Co-Hosting A Retreat on 'Alignment'
Last week I had the privilege of co-hosting Omega Movement’s second yoga and pilates retreat with Nid. It is such an honour to hold a space for people to come and explore and nurture themselves in a unique environment where every day stressors and responsibilities are left to one side. The retreat environment allows people to really give themselves some space to reflect on things a little differently, to be more flexible and open in their approach and perspective, and to truly check in with themselves and be kind with whatever they find. It is an intensely healing and restorative process that people work through and as the teacher/ host it also requires an open and self-reflective attitude to maintain this environment. As such you learn a lot about yourself and what is needed to feel truly nurtured. Some interesting things I discovered:
Practice what you preach - On retreat we are encouraging people to tap into their own self-care rituals and so maintaining your own is key. For me, some alone time and self-nurture each day is paramount to fully showing up for those around me – in this instance it’s those who have come on the retreat. I found it easier to maintain my self-care during this retreat than the first one I co-hosted. It helped that we had the most beautiful yoga deck hidden up a very steep track. This allowed for some quiet self-practice each day.
The teacher’s ‘seat’ - In a retreat you take your ‘seat’ as the teacher during your classes but you continue to reflect your values and ideals during down time as well – this is a hugely educational & liberating experience but is also exposing and intimate. Sometimes you don’t know people very well and sometimes you have never met them before. In a short space of time, you have an opportunity to really be you with new people and that can be both exciting and a little intimidating. I was also hugely grateful to be hosting alongside my friend and business partner, Nid. Having some support and being part of a team is an amazing feeling – particularly when as a self-employed teacher you spend a lot of time working on your own.
You know nothing – I’ve mentioned in the point above that you take your ‘seat’ of the teacher – but in reality you will learn as much from those who join you on retreat (if not more!) than they will from you. Each client becomes your teacher and it is such an enriching experience, the gratitude you feel is at times overwhelming.
You are a taxi driver – not a bus driver: This seems crucial to me. In this environment humility is key. You will never know more/better than your client – what is best for them at any given moment. You are giving them space and support to explore and notice what they need themselves. It must be clear that you are simply a taxi driver – taking them to their chosen destination at their preferred pace.
I am proud of the process we have started to build to allow for this self-exploration & self-healing at Omega Movement. We have a detailed health form & a pre – retreat call with all our clients to make sure that we fully understand their intentions for the retreat. This is what informs workshop content and what we cover in the classes and also places the client firmly in charge of their own direction.
Honouring the client’s own wisdom - This honouring of the client’s own wisdom allows them to become their own teachers. Empowering them to continue their self-exploration and nurture beyond the end of the retreat. This was what we always intended our work to be at Omega movement and I’m so thrilled that we are finding such an enjoyable way of doing it.