Ayurvedic and plant based chef and author Keith Squires shares his 12-step plan for creating a relaxing ayurvedic yoga retreat in your own home… complete with healthy meals, self massage and relaxation
Just a simple cough or sniffle and you may find yourself at home and keeping away from people for a week or two.
Having an ayurvedic yoga retreat in some tropical location may seem like a long lost dream. Particularly as you can’t even travel to India at the moment.
One option to pass the time is to start some back to back box sets and indulge in some of your favourite comfort foods. The trouble with that is you get through them all and it’s still only 1 pm on the first day!
Instead you can turn your week into a super detox retreat at home that will make a real difference to your long term health and recharge you for the weeks ahead. As well as saving yourself thousands of pounds and helping the earth by not travelling.
It will also boost your immune system and help with your recovery at the same time. Most retreats are based around simple programme you can recreate and follow in your own home. It is also a chance to get into the habit of eating better and losing weight. Plus learn some great new yoga too.
Instead of a luxurious long lie in because its suddenly a week of Sundays. Get up with a feeling of excitement by 7am to start your free retreat.
Put the tea and coffee to one side and rehydrate and energise with warm water with a little bit of fresh ginger and squeeze of lemon. This will warm you up and gently stimulate your digestion and circulation.
- All great retreats start with early morning yoga so don’t miss your session. If you know some yoga you can create your own class. If you don’t you can visit druyogaonline.com for a free 30 day trial. There are loads of great classes on there. My favourite is to start with an activation sequence called an energy block release. Then do the Sun Sequence and finish with a relaxation.
- For breakfast put away the white bread, cereals and frying pan. Get fresh with a big bowl of fruit with some seeds and your favourite toppings. Some stewed fruit or if you are really hungry soaked muesli with extra fruit.
- Now it is time for your first therapy. Book yourself into your own bedroom. With your own personal therapist, You! Turn up the heating and warm up some oil. You can do this by putting the bottle in not too hot hot water. If you have a massage oil already you can use that. Usually in Ayurveda they use sesame oil or coconut oil, however if you don’t have either of those you can use virgin olive oil. You could also put a few drops of lavender essential oil in to make it super relaxing.
If your partner, friend or relative is in the house you could employ their skills. If not don’t worry you can self massage. Then you don’t have to tell anyone to press harder or say stop if its tickling.
Start from the feet and work upwards give special attention to the toes. They are always working hard for us now it’s time to give something back.
Part of self massage is about caring and loving yourself so give yourself plenty of TLC.
Then move on to the ankles with the massage strokes moving upwards. Give yourself a few compliments on your technique and bedside manner.
Then work on your body, face, arms and parts of your back that you can reach.
Keep your druyogaonline logged in and now search for a deep relaxation. There is a 10 minute, 20 minute or even 1 hour. Go on give yourself a treat.
You may find you have been continuously stressed for years and never really relaxing properly. Now is the time to really let go.
Releasing the stresses and strains that have built up over years. You can only detox properly when you are totally relaxed.
- A great mid morning booster and part of any good retreat is a glass of freshly pressed vegetable juice. So wipe down your old vegetable juicer and get going. Carrot, beetroot, celery, ginger and apple are my favourite.
Now you are topped up with energy it’s time to cook. Normally there is no time as we are so busy rushing to work fuelling up with coffee, sweet snacks, take away and processed foods.
On your home retreat you will be surprised how easy and quick it is to make healthy meals based on vegetables and simple wholefoods.
Visit my page keithonfood.com for a full and free seven day meal plan that will last you all week.
There are lots of ayurvedic recipes there too you can experiment with during your retreat.
An alkalising diet of fresh fruits and vegetables is high in nutrients and low in calories. Meaning you can eat lots and still lose weight if this is something you want like to do.
- For lunch you can have a triple dose of healthy vegetables with steamed, salad and a simple vegetable soup. With some freshly cooked quinoa which is light and packed with protein.
At the same time start preparing the evening meal using a slow cooker. The great thing about this is that it will carry on cooking while you are having your afternoon therapies.
It will chug along happily without you having to intervene at all. It’s so easy, one example is just to put in some freshly chopped vegetables. Like carrots, celery, onion and leek then sprinkle in a few lentils for protein.
Top this with lots of vegetable stock add a few herbs, salt and pepper. Four to six hours later you are going to have a hearty stew that is going to be the basis of your evening meal.
- Remember lunch itself is a therapy. We are so used to eating in a rush during a short break. So take your time sit down comfortably. Feel grateful for the food a lot of effort has gone into bringing it to you. Close your eyes and just for a moment thank the earth too for nourishing us. For so long we have taken everything for granted. Some of those things have suddenly disappeared but to have food is still a blessing. For a few moments be grateful for your house or room, fresh water and your internet connection. Without that you couldn’t get your free classes. Then really enjoy the delicate flavours and textures take time to taste.
- After lunch a possibility could be to head out to a nature spot for a quick walk… (if you’re not self-isolating) – making sure to keep to the 2 metre rule.
While you are out try to engage all your senses. Look at the trees, listen to the birds, feel the breeze on your face, smell the earth, touch a leaf or some damp moss on a tree.
If you can’t get out and keep a safe distance from people do the same in your garden if you have one.
Failing that open your window and put your face next to the window box. Some plants look like trees close up which is nearly as good. Or sit under your favourite houseplant and image the rest.
- Now it’s time for your second yoga class. If you have some favourite postures use those or log back onto druyogaonline.com and pick a class. My favourite afternoon one is the earth sequence followed by another deep relaxation.
- Late afternoon is time to luxuriate in the bath. Get some Epsom salts if you can as this makes it super relaxing. The magnesium in the bath soaks into your skin and allows the cells to release excess sodium. Epsom salts are in a lot of supermarkets normally along the isle where the toilet rolls used to be (!)
Otherwise order them online…. I managed to get 3 kg on next day delivery which can last you all week.
- By now your crock pot stew should be nearly ready. Filling your house with delicious smells of home cooked food. Just cook some white or brown rice with steamed vegetables and a few spice to make a complete meal.
- Another great therapy to do at home is a castor oil pack which you can do in the evening or on another day. A castor oil pack is a gentle way to relax and detox the liver. It is just a small cotton flannel soaked in castor oil. You then place this on your liver area cover with a towel and a hot water bottle to make it extra relaxing.
I hope my plan for a home Ayurvedic Retreat is something you and your family will enjoy. Stay safe.
7am warm ginger drink
Yoga Session 1 – activation, sun sequence and relaxation
8.30 Breakfast with fruits, seeds and toppings
10 am Self massage and relaxation
11.30 Fresh vegetable juice
12.00 Cooking a light lunch and evening meal
2.00 Rest or walk in nature
3.00 Afternoon Yoga
5.00 Epsom salt bath
8.00 Relax with a castor oil liver pack