One Sunday every month, I treat as a retreat day. Retreat days at the Shaolin Temple would be days when we would connect more deeply to one aspect of our practice or spend the day in meditation. If you have a family, this is challenging but as long as you don't expect peace and quiet then it can also be fun.
I like to begin my day by going outside for a run. I wake up around five so London is still empty at that time and there's not too much traffic. I follow my run with some martial arts movements. These will usually be the Novice Monk 5 Fundamental Kicks from and some fighting kicks and combinations.
When I get back, I have a bath. As hot as possible. It's a great way to relieve sore muscles. I use magnesium salt or Epsom salts.
It's helpful to have an image or symbol of something that inspires you. If you train with my online programs, you'll see I have an altar with Buddha, Guan Yin and Damo. I light some incense then do a short meditation. I recommend you start with High Intensity Meditation. If you have children, Thich Nhat Hanh does a pebble meditation.
After meditating, I do some Qigong. It may be restorative Qigong or hard Qigong depending on what I feel my body needs that day. Once I've done this, I meditate again and check if the texture of my mind has changed. My meditation is usually more stable and grounded.
As I've got older, I massage more. I take longer with the Instant Health Massage Brush, focusing on any tight muscles or blocked channels. I also use the acupressure neck massager, to do a deep massage on the points down the side of my neck. I also like to use the Gua Sha.
My favourite food is a very simple vegetable stir fry. I always use ginger and whatever vegetables I have in the fridge. You can see a simple recipe HERE. I eat this with rice or noodles. While eating I practice eating meditation. Then follow this with some green tea.
My workout varies depending on what my mind and body need at that moment. Do I need a restorative workout? Or do I want to push myself? It may be something as simple as a twenty-minute plank meditation. This static stamina challenges the mind and body in a different way.
I will then read a meditation book or a sutra. Something uplifting and inspiring.
I hope these ideas will inspire you to make your own Sunday retreat. Of course, it was a lot easier when I lived at the temple and could go for a run to the mountains. But it is our mind which makes the world. Peace comes from within, not from outside of us. This is our challenge!