What I Learned At My Very First Yoga Retreat
A resolution of mine now and for as long as I can remember is a simple one, self-care. A simple one to say perhaps but an incredibly complex resolution for a working mum of four. A mum who prioritises her family, work and others all before herself. But, as the age old saying goes “You can’t pour from an empty cup” and I was starting to feel the strain of this lifestyle.
Is it an Irish thing or a mum thing? Perhaps both, but prioritizing ourselves as women is not something we are very used to. Self-care, thinking and speaking positively about ourselves is all very trendy. The mantra “Sure I’m grand” is all too familiar to us. If not coming out of our very own mouths, daily. It is something we have heard generation after generation and taken as a given. As normal. It is not.
Putting myself last on my ever-growing list of priorities is no more. It is not a trait I want to pass onto my daughters either. So, from now on I am my first priority. The dishes can wait, and the clothes will still be there after I have eaten some breakfast and had a 10-minute check in with myself to see how I am doing.
What better way to start my new-found love for myself than with a yoga retreat. Something I would have never considered even a year ago. But, If I am not in my best health both physically and, most importantly, mentally what good am I to my children? My four beautiful children who deserve a mum who is at her best.
So, I booked it. And although anxiety tried to talk me out of even going in the first place, I went. How glad I am that I did.
The yoga retreat was held in the stunning Cliff at Lyons, Hotel in Co.Kildare. A stone throws away from Dublin, making it that bit easier to leave my 14 month old for the very first time! The picturesque surroundings really made for the perfect feeling of pure relaxation.
The retreat was designed and delivered by renowned yoga teacher Lou Horgan who made the experience totally positive, empowering and inspiring. It was held over Nollaig na mBan weekend which was the perfect way to start the new year.
When I arrived, we were met with hot lavender towels. Chamomile tea and a chance to sit down and meet the other women on the retreat. There was 13 of us. Lou, gave a really inspiring talk and a beautiful 2-hour session of yoga. It was behind a window with a huge waterfall right outside. The sound of the water mixed with the yoga was just out of this world. As cliché as it may sound I almost felt emotional.
Loving yourself doesn’t have to be about big gestures or big life changes and commitments. But slowing down and loving, appreciating and listening to your body is definitely what I have been craving.
I was a little apprehensive that the yoga may have been too difficult for my level, but it was absolutely fine. Yoga is great in the sense that you only push yourself to your own personal limit. With yoga, it doesn’t matter what the person beside you is doing, it is about listening to your body and pushing yourself only as far as it will allow. Another tool to teach you to listen to what your body is telling you.
We had an hour free time after, to reflect or relax. We then met for a beautiful dinner. Again, set in the stunning The Orangery Restaurant in Cliff at Lyons. It was set up beautifully, low lighting and quiet. Again, another opportunity to think inward.
At 9 am the next morning we had another beautiful yoga session. The positivity you feel in a room full of women all prioritising themselves, is just incredible. We as women are so strong and it can be easy to forget that in the hustle and bustle of life and motherhood. To go somewhere where it is solely about you and thinking of only you even just for 24 hours is really empowering.
We finished with a hot stone massage, something I would never book for myself. But again, I just can’t recommend enough. It really ended the whole experience on a positive. I felt energized, empowered and inspired. But most of all I have realized I deserve something just for me, even just once a year. I am my best self and my best mum if I am looking after myself.
It doesn’t have to be a yoga retreat every month, but a yoga retreat is definitely an opportunity to kick start a new chapter in your life where self-love and care is your priority. In a world where mums have more expected from them and less help, it is vital to look after our wellbeing, both mentally and physically.
This is not a sponsored piece and Laura was not gifted an overnight's stay in exchange for a review.
Laura Doyle, Mum of 4. Kyle 9, Noa Belle 4, Briar 2 and Milla 12 months. Breastfeeder, co-sleeper, coffee drinker. Staying positive and inspired by the chaos of it all. Follow her on Instagram.