Ruth Rosselson reviews this digital detox and yoga retreat and defrags with Jivamukti, tasty veggie food and the beautiful Bedfordshire countryside
I arrived pretty frazzled at my Reclaim Yourself digital detox weekend. I’d been working way too hard since the Christmas holidays, plus overdoing the caffeine and sugar and it had taken its toll on my mood and energy. I was curious about going a whole weekend without using my phone or the internet, and a little apprehensive too. It wasn’t just going without social media contact, or chatting by text to my partner that was daunting, but also the fact that I write to my cousin daily by email – it’s as much a way of processing my day as it is a form of communication.
Jools, the retreat founder and owner, volunteered to look after my phone for the weekend, but I decided to keep it in a drawer and prove to myself that I had the self-discipline to keep it switched off for the duration of the retreat.
Going without my gadgets for 48 hours was less of a challenge than I expected. I didn’t miss social media at all, and was quite happy not contacting home or family. It was only for a weekend, after all. The jivamukti yoga, on the other hand, was a completely different story.
Although I practice yoga regularly, attending classes and following some easy videos online, I am intimidated by most strong yoga styles, so this was way out of my yoga comfort zone. Thankfully, Emma Henry offered modifications and I ended up being pleasantly surprised that the practice actually boosted my energy levels rather than depleting them. Over the course of the weekend, the strong energetic classes built up my confidence and I finished each class amazed at my existing strength and growing flexibility. I left each class relishing the feeling of having worked my whole body, and more than ready for the next meal! Happily, the food was nourishing, imaginative and extremely delicious, making me feel as if my body was being nurtured on all levels.
‘Going without my gadgets for 48 hours was less of a challenge than I expected. I didn’t miss social media at all, and was quite happy not contacting home or family’
The retreat venue felt really both luxurious and homely, and there was plenty of time in between the scheduled activities to enjoy lazing and reading in my comfy room, and spending time outside in the gardens and grounds, taking in the spring flowers, blossom and birdsong.
There were more people than I would normally like on a retreat, and although they seemed friendly and interesting, I preferred to spend my free time alone, enjoying the opportunity to recharge my batteries.
It turned out that I appreciated my time away from the digital world, using the old fashioned method of a pen and notebook to log my thoughts instead. I often use music as a background to activities, but not being allowed to use my phone at all meant that my activities did not have a musical soundtrack. I found that this relative silence left me feeling clearer and calmer.
Usually the queen of multitasking, I realised at the end of the weekend that I’d spent nearly 48 hours focusing only on one task at a time. I noticed that it was a relief not to be constantly checking my phone and really valued being able to spend a weekend just focusing on my self, my needs and truly listening to what my mind and body were telling me.
By the time I left on Sunday, I was feeling nourished, replenished and calm. Sitting on the train on the way home, eating my take-home raw chocolate brownie, I felt a massive sense of achievement for having got through the weekend’s digital detox, and four of the most challenging yoga classes of my life.
I resolved to find some local Jivamukti classes, cut down on multi-tasking and put more energy into focusing on one task at a time. I couldn’t wait to post on social media to tell everyone all about it.