Have you ever thought about heading to a wellness retreat? Especially one that involves Group Meditation and Mindfulness activities?
Are you not sure what that looks like so haven’t committed yet?
I hear you! But don’t worry, in this article I will share my experience attending a Mindfulness in Practice day, here in lovely Gloucestershire in the rainy UK.
It was such a wonderful day packed with lots of meditation and mindfulness activities. Plus, the whole day was silent!
What Happens at a Group Meditation and Mindfulness Retreat?
Initial Thoughts & a bit of background
Firstly, this retreat was only for a day but it does give a good understanding of what weekend or week long retreats would entail daily.
I opted for a Mindfulness in Practice day as I completed my Mindfulness Diploma back in October.
The whole day centred around Guided Meditations and Mindfulness activities that we did as a group.
As it’s Mindfulness, the whole day was silent. 6 hours of no talking and no checking phones. I feel this is what scares people but I have to say I absolutely loved being completely switched off.
It was refreshing to actually listen to silence. How often do you just sit in silence?
The atmosphere was super relaxed as everyone brought mats, cushions and blankets to get real comfy. We were also asked to bring lunch to share together at Lunch time.
Order of the Day
Welcome Meditation to ground us as a group into the moment and to the day ahead.
Is there anything better than a body scan? I usually do this as I am falling asleep to be aware of how my body is feeling after a long day.
Truly connecting with how your body is feeling, any aches and pains. At this point, I didn’t realise just how sore my knee is from Netball (English version of Basketball but stopping with the ball) so I definitely need to get it looked at.
Afterwards we jumped straight into a Mindful Movement session.
Now these sessions are all about slow movement, focused breathing and a good old stretch! There is nothing strenuous about it, not like a HIIT workout.
Which then led nicely into our Tea Break.
We were guided through Tara Brach’s newer concept of Meditation; Rain which it stands for:
- Non Identification
A great mindfulness exercise for when you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed. I will definitely write a separate post all about this exercise and give you the tools to try it out yourself. It was such a wonderful activity for Self-compassion.
We then spent 30 minutes getting some much needed fresh air around the lovely village. It was a beautiful sunny day in England, which is a rarity in most of the year, nevermind in January.
It was encouraged to walk about silently, either on your own or with a friend and just be present to everything around you. I mean, when was the last time you actually went for a walk and didn’t speak to someone or look at your phone? Being truly in the moment?
The part I was dreading! Silent Lunch?! I was worried that I would eat super loud and get some glares but I have to say it was very enjoyable.
Firstly, we all took food we could share so there were lots of nice things to try. Secondly, much like the mindful walking, it was refreshing to actually enjoy my food and not engage in any conversation. I ate my food then I read a mindfulness magazine.
Now this was my favourite part of the whole day. I was so keen to try Sound Meditation. The thought of relaxing on a comfy mat, covered in a blanket and listening to soothing sounds of singing bowls, is utter zen.
It did not disappoint.
What I Loved & Learned
- Being Silent and technology free for 6 hours
- Sound Healing with singing bowls and gongs
- Taking the time for my own well-being
What I found uncomfortable
- My mat wasn’t too comfortable so make sure you take a spongey yoga mat, a warm blanket and a couple of cushions.
- It was really cold in the venue unfortunately which meant at times I couldn’t focus as I was freezing.
Was it worth it?
100%. I absolutely loved the experience.
As I said, I was apprehensive of a group meditation and mindfulness retreat but it perfect.
Now all retreats will be different. I wanted to share my experience to help those of you who would like to go on a retreat but are unsure. Starting with a day retreat will help you evaluate whether a weekend or week long retreats would suit you.