A Yoga Retreat to Help You on the Road to Recovery

If you’re struggling with an addiction, you’re not alone. In the US around 22 million people are believed to be dependent on alcohol or drugs, but, encouragingly, a similar number have managed to overcome these problems. Although traditionally addiction was managed in a medical manner, it’s now known that a holistic approach that encompasses a range of therapies is more effective. The benefits of yoga to help in the recovery process have been acknowledged and taking part in a yoga retreat could be just what you need to support your rehabilitation; particularly as the 12 Steps program to recovery encourages a spiritual approach, including meditation. As an activity that can be maintained once you’re home, something that most people can take part in even if they have other medical problems and one that offers a range of additional health gains, yoga offers great promise.

Benefits to mental well-being

Yoga has been shown to be an effective adjunct to treatment for the management of addiction to tobacco, alcohol and drugs. Participation in yoga encourages mindfulness which increases self-awareness allowing you to acknowledge your thoughts and feelings. This is helpful as if not managed appropriately negative feelings can contribute to substance abuse; when the mind and body work together it provides you with the discipline you need to be strong to resist a relapse. However, this isn’t the only benefit. Yoga is well-known for its ability to induce a state of calm and encourage relaxation, helping to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol which is otherwise associated with anxiety; drug and alcohol use are frequently used as a means to manage stress, so this offers a natural release for stress. Practicing yoga is also linked to increased production of serotonin, one of the body’s feel-good chemicals and may explain why participants report improved mood. When you have a brighter outlook, this helps to boost your self-esteem and belief in yourself so you are more likely to be successful in your recovery. Continuing with yoga once you have beaten your addiction may also reduce the likelihood of relapse or turning to other addictions owing to its ability to keep anxiety and low mood at bay.

A means of coping

Yoga can additionally be seen as a positive activity and one that you can turn to during your journey of recovery and even once this is complete. One of the themes of drug and alcohol rehabilitation is that you find new hobbies and activities to engage in – those that you don’t associate with substance abuse. Not only can this help to fill your spare time, when you might be tempted to relapse if you have a lot of time on your hands, it can help you to form new friendships with people not connected to your old habits. Particularly owing to yoga’s ability to boost your mental well-being, it is the perfect activity to take part in when cravings set in. Usually if you can distract yourself with an activity this will help your alcohol or drug cravings pass without you feeling the need to act on them. This helps to offer you life-long coping strategies.

Specific benefits of a yoga retreat

A yoga retreat offers additional advantages with regards to addiction recovery above and beyond attending yoga classes in your local area.

Firstly, a change of scenery helps to remove you from the factors that may have led to your drug or alcohol abuse. While problems at home, your social circle or money worries will still be there on your return, having developed your focus and with a greater commitment to recovery you will be better prepared to develop strategies to manage these.

Retreats are more often than not located amidst beautiful surroundings, which in themselves can have a positive impact on how you feel and your outlook, particularly if you live in a built up area with limited access to green open spaces.

You will also have the chance to meet others, possibly forming close relationships, and this will provide an additional source of support; they may not be in the same situation as you, but will be able to draw on their own experiences.

Besides practicing yoga when on retreat you can develop other healthy strategies such as eating well, which will hopefully help to spur you on to adopting an all-round healthier lifestyle once you have returned home. This will support your recovery efforts as nourishing your body is important for your mental well-being as well.

Yogi Abroad: Pilgrimages to Remember

A guest post by Eve Marsden

Let’s face it; most of us want to come back from our travels feeling renewed and invigorated – like a new person, in fact. You might be splurging in Bali, travelling the hippy route down the west coast of India to Goa or floating off into the marine sunset; but the whole point of getting away is to get away from the stress and monotony of everyday life, right?

In Search of Spiritual Renewal

If you’re healthy and fit enough then go trek the Himalayas. It’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime trips unless you are very lucky – or a tour guide! There are some spectacular places to visit around the longitudinal Dun valleys which lay between the Shivaliks (sub-Himalayas) and the Greater Himalayas. For the action yogi there are plenty of adventure sports to indulge in: trekking; river rafting; mountaineering; or para gliding; and more. Spending time in the region just seems to put life into perspective. The clean air, unspoiled terrain and the stunning scenery will leave you feeling cleansed mentally and physically, with a new enthusiasm for life.

