ONE DAY RETREAT FOR EID
UPCOMING DAY RETREAT WITH GEMS OF YOGA DUBAI
14/5/18 to 14/5/18
15/5/18 to 15/5/18
16/5/18 to 16/5/18
17/5/18 to 17/5/18
DAY RETREAT AT GEMS OF YOGA DUBAI
PLESE ARRIVE IN TIME
VISIT AN EMIRATI PLACE FOR BREAKFAST
• Skip the restaurant, let locals dish out a traditional bedouin spread
• Be a part of an open discussion of culture
• Savor authentic recipes handed down from generations
So you’ve been in Dubai for all of 24 hours and you’ve got a million things you want to know about the local customs and traditions. Who do you ask what life is like in a local home, why Emirati men wear the dishdasha (white robes), and what the different colors of their headdress (kaffiyeh and agal) signify? And why do some women cover their faces with a niqab while others don’t? A great place to start is at breakfast at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, housed in one of the original wind tower houses of historic Bastakiya. This organization’s motto is “open doors, open minds,” so no questions about the local culture are off-limits. Local volunteers lead the conversation over a traditional bedouin breakfast in the house’s main courtyard. The dishes you’ll try are prepared from recipes handed down from the owner’s mother. They include freshly baked Khameer (bread) and Nihki; balaleet, a sweet noodle-and-egg dish flecked with golden raisins; lgeimat (Arabic doughnuts); and Emirati pancakes, or chebab, served with date syrup (there are over 40 varieties of the fruit grown in the UAE).
• Browse a colorful collection of quirky, artisanal treasures
• Find regionally-inspired home decor, tea sets, caftans and more
• A unique shopping venue, one that engages all five senses
For travelers, half the battle—no matter where you are—is finding the right things to bring back for the people at home. Skip the cheesy tchotchkes hawked at the various souks, and definitely don’t wait to buy your souvenirs at Dubai International—your loved ones can smell an airport souvenir a mile away. Instead, make a beeline for O’de Rose, on Al Wasl Road, where two Lebanese cousins have gathered a treasure trove of quirky artisanal finds and pop-chic items from across the Middle East. This little shop is the stuff of your Arabian Nights fever dreams: a converted residential villa chockablock with colorful leather poufs, Suzani ottomans, mod pillows festooned with images of the Egyptian songstress Umm Kulthum, Arabic coffee sets, ornate Moroccan tea glasses, bohemian jewelry with Hand of Fatima motifs, and plenty of flowy caftans. You (and your friends back home) will be ever so glad you went.
The best way to get to this unique shop is by taking Dubai-Ghweifat International Highway. Follow the map to the intersection of Al Wasl and 25C, where you’ll see the store on the left. Just look for the white townhouses and you’ve found it.
Organic Foods and Cafe is the only chemical and fertilizer free food market in the UAE, and they have a lovely cafe. It is the perfect place for a Friday brunch if you want something healthy instead of the usual pig outs. There is a great selection of fresh salads as well as a delicious Thai beef plate. Other options to try would be the stuffed cannelloni with spinach and ricotta and a Thai green fish curry as well as scrumptious selection of home-made desserts.
Emirates Hills 04 361 7974 Open daily from 8am-8pm
Retreats represent a commitment to a revitalizing lifestyle and nourishing relationship with ourselves. Over and over again, we meet amazing people from around the world who have deeply transformative experiences on our yoga retreats. The combination of serene nature, daily yoga, wholesome meals, and amazing community provide the perfect platform for truly taking care of ourselves and have a blast along the way. We believe that self-care is an invaluable gift to yourself. In this One Day at Home Retreat Guide, we share some of our personal favorite elements of retreat to help you can tap into the serenity of retreat at anytime. Whether you are looking to build these into your daily routine or give yourself a rare moment of quiet, please enjoy and share the pieces you love with those around you.
