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Back to life, back to reality….

Whether it’s fresh off a yoga retreat or a much needed vacation with your favorite people or even just a perfect weekend, it can be challenging to get back into the work flow while holding on to a bit of that magic you may have (re)discovered.

I used to be the type that would hit the ground running, on both sides of a vacation/adventure. I would pick up extra shifts/classes before traveling to make all the possible money AND then get right back to to it after...ya know to make up for the missing money while I was gone. I would often find myself sick after travel and feeling miserable with the ground hitting me right back.

Even now, when I often am working and traveling at the same time (spoiler: running yoga retreats is work!! Not just in teaching the classes but playing many different roles along the way AND I love it) I still forget that there will be a period of mourning upon returning. When I travel internationally, it can almost feel like a culture shock coming back to the hustle and bustle of the US - so many lights, and cars, and choices.

I made a list of my favorite tools to make (re)entry into the real world a lil less bumpy:

Take some time/space to integrate - Integration is KEY and often overlooked as a necessary part of (re)entry. This is especially true if you traveled by airplane and even more so if you transversed some timezones. I wrote more about this perspective of traveling here (spoiler: Ayurveda says travel creates disturbances in vata dosha so ground down to stay balanced). 

I am extra stubborn and refuse to learn this lesson the first time, or even the first 20 times. In fact, even after this last trip of 16-days in Peru, I still somehow thought it would be cool to schedule a few hours of massages the day after landing back in Charlotte. What had happened was: I woke up that day and my body said “nope” so I took the day off. Moral of the story: take the days off preemptively so you save yourself (and others counting on you) that extra discomfort.

Integration can look like taking time to nap, connecting with friends/family and sharing travel stories, eating your favorite comfort foods, spending a lil extra time outside, finding gratitude for previous conveniences that you may have taken for granted (brushing your teeth with running water and/or flushing toilet paper and/or less confusing traffic patterns, maybe).

Expect a lil dip - because it’s bound to happen!! Yoga retreats with me include daily yoga, meals prepared with love, fun excursions to beautiful places, and spaces to connect with other kind-hearted folks - OF COURSE regular life may be lacking a lil razzle-dazzle. Expecting a dip doesn’t prevent the dip, more so it allows space for a rebound before equalizing. Choosing to ride the waves of life generally is better than trying to resist them, and being prepared almost always makes the journey easier. This last adventure’s dip took a whole two weeks to hit! I spent the first week back in a confused bliss and was totally expecting the dip…to only be surprised by it the next week and only noticed when in conversation with my therapist. Upon this noticing, I took time to chill in my hammock (a recent purchase as I realized how much joy and rejuvenation I experience in a hammock while away and wanted to create my own outdoor oasis) and watched the wind in the trees with my journal nearby - a sure fire cure for what ails me. 

Continue the practices that nourished you while away - while having someone prepare fresh meals from the garden for me 3x a day isn’t a sustainable practice (le sigh) many of the other tools are possible to bring home. While on retreat, I generally offer different styles of classes than I would offer in a community setting. We learn new styles of breathwork, play with variations of movement and shapes, make time for daily mediation, and go deeper into philosophy topics. Whether it’s 5 minutes a day or a more lengthy commitment, choose just one tool that you felt nourished by and continue to practice it. Here’s an unedited recording from Peru: Yoga Nidra Under the Stars if you wanna a piece of last retreat’s magic.

Stay connected with the people you met - because the connections with the people while on retreat really is the secret sauce to the magic. Some of the feedback I’ve received over and over again is that these retreats feel like summer camp! I used to write letters back and forth - until one of us moved on - and I still have fond memories of my camp friends. Watching lifelong friendships blossom truly is my most favorite part. It’s a sort of alchemy that happens when folks come together in time and space for a yoga retreat. Sure, sometimes folks are more local-ish to me and often they aren’t. These facilitated connections amongst like-hearted individuals are a big part of my “why” and fuel me through the months of planing and emails and follow ups. Modern letter writing can look like texting, WhatsApp and commenting on all their IG posts until forever - ah 2024 :)

Create your own glimmer trail. Glimmers are the opposite of triggers and can lead us back to magical moments to (re)inspire those feelings of joy. I have quite a few that bring me back to retreat times.

One of my most vivid comes from the last night of retreat in Uvita, Costa Rica - one of my all-time favorite places. It was an almost perfect week - we laughed, cried, adventured, and made new friends. The grand finale of the week was a DJ dance party (side note: our DJ Funka was also on-site coordinator for this retreat!) and Funka brought the FUNK!! The night felt like it was winding down, and I was secretly plotting my return to my room. And then…the battle cry of Mel B and girls - “Yo-yo-yo-yo-yo-yo-yo” started ringing through the night jungle sky. The yo’s continued to build while those of us on the fringes of the dance floor were stirred into action. By the time we got to “I’ll tell you what I want” the party was back ON! Losing my mind on the dance floor to the Spice Girls was JUST what my soul needed in the moment - who knew?! FUNKA - that’s who!

This memory still puts a big ol grin on my face and somehow this forgotten song has been given new life. 

Many of my other glimmers involve animal encounters (ok mostly dogs but also macaws and humming birds and monkeys), waterfalls, and experiences that are challenging to put into words that would properly convey their magic.

These glimmers help me through the -ish times while holding the memories close to my heart. 

Sign up for the next retreat (jk…sort of…unless you’re going to do it)

I’m not advocating for wishing your life away but it does help to have something to look forward to. The practice is being present for the moments you look forward to…

Next up:

While I can’t guarantee these tips will prevent post-vacay-blues, they may just help you move right though them with a little bit more ease. 


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