“Do something today that your future self will thank you for” – Unknown
Sometimes life can get so busy that you forget to take some time out for yourself, to revive, rejuvenate and appreciate what you have and how precious life really is.
This happened to me, after losing a friend of 18 years to Brain Cancer and being the one who sat on his bed as he took his final breaths. I knew then it was time to escape the daily grind and take some time out to mourn his life and appreciate my own a little bit more. For him and for me.
And I knew exactly where I wanted to go, Byron Bay – my happy place. After researching countless of yoga retreats on the web, my eyes were drawn to a 3 day one at Byron Wellbeing Retreat, which offered surfing as well. As a keen surfer that still hadn’t yet quite ‘got it’, I immediately knew that this was the one I should attend. Before I knew it, I had paid the deposit and received an email from Kirsten, the retreat owner, welcoming me and getting me excited for what was to come.
The day before the retreat, I switched my out-of-office on, gathered all my yoga and surf gear (though I didn’t really need my wetsuit), rolled up my mat and packed my bag ready for 3 days of absolute bliss…. which turned out to be even better then expected!
The next day I packed my car and made my way to beautiful Byron Bay. A few hours later I came upon the sign that always makes me smile ‘Welcome to Byron Bay’. It’s a sign that as soon as I see it, my shoulders just drop and all my worries float away.
Once I had reached the cute blue surf cottage that Kirsten had hired for the 3 days, I just knew that the next few days were going to be pretty amazing and exactly what I would need. After being introduced to Kirsten and Michelle, the other surf yogi who also needed to get away (yes there was only two of us, which was perfect) I turned my phone off and spent the next hour lying in a hammock, in absolute serenity, listening to the birds and reading a book, while Michelle indulged in her first massage.
I don’t know if it was the thought of being detached from the digital world (I am a Digital Marketer) or the peaceful environment but even before my afternoon massage I felt like the weight on my shoulders had been lifted. And then it was my turn for a massage – Wow! I like to get pampered regularly but this massage was incredible! Kirsten just knew all the right spots and afterwards I felt like I could float away.
Now I forgot to mention that the food on this retreat was raw and it was Vegan – which is very new to me (I do love my meat) but the meals that were dished up by Kirsten herself were delicious! After a Vegetarian plate of stuffed capsicum & rice (yes I was sold and I don’t even like capsicum) Michelle and I retreated to bed, satisfied and more relaxed then ever. It was only the first day and already this retreat was reviving my soul.
The next day I woke in this beautiful beach pad, listening to the birds singing outside my window and it was just so blissful. Kirsten arrived (she stayed off site) and we rolled out our mats for our first 7.30am yoga session. Kirsten was a lady of many talents and everything was run by her including our yoga and meditation classes. After a well-paced but enough to make you sweat yoga session and 10 minutes of meditation, Kirsten then brought out our breakfast; Chia Seed Porridge – delicious and surprisingly very filling.
After breakfast our instructor came to pick us up for a few hours of surfing. Now as I said before I had been surfing for almost 2 years but since moving away to from the coast to the city, surfing had become less of a hobby and more of a mission to find time to get to the beach. So it was basically like I was a beginner again and I was grateful for the lessons.
Jumping into the water, with my rashie and my 8 foot board felt amazing and the next 2 hours consisted of riding waves in a secluded part of Byron Bay. Brad, our instructor had such a patient and cheerful persona, the passion for this hobby and job just radiated off him.
After returning back to the cottage and a quick shower, Kirsten then brought out lunch; scrumptious rice paper rolls. Afterwards my afternoon was spent reading and indulging in another heavenly massage.
Now I’m not going to go into detail for the whole retreat but each day got better then the next. After each massage, each time out in the surf, I felt more and more like myself and by day 3, you could not wipe the smile off our faces, especially when out in that beautiful ocean.
After our final day out in the surf and the end of our retreat, Kirsten invited us back to her place for a hot shower and lunch. The sun was shining brightly as we sat in Kirsten’s backyard reminiscing about our last 3 days. It felt amazing and when looking in a mirror I saw that my glow had returned. After lunch we bade farewell, exchanged contact details and I made my way back home, taking with me my glow, my smile and absolute contentment, prepared for reality as I turned my phone on and got back in touch with the world.