Happy New Year and welcome to my first blog for 2012! I hope you all enjoyed the festive season with family and friends wherever you may be.
It's that time of the year when most of us are back at work and we are planning our year ahead and thinking about when we can take our next break. I thought I would kick the new year off by explaining the difference between a healthy holiday with SoulFit adventures and a yoga retreat, as people often get confused between the 2.
We all know that the heath and wellness industry is alive and well around the world and is attracting more and more people every day as we all try to find ways of balancing busy and often stressful lives. If you're thinking of going away and would like to do something different from the normal ‘fly and flop’ options (there’s is nothing wrong with a good fly and flop option mind you!) and would like to incorporate yoga, there are two different types of yoga breaks: a yoga retreat and a yoga holiday. Although the two are linked the difference can be quite distinct and at SoulFit adventures we offer the latter of the 2.
Yoga holidays usually take place in holiday settings and place an emphasis on both 'yoga' and 'holiday'. At SoulFit adventures we incorporate yoga and cycling as well as all the things that you would normally do or may not do on a holiday. For example, sightseeing, interacting with the locals, travelling responsibly, supporting local communities, getting a massage, eating fresh local produce, or just relaxing in the sun. The amount of yoga and cycling each day varies on the country you are visiting and of course you – our holidays are a holiday and not a boot camp! It’s up to you how much or how little you do.
In many ways yoga and cycling holidays are an ideal mix: yoga relaxes you and the cycling answers that irritating 'must do something' feeling that often pops up when you're away.
A yoga retreat, on the other hand, places almost all the emphasis on yoga. A well as asana there might be philosophy lectures, a particular diet, chanting, as well as plenty of pranayama and meditation. Generally retreats are just that: a retreat from the outside world to concentrate purely on yoga. Yoga retreats tend to be run by established organisations, teachers or specialist retreat venues.
The choice between healthy holidays and a yoga retreat depends on what you want to get out of your break.
On a holiday with SoulFit adventures we offer you the chance to experience some of the place you're visiting, whilst at the same time doing something that’s good for you and the local communities you visit.
On a yoga retreat you might not see anything outside the boundary fence of wherever it is you're staying. However retreats offer the opportunity to learn about yourself – the journey is inward. A yoga retreat is aimed at transformation and learning: it's about self-development, more than simply getting away.
Healthy holidays have become increasingly popular over the last five years and indeed there are many advantages to a healthy holiday when considering a trip abroad. Aside from possibly losing a bit of weight, you have the chance to practice yoga free from the distractions of work, family or social life. If, on the other hand, you're a yoga newbie then it's a great way to learn– a holiday that incorporates yoga is a great way to kick start your practice or whatever you've learned so far. The cycling allows you to see the country and its people from handle bar level and along with the yoga will improve your overall fitness. An added bonus is when you decide to have that extra helping at dinner, there’s no need feel guilty as you know you will work it off the next day!
Are they difficult? As I mentioned earlier, our holidays ARE holidays and NOT boot camps. They are tailored to beginner, intermediate to experienced levels – yoga teachers, for example, usually offer advanced variations on postures so you can go further if you like. With the cycling, the days can be short or long depending on your fitness levels and, if you decide halfway through the day that you have had enough, you can hop into the air-conditioned support vehicle.
There's a careful distinction between a healthy holiday and a yoga retreat – with the latter being much more disciplined and challenging, the former being aimed at relaxation and fun.
Surprisingly, perhaps, most people who join our holidays are travelling solo and, there is no average when it comes to ages. If you are travelling alone, you're unlikely to be the only one. Actually this is often a benefit – people are away from their normal environments and are really free to enjoy learning something new without the expectations and preconceptions of life at home. And you get a chance to meet similar, like-minded people.
So whether you're a regular yoga practitioner or a complete beginner, experienced cyclist or novice, travelling alone or with friends, a holiday with SoulFit adventures is a great choice. You'll return home with a sense of achievement, more disciplined, with increased self-awareness and concentration, more relaxed and with your senses awakened and your mind and body invigorated – and what other type of holiday can say that?
If you have been thinking about booking a holiday with SoulFit adventures but weren’t sure what the difference was between a holiday with us or a yoga retreat, I hope the above goes some way to explaining the difference.
We have trips to Laos, Italy, Vietnam and Bali with departures scheduled throughout the year. All are very similar in concept but unique to the countries and I look forward to meeting you on a ‘soul soothing adventure’ somewhere soon!