Himachal Pradesh, in northern India, is high on the “must visit” list for thousands of people who travel to Dharamsala on a spiritual quest, where the Dalai Lama has his official residence. Every year around February or March, the Dalai Lama gives his spring teachings at the main temple in Dharamsala. These last for 15 days and are given in Tibetan, although an official translation is given into English on FM channel. Shorter teachings are also given at other times during the year, depending on the Dalai Lama’s schedule and all teachings are on a first come, first served basis, following registration. The Dalai Lama’s official website gives details of how and when to register at the Tibetan Branch Security Office. Come away with a new understanding of Buddhism and yourself. Resist temptation to enter a monastery; you don’t have to convert to get something spiritually uplifting and meaningful from your visit.

A Thoroughly Modern Yogi

Whatever our journey in life, something draws us to particular places; a need for spiritual journeying; a cleansing and renewing; perhaps simply the chance to chill in awesome surroundings that we will remember for our entire life or a need to explore the mysteries of life. You don’t have to push yourself to those lengths, or even heights, to wind down though. Heck no, there are so many different options for that vital de-stress that sets you up for another hectic rollercoaster ride through the jungle of modern life. You don’t even have to go back in time, or travel to the ends of the Earth. The yogi looking for serenity, calm and tranquility can set themselves free on a boat. Today, thousands of people every year take to the ocean for cruise holidays to destinations all around the world. Iglu Cruises offer the chance to de-stress completely, taking advantage of: exotic Bali massages; tai chi; yoga; and much, much more; all designed to restore you to your former energetic and glowing self.

Pilgrimage to the Ancients

A long way away from pilates or para gliding, another top flight yogi destination is Machu Picchu in remote Peru. Seeing the still surviving architecture of a people who died out around 500 years ago leaves you understanding just how fleeting modern life is and doubting whether anything we build today would survive to another epoch; or even whether our civilization has anything worth leaving for future generations to pilgrimage to. Achieving the dream of many and climbing those steep, endless steps up to Machu Picchu, to take in the view from what is probably the best known Incan site in the entire South American continent, means travelling to Aguas Calientes, northwest of Cusco, on the Rio Arubamba. A spine-chilling narrow hairpin road zig-zags its way up the side of the mountain to the ticket office; or you can take the original, winding stone track up the mountain: the Camino Inca; which starts at Winay Wayna – another Incan treasure, but far less talked about than Machu Picchu.

Baja, Mexico – The Rough Roads of Travel

This is a very brief and incomplete synopsis of my Baja trip. Oh the stories I could tell, but your are going to have to be a pretty close friend of mine to ever hear them.

Sometimes travel can be a bit rough. As Yogi Bahjan says, “Keep up, and you will be kept up.” After all, going with the flow is all part of the adventure, don’t you agree?

On my first day in Loreto, I walked down this promenade to the beach. Where I fell asleep under a palapa and woke up incredibly ill from dehydration.

So ill in fact, that I spent the rest of the evening and night in this bed at La Daminana Inn…absolutely miserable…

…while my traveling companion sat in this window both comforting me and mocking me. Both of which helped.

The next morning I woke up feeling fabulous, and we went on a drive up to San Javier mission.

Cool huh? We ate lunch up here. Machaca quesadillas. Machaca is a dried, cured beef. 40 minutes later we pulled back into Loreto where it came to my attention that I now had food poisoning.

The next day we had a beautiful drive from Loreto to Mulege, picked up some hitchhikers going to work, had an easy breeze through the Federales check point (glad we weren’t smuggling drugs), and ended up at the Serinidad Hotel.

For the next 24 hours, I swam in the pool, worked by the pool, watched the Hobbit on my laptop, and generally relaxed, because, well you know, I had food poisoning.

