Some things to know about yoga retreat:
- Seven days of seven AM practice feels good but tiring. Two hours makes for a lot of vinyasas so you should use the afternoon breaks to read The Goldfinch because it is both restful and a completely amazing book and you never have enough time to read when you're home and working.
- The best part is probably going to be the food - breakfast, lunch and dinner all prepared for you with love and care and out-of-this-world delicious. Breakfast especially. If on the first day you feel greedy for making a pot of Earl Grey and a carrot, apple, orange and ginger juice to go with your date and cinnamon porridge and apple and coconut bircher and that big dollop of yoghurt don't worry, because you'll do the same every day, and usually add toast and jam. And often a banana. And dried apricots. Eat it all. It is goodness.
- Kirtan, or call and repeat Hindi chanting is one of your favourite things so you should give up on pretending to be cool and just be OK with that. You've always loved it. You should do it more often. It doesn't matter that you have an awful voice, it is about being joyful.
- When you think you've packed enough knickers, go ahead and pack some more. Sweaty daily practice and bushwalks and swimming in the magnesium pool and two showers a day because the rainwater is so lovely means you might go through more than you'd thought. You might end up washing a few pairs of cotton-tails in the sink in your room and stringing them up to dry by the window.
- Silent bushwalks are better than talking bushwalks. Your senses come alive as you follow the pink ties through the dappled light. You can smell the mandarins and lemons before you get to the orchard. And as you wind down the mountain, you can smell the damp earth and the eucalypts. You can hear only the birds and the crackles of the bush, and the footsteps of your friends. It's a kind of deep and steady thud with rhythm and purpose. It's nice to let your brain rest for a few hours, to just let it think about the path and the rain that is looming (OK, and a little bit about the leaches).
- The hinterland is wonderful and the days start out with soft rain and heavy mist, then open out to beautiful sun. And the smell of the woodfire burning in the morning reminds you of home, of growing up in the Hills and having to chop firewood. Each morning when you walk up the dirt path for practice you are grateful to see the soft patches of grey smoke from the chimney.
- You'll sleep like the dead and love every moment, but coming home to your own bed is everything.