The first time I did yoga was about two years ago. At that time I managed to attend not more than 12 classes (2-3 per week) and decided that yoga is not for me. In January 2018, with the opening of a new fitness club near my home, I went there and tried yoga again. Started with one or two times a week, I came up to the need of daily classes, and now more than one hour a day.
And so, from 12 to 22 July, together with the teacher Olya Pervukhina from this fitness club, I went to my first yoga retreat — to the Crimea, to Cape Fiolent.
Our daily practices included morning pranayama and practice of Hatha yoga with an emphasis on strength positions (duration 1.5-2 hours), evening practice an emphasis on meditative positions (duration 1-1.5 hours) and meditation before bedtime (30-45 minutes).
Expectations were different: I will sleep over all morning practices, I will not cope with holding the positions (from two to ten minutes depending on a position!), I will be lazy and even worse — I will understand that the teacher’s course, which I am going to next year, will be impossible for me. Fortunately, none of this happened. Even more, I realized that I’m going in the right direction, and the 300 YTT in India will be within my powers.
I must admit, sometimes the amount of practices and their duration seemed not enough for me — time flew by, the body did not hurt and was always ready for classes. A couple of days later, after talking with Svetlana Gorbunova, one of the best yoga teachers in the Crimea, I realized that on this retreat I lacked lectures on Ayurveda, nutrition, philosophy of yoga. However, even this immersion in the world of yoga through two practices a day, pranayama and meditation is a very good experience, which should be maximally adapted to everyday life. Exactly the same as many kilometers of walking on a flat or mountain surface during trips, excursions and descents to the beach.
By the way, speaking about excursions. At Cape Fiolent there are two classical excursions for those who are on yoga retreat: to the Temple of the Sun and mountain Ilyas-Kaya, as well as to the “Bead temple” (cave monastery Kachi-Kalyon). These places, like the Cape Fiolent itself, are filled with unreal energy and power that gives harmony in soul and body. Getting up at 5 am there is easier, the body wakes up on its own. Being at the moment in Simferopol, it is very difficult to get up that early — the wish to stay in bed is strong.
I think that everyone who practices yoga regardless of his or her experience should go to yoga retreat. For me, this trip once again proved the following points:
- no need to be afraid of handstands and headstands — gradually go to your goal through daily practices, each time trying to do better;
- never jump into a position; first feel it, understand how the body should work;
- nutrition is a critical component of the practitioner;
- meditation — you don’t just sit without movement listening to the sounds of nature — you do a lot of work on your mind, which greatly helps in the practice of positions;
- good stretching and flexibility is only a third of the practice;
- doing asanas with a partner and at the wall is a good addition to opening the position.