A couple of weeks ago, as a special birthday treat to myself I took myself off for, for the first time ever, on a week-long yoga retreat in Portugal. Part of me felt so guilty especially leaving my 10yr old daughter but I knew I needed a special break. It was heavenly, to say the least. But it was only when I got there that I realised how much I needed it. My shoulders were tight and my energy levels in great need of topping up. My mind was still spinning with the echoes of to-do lists, deadlines and demands. I needed a break not just to recharge the batteries but also the space to step back from everything and reconnect with my creativity (currently working on Book 2).
And I definitely got this. The tranquil Vale de Moses retreat nestles among the valleys and mountains of Serra de Estrela. I began to get an inkling of the remoteness when the Sat Nav gave up an hour away from the retreat and the WiFi signal became non-existent. On retreat, our days started with a walking meditation in the forest, breathing in fresh, cool mountain air followed by 2 hrs of yoga and then 2 hrs of dance in the afternoon. This was no resting retreat! The food was hearty and delicious and at night we turned in early for bed.
And I was interested to find that, compared to my usual life back in London, there were a few things that I was doing differently:
The difference: my adrenal glands and thyroid aren’t running in overdrive trying to meet the demands of parenthood, commuting, patients, presentations, emails… so the need for fuel becomes less important and my physiology, assisted by nature, quiet, minimal technology and focused breathwork, is in a natural state of balance and equilibrium.
Back in the London the following week, I missed the mountains and my fellow yogis but I was happy to be back with my family and in the thick of things. First day back in the City and I felt myself walking faster, talking faster, breathing faster…I knew it was time to start having breakfast again.