Health & Fitness

Yoga Retreats: A great way to begin 2023 and be on track with healthy habits

By Sheetal Kharka: Old habits die hard and we all tussle with forming virtuous habits. Every New Year, people pick resolutions: losing weight, quitting smoking, eating healthy, waking up early, going running, etc. only to give up sooner! Not for the reason that they want to give up, but because keeping up with such a resolution is challenging. Moreover, with so many social distractions, it can be quite a daunting task. If you are in the same boat, then you will find this article, written just for you.

With the holiday season around, most people have already planned their fancy destinations, making sure the itinerary is full of exploration, indulgences in foodstuff, thirst-quenchers and excitement. Even though we normally come back feeling cheerful from such holidays, on the flip side, we crave yet another pause to resume work. This feeling of needing a continuous pause and slogging at work in spite of a great holiday is clearly a sign of mixed priorities, an unhealthy lifestyle, mental fatigue resulting in anxiety, and a lack of motivation. Please be wary, this huge task of balancing life can be very exhausting for the mind, body, and heart. So the tussle of getting rid of old habits is ongoing. Then why not add a yoga retreat to the “off the bucket list” this season and gift yourself a new you?

As a yoga enthusiast, I have been taking yoga holidays often and, most recently, I took a week-long vacation at a yoga retreat in Rishikesh hosted by Dr N Ganesh Rao, founder of Act Yoga. I can tell you, it can do a great deal of revolution in your lifestyle and is a fantastic way of installing daily health practices. One gets to acquire new skills to manage pressure, detox, and come back feeling nothing but rejuvenated, refreshed, and enthused to balance a hectic work life. On top, such holidays can be fun meeting new people, and new cultures, full of awareness and, guess what, it is inexpensive – value for money. These retreats are not just restricted to focusing on the health regime, but one can also add sightseeing, trekking, or nature trails too.

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While there was a soft agenda that was followed, introducing new routines, it was exciting, learning, discovering, and understanding one’s own psychology and physiology – you will be stunned! This and learning how much more simple and inexpensive life can get once you know how to purify yourself in the most traditional way. These ancient techniques are scientifically proven and can address various dimensions of a modern lifestyle.

Even though yoga is widespread, its acceptability is still a trial amongst normal or corporate folks due to several rational reservations. Therefore, joining such retreats becomes even more interesting to fully understand how to practice yoga in its purest form. Learning this fact helps you become a self-aware and self-practitioner without needing a yoga teacher on a regular basis. This comforts you that you can practice yoga without apologising, and be self-sufficient to practice at your own convenience. As a result, you are now a new YOU, self-disciplined and the chances of you giving up on yourself are zero. Yoga brings a lot of therapeutic value and the understanding that yoga is a preventive and rehabilitation therapy, never a quick fix, will bring patience and discipline spontaneously.

Yoga brings a lot of therapeutic value and the understanding that yoga is a preventive and rehabilitation therapy, never a quick fix, will bring patience and discipline spontaneously. (Photo courtesy: Sheetal Kharka)
Yoga brings a lot of therapeutic value and the understanding that yoga is a preventive and rehabilitation therapy, never a quick fix, will bring patience and discipline spontaneously. (Photo courtesy: Sheetal Kharka)
At this yoga retreat, I had the chance to network with a few corporate folks as well. One was an architect (Delhi), another a stock broker (Mumbai), a pilot working for a prominent airline in India, and two couples – one from Austria and another from Mumbai – with a few more from Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Brazil, and the US. Each one adds great positive energy to the environment.

I was fortunate to have a one-one with Dr Rao, the teacher, and host of this retreat, and asked him why the apprehension of corporate folks and second thoughts about joining such retreats. He said “Yoga is looked down upon as being spiritual, and unfortunately not understanding what spirituality is, one contrasts spirituality with corporate or practical life. Most people think Yoga is running into contradiction. I have seen both sides, and see no contradiction in a corporate person accepting Yoga and taking the benefits of Yoga. Being a part of the corporate world myself, having worked in a giant industry handling corporate treasury, I have seen the stress, strain, joy, and delight of corporate life. I can assertively say that Yoga can contribute a lot in easing the strain, maintaining physical & mental health, relaxation & therapy, Yoga has so much to offer!”

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About Dr Ganesh Rao

An MBA in Finance, Dr N Ganesh Rao has been a soccer player and a coach for 32 years alongside his corporate career. He has represented senior-level championships and has been in the Asian games as the selection team. An avid trekker in the Himalayan altitude, Dr Rao took a keen interest in philosophy after his active soccer life concluded due to an injury. He decided to resign from his corporate life and pursue philosophy, which slowly culminated in his curiosity to learn yoga. Dr Rao has authored several books on yoga. He visits top universities across the globe and conducts teachers’ training and corporate yoga retreats.

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