Yoga Retreat Holidays: Can they Really Improve Your Mental and Physical Health?
The health benefits of yoga are fairly well documented; and many people over the age of 55 enjoy attending regular yoga sessions. However, whilst most are familiar with the option of going to a weekly class in their local area, less people are aware of yoga retreat holidays and the benefits of an extended yogic experience.
Yoga Retreats: What Are They?
Yoga retreat getaways incorporate yoga into your holiday experience. These retreats are often situated in areas of outstanding natural beauty, and offer guests the chance to partake in as many as three yoga sessions per day, whilst also enjoying exploring the surroundings and local culture. Many yoga retreats also offer meditation in addition to yoga lessons, and serve up healthy, freshly prepared cuisine as part of the package.
India, as you might expect, is well known for its yoga retreats. However, there are also plenty in Europe; in countries such as Italy, Spain and Turkey.
The Health Benefits of Yoga
The NHS website outlines the many health benefits of practicing yoga. These include:
- Improved balance. Yoga ‘improves balance by strengthening your lower body’, which in turn reduces the likelihood of falling.
- Eases symptoms of arthritis. Although certain moves cannot be attempted by arthritis sufferers, yoga provides a gentle way of improving strength and flexibility, which can help to reduce pain associated with arthritis. It can also boost range of motion.
Other health organisations claim that yoga has additional benefits:
- Reduces risk of cardiovascular disease. According to the American Heart Association, yoga is also great for those who have ‘faced cardiac arrest, heart attack or other heart events’, by helping to reduce stress and keep the body fit and supple.
- Eases back pain. Yoga is excellent for those with chronic back or neck pain. The National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health claims that practicing yoga regularly can help to lessen the symptoms and improve mobility.
Why a Yoga Retreat?
A yoga retreat can offer the same benefits, but with greater intensity. As a result, it’s likely that you’ll notice results far more quickly than by simply attending a session once a week. As with any form of holiday, a retreat can also provide a welcome respite from everyday life, and a chance to immerse yourself entirely into yogic practice, without interruption!
What to Look for in a Yoga Holiday
As with any getaway, it’s important to do your research before booking, as not all retreats are created equal. Ensure that you book with a reputable company, preferably one that specialises in yoga holidays, and make sure that all instructors are qualified and insured to practice.
Of course, it’s also a good idea to check reviews online and see what others have to say about the retreat and its practices.
Whilst some retreats cater only for those with plenty of experience, there are equally many retreats that are happy for complete beginners to attend. If you have no experience of yoga, it’s important to let your instructor know before commencing. It’s also vital that you let them know if you have any existing health conditions, to ensure that you stay safe whilst on your holiday.