To retreat, to momentarily take retreat from the regular pulse of life, is one of my greatest joys. For as long as I can recall, I’ve been an observer, a watcher of people and situations and details within simple interactions. The sense of seeing life in its simplicities and glories as they pass by. It was on my first retreat that I experienced deeply being able to observe, bear witness and gain insight to the details of my own situation, my own life so keenly. And it changed everything.

Many retreats later, some attended as student, some as teacher, this delight in checking in and tuning in with the ebb and flow of life has only become heightened. Each retreat marking a point in time in this great vinyasa we call life. Some were retreats taken in times of great sadness, at the crumbling of a long love, in the lead up to the passing of a much adored grandparent, in times of crippling upheaval (home, location, job & relationship was my winning combination to date) and others flavoured with moments of intense and overwhelming delight as we dreamed of the arrival of my co-teacher and dear friend’s first child, newly planted in her womb. And just as importantly there were all of the times where life and I were cruising, settled, in the flow together. In the spacious retreat bubble, clarity is amplified, and answers abound, perspective is gained and energy renewed. In my spacious retreat bubble, I truly observe.

And then there’s the yoga, and the divine locations, and meeting inspiring people, freeing my body, and gathering my mind and having someone else cook astoundingly delicious food without having to wash a single plate. But for me, these all run second to the celebration of the exact moment of existence. Its temporary nature highlighting its fragility and illuminating its importance.

So the perfect time to go on retreat? I think it’s whatever time we find ourselves in.

Take us somewhere luscious and primitive, somewhere we can merge with nature, surrender into silence, and make sense of the everyday. 

Riss Carlyon, Co-founder and Yoga Teacher, Amber Tree Yoga & Retreats