How to Set Up Your Own At-Home Yoga Retreat

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The weekend is finally here…but you’re stressed and tired from a grueling work week! Why not make the most of your weekend to rest and recharge in one of the most invigorating, centering ways possible? Yoga Journal had a great idea: treat yourself to a yoga retreat. The best part is, you don’t even need to go anywhere or pay anyone!

Your Own At-Home Yoga Retreat, Simplified:

Wipe Your Calendar:

If you can, you can allocate 3-4 days for the best effects of a bonafide yoga retreat. But for most of us, vacation time on a whim isn’t plausible, so a weekend will do if you make the most of it! Make sure you rearrange or cancel any commitments so you aren’t interrupted from your Zen at all; make it the same as if you were going on vacation, and make yourself unavailable to the outside world.

Practice Both AM & PM:

Now that your calendar is clear and your routine is reset, you have all day to do your favorite thing: practice yoga. Take advantage of it! You can either buy a class card or pass from a local studio, or you can easily practice at home to really capture the retreat ambiance. You can stream classes straight into your living room, or follow your usual, self-led practice. You’ll really start to feel the effects of a twice-a-day practice versus only once, or a handful of times during the week. It allows you the inner connection you usually get during a yoga session, only it takes you deeper. Kino MacGregor, founder of Miami Life Center, suggests, “If you have one really active practice in the morning, then you can be more meditative and introspective in the afternoon, working on alignment and therapeutics. It creates a holistic program.”

Find a Friend:

Looking to spend some extra quality time with a best friend? Need to make up your Valentine’s Day disaster to your significant other? This is the perfect time to bond for a weekend of health and wholeness. You get to spend time together getting set up for the retreat, grabbing snacks, drinks, and meals, and whatever yoga accessories you may want. And then you get to spend an entire weekend together, totally at peace and tuned away from any conflict.

Cut the Cords:

It’s time to imagine you’re on an island somewhere far, far away. Of course you don’t have cell reception or WiFi! Turn off your cellphone and stash your laptop somewhere where you won’t be tempted to grab it. This is the perfect weekend to try a tech detox, and you’ll be amazed at the mental results after you’re done! It even has some health benefits, according to Levi Felix, co-founder of The Digital Detox, “It lowers blood pressure, lowers heart rate, lowers cortisol, and helps us sleep better.” Perfect for a retreat.

Center Yourself:

When you’re not on the yoga mat, be sure to turn your gaze inward. You can get in some great meditation sessions in (even if you’re new to it!) when you’re not being bugged by the outside world 24/7! Be sure to journal what’s going on internally, as well. Now that you’ve unplugged, you have time to return to your favorite hobbies, as well, such as reading, writing, or drawing. Do whatever restores you.

Treat Yourself:

You’ve gone to the hard work of setting up this retreat, so make sure you enjoy it. Indulge in healthy treats that will help your yoga practice, like honey and whole Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, or your favorite (non-routine; this is vacation, remember?) smoothie. And what would a relaxation weekend be without a little spa action? Make your own, all-natural facials. Take a long bath with natural oils, candles, and tranquil music. If you have a friend over, trade massages (it’s okay if you only know how to do feet!). If you don’t mind leaving the house, you can always stop by the professional spas on the way home from your yoga class, as well.

Get Some Shut-Eye…Seriously:

As much as meditation can recharge you, there isn’t much better for refreshing and healing your body than a good night’s sleep. So tuck into bed early, but don’t be a bedbug. If you can manage it, try to rise and sleep with the sun to reset your circadian rhythm.



Top 5 Pilates Moves for Better Posture

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Poor posture is a problem that almost every person can relate to at some point. Whether it’s from slumping on the couch or sitting at a desk, most people have poor posture at some point in their day. A once in awhile occurrence might not make huge dents in your health, but over time, continued poor posture can cause back pain, neck pain, headaches, and even lead to poor circulation and spinal health.

As the instructors and students at the Pilates Empowerment Summit know, exercises that strengthen your core while opening the shoulders and chest, can help alleviate these symptoms and help you stand a little taller.

Seated Twist for a Tall Spine Sit with a straight spine and your legs stretched out in front of you, hip distance apart. Reach your arms out to a “T” as you lift your chest, drop your shoulders, and draw your navel to your spine. Inhale in this position. As you exhale, keep your spine long and your arm in a “T” while you twist to the right. Inhale back to the center and exhale to the left. Repeat 10 times.

Double Leg Kicks to Open the Chest Lie flat on your stomach with your legs together. Rest your forehead or chin on your mat. Clasp your hand together, resting on your back. As you inhale, bend your knees and kick your heels to your glutes. Exhale as you lower your legs lift your chest and stretch your hands, still clasped, up and away form your tailbone. Repeat 10 times.

Swimming for a Strong Back Lie on your stomach with your legs together and your arms stretched out in front. Draw your belly button to your spine as you lift your legs, squeezing your glutes, and lift your arms off the mat. Lift your right leg and left arm slightly higher, lower them as you lift the other side. Repeat 10 times.

Side Bends to Lengthen the Sides of Your Waist Lie on your right side with your feet stacked or staggered. Bend your right arm and place your elbow in line with your shoulder. Slowly lift off the ground. If you need extra support, drop your bottom knee to the mat. Reach left arm overhead as you press your hips higher off the ground, exhale as you bring your left arm back to your side and lower your hips an inch. Repeat 5 times and switch sides.

Reverse Plank to Lengthen the Front Body Sit with your legs stretched out in front of you. Bring your hands on the ground beside your hips, with your fingers pointing towards your toes. Slowly lift your hips off the ground, pressing them towards the ceiling. Point your toes towards the ground. Draw your navel into your spin for support and tuck your chin slightly. Lift your right leg to hip height as you inhale. Lower as you exhale. Repeat 10 times and lower to the ground. Repeat the entire sequence on the left.

Even the best never stop learning. At the Pilates Empowerment Summit you will access knowledge and insight from top Pilates professionals including our team of Peak Pilates Master Instructors to heighten your Pilates practice and amplify your expertise.

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