Has this ever happened to you? You go to a class, a conference or a retreat. You learn and have an amazing time. You return home full of energy and determination to make changes to your life or work. Until the alarm rings on Monday morning… and life continues, the same way it’s always been.

Yoga retreats are a wonderful way to find peace and joy, but wouldn’t it be great if these feelings weren’t reserved for the retreat only? Here are some practices that will help you make the benefits of the retreat last longer (or forever).

Keep your intention alive

In the opening circle of the retreat, you’ll have the opportunity to reflect on why you’ve come and what you’re hoping to get out of your time away. If you choose, you will share your intention with the rest of the group. In the closing circle, you’ll check in with yourself and your intention, and decide what you’re taking home with you.

While stating your intention in front of a group is a powerful way to make it come alive, it may not be enough in the long run. Take some notes for yourself in the beginning of the retreat and at the end. Return to them often. Keep a journal. Notice how your intention changes, develops and manifests.

Experiment to find what works for you

In Athill’s Meditation Talk at the retreat, you’ll discover that mindfulness and meditation are not limited to sitting quietly with your  eyes closed. Try a variety of ways to be more mindful and check out Rohan Gunatillake’s book This is happening for tips on practicing mindfulness on the go. Invent your own techniques and stick with what is practical for you.

Be part of a supportive community

As motivational speaker Jim Rohn puts it, ‘You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with’. Lasting change is more likely to happen when you surround yourself with like-minded people, who understand where you’re coming from and what you’re trying to achieve. Where do you find your supportive community? Keep in touch with the friends you’ve met at the retreat. Join your local yoga studio, even if you can only make it to class once a week. Stop at the Happy Buddha Retreats Facebook page and say ‘hello’. Make time for another retreat.

Be kind to yourself

If you notice that you come home full of great intentions, but they dissipate after a week or two, don’t beat yourself up. It is human nature to resist change, and it may be unrealistic to change too many things too quickly. If you only manage to implement one insight from the retreat into your life, and nothing else, your life will already be richer.