Insight into Retreat! My week on a Trika Retreat
Written by Lucy Harrison.
I’d always fancied the idea of a yoga retreat. But it seemed like something that would stay just an idea.
I couldn’t justify spending that kind of money, aren’t they all extortionate? Feels a bit too self-indulgent, doesn’t it? Plus, I’d be intimidated by all the advanced yogis wandering around on their hands and folding themselves up in pretzel knots... right?
As it turns out: no, no and no.
I threw caution to the wind and booked myself onto Trika’s (very good value) Tuscan retreat as a 30th birthday present to myself. My week was neither extortionate, nor intimidating. And you know what, yes, it was indulgent, but life is hectic and we all work ridiculous hours and we’re due a little indulgence now and again!
Here’s what made the retreat such a special experience...
Views for days
Hand on my heart, I’ve never stayed anywhere more beautiful. The villa the Trika team hand-picked was seriously magical.
In an isolated spot – so isolated that our taxi driver got totally lost on the un-tarmacked gravel paths that inclined so steeply it makes Park Street look chill – in the mountains sat our traditional Tuscan villa, amidst little more than trees, birdsong, and sky for days.
Hand on heart, even if nothing else had happened that week, I would have been content sitting on the terrace, watching the clouds drift and the swallows taking turns splashing their bellies in the swimming pool.
I even cried a few happy tears while in savasana looking out over the hills.
The power of connection
I didn’t go on this retreat to make friends. I don’t mean that in a Mean Girls way.
Rather, I wasn’t sure what everyone would be like, so I didn’t want to put pressure on socialising, in case it just felt a bit forced.
But coming home, it was clear to me that one of the best elements of the trip was the sense of community between us all – and not just the guests, but Char, Sarah and Sean from Trika.
Very quickly, I felt at ease around everyone – whether we were having deep post-yoga chats about self-acceptance, sharing books around the pool, or simply laughing at how the bidet sounds like it’s farting when you turn it on.
In all seriousness, everyone I met inspired the hell out of me, and I’m grateful for what I’ve learned from them all.
Flexible in more ways than one
What was lush about the Trika retreat is how much it truly catered to us.
If we fancied a lay in; no sweat, we’ll do yoga at 10am instead. If some of us wanted a trip into the city and some didn’t, that’s cool. If our Ashtanga session left us feeling achy; let’s do Yin this evening.
And on that note: our group was mixed in abilities and while Char and Sarah were always on hand to help us advance or modify, there weren’t any crazy, difficult practices!
It really felt like the Trika team wanted what was best for us.
The point of the week wasn’t to stick to a regimented routine or push our bodies to the max, simply to explore each day and follow what felt nourishing at that time.
Life isn’t often like that, and I have to say, it felt great.
Disconnect and reflect
These days it’s incredibly difficult not to be chronically online. I’m usually about 5 WhatsApps, 8 emails, and a few missed calls behind. It’s hard to sustain those levels of connection and we rarely have a good enough excuse to just step away.
Thankfully, being on a yoga retreat is a fantastic excuse to do that. “Sorry – no phone signal up in the Tuscan mountains! I know; how awful! Speak next week.”
There wasn’t even a TV. Bliss!!!
For me, having space away from all things digital was so valuable. You can be more present, take your mind off things that actually don’t need immediate attention, and soak up every drop of your day.
And this isn't the easiest thing when you do have it! I found slowing down and being looked after really quite difficult. A few days in, I had a little freak-out about how un-productive and lazy I felt. It brought up a lot of stuff around how I use chronic busy-ness and hyper-independence as a way to outrun my anxiety.
I won’t bore you with detail, but suffice it to say the retreat was eye opening. It gave me the time and space to have a deeper understanding of myself and realise where I need to do more work. And for that, I am very very grateful.
Food glorious food
Oh and before I finish, I want to give a special shoutout to the food!
Oh my god, the food.
Initially, I balked at the idea of being in Italy and not eating at restaurants every day. I needn’t have worried – the food at the retreat blew my mind. It’s not an exaggeration to say we were all complimentary to the point of starting to embarrass the Trika gang. Sorry, Char!
It was creative, nourishing, consistently delicious, and more plentiful than any of us could have hoped. There was always enough food for second helpings. Everyone always wanted seconds.
Speaking of which – I think I want seconds of a Trika Retreat. I’ll be booking my spot for next year’s retreat. Which you can also do, here!