We present to you:
Core Elements of Retreating
Preparing For Your Retreat
Sample 1 Day Schedule
Afternoon & Evening Practice
Night Time Routine
Practice Guide & Recipes
Healthy daily routines infuse wellness into our habits and are a way to continually honor ourselves. They build new muscle and neural memories which add self-care to the body’s basic requests.. If we can place our attention inward regularly, we can expand our awareness of the subtleties in how we are arriving to the practice each time. We become in tune with our inner equilibrium and can listen more deeply. Committing makes it easier to drop the question of whether we will find a moment for ourselves; of course, we encourage a supportive relationship with this instead of being hard on ourselves. Even one breath can bring us back into our bodies.
Time on the Mat
Practicing yoga for just 1 week straight will change your practice. On retreat, you get to learn deeply, ask questions, get one-on-one help and see what evolves when you commit to your practice. Even 20 min. daily is powerful; we support of taking baby steps with practices you enjoy to encourage longevity and fun. For online classes by some of our favorite teachers, try YogaGlo..
Rest is essential in preserving our energy and life force. After continually getting limited sleep, we can accrue “sleep debt” and have a difficult time accessing deep rest. Saying “yes” to activities that offer more than they take can lead to powerful shifts in energy levels. This of course, means saying “No, thank you” to those that will deplete you and letting go of the desire to do it all. If you feel like you don’t have much time to sleep, try yoga nidra before bed or mid-afternoon when you feel tired. An ancient meditation practice, yoga nidra, opens accesses deep relaxation while awake. Visit our podcast on Meditation on our Blog for audio series for guided yoga nidra practice.
Retreats are an incredible opportunity to focus on ourselves. Not only do they provide invaluable time to focus on our personal well-being, but provide practical tools for continued self-love to provide the incremental support we need instead accruing immense depletion. Dive into Kimber Simpkin’s “10 Powerful Ways to Love Your Body” here. A few simple self-love practices we love are taking a bath with rosemary and candles, self-massage (see Evening Routine) and saying mantras.
Find a comfortable seat and settle in. Try repeating one of these healing mantras for several minutes, silently or aloud. Feel the breath and the vibrations of the words as they resonate.
“I am not my body. I am not my mind. I am something divine.” “I am enough. I have enough. I do enough.” Sanskrit Mantra: Om Namah Shivaya meaning I bow to my truest self or repeat a simple… “I love you.”
Slowing down when we eat allows us to find satisfaction in not only the flavors, but the story of our food and how it serves us. Here are some mindful eating practices to play with:
> Wholesome organic, local diet with limited sugar, alcohol, and caffeine.
> Simplify….working/moving while eating keeps our bodies in fight-or-flight mode. This circulates energy outwards and away from our central digestive fire, limiting our ability to fully process and extract essential nutrients. Let yourself enjoy your food.
> Eat when you’re hungry and stay hydrated.
> Notice how you feel after meals. Notice what foods serve you and which might be depleting your system instead of rejuvenating and restoring.
> Cook with friends! Food brings us together and allows us to access a deep healing through community..
The aesthetic and intention in a space has more of an effect on our mention and physical state that we often realize. Our external spaces often reflect our internal state, so clearing and beautifying the spaces we inhabit is an important step to opening up space within ourselves. Start by spending 15 minutes tidying up your retreat area, setting the mood with flowers or candles, and smudging (see guide below) to bring ease to your surroundings.
Turning off Tech (let people know)
In the excitement of disconnecting, we might want to just turn our phones off and throw them out the window. Take a second to first let close family or friends know that you are taking the day away from your devices. Then go ahead and turn them off. Resisting the urge to check it, witness what that brings up through the day. This is a beautiful opportunity to redirect our energy from the needs of others to your own, which serves everyone.
Taking Care of 5 Urgent Things
Taking time for yourself might feel like an idyllic dream amidst a long list of to-do’s. Give yourself a time limit, and check off the top 5 items on your list before stepping away. This way you can set yourself up to really dive into your mini retreat without the distraction of a nagging agenda item. It might just take a little while for your body to slow down and surrender to the change of pace.
