How to make every day a retreat

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Sunshine on water

It’s less than a week since I returned from my yoga retreat in France. It was a fantastic break with great weather and excellent company. We all said we’d try to keep the chilled-out, relaxed and peaceful vibe going once we were back in the swing of our normal lives. As the title of a great book puts it, “After the ecstasy, the laundry”. But how? Here’s what I’ve been doing to make every day a retreat since I’ve been home:

Brockwell Park 30 Sept 2012
Brockwell Park 30 September, 2012

1. Get outside

OK, so south London isn’t the south of France, but sitting in my back garden, with my chair pointed in the right direction I can look out on greenery and sky while I eat my breakfast. And there’s Brockwell Park, Tooting Common, Streatham Common…

Home grown veggies ready for the oven

2. Home-cooked food

Lucy, our host at Les Aleis, prepared delicious home-cooked veggie meals using produce from her garden. I’ve managed to grow a few tomatoes, potatoes, spinach and rhubarb this year and am making the most of them… and I’ve got the bread-making machine out of its dusty corner so I’m starting each morning to the smell of a freshly baked loaf.

Swimming in the River Viaur

3. Swim

While the boys were having their swimming lessons yesterday I pootled up and down the pool at Brixton Rec. For half an hour I could almost imagine I was swimming in the sunshine in the River  Viaur.

4. Yoga

Of course, I’d say that. But it doesn’t have to be a daily class – just 20 mins of whatever you enjoy will do you good. If you’d like to buy my new 1-hr  gentle yoga audio CD, drop me a line.

5. Find some quiet

On the bus, in your bedroom, looking out of a window… doesn’t matter where. Just switch off electronic devices, put down newspaper or book, close your eyes or stare blearily into the middle distance and bring your awareness onto your breath. For the next 5 minutes or so be curious about your breath – where you feel it and how it feels. If you mind is distracted, gently bring it back to the breath. No expectations, no goal, just see what happens. Try to find a little time every day to do this.

Any other tips? Let me know yours. For inspiration, there are lots more pictures from our six days in France here on Facebook.

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