I’ve always known that dreams hold a lot of significance, but was only after signing up for a dream yoga retreat in the Magaliesberg, hosted by Johlene Vinova from Rainbow Dreaming, that I started to pay a lot more attention to them.
We were meant to do the retreat last year, but as you can imagine, with all of the frustrations of lockdown, it took a while before it could happen. But it did, and it was one of the most enlightening experiences I’ve ever had (and definitely the best time I’ve had in the Magaliesberg).
If you enjoy yoga and have ever wanted to learn more about your dreams, here are 3 reasons why I think you should go on a dream yoga retreat too:
3 reasons to go on a dream yoga retreat in the Magaliesberg
1. Getting out into nature is so important
After the last year of lockdown, I’ve forgotten how much there is to do outside of the tiny radius I’ve become accustomed to living in, in Pretoria.
Living and working in my one-bedroom apartment. Dinner at my parent’s house. Occasional trips to the shops, neighbours, friends, family and nature reserves. That’s pretty much it.
Before the retreat, I hadn’t gotten out for a really, really long time. While driving to the weekend retreat on a Friday evening, there was also a massive storm in Gauteng, which may have added another edge to my feelings of social anxiety.
The thought of being around other people again, even in an open space, just felt so strange.
But as soon as I arrived, and Lawrence from Sima Kade took us up to the Sky Terrace in his bakkie, on a rocky road that my Honda Jazz would not have appreciated, I knew I was exactly where I needed to be.
Even just a short distance off the main road and up into the mountains, I felt like I was away from everything, and surrounded by trees, which felt incredible.
2. Connecting with other people is really fun (and necessary)
Social distancing has become so normal now, that meeting new people and sharing space with them felt so novel, in the best way. Sima Kade’s Sky Terrace layout is so open, that I also never felt enclosed, which definitely helped.
I think the calming effect of being surrounded by nature, rocks and natural water pools also put everyone at ease.
While the focus was on yoga and dreamwork, for me, all of the connecting and sharing around it was even more valuable. Just getting to sit around a long table and share delicious food with people was such a treat (especially when it came with a side of homemade peanut satay sauce, made by the very friendly and caring plant-based chef Mirishin Schutte).
We spent a lot of time sitting on our yoga mats in the beautifully designed wooden studio, the Butterfly Room, talking about dreams and shadow work. And of course doing yoga with Johlene or our other inspiring facilitator, Abedah Musengi.
The weekend just flowed, and any initial social awkwardness disappeared, very quickly, after the first evening.
So much so that it was quite difficult not to talk to each other at all on the silent meditative walk up to the rock pools on our second day.
3. Befriending your subconscious is so liberating
Dreaming is a broad subject. I’ve always been interested in them, and quite good at remembering them, but I’d never really taken the time to write them down every day before. I also never thought it was possible to become conscious within your dreams and to be able to direct them.
So, while it was very frustrating that the retreat was initially cancelled, due to the first lockdown, it meant more time to learn about dreams from Johlene in the build-up to the retreat. Very kindly, she hosted more than one online workshop on Zoom over the last year, to share her insights.
The world of lucid dreaming, dream yoga and Tibetan Buddhism is vast, but by listening to her experiences, I started to develop an appreciation of how powerful and transformative dreams can be if you decide to work with them. As lucid dreaming teacher Charlie Morley puts it, your dreams are reaching out a hand of friendship to you, and you can decide whether or not to take it.
Johlene’s partner, Phillip Terrae from Herbal Hands, also shared a variety of natural herb infusions with us to help with sleep and dreaming on the retreat, which add a whole nother dimension to the practice.
On our last night, we were woken up at 3am to do yoga nidra and drink herbal infusions in the Butterfly Room, as waking up after a certain number of sleep cycles can help you to have lucid dreams. On my way back to my bunkbed, I was reminded of that childlike, excited feeling I used to get before going on holiday, or any kind of adventure.
And I think we could all do with a little bit of that right now.
How to connect with your dreams and go on a dream retreat
This time last year, just like everyone else, I had no idea what was ahead of me. While I think we’ve all just been doing our best to get through, I can say that building a dream awareness practice over the last year has definitely helped me, and has opened me up to a very different way of relating to myself.
Of course, getting to share it with other interesting people, through talks, yoga, and nature, is always an added bonus.
If you’re interested in taking a trip out to the Magaliesberg to explore your dreams with the Rainbow Dreaming team too, there’s going to be a Dream and Yoga Cosy Winter Retreat in July 2021 at Melody Hill, which is also in the Magaliesberg.
In the meantime, I’d recommend following Rainbow Dreaming on Facebook, reading a book by Charlie Morley, or just starting to pay more attention to your dreams. Even if you don’t intend to make it a practice, I can guarantee, that at the very least, taking note of what is going on in your subconscious is quite a trip.
Do you have any experience with lucid dreaming, dreaming or connecting with your dreams? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.