Vandaeh Works

Take Yourself on a Retreat and Clear Your Mind Article

In January 2008 I was extremely blessed to experience and enjoy a 2 week period of rest and reJOYvination in Verkala, Kerela, South India on a Yoga retreat. At the time it seemed appropriate to see what the special time would offer before I sowed the seeds of my year, so here is my story ...

When I booked the retreat towards the end of 2007 I felt it was time to recharge my batteries. This was unusual for me as "I do what I love and love what I do!" and consider myself very lucky to be happy, healthy and full of vitality. However, I always look and listen to the messages that come to me everyday, and there was a sequence of events. On meeting a friend for lunch in late September her parting comment was; "I can see you going to India". This was a surprise as I really couldn't see that happening at the time. Then soon after when I was shopping with a friend I spontaneously bought some T shirts for casual wear, and heard a voice in my head saying "Good because you'll be going on holiday soon!" As I began to think of where I may like to go I spoke to a friend who had just been on a sailing holiday in the Bahamas. I thought this may be an idea for my adventure, but as that was to see her friends rather than an organised trip, that was not an option. The same afternoon the word "Kerela" kept repeating itself in my mind. As soon as I got home I searched the internet for: "Kerela+India+Retreat" and instantly became inundated with information. I was drawn to the "Shining Minds" website initially because of the name itself, and when I spoke to the organiser I very quickly decided this was THE ONE for me. All my arrangements happened SO easily, with good flight times and visa availability. This, was DEFINITELY the right thing for me to do ...

The WHOLE experience was SUCH a great pleasure in many different ways. On an organised note there was 30 minutes meditation from 7.30am, followed by 1.1/2 hours Yoga from 8.00am to 9.30am, and another Yoga session from 4.00pm to 5.30pm on most days. For 7 out of the 14 days there was also a 1.1/2 hour Ayurvedic treatment. One morning was focused purely on self development which I found to be an extremely powerful experience. This happened on the Wednesday morning before we returned home on the Saturday, so it temporarily bought me back down to earth with a BIG BANG (more about that later)! There were also many extra curricula activities that were a HUGE bonus. The hotel owners' daughter got married by coincidence while we were there, so the whole group was invited to an Indian wedding, which included the pre-wedding Friday night party at a FABULOUS Indian Mansion - WOW! The architectural features included an amazing curved hard wood staircase with a Lion's head carved on the bottom pillars, internal water features and twinkly lights everywhere. A complete feast for our eyes! We also went to a Temple Festival one evening, which was full of atmosphere and excitement with music, drumming and dancing. As white English people we were as much a spectacle as what we went to see! The most RELAXING day was spent cruising on the backwaters near Varkala, on a very luxurious wooden barge, which is often used for honeymoon trips and romantic occasions. The detail to the finish of the boat was incredible as even the en-suite basin was heart shaped. We were SO well looked after that day and the food was all vegetarian and very delicious.

An AMAZING part of the experience was to be within a group of complete strangers who very quickly become an instant family that respected each other's views, privacy and need for independence, yet always looked out for each other. There was a wonderful harmony within the group and we very quickly developed a holiday catchphrase "We love you we do" which bought lots of laughter and softness. A group of us in the swimming pool on a couple of afternoons were seen to be swimming through each others legs and floating on each others fingers - what fun! The two weeks just flew by, yet it was the most amazing time bubble, which offered SO many gifts. I have SUCH huge gratitude for the experience which created a FABULOUS golden time bubble of memory for us all.

It was also inspirational to see people of all ages and cultures enjoying time together on the beach at Varkala. It was common for people to befriend each other and travel to different areas of the country to expand their adventures. At the time we worked out that you could spend 3 months there in the winter and live on 1,000 including your flight, albeit very basic, but when you have sun, sea and sand what else do you need? There were 76 rupees to the 1.00 at the time we were there. Fresh fruit juice was 25 rupees, a plate of fried rice 100 rupees and you could even get lunch for 14 rupees or a sandwich for 6 rupees in town! Overnight accommodation in a bamboo hut was 400 rupees (or even cheaper) and reasonable accommodation 700 rupees. The clothes were also very colourful and great value. So if you are an adventurer, listen to your intuition and see the signs and Go! Go! Go!

The conclusion of my BIG BANG moment of Epiphany during my Varkala self development exercise was that my "specific changes I wanted to accomplish" were:

My "Prayer for World Peace" is internationally recognised
I am known as a Revolutionary working with the Power of Love

So here we are now in 2015, the seeds well sown as the inspirations were put into action and all is achieved. The moral of this story is if you ever feel you need a break to get away from everyone and everything and clear your mind, know you can, make a plan, sow the seeds and be brave and courageous, go for it and put your ideas into action and make life happen. Listen to the signposts along the way and share your plans with others to seed your ideas, and let your imagination expand and go wild as your dream becomes a reality. Remember the only real gift we can ever give is TIME, so make sure you gift yourself this freedom in loving yourself. Have fun**

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