How I prepare for my Raw Food & Yoga Retreats in Portugal

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Some notes on ‘letting go’

Hosting retreats is a fabulous job. I love it! Having hosted events for many years in and out of corporate life there’s one thing I know that you have to get right: you have to be mentally and physically prepared to check-in and check-out of your own retreat: you have to get ready (‘brace yourself Bertha!’) for the physical and mental 24/7 hosting experience and you most certainly have to be ready to decompress – especially after running 4 retreats in a row. Guests on my holidays are always a delight and I adore spending time with our groups – and especially I love preparing amazing food to share together. But even so, preparations are needed to keep that month long beaming smile of mine.

As a host it’s my job to provide the right space that will help others let go: and that can sometimes mean that you absorb what is released and take it on yourself: which isn’t helpful. As a host it’s really important that one knows how to let go of that and let others’ release pass through you. I thought I might share with you what I am currently doing to get ready for my ‘big events’ which might be helpful for you for your own big adventures in life and for managing periods of stress and a full-on workload. This might also be useful if you are someone who easily absorbs what others are letting go of: we certainly don’t need to carry around everyone else’s release with us and that includes feelings of anger, stress, frustration and so much more. It’s always so easy to absorb the happy releases of others – the elation! The bliss! The juicy & raw highs that come with a retreat experience. Although these are joyful times they are also energy from others that needs to be released from yourself. Acknowledge them and allow them to pass through you as a vibrational flow.

How to let go

A wonderful yoga teacher, Kenny, gave me just the right expression for these situations. He said that when life (or yoga) gets ‘hard’ we have to say to ourselves: ‘This is how it feels’. So, if you are detoxing and having cravings you may say to yourself: ‘This is how it feels to detox’. If you have a headache tell yourself ‘This is how it feels to take accountability for my own health’. If you are fed up of cleaning your juicer say to yourself ‘This is how it feels to take action’. If you are pacing up and down the kitchen looking for junk food or snacks tell yourself ‘This is how it feels to change my habits’. If you are feeling angry, stressed or frustrated you can say to yourself ‘this is how it feels to let go’.

Stress, emotions and negativity are all ‘emotional energies’ that if you hang on to for too long will hold you back. Have you ever felt really stressed, angry or frustrated? Maybe your neck went red? You maybe began to shake a little? Your temperature was rising? Emotions have a very physical impact on our bodies. When we change our physicality we change our mentality and our emotional wellbeing, and vice versa. Have you ever ‘gone for a walk’ to calm down, think, de-stress perhaps? Or get some fresh air to lighten the mood? Taken deep breaths to try to control nerves? ‘Shaken it off’ or jumped up and down if you were feeling full of energy?

Having a ‘let it go’ mindset is a habit that you can practice.

Releasing during a detox is normal: and I always remind my guests that when detoxing and spending time at a raw food & yoga retreat such as ours: when you open up the space and capacity for letting go – what’s inside always comes out. What you are holding on to will come out: and you NEED that to happen! You NEED to release that! The practice of letting-go is something I am always learning more about and practicing as a way of life: be like water, let that river flow, don’t hold on to anything. Acknowledge that sensation and then be ready to release it.

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This year I am lucky enough to have found Stefano’s Organic Farm which he is setting up in Portugal: called the Shangri-La! I will update this post with links when his site and everything is ready but I wanted to shout out from the rooftops about what Stefano is doing.

You can stay at The Shangri-La as a volunteer and help with the goats, the seeds, planting, weeding and everything involved in setting up and working on a farm in exchange for board and lodgings or you can stay there as a B&B guest – which is what I have done.

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It’s not a raw retreat (no problem with that) especially as Stefano is an expert on great food: he mills his own flour, makes his own bread and pretty much most of the food that is served is made from absolute scratch: and organic too.

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We have been eating fresh herbs and greens from the garden in our daily smoothies and pretty much everything is self sourced. Being half Italian and half Swedish – we had the luxury of some freshly made gnocchi prepared by a professional!

Stefano is an expert on fermentation, seeds and organic living and is truly a breath of fresh air. If you are lucky enough you may also get to hear his sensational harp playing. Blissful. Absolutely adored it!

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I am finding it the perfect place to get ready for my retreats! There’s no wifi or phone signal – so I nip in to the nearest town to grab some wifi and plug-in to the matrix and get a few jobs done online. But if you don’t have any reason to plug-in for a few days it’s the perfect digital detox.

So what have I been doing to get ready for this period of full on 24/7 hard work? I have listed my helpful tips for managing stress, and getting reconnected to my let-go practice:

  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Spend time in solitude (meditate if that feels good)
  • Connect with how you are feeling and recognise where you are at
  • Tell yourself: this is how it feels to (work overtime/argue with someone/have a flat tyre/feel amazing/live in joy) and recognise that emotion
  • Understand that THAT emotion is temporary and is only passing through you
  • Imagine yourself being part of the river flow of that emotion
  • Don’t hold on to it
  • Look up at the sky at night. Take that view in. All of it
  • No electricity on after 9pm (it’s a blessing!)
  • Unplug the phone and switch off the wifi – give yourself a digital detox even if that’s just for a few hours each day
  • Eat well and nourish the body
  • Spend time in nature
  • Get outside and get some sunshine each day  – I don’t mean lie on the beach for hours – just feel the light on your face for an hour as you spend time in nature
  • Talk with friends
  • Breathe
  • Walk
  • Listen to beautiful music
  • And drink plenty of water
  • Oh yeah – and switch off the telly

I have already booked my time with Stefano and his team for a few days rest to decompress from the retreats when they are over in September! And I already know that I am going to dash to the beach for a full day to spend some time with the waves just by myself. I can’t wait!

I LOVE meeting great people! And I now feel rested and also fired up the same time and ready to host our first retreat on Saturday. I am ready to take a deep breathe and embrace it all.

Big loves

Keeping it juicy & raw

Signature Stephanie

 

 

 

 

 

 

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