The next day, finally feeling somewhat better, I decided I had the energy to camp on a beach along Bahia Conception.

Yeah. Awesome right? The water was the perfect temperature which made for some of the best swimming I have ever experienced.

And there was a “restaurant” there…that did not give me food poisoning.

“I’m on a boat!” Kayaking was pretty cool.

Ok, so this is my favorite part of the whole trip right here. This is where I slept. When I went to bed, the air temperature was perfect, there was some music off in the background and a sky full of stars overhead. I woke up in the middle of the night and the shift of the sky left the milky arms of the galaxy above. The air temperature was even more perfect. Not warm, not cool. It felt surreal. The only sound amongst the silence was the occasional, gentle plopping of fish jumping up out of the water. It was damn near magical. I drifted back to sleep in awe of the universe.

The next day we drove back to Loreto where I then embarked on a drive by myself to Aqua Verde. This is the start of the drive. The 2nd half of the drive was a narrow, rocky “road” along steep ravines that was sometimes eroded partially away into the ethers. I was pretty sure I was going to die for the 3rd time on this trip.

But I didn’t. (I also didn’t take this picture.)

The drive back up wasn’t as terrifying, and the occasional group of horses, cattle, and goats along the way comforted me a bit in knowing that I was not completely alone in the middle of nowhere.

5 hours later, and still alive, I made it back to the hotel in Loreto to my air conditioned room. Ate the best New England clam chowder I have ever had. Which was so awesome after finally getting my appetite back, that I went back for a second round. Did some swimming in the pool right outside of our room, and spent hours luxuriously reading the biography of Che. I slept gratefully in a real bed after the previous night of sleeping on sand, and then left the next day to return home, no worse for wear.

How to NOT Travel Like a Yogi

A very Louisiana vacation, April, 2013 …

Have your travelling companion carry your bag because your endurance is diminished…probably from the two screwdrivers you drank on the plane.

 

Walk around the French Quarter in a thunderstorm early in the morning till you find a place that is open for a cappuccino and a chocolate croissant. Do the very same thing again later that day.

 

Drink a bunch of beer on your private balcony while talking about the meaning of life until the rain stops.

 

Bourbon Street. “It is what it is.” Nuff said.

 

Work at coffee shop while on vacation, but make up for it by working with a 9am screwdriver and a 2000 calorie breakfast. Then go next door and get a foot massage.

 

Speaking of food. Eat A LOT of fried food. Seriously, everyday. A lot.

 

…from restaurants that have kitchens like this. (at Coop’s Place)

 

Steal a rock from Lafayette Cemetery #1 in the Garden District.

 

Eat more fried food. (at Joey K’s)

 

Drink too many expensive tequilas (white tequila on the rocks with lime) at Fritzel’s jazz club.

 

Disrupt wildlife in their natural habitat out on the bayou.

 

Have a 4 hour champagne picnic by yourself (and 2 bottles) on an old plantation property in St, Francisville.

 

Take this picture and then look down at the garden snake by your foot. Totally over react by screaming and running away.

 

Go to Wal Mart in New Roads (aka the middle of nowhere along the Mississippi river and some oil refineries) because your travelling companion wants to buy a new wireless router for the plantation house you are staying at…which you then install…slightly grudgingly, because you ate some really bad mexican food in New Roads and kinda just want to lay down on the 150 year old bed to watch Game of Thrones before going to sleep.

 

The next morning you sit on the porch while doing absolutely nothing except relishing in the fact that someone served you coffee…in the quaintest way ever.

 

Then do more of nothing. With your feet up. Because you can.

 

Special shout out to the Olivier House where I stayed in New Orleans and the Cottage Plantation where I stayed in St. Francisville. My stay at both of these places was exactly what I was hoping for and more!

 

Yoga Adventure Retreat – Travel Consciously

 

Do you want to travel to exotic places, but feeling a little nervous about traveling on your own?

Do you love yoga and want to start traveling for the first time, but don’t know where to start?

Do you just want to travel and do yoga ’cause both are awesome?