Taking a Deep Breath
As you sit in your personal oasis for the day, start by taking a deep inhale and deep exhale, releasing the tension in your muscles and melting into the start of your mini escape. We can carry so much deep emotion in our breath, in our voice and our core. By releasing control of the breath and letting it move through us naturally, we ignite the restorative influence of the Parasympathetic nervous system and sink into presence.
Practice Guide: Smudging
Smudging has been done for centuries to cleanse space and move stagnant or negative energy. The most common herb used in “smudge sticks” is white sage, along with Palo Santo, cedar, and sweet grass. Symbolically, negative energy attaches to the smoke and dissolves with it. To clear a space, start with the Northern corner of the room. Hold the sage in your left hand, light it and watch as the flames recede. As the smoke dances in the air, move around the space and invoke your new intention for the space as you breathe easily.
As you sit, ask yourself: “How are you feeling as you arrive to this moment of self-love? Are you feeling tired? Overworked? Excited? Where do you feel these emotions in your body?” Try to look at your current state without judgement and story – simply through sensation to notice how you are physically holding these emotions. If you feel drawn, make a note in your journal about what you’re carrying with you in the moment. Try acknowledging it and then…. let it go for the moment.
Setting Intention setting or “Sankalpa” is used to guide your practice. It is not necessarily a goal, but a way to direct your focus and connect to your current state. By setting a simple intention such as presence, forgiveness, relaxation, we create a reference point for our experience through which we can understand our highest values. Decide on a focus of thought and being for the day; try something that feels tangible and real, not far-reaching and distant. This allows us to connect with the present opportunities around us to manifest and live our intentions.
Journaling Writing can be a powerful tool for release and processing. By letting the page hold our thoughts we are able to see them with different perspective, possibly more clarity. Dive inward with some of Rachel Meyer’s journal prompts and a morning free flow below.
Morning Free Flow Writing
For 10 min. let the pen do the work and let all of your thoughts flow, stream of consciousness. It’s not supposed to be pretty or make sense. Just write & release. Follow with a gratitude meditation: think of 3 things you feel deeply grateful for. Notice where you feel this in your body and return to gratitude as your thoughts stray. Take a deep breath and begin your day!
A Day on Retreat with Gems of Yoga
- 7:00 am Wake up 7:00 Meditation (zazen) or Writing
- 7:15 Gentle Stretching with Music
- 7:45 Enjoy Lemon, Ginger and Honey in Warm Water
- 8:00 Easy Walk
- 8:30 Shower + Body Time
- 9:00 Breakfast
- 10:00 Yoga Session I
- Noon Lunch
- 2:00 pm Yoga Session II
- 3:30 Nap, reading, friend check-ins, bodywork
- 6:00 Dinner
- 7:00 Journaling + Self Massage
- End of night…. Meditation before bed
- 10 min Pranayama (breath work) & Silent Meditation
- 10 min Journaling: Gratitude Practice & Set an Intention
- 30 min Movement
- 5 min Kriyas (cleansing rituals)
- 30 min Warm Lemon Water or Tea & Breakfast.
Your morning routine begins the night before: Getting in bed by 10/10:30 PM (can be a little later in summer) will help you start the next morning off right.
Wake up at sunrise: If you are exhausted, sick/elderly, please sleep as long as you like. Upon waking, do not get out of bed right away. Try to be aware of your body & feel grateful to be alive before your toes touch earth.
Drink warm lemon water: Starting the day with a ritual of drinking lemon water ignites digestive tract and acts as a daily immune boost that we can all use. Plus, daily routine supports stable rhythms in the body and mind. This helps to wash the digestive tract, flushes the kidneys and stimulates peristalsis. If your digestion is sluggish, add 1/2 tsp ginger root powder. Lemons are acidic on their own and actually alkaline in the body, so warm lemon water balances the pH and helps flush out unwanted toxins to encourage morning clarity.
Gently scrape your tongue: Buy a silver tongue scraper. Scrape from back to front 5-8 times. The tongue is a mirror of your intestines. When there is a thick white coating on the tongue, it indicates that “ama” (toxins) are present. Tongue scraping helps prevent diseases of the oral cavity, improves our ability to taste, gets rids of old food debris and prevents bad odor in the mouth.
