3 Ways a Yoga Retreat Will Deepen Your Purpose

How I found myself on this endless summer retreat is a random set of coincidences. Coincidences that led me to believe our purpose in life is less often found by completing a life plan, but more so about being open to discovery.
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I stood perched atop the trees in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, nestled in Blue Spirit's yoga studio that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

Miami-based yogis Amy Dannheim and Dawn B. Feinberg began with an om and there I was, pressing into downward dog with a group of yogis ready to deepen our purpose.

Photo Credit: Mike Dannheim

How I found myself on this endless summer retreat is a random set of coincidences. Coincidences that led me to believe our purpose in life is less often found by completing a life plan, but more so about being open to discovery.

As Joseph Campbell put it, "We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us."

During that week, I put aside my writing and podcast, ignored the life plan that's taped on my office door, closed down my laptop and cracked open a new journal. I had just finished my one hundredth interview and began to put together the lessons I've learned on how to connect the dots between school, your passions, and what the world needs.

I never really thought myself to be a yoga retreat kind of guy and now as I myself consider putting together my own retreat, have learned that a yoga retreat can be a tremendously valuable vehicle to deepen your purpose and carve a new direction in life.

Here's why.

3 Ways a Yoga Retreat Will Deepen Your Purpose

1. Connect with an Empowering Tribe

We've all heard that we are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with thanks to the oft-quoted Jim Rohn. We are deeply influenced by the people we keep around us and it would make sense to only surround ourselves with people that challenge us to be the greatest version of ourselves.

Yeah... not possible in the modern world.

At work and through our daily errands, it's easy to be distracted by people who don't empower our purpose. When you're not living like a monk, it's easy to get lost in what doesn't matter.

We live in a world full of distractions and opportunities to be "busy" without actually doing something that matters.

On a yoga retreat, time is spent focusing on the present and you're surrounded with positive people who aim at living out the most awesome version of themselves.

When I sat down at the pool or took a walk on Playa Guiones, I had the chance to join in on deep and meaningful conversations on purpose. Amy and Dawn had created a space where we all could be real and vulnerable, allowing ourselves to explore who we are at this point in our lives and where we should move our feet next on our journeys.

2. Choose Your Own Direction by Unplugging

In our connected world full of distractions, it's so easy to be told how to live. Through our daily routines, we have advertisements, movies, parents, coworkers, spouses, and friends telling us how to live. And even though a lot of it is welcomed advice, it makes it difficult to grow confident in walking our own paths.

The eastern philosopher Krishnamurti along with the western philosopher Joseph Campbell both remind us that living fully depends on discovery. We have to discover our values and beliefs on our own and walk our own paths.

On a yoga retreat, you're able to peek into the mind without distraction. The day is spent focusing on the present -- where you discover the power of now -- and being aware. Through asana practice, meditation, and journaling the mind becomes more aware of the present and you dive deeper into who you really are.

You break routine and dive into what makes you tick. As Silvia Mordini, founder of Alchemy Tours, put it to me: "Being away from our typical routine shows us where we habitually knee jerk our reactions instead of responding mindfully." And when we learn more about ourselves, it becomes easier to walk confidently in our own direction.

3. Re-learn The Art of Deep and Meaningful Conversations

In our digital world, we're as connected as ever on a surface level, yet ironically so disconnected on a deep and meaningful level.

We live in a world where you may never have to go deeper than 160 characters because as a conversation gets too deep, you can always just move on to the next tweet or close down the computer.

That's where blissologist Mike Dannheim stepped into his role in the yoga retreat as he led us through a satsang, which in Sanskrit means "gathering together for the truth." We all sat in a circle and through a series of activities, had created a space where we can all dive deep into a conversation on what it means to live fully. Many opened up and shared aspects of themselves they would have never shared at home.

Many connected through shared trauma and everyone gained empathy for one another.

Krishnamurti reminds us that when you are "listening to somebody, completely, attentively, then you are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it."

You're bathing in truth. You're soaking in honesty. And we're all better because of it.


What about you? How has a yoga retreat helped you deepen your purpose? Share your story in a comment below.

Like what you are reading? Here is a free copy of Your Life on Purpose: Ten Simple Tips to Live a Life with Impact (no, you don't have to give up your email). If you prefer to listen, here's my 10-minute daily podcast on living intentionally.

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