One evening in my desperation to find a good Costa Rica yoga retreat for next year, I stumbled upon one near to me. It was a celebration of Summer Solstice in PEI at the beautiful Goeland Centre… a Yoga and Art retreat. Simply Perfect. I could almost taste the peace, it was such fortunate fate.
The weekend was exceptional, good food, good company, good weather, new types of yoga to experience, art projects… and bonfires at night. I couldn’t have made a better choice, and was excited to return home and introduce everything I’d learned into my days.
At the closing of the retreat our final act was to sit in a circle and share what we were feeling. It was obvious a lot of the participants were escaping from something; poor relationships, loss, depression, a hectic life, and high expectations. You name it, we were all there. Everyone had successfully escaped from what they were running from. Tears were shed and love surrounded us all, our hearts were open and ready for our return to real life. We would conquer whatever challenge was facing us. Email addresses and phone numbers were exchanged and all promised to keep in touch after the weekend. Many deep connections were made.
Driving away with the center in my rear view mirror, I realized that this was how I wanted my life to be. I wanted to feel that peace consistently, and I knew I’d have to make a change in my life to accomplish the peace I was leaving behind. I smiled to myself as I confidently hit the road, tunes blasting, windows open…. Peace and Love were behind me… and they stayed there.
On my 3 hour drive home everything I’d learned went out the door, people’s interactions, grouchy shop owners, shitty drivers… they were all making me utterly angry! I found myself screaming at the deathly slow driver in front of me, mouthing to a girl at a gas station to quit her job because her boss was yelling at her behind the counter in front of customers, and being quick with my friend who had called to vent…. I was hating who I was being. What was happening to me?!?!?
When I returned home I unrolled my yoga mat and did the Kundalini exercise, Breath of Fire and a series of Sun Salutations but nothing was helping. I needed to regroup, and after two days of isolation and minor exposure to the outside world, I reached out to others in my retreat group and found they’d experienced the same. One returned to their husband and had a major relationship ruining fight that ended in one of them moving out for a couple days, one had confrontations with irresponsible pet owners, one had a fight at work. I was really amazed how after feeling such joy and peace it could be injured so easily when returning to the real world.
I am calm again, and I’d suggest to anyone returning from such a retreat to introduce the real world in little bits. Continue your practice and be sure to surround yourself with positive people, because for the first few days everything will effect you. The aftermath of the yoga retreat… take caution, for the enlightenment you experience there doesn’t necessarily follow you home.
NAMASTE …. dammit!