Do you want to travel with totally  fun, kind and experienced leaders and a welcoming and diverse community? (I can wholeheartedly vouch for them!)

SOUTH EAST ASIA ADVENTURE TOUR
Thailand, Laos & Cambodia
with Tyler & Annie Langdale

DEC 28, 2013 – JAN 12, 2014

Experience the beauty of Southeast Asia. This region is rich in culture and religion and is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. The countries on this tour have it all: a tropical climate, warm (or hot!) all year around, rich culture, gorgeous beaches, wonderful food and last but not least, low prices. While its history and modern-day politics are complex, most of it is also quite safe for the traveler and easy to travel around in. Join Annie and Tyler Langdale as they return to this region for a two week adventure. Their knowledge and experience in this region make this a wonderful opportunity to travel and learn.

Activities Include:

• 3 yoga classes
• New Years Eve celebration
• Temple tours in Thailand, Laos & Cambodia (Angkor Wat)
• Thai cooking class
• Elephant rescue park day
• 2 day cruise down the Mekong River
• Hikes to see caves & in Laos Waterfalls
• Museums

The Itinerary:

December 28 – January 1, Chiang Mai

• Hotel: Tamarind Village
• Meals: 4 breakfasts, 2 dinners
• Relax & explore Chiang Mai, yoga class w/ Jonas + Thai massage w/ Jonas
• Cooking class
• Sunday Market
• Elephant Rescue

January 1 – January 3, Travel to Luang Prabang

• 2 group dinners
• 2 night, 3 days  to Luang Prabang
• Bus to Hauy Xia (border of Laos 5hrs), stay overnight
Mekong River slow boat to Phac Being, stay overnight
• Mekong River Slow boat to Luang Prabang

January 3 – January 7, 4 nights in Luang Prabang

• Laos Hotel: Vialla Chittadara, Woodhouse Villa, Sok Dee Residence
• Meals: 4 breakfasts, 1 dinner
• Arrival at Luang Prabang
• Free morning/bike tour
• Free evening, free morning
• Waterfall adventure, yoga
• Departure to Siem Reap

January 7 – January 12, 4 nights Siem Reap, Cambodia

• Hotel: TBA
• Meals: 4 breakfast, 3 dinners
• Arrival, free eve
• Orphanage, land mine museum & national museum
• Angkor Wat, group dinner
• Departure day

* Includes commitment for fundraising for the organizations that we will be supporting

* Includes double occupancy in 3 & 4 star hotels. All Breakfasts & 6 group dinners. Transportation within the tour dates & locations: bus, boat, plane.

Retreat Leader:

Tyler  Langdale, Co-Owner of Yoga Shala Sacramento & Founder of Radical Retreats

Tyler has been teaching, leading, and coaching for the past 15 years. His passion for holistic health and spiritual wisdom has led him to yoga as a profession and way of life. He views his teaching as “platform for possibility”, and in addition to weekly classes, he facilitates experiential trainings and leads retreats all over the world. He believes in collaboration and community, and has worked with many world renowned teachers and artist. He co-owns Yoga Shala Sacramento and is the co-founder of The California Spirit Festival. He is committed to bringing the world to Sacramento and getting Sacramento out into the world through conscious community and positive connection.

Cost:

$3200 per person (Not including airfare to and from your destination. DOES include transportation within the tour dates & locations via bus, boat, plane.)

Registration/Deposit Info:

Deposit: $700
50% of the total cost due by Sept 15
Pay in Full By: November 1, 2013

Sign up online with Radical Retreats
brought to you by Yoga Shala >

Oh and hey…tell them The Wandering Yogi sent you, cause that would be a pretty nice thing to do! Thanx!