Wash face, mouth, teeth and eyes: Splash your face with cool water. Wash the eyes with cool water or rose water. You can also buy an eye cup at most pharmacies and use for washing the eyes. Massage your gums with sesame oil. This improves oral hygiene, prevents bad breath, increases circulation to gums, heals bleeding gums and helps us maintain strong healthy teeth.
Mouth detox: Take 1-2 tbsp of pure sesame oil (not toasted) in the mouth. Gargle and swish until it creates a liquid texture (about 10-15 min.), and then spit out into a trash can. This strengthens teeth, gums and jaw. It also improves the voice, and is said to remove wrinkles from the cheeks! I know you may think 10-15 min. is a long time – but, just swish it around while you do something else (like your self-massage).
Use a neti pot: Add 1/4 tsp of salt + warm water in the pot. Drain through each nostril. Next put 3-5 drops warm sesame oil or ghee in nostrils to lubricate the nose. This keeps the sinuses cleans, improves voice, vision and mental clarity. Our nose is the door to the brain. Nose drops nourish prana and enhance intelligence.
Abhyanga (Self-massage): Massage is one of our greatest allies for total health. It nourishes and soothes the nervous systems, stimulates lymphatic flow and aids in detoxification. It also improves circulation, increases vitality, nourishes the skin and promotes body/mind balance.
Exercise: One of greatest friends in moving towards balance, exercise boosts the immune system and is an excellent way to counteract depression. Exercise daily to half capacity. We want to get a little sweaty glow, but not burn out before our day begins.
Nature calls: Going to the bathroom upon waking will help clear your digestive system. A healthy “motion” will have a soft brown log quality, little odor and will be well-formed (like a banana). Undigested food, foul odor, mucous, excessive dryness or “pellet-like” quality suggests a digestive imbalance. Altering diet, lifestyle and using herbs will help better this.
Bathe: Use natural products.
Meditate: Begin your day with some form of breath work and meditation. Start with 5 min and work up to at least 20 min daily. I sometimes do my meditation before exercise, which is also fine.
Enjoy a delicious breakfast.
Lunch & Midday Routine
- 30 min Nature Walk
- 10 Writing (see below)
- 10 min Self-love Practice
- 30 min Lunch
Lunch: Try to make lunch your biggest meal of the day. Eat in a pleasant, calm place without distraction. Take some time to bless the food prior to eating.
After eating, if you can lay down on your left side for 5-20 minutes, this is ideal. Why? Because it helps the digestive organs to do their work to assimilate the meal. If you are at work, even just leaning to the left side in your chair will be helpful.
Some Musings on Retreats
One meaning of retreat is “strategic withdrawal.” From what are you purposefully withdrawing? Why are you here?
What is your ground, your rock, your foundation?
What is the greatest challenge to finding quiet in your own life?
What brings you back when you’re feeling uprooted, ungrounded, frazzled?
Where do you feel stuck or stagnant?
What is the passion/fire you’d like to stoke?
What, looking back, was one event or time of your life that felt destructive but was actually life-giving?
Who is someone whose passion/fire inspires you?
What change in your life have you been resisting?
Where/how in your life can you become more flexible?
What weedy thoughts would you like to replace with flowers?
What would you like to let go to drift away in these healing waters?
Air & Ether
What does spirit or divinity mean to you?
Do you consider yourself beloved?
When do you feel most loved?
When do you feel most loving?
Afternoon/Early Evening Routines
Afternoon nap or Yoga Nidra: An afternoon routine that helps you relax into your evening is yoga nidra – a yogi nap . It is also nice to do this prior to dinner, just before sunset. Eat light at night: Having your last meal before sun-down, and at least 3 hours before bedtime will ensure better sleep. If you feel don’t feel hungry, drink one of my nighty-night tonics like my Golden Yogini Milk below.
