About 9 months ago, I was sitting in my living room thinking, I needed to get out on a solo trip, and focus on de-stressing and having some fun while finding some pieces of myself again. I was so tired of being in this mean NY state that you get into once you’ve worked here for a little while. I was tired of being stressed and tensed all the time. So, I got the idea in my head to look at retreats (and let’s be honest, Eat, Pray, Love encouraged me along).
I looked at all the best retreats in the U.S., what they involved, the lengths of time, meditation vs, no meditation. I thought, why am I limiting myself? You ever want to be sure you have an “experience”, go out into the world by yourself! So that’s what I did. I started researching the top retreats in the world, and found awesome Goa!
More after the jump!
So I set my sights on Goa, India, the Golden Arabian Coast! I’ve never traveled overseas (at least that way) in my life, and here I am traveling a few time zones, (and a few flights) by myself to India! I booked everything so that I wouldn’t chicken out. I planned to go Ashiyana Yoga Retreat Center in Mandrem Beach, North Goa for a Yoga Holiday, which basically means I wasn’t following a set number of days, but could join the daily yoga activities while I was there. I was there from Sunday-Friday (after which I checked out and checked into a resort in the capital until Sunday).
I was doing two hours of Yoga, twice a day, with special nightly activities. I also did meditation on my own.
India was one of the best (if not THE best) experiences of my life. I learned so much about myself while I was there. Goa is beautiful, the people are beautiful and Ashiyana was a great and nurturing place to be so far from home. All the food was great!
From the first day, I arrived at night time, I was overwhelmed, and I was afraid to just walk into the village and experience something new. I forced myself to make myself uncomfortable. Life can’t always be comfortable, and if I continue to only experience things I’m comfortable with, I will never really see what the world has to offer. And this is not just in travel. This is in life.
I could go on and on about my trip to India but I’ll sum up my thoughts with my top 3 experiences/lessons.
- Learning to Let Go – When I first started attending the Yoga sessions and the communal brunch and dinner sessions I was social yes, but kind of closed & intimidated. Even during the Yoga sessions, I wouldn’t breathe out fully and just LET MYSELF GO. By the time I left I made a bunch of friends, and who even told me how much they saw me change in just 6 days vs. when they first met me. And I stopped caring about what other ppl would think of me and just quit the unnecessary thinking/stressing I do on a daily basis. You want to know what’s really going on in your head? Put yourself in a place with no music, TV, or even a an extremely budding night life. Silence reveals a lot. I don’t want to live that way once I came back, I want to be able to LIVE and let myself go like I used to be.
- Learning to Trust Again – One night we did Acro-Yoga, very cool yoga involving a lot of flying and lifting each other up and balancing each other. Also leaning back on everyone and laying over their backs. This was such a powerful experience for me. I know it seems like something small, but since I was in such a vulnerable place and allowed myself to be – this yoga session really involved A LOT of trust. What? This stranger is going to lift me up. At one point we were all in a circle and had to run and hug someone across the circle and I got very emotional. Had to hold back my tears. How often do you run up to ppl on the mean streets of NYC and hug them?? Can you imagine what they would do if you did? Punch you in the throat I’m sure. So this was bizarre behavior for me. But it was soooo freeing. Letting down my barriers and learning to let strangers in again was big for me. Especially for me since I had recently gotten into a relationship with someone I deem so special I could’ve never imagined he existed. I needed to be able to let him in. Not just the way I want, but all the way.
- Being Kinder to Myself – The biggest lesson I learned in India, without a doubt was to be kinder to myself. Why do I have to be so hard on myself? I mean if I thought about how many times a day/week that my inner thoughts are beating myself up for something minuscule, or telling myself how I “should’ve” been (which hate that word, always should-ing on myself), I would faint. Why do we need to be so hard on ourselves all the time? Doesn’t mean I don’t want to continue being as motivated as I am, and continue learning and growing professionally and personally, but why do I have to beat myself up in the process?? I don’t. I’m damn proud of who I am and I should be. And so should you! Pep talks and being realistic with yourself and what you want out of life is good, and necessary in my opinion. But the world is hard enough as it is, without you blaming yourself for every time a guy doesn’t call you back, or you don’t get that in-person job interview, or you didn’t do your best on that presentation. I remember my first guided meditation while I was there [I like to use Mediation Oasis guided meditations app], that had this as an underlying theme and I cried streams of tears, throughout my entire meditation. But if felt so good. I let out everything that had been weighing me down.
- As a add-on, I would also say, don’t surround yourself with people who will let you beat up on yourself either. If you are talking to a friend and you’re being hard on yourself, the next word out of their mouth should either be, “Hey, don’t be so hard on yourself” or something equally as positive to lift you up. It’s really easy for people to be negative to you, but it’s much easier for them if you’re already negative. Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be able to divulge your inner most feelings to your besties, but they shouldn’t be encouraging you to continue down a negative spiral.
Hopefully, you guys have enjoyed this post, and I encourage you to post a comment if anything here resonates with you!
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