 

P.S. Speaking other languanges in foreign countries is super fun! You might want to check out Southeast Asia: Lonely Planet Phrasebook

 

 

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You Are Perfect Just As You Are

I went camping for two days with one of my design clients in the middle of the week (’cause I can – being a location independent entrepreneur and all). Some may find that strange, but rest assured my client relations are all fairly abnormal. At any rate, we spent a lot of time talking about who we are, what we want in life and basically…how we roll. I have been realizing more and more that I am slightly..ummm…eccentric and this conversation really helped solidify for me that I am kind of an odd duck. I have no desire to be like anyone else. NO desire. This has become apparent to me even more so recently, than ever before, when I decided to take a break from teaching yoga for awhile. My path of being a yoga teacher, as it has been, was the last bit of me trying to be like others which simply did not mesh with who I actually was. I am not a golden light of health and earthly transcendence. I like the earth. I like the struggle. I like the raw and the brash and the wild. The irreverent and the novel. 

I practice yoga to keep from being in pain on a daily basis, to push the boundaries of my body and mind and to become more aware of the ways in which I limit myself. I sit in meditation for the sole purpose of watching thoughts arise so I can create space from them in order to choose how I think instead of being on the auto pilot program prescribed by my past, society, media,  people around me, etc. 

I do these things so I can be more me. Not to be more graceful. Not to be softer. Not to be kinder. Not even to be healthier. 

Frankly I would rather sit around at any given moment and drink coffee or beer, smoke a cigarette and talk to another human being about our experiences on this planet while throwing out a few f-bombs every once and awhile (often). 

And that is a-o-k with me. 

For a long time I used to think that the Buddhist concept of releasing the illusion of duality meant that I had to change myself in such a way that my actions were all more in line with each other. That if I was going to be a yoga teacher, I had to stop eating meat, be a size 2, and speak the half-truth of positivity at all times, and if I couldn’t do those things and fit myself into the idea of the mold that I had in mind, then I was somehow less-than and lacking. What a messed up ego trip! By the way, life is not all positive. It is yin and yang baby – all the time. 

Now, I realize that releasing the illusion of duality means just that – releasing the illusion of duality. 

I am embracing myself with a giant hug and a pinch on the butt. 

All the things that I do and say and think and feel ARE me. I am one, whole, fucking human being. 

Perfect.

So for now I am giving up the idea of “bettering” myself. I am just going to do what I do – work, play, travel, practice yoga and meditation, swear , smoke, drink, laugh, talk, dance, sing, write, eat this bacon and egg breakfast burrito sitting here next to me  (yum!) and explore what it means to rest in my wholeness, imperfections and all. Who knows where being comfortable with myself at this moment might lead to. 

My life is awesome and I live it on my terms. I enjoy my own company and no one seems to think I am an asshole (that I know of…or care about). 

What greater success is there? I am not talking about saving the world here.

How would you feel and what would your life look like if you stopped trying to be something that you’re not?

P.S. Here are some pictures from my super awesome, mid-week, trip to the Carrizo Plain National Monument … I give it 5 stars for SPACIOUSNESS.

Funny enough, it just so happens that I stopped at the James Dean memorial site on the way to the Carrizo Plain.

 

 

 

 

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Making Friends While Traveling and The Art of Great Conversation

On my travels in Bali I have had the good fortune to meet some really incredible people from around the world.

There is a level openness that I have experienced with people while traveling that doesn’t always occur as quickly when people are in there natural habitats. Don’t miss out! Keep reading…

Start Traveling – How to Reach Your Travel Goals

Below is a guest repost by Steve Pavlina from his blog Personal Development for Smart People. It doesn’t get much more thorough than this! Thank you Steve for all your hard work and great writing! Enjoy!
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Are there some places you’d just love to visit? How long have you dreamed of doing so? Years perhaps? Don’t miss out! Keep reading…

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Prosperity and Banking While Traveling in Bali

Before I left the US, I called my bank to see how much I would be screwed over (I am SO yoga) when using my ATM card in Bali. The damage? The local ATM fees, $5 charge per transaction by my bank AND a 3.5% international transaction fee! What?

Napoleon Hill’s Third Law of Success is Don’t miss out! Keep reading…

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A Typical Day in Bali for a Location Independent Entrepreneur

Doesn’t “Location Independent Entrepreneur” sound so worldly and interesting? I like to think so…

It has been 9 days since I landed in Bali. Don’t miss out! Keep reading…