Golden Milk: Ayurvedic Practitioner and Tantric Yogini, Katie Silcox, describes herbal remedies as “plant allies,” capable of supporting our ability to thrive. She speaks to the power of turmeric or “Golden Goddess,” an ancient herb with documented anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, antiallergenic properties. Here’s her recipe for warm golden turmeric milk for your nighttime treat.
Ingredients: 1/2 tsp. ghee or coconut oil 1 – 2 tsp. turmeric 1/4 tsp. cardamom 1/4 tsp. cinnamon pinch of nutmeg a few strands of saffron (optional) 1 cup whole milk (you can replace with almond, soy or hazelnut milk)
Put the ghee in a sauce pan and heat on low with all spices except the saffron. Once you begin to smell the aroma, add the milk and saffron and whisk until hot. Or, add fresh ginger, a small handful of almonds and goji berries (or a date!). Add it all Vitamix (or blender). Blend on high for about a minute for a frothy-hot elixir!
- 10 min Self Love Practice + Mantra
- 30 min Evening Movement
- 45 min Eat + make Golden Milk
- 20 min Sleep prep: Abhyanga (self massage) + Reading
Sleep: There is no excuse, anymore, for us to not be sleeping. Women need sleep. Men need sleep. Bunnies need sleep. Everybody on the planet needs 6-8 hours of sleep regularly. Ayurveda expert and author, Dr. Claudia Welch, says, “Every cell in the body needs stimulation, and every cell in the body needs nourishment.” As we need to exercise, we also need to surrender into rest.
It is also impossible to accomplish your goals if you are chronically sleep-deprived. Plus, your mind/body uses sleep as the washing machine for the subconscious mind. If we aren’t slipping into deep dream-time every night, much of our toxic, unprocessed emotions and experiences don’t get drained away. As Dr. Robert Svoboda says, “Sleep is the wet nurse of society.” Raise your hand if you feel like you need to be wet-nursed?
Create a sacred chamber of sleep. Following these routines will make sleep come effortlessly, and will help keep you asleep through the night:
Set the mood: Depending on the season (in winter it may be earlier), start turning off overhead lights after dinner. Avoid fluorescent lights always, but especially at night. Low lighting helps tell your body it is time to go to sleep. Lots of light confuses your circadian rhythms and messes with the natural hormones that pull you into the “sleepy feeling.” One of the first questions I people who suffer from insomnia is, “Are your overhead lights still on at 8 and 9 PM?” Switch to low level lighting, candles, or install dimmers on your overhead lights to set the mood for sleep.
No more screen-time: Set an intention to turn off all screens (computers, cellphones, TVs) by 8 or 9 PM. Screens and lighting can mess with our circadian rhythms.
Be in bed by 10 PM: Do you notice a second wind around 10:30 PM? That’s because the metabolic energy your body normally uses for detoxing while you sleep gets diverted to mental energy, and we get activated. Our body detoxifies and rejuvenates from 10 PM–2 AM. When we stay up late, we miss out on beauty sleep. If you currently go to bed late, use the 15 minute rule. Each night, try going to bed a mere 15 minutes earlier. Within a few weeks, you will soundly sleeping at 10 PM. Take a warm bath: Taking a scented warm bath can help reset the nervous system towards sleep. Use oils such as frankincense, myrrh, lavender, honeysuckle, jatamamsi, sandalwood, chamomile, neroli or pure rose for deep slumber.
Calm the mind: Media before bed is toxic for your dreams. Similarly, avoid major planning, having intense conversations or other activity that promotes mental movement before bed.
Light a candle, read a book that makes your heart melt. Say some sweet words, and turn in.
Unravel the day: There is a powerful meditative practice for unraveling the day. It actually builds your power of assimilation and boosts memory. Once in bed and laying down, mentally go backwards through your day in increments of 30 minutes. Try to simply register what was happening to you during the day without judgement. Notice your feelings, relax and let all events go. End with the point where you woke up in the morning. Gently drift into sleep.
Abhyanga means “self-massage with oil,” and according to ancient tradition, it is one of our greatest allies for total health. Doing a daily practice of self-massage nourishes and soothes the nervous system, boosts lymphatic detoxification, improves circulation, nourishes the skin, and promotes overall mind-body balance.
