaws to get to the river. Where we were treated to a magical four-hour riverboat journey on the waterways around Alleppey. The area is used for tea fields and is amazing to behold.

I had a week spare at the end of the yoga practice and my husband came out to join me. We didn’t feel the need to do anything in particular. Instead we rested, enjoyed the sunshine, good food, and each other’s company. I have never felt so at peace, so relaxed, and so present in each moment than at Kerala. The space and routine offered by a yoga retreat really does offer an unparalleled chance to rest your mind and body – I can’t recommend them enough!

Alison x

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