Retreat: a quiet or secluded place where one can rest and relax. As a mother of two young boys (a 5 year old and a 3 year old) that definition of retreat sounds like heaven. I adore my boys, I truly love them, plus on top of that I really really like them; they are two wonderful human beings who I enjoy spending time with. However there is no denying that being a mother is hard work, with no breaks, and it is the job of a child to push and test their boundaries; that is how they learn, and that is how mothers are pushed to their limits. When we reach these limits retreating and withdrawing, taking some time out to recharge, is necessary and rarely happens. So when I was told there was going to be a Atma Kriya Yoga Retreat in Lanzarote I was keen to go as was my husband.
It was a 3 day retreat followed by Krishna Janmashtami Celebration in the temple. The organisers were aware of our child care situation so allowed my husband and I to take a day each to experience a mini retreat while the other one spent the day with the kids. The retreat days were from 7am-8pm which meant that there was a whole day of undisturbed hours to dedicate to the divine. It was the first time I have ever been away from my children for a full day and I think it had been over 5 years since I had had two consecutive meals child free, so to have vegan food lovingly prepared and to be enjoyed in a peaceful and sometimes silent environment was deeply and fondly appreciated.
The enchanting setting of Lanzarote, this volcanic island rising out of the Atlantic Ocean, captured our hearts. The raw elements are ever tangible with striking black landscape and whitewashed houses, dark sand beaches and glistening rock pools, wild winds pushing clouds across the ever changing sky; it is effortless to feel a connection to mother earth here. This Island of Transformation made a magical holiday for the children and sense of rejuvenation for the adults.
During the retreat we practiced AKY techniques I rarely get the opportunity to practice at home these days, and some I had not practiced for years. Also with the help of the AKY teachers I became aware that from so many years of practicing alone I had fallen into habits I was completely unaware of, so they helped me sharpen and tweek those techniques I do practice daily.
I learnt AKY back in 2007 and for a good 5-6 years, before having children, I practiced a lot but other than Om Chanting I had very rarely practiced in a group: I have always favoured meditating alone. Since the retreat however I have now realised that there is something very special and indispensable about group practice: it amplifies our connection to the divine. To practice AKY with other Kriya Yogis builds profound kinship within the group, an even greater sense of affinity to oneself, strengthens rapport towards others, and it heightens and reinforces a yearning and endearment for the divine.
Now that we are back home on mainland Spain we have created a space especially for this: a place where a community can grow and people can practice Bhakti Marga Sadhana together, so if you are ever in the Malaga region you are welcome to join us at Premalaya Yoga.