Retreat with Honor Yoga: Return Home Renewed


Katie Ribsam leads the Yoga Retreats Division at Honor. Talking to Katie about retreats recently, I realized that while a retreat is a very enticing idea to most yogis — and probably to on-yogis too — like yoga it has many ways of touching us. Is a retreat what we imagine? Is it a vacation, a chance to deepen your practice, or a much needed opportunity to lighten your load. Is a yoga retreat a place to get focused, or a time for fun and friendship? Well, the answer is yes to all. The way that Katie describes it, a retreat give yogis whatever they need – just like their practice – the retreat is another place on the path.

Since my first hand experience is out there waiting for me a few months into the future – Long Beach Island here we come — I asked an instructor at Honor to share her own experience. Liz Alvarez is a yoga teacher and a physical therapist. She runs the Therapeutics Division at Honor where she brings to life and practice the connection between yoga and physical therapy. But Liz is also a yogi with her own practice and she took herself – and her yoga – on a retreat recently. In her own words she shares what turned out to be much more than a dream vacation with yoga in it, but an experience that launched her personal practice and her own

“I had the pleasure of being on the Honor Yoga St. John retreat this March with Katie, Shannon, and Josh. It was a truly magical experience! I’d been to the island before, but having the opportunity to go back and experience it connected to my yoga and work was transformative. Many days when I’m home, I have the best intentions of meditating, chanting, doing my asana practice, but get “distracted” by work, email, social media and suddenly it’s the end of the day! But being away on this beautiful island, without all the distractions – even no wifi! – allowed me to commit to all aspects of my practice, and helped me to establish habits that I was able to bring back home with momentum to keep going. It was great to hear how others integrated the aspects of their practice that I had been leaving out during their busy day. It inspired me to do the same.

Being thrust into a new setting with new people I’d never met before (all the other wonderful retreat participants), doing things that were SO far outside our comfort zones created a new “family” for the week. It felt kind of like Summer Camp, where we shared our thoughts, feelings, fears and dreams in this safe and sacred environment, where we supported each other as we tried things that were new to many of us. And it best of all perhaps, it didn’t end there. Most of us continue to communicate regularly, even though we met there as strangers. I can say with certainty that I have made some life long friends. I definitely returned with a new sense of adventure and desire to step out of my day to day after experiencing so much that is now part of me and my practice!”

Dana Toff
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