Music meditation, yoga, and great food: recently, I was lucky enough to attend an Ignite Your Life retreat at Happy Buddha Retreats and it was transformative in more ways than one…
Ignite Your Life is all about rekindling our passions and zest for life. In other words, igniting that inner spark. As well as the rest and relaxation that comes with any retreat, Happy Buddha Retreats is all about supporting our individual journeys of self-discovery, transformation and connection.
For me personally, it became a time of truly flowing. It became a beautiful experience in allowing and accepting where I was.
Day One: Intention
Upon arriving we were met with warmth by the beautiful staff, and shown to our room. The Happy Buddha space is lovely. It is cosy, welcoming, and the positivity energy levels are instantly palpable!
This was followed by a nourishing, delicious, vegetarian, home cooked meal. My raving about the food could be a whole article on its own. Each time I visit a HB retreat, I am inspired to go home and pour the same amount of love and thought into my own meal preparation.
Following this, we came together in an opening share circle, where each one of us set our intentions for our time there.
Mine was to allow myself a real break. On the days leading up to the retreat, my mind had reached uncomfortable levels of noisiness, with work-related thoughts.
I set an intention to take the time to totally detach, rest and rejuvenate.
Day Two: Rhythm
On day two we rolled out of our beds to attend dynamic yoga, followed by gentle yoga.
There are few things that feel better than having done two hours of exercise before breakfast, a rare but super special occurrence!
A smorgasbord of fruits and grains – breakfast was as always, delicious.
We all soon sauntered back into the hall, for a ‘find your inner groove’ session. Athil runs this session, which involves a series of music meditations and fun exercises. A unique feature of the Ignite program is that it carries a focus on music meditation.
Using the natural rhythm innate within all humans, music has the beautiful ability to become a gateway into a space of meditative focus. It can allows us to slide into presence, in a natural, seamless way.
As well as this, music meditation sessions are also a wonderful chance to play. We all reverted to feeling like children in music class, giggling and excited to see our shared improvement in team exercises. There is something seriously satisfying about staying in rhythm as a group!
Having the chance to explore music, meditation and rhythm with others for the three days in this intentional way was an absolute treat.
Later in the day, we attended a Vision boarding session. This was a chance to let intuition, creativity and the universe work their magic. We were presented with an abundance of magazines, colourful scrap-booking materials and asked to create a collage of our desires.
Pretty soon, we were all stuck into it. I love creating vision boards. They’re great for focusing and really honing in on your desires. They’re a fun and creative way to let your heart show you what you want, rather than your head.
At the time, I stuck on a picture of some rice fields in Bali. Not a huge amount of thought went into this, I just quite enjoyed the shade of green. My vision board is now on my wall, and I look at it daily. It fills me with excitement, focus and joy.
Plus recently, I noticed something pretty incredible.
Fast forwarding a month or so from the time I created the board… things have fallen together in a way that I’m actually heading to Bali in a few weeks!
That’s all the evidence I need to use vision boarding as a practice way more often!
After lunch was the drum circle, another music meditation activity and always a favourite. This is the part where you get to be a giant kid again. Is there anything more cathartic than being asked to whack something noisy for an hour? The natural high that comes with drumming is a true gift.
After a break, some beautiful yin yoga and dinner, was the sound healing journey session – another kind of music meditation.
It was here that I really sunk into relaxation, peace and clarity.
As we all laid down, the lights were dimmed and we were given a truly special gift. The beautiful and talented Georgie, sung and played guitar for us.
We were transported.
It was in this time, that I was filled with the clarity Happy Buddha always seems to offer me. Thinking about the things that had been working me up prior to the retreat, they just seemed to make no sense at all.
I saw and felt in an instant, that the seemingly ill-willed actions of others are never personal. Rather, they’re just a reflection of where someone is, on their own magical journey. The peace of this recognition filled me with lightness, a beautiful sense of relief, and I fell back into pure enjoyment of the healing music. This music meditation session was easily the highlight of my retreat. Why not try it at home with this Spotify playlist!?
Day three: Connection
The day started again with some gorgeous gentle yoga, a delicious breakfast and finally, closing circle. Closing circles are always the favourite part of any retreat for me. Whilst bittersweet, because it means our time is coming to an end, the level of vulnerability, openness and connection here is truly priceless. They have been amongst some of the fondest memories of my life.
We re-examined our intentions and reflected on what we taken away. I saw that for me, the message of this retreat was about taking a step back from noise and reactivity, to allow in its place, peace and understanding.
To see what everyone else took away from this special time is an experience of sharing, connection and love. We can never know what others are going through. When we don’t share, it can feel like we are alone in our struggle.
Happy tears are almost always involved, and welcomed. It is the perfect ending to this transformative time.
The journey of life for each one of us is a sacred process of continual unfoldment, and becoming more and more of who we already are. There are so many things that can get in the way of us blossoming into our true selves, Happy Buddha provides the space for these to temporarily fall away. If this speaks to you, we would absolutely love to have you!