PLAN YOUR OWN RE­TREAT

Save money and re­vive mind, body and spirit on a healthy DIY get­away

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - TRAVEL WISDOM | WELLNESS HOLIDAYS - BRIGID DE­LANEY

It’s the first week of spring. The per­fect time to think about go­ing some­where warm on re­treat to pull your­self out of a slump. A re­treat is a chance to re­set bad habits, eval­u­ate where you are at in life, get your diet and fit­ness un­der con­trol and re­vive your mind, body and spirit.

Re­treats are big busi­ness, but it’s hard to find any­thing that costs less than $1500 a week. Most good ones cost about $2500 – and that doesn’t in­clude air­fares. With some plan­ning, you can have a sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence for a lot less money by cre­at­ing your own re­treat. You can do it alone, or get your part­ner or a group of pals in­volved.

You’ll need to source com­fort­able, quiet ac­com­mo­da­tion that is close to a good yoga stu­dio and health food cafe, and have a nearby day spa. Set some goals, down­load a med­i­ta­tion app, and most im­por­tantly – de­vise a rou­tine that you can stick to.

PLAN­NING

What do you want to get out of your re­treat? Is it a chance to un­wind? To break bad habits? Do you need to re­set, or look in­ward and eval­u­ate where you’re at in life? A struc­tured re­treat will help you go in­ward – but just as th­ese re­treats have a timetable for par­tic­i­pants each day, you should cre­ate one for your­self when you build your own re­treat.

Plan­ning is key. A full week is an ideal time to go on re­treat, two weeks is even bet­ter if you want to re­ally shift en­trenched habits, or grap­ple with big life changes. Maybe you want to get some or­der in your life. Or re­flect on where you are at? Or detox from an un­healthy and boozy win­ter – or from your de­vices. Or you’re re­cov­er­ing from a loss or break-up. Maybe all you want to do is re­lax and un­wind.

Be­fore you go, buy a jour­nal and write down what you want to achieve on your re­treat. It might be any of th­ese things or a com­bi­na­tion:

Time away from the in­ter­net and so­cial me­dia.

Give your body a rest – a chance to re­set an un­healthy diet or life­style choice (you might de­cide not to drink al­co­hol or caf­feine on your re­treat, or have a break from meat or su­gar).

Cul­ti­vate good habits, such as daily yoga or med­i­ta­tion.

A break from work.

Re­set your body clock to early nights and early morn­ings.

Bring your jour­nal with you. Be­fore you set off, write down your goals for the re­treat, and while on re­treat set aside time each day to record any shifts in your in­ner life and well­be­ing. The diary can be a good ref­er­ence point for when you re­turn, and al­low you to re­flect on your thought pro­cesses and progress.

One of the first ques­tions you should ask when plan­ning a re­treat is where to go. I rec­om­mend ei­ther Ubud or Canggu, in Bali. The flights from Aus­tralia are cheap and plen­ti­ful and you won’t spend valu­able re­treat time re­cov­er­ing from jet lag. Plus, Bali has long been ac­cus­tomed to guests of the spir­i­tual seeker va­ri­ety. There’s been – in Canggu and Ubud – a mini boom in ve­gan cafes and fancy yoga stu­dios, with high-qual­ity teach­ers from around the world giv­ing classes.

There are also some ex­cel­lent ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions, in­clud­ing rea­son­ably priced Airbnbs in Canggu and Ubud that are close to the main yoga stu­dios.

And at about $10 for a rig­or­ous or re­lax­ing hour-long mas­sage, you can af­ford to have one every day of the week for the same price as a sin­gle one-hour mas­sage in Aus­tralia.

Bali also has a long and rich tra­di­tion of heal­ers who are con­sulted on every­thing from health com­plaints to emo­tional prob­lems. Ask around for rec­om­men­da­tions about heal­ers when you ar­rive – a yoga stu­dio, ex­pats, or even a quick search on TripAd­vi­sor should yield some tips.

In the plan­ning stage, you should also de­cide what re­stric­tions, if any, you’re go­ing to put on what you eat and drink. Will you have a week with no al­co­hol? Or try ve­g­an­ism or kick the cof­fee habit? Don’t be too am­bi­tious. Use the time on your re­treat to cut back to one a day or one every few days.

FIX A ROU­TINE

Once you know what you want to achieve from your re­treat, and where you want to go, and the pa­ram­e­ters you’ve set around food and drink, set a rou­tine. No de­vi­a­tions, no cheeky sleep-ins.

The rou­tine should go some­thing like this:

Wake up early – try 6am. Med­i­tate for 20 min­utes us­ing the Headspace or other apps that you can down­load on your phone.

Have a juice or small snack. Head to an early morn­ing yoga class (7am-9am).

Feast on a big, healthy break­fast . Spend the morn­ing writ­ing in your jour­nal, go­ing for a bike ride in the back­streets, ex­plor­ing nearby rice pad­dies, or try­ing a surf­ing les­son or a cook­ing class.

Lunch some­where healthy. Quiet af­ter­noon – read, snooze, mas­sage.

Yin yoga class for an hour (5-6pm). Light din­ner. Early night – lights out 8pm.

Try a week of this and you’ll feel amaz­ing. One day each week should be spent in si­lence with min­i­mal hu­man con­tact. This, usu­ally on day four of your re­treat, al­lows you to reach a lit­tle deeper and de­velop in­sights.

And one day a week of your re­treat should be for re­lax­ation. Go to a fun yoga class or take the day off – mix it up a lit­tle. At Yoga Barn in Ubud on Sun­day, there’s Ec­static Dance and in Canggu, there are great Sun­day restora­tive classes. Af­ter, go and see some live mu­sic, have a spritz, meet some new peo­ple.

Go to a restau­rant that serves yummy lo­cal food that isn’t the reg­u­lar health food place.

You don’t want to undo all the good work of the last week, but your Sun­day fun-day can be a good chance to ex­pe­ri­ence the plea­sure of your des­ti­na­tion.

SET A ROU­TINE. NO DE­VI­A­TIONS, NO CHEEKY SLEEP-INS

PIC­TURES: ISTOCK, FACE­BOOK

Start the day with some med­i­ta­tion to clear the mind; and nour­ish the body with healthy op­tions such as those at Betel­nut Cafe in Canggu, Bali.

BETEL­NUT CAFE

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