The ultimate retreat for yoga is right in your backyard

May 18, 2023 0 Comments

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As a doctor who works in a hospital, I’m usually on a schedule of seven days in a row, then I have seven days off. During my “hospital week” I work 12-14 hours a day, facing constant demands and making important decisions. When I get home, I have so much energy left to stare at the wall. And while a week off sounds like a luxury, those days are filled with running errands, working on projects, and other acts of “growing up.”

I love what I do, but long shifts for days on end can leave me feeling drained, stressed and exhausted. And this can lead to decision fatigue, making even the smallest choice a challenge.

I was worried about exhaustion and I knew that something needed to change and that was the way I was taking care of myself. Aware of the need for time to regain my strength, but not knowing how to fill the cup, I turned to what I know best – yoga. I read some recent research on yoga training for professionals that improves their mindfulness, resilience, empowerment, and self-compassion. I needed a retreat.

Although I host yoga retreats twice a year, I don’t often find time to attend them as a guest. I was looking for a retreat that fit my schedule and budget, but I couldn’t find enough, so I decided to create my own personal yoga retreat at home. I called it my “residue” and I found it so rejuvenating that it’s now a regular practice.

Time search

It is difficult to allocate a significant part of time exclusively for yourself. Every now and then a nagging voice of self-doubt creeps in, questioning my right to take a break when my to-do list seems endless. But by investing in myself in this way, I can express myself more fully in all aspects of my life.

I block off the whole day for sessions that I stay at home. I find that planning my day ahead and following a structured schedule—much like you would on a yoga retreat—allows me to not overthink the process and instead focus entirely on my breath, movement, and heart connection. This allows me to calm my mind and recharge my mental batteries, allowing me to return to work with renewed focus and energy.

I started booking a rest day into my calendar when my schedule allowed, and the results were nothing short of dramatic. I end my personal retreat days with a renewed sense of invigoration and clarity. Not only do I feel more focused and present for both myself and my patients, but I also write with more creative fervor.

The most important thing about my treats is that they have changed the way I think about yoga. My practice is no longer about trying to get something out of this experience, like working out, stretching, or relaxing. Yoga was aimed at cultivating a deeper relationship with oneself; to find out who I am and to meet her with clarity, generosity and an open heart.

The recipe for your personal yoga retreat

I encourage you to try creating your own solo yoga retreat at home. It can be a great way to focus on your practice, energize yourself, and take some time for yourself. Below is a sample schedule for one of my treatment days that you can follow, with links to practices that you can include. Of course, you can revise it according to your own needs. May it bring you peace and joy.

7:00 a.m.: Wake up, drink warm water with lemon and practice pranayama (breathing exercises)

7:30: Meditation

8:00 a.m.: Yoga practice with light stretching, sun salutations, and standing poses

9:00 a.m.: Enjoy a light breakfast, such as a smoothie, fresh fruit, or a bowl of oatmeal.

10:00 a.m.: Spend some time in silent meditation or journaling

11:00 am: Take a break and enjoy a healthy snack

11:30 a.m.: Yoga practice focusing on balancing poses and twists

12:30 p.m.: Spend time in silence, perhaps practicing pranayama, self-massage, or brushing your teeth.

1:00 p.m.: Nutritious lunch with a balanced mix of protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats

14:00: nap or read a book

4:00 p.m.: Practice gentle yoga poses to relieve tension and stress

5:30 p.m.: Take a walk outside, breathe in the fresh air and connect with nature

6:30 p.m.: Enjoy a light dinner such as soup, salad, or steamed vegetables.

7:30pm: Spend some time in deep relaxation with yoga nidra or guided meditation

8:30 p.m.: Take a warm bath or shower before bed

Remember, this is just an example of a schedule that can be adapted to suit your personal needs and preferences. Enjoy a yoga retreat at home!

About our contributor
Ingrid Young is a physical therapist, yoga therapist, and published author. She has been teaching yoga for over 20 years and is the author of Adaptive Yoga and Hatha Yoga Asanas. Dr. Young conducts trainings and retreats around the world, focusing on kinesthetic physiology and healing through breathing, meditation, and the mind-body connection. Learn more at

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