Today's society tends to bring upon heavy (and to some extent, unnecessary) stress. Most of us lead a fast-paced life, due to technology and social media, that we forget to do something that should be so natural—breathing.
Thus, we often feel burnt out from work, societal stress, and even self-inflicted pressure. Just how can we jump back to our feet to reconnect with ourselves? How do we take care of ourselves and at the same time find inner peace that we somehow lost in living a crazy city life? Photographer and yogi Sara Black has the answer: She leads a lifestyle retreat called Rediscover Your Freedom Yoga Retreat, which is "meant for people to rediscover their freedom."
Sara explains, "It is not in the superficial sense where we are free to do as we please, but to discover authentic freedom is derived from our ability to find our inner peace, our ability to access our being in a continuous state of love, and our ability to make contact with joy on a daily basis."
Below, we talk to Sara more about the retreat.
What is a Sri Yantra retreat?
"Sri Yantra Retreats provides one of a kind health and well-being retreats where people can relax, recover, and heal. We use natural therapies and yoga to help people unwind and reconnect to themselves. This is the same philosophy behind One Well Retreats."
Who will most benefit in this type of activity?
"Women and men who have busy lives or experience stress will benefit from these relaxing retreats, which also provides them the space to reframe their lives. People interested in their health and wellness who want to get the most out of life and optimize their health and wellness will also benefit form the practices and tools we will share."
Who are the teachers?
"This retreat is a collaboration between two yoga teachers: [myself] and Natasha Boojihewon of Sri Yantra Retreats. We are coming together to co-create this space where participants can have a truly transformative experience. People are burnt out from the stress of modern living and looking for meaning beyond their jobs and social life. It is our mission to help people connect deeply to self so that in turn they can have more authentic connections with others. If you are looking for soul nourishment, this is the place to come.
"Natasha is a transformational holistic therapist at her own organization earth clinic. She guides her clients on a journey of self-discovery, leadership, and empowerment through naturopathy, nutrition, sattva yoga, internal family systems psychotherapy, spiritual and shamanic work, energy medicine, earthkeeping practices, breathwork, herbal medicine, lymphatic drainage massage, essential oil therapy, functional medicine, and coaching. As a master energy medicine practitioner, she is an experienced reiki master combining usui shiki ryoho reiki, tibetan reiki, sekhem reiki, quantum field healing, crystal healing, sound healing, and yoga."
Could you give us a sneak peek of what a day looks like when you’re on retreat? What activities do you do?
"Here's a sample schedule:
7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. – Morning yoga and meditation practice (in silence)
9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. – Journaling, breakfast, getting ready for the day (in silence)
10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Wisdom talk / workshop / sharing circle
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Lunch
2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. – Nature excursion to the Blue Lagoon
6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. – Evening practice
7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. – Dinner
9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. – Meditation, sound journey, and ecstatic dance"
How long does a retreat session last?
"Our retreat [lasts for] five or seven nights."
We noticed that the Philippine leg of this retreat is in Siargao. Is there a specific reason why this place was chosen?
"Siargao has a very authentic quality to it—it's the perfect place for people to reconnect to truth, using the beauty of nature as one point of contact."
How much should one shell out for the retreat experience?
"We require the following fees as your investment in this transformative journey:
Shared Occupancy Fees - P50,000 for five (5) nights; P70,000 for seven (7) nights
Single Occupancy Fees - P65,000 for five (5) nights; P85,000 for seven (7) nights
Airfares are not included."
What’s the best learning you realized in your retreat?
"The beauty of working and playing the way we do is that we never stop learning! Every retreat we deliver is unique in its own way—the people that come, the group that forms, the activities we do, the response we get, its different every time. Each retreat is so special in its own way. It never ceases to amaze us just how important this connection to one another, and to nature is, and that when we rediscover these connections, our potential as human beings increases dramatically. We remember who we are and what our role is and how to achieve the life we deserve."
"We create the life we want and that begins in our mind. We need to take time to pause and reflect so that we can move forward with ease and with grace."
What was your biggest struggle with this? How did you overcome it?
"It seems like a very daunting task to put together a retreat where you are helping people on their path to spiritual evolution. Like only a select few in the world are capable of doing it. But once you truly make contact with the truth that everybody is able to be compassionate, we can all hold space for each other, then the task becomes easy. And it has been so gratifying to hear how our past retreat attendees have taken away so much value from going on our retreats."
What’s the importance of going on retreats like this for one’s holistic health?
"These retreats are so important for us to have a "pit-stop," rest, refuel, recalibrate and then get back out in the world. So often we keep pushing forward, thinking when they next project is over, I'll give more time for myself, but that time never comes! We've got to take our power back now! We deserve to live the life we've dreamt of, with a successful career, great relationships, wonderful family, lots of time out, strong connection to ourself and there isn't any reason why we shouldn't have it. These retreats are all about reestablishing those connections and giving ourself what we need to live the life you truly desire."