The word for oil in Sanskrit is sneha — which translates to “love” or “affection.” The essence of a plant is its oil, just as the essence of who we are is love. If we keep extracting something down to its purest essence, what remains is love. When you massage your body with oil, you are literally coating it with a layer of affection, as well as a healing touch. Western science supports this fact, showing that when we receive massage, we release a cascade of feel-good hormones into our bloodstream. Research shows that massage can also decrease the stress hormone, cortisol.
How to do Abhyanga:
- Choose an oil. Generally, people with dry skin and a tendency to “feel cold” are healed and nourished by sesame oil. People who run warm and have oily/rosy skin are cooled and nourished by coconut and sunflower oil. People with thick, soft, slightly moist skin who usually don’t feel either too warm or too cold are enlivened by sunflower or calendula-infused oil.
- Warm your oil. You can simply place the glass bottle of oil directly in your bathroom sink. Close the drain and fill with the hottest water possible. Allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes before applying to the body.
- Remove all clothing and jewelry. Sit on an old towel so as not to make a mess.
- Start at the top of the head and pour the oil directly onto the crown. If you are doing this before work and do not want an oily head for the rest of the day, you can skip this part and save it for a day when you do not need to be presentable. That said, Ayurvedic tradition places heavy emphasis on massaging the head and neck. Of the 107 energetic points of the body (called marmas), 37 are located on the head and neck.
- Continue onto the face and the rest of the body. On the arms and legs, use back-and-forth strokes. On the joints, use circular strokes. On the belly, use circular strokes in a clockwise motion (if you are looking down at your belly), as this is the direction in which our long intestine moves and will stimulate proper digestion.
- Try to spend 15-20 minutes massaging your body, spending time on the parts of your body you “don’t like.” Then, let the oil soak into your skin for at least 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, rub off any excess oil with your oil towel, and then take a shower. Showering causes the pores to open, allowing the herbal oil to penetrate even deeper into the skin. You do not need to soap off the oil. The body will most likely absorb it all, especially if you are quite dry
How to Make Organic Ghee:
Derived from India, Ghee is a beautiful, golden butter that has had the milk solids removed, leaving the pure butter fat that can handle higher cooking temperatures. Ghee is similar to clarified butter, just cooked and browned longer. Cooking with ghee helps extract fat-soluble nutrients for the body and the process is very satisfying. You can use less than you would normal butter or oil and you can save the milk solids to enjoy separately.
Recipe: 1 pound / 16 ounces / 450 g of the best quality, unsalted butter you can source
Slowly melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat so it separates after a few minutes. There will be three layers: foam on top, clarified butter, and milk solids on bottom. Let it come to a simmer and keep it there until the middle butter layer becomes aromatic and more golden (you can move the solids on top to see). The bottom layer will start to brown and you can continue to let them progress depending on preference. At the end, skim the entire top layer of foam into a bowl with a spoon or strainer, remove from the heat, and allow it to settle for a minute or two. Slowly pour the golden middle layer through a strainer, into a clean glass jar, leaving the solids at the bottom of the pan. If fully separated, the ghee can keep at room temperature for weeks. Enjoy as a cooking oil, finishing element, or body moisturizer and massage medium. Makes about 1 1/2 cups. Prep time: 5 min – Cook time: 25 min
How to Bring this Forward
Begin by finding one day to create space to focus on yourself and play with the At Home Retreat Guide. Notice what these tools bring up as you explore them…Which inspire you? Move you? Provoke you? Restore you? Use these practices as a platform to inform, and release. As you embrace some of the elements we have shared, consider bringing them into your daily routine. Create a reminder by leaving a little reminder for yourself at your door, adding a midday alarm with a message, or reset your password as affirmations.. Retreats offer supportive space to explore our connection to ourselves. We share these tools to remind you that retreating is more than an experience, but a lifestyle that you can carry with you into any aspect of your life, and we hope you enjoy.