It’s the dream right? you swan barefoot through palm trees before a gentle yoga class as the sun rises, maybe a dip in tropical waters and a green smoothie for breakfast! returning home with a new outlook on life, you feel refreshed and renewed!
Yoga retreats are an amazing way to reset, rest and immerse yourself in yoga and wellness.
But, the choices can be overwhelming! there are so many are on offer and retreat vary greatly, how do you know what’s going to be the best for you? I am often asked about retreats in my yoga classes. So here are a few tips to help you in your research!
Think about location
Do you want somewhere hot and exotic? or green and lush? is a beachside location a must or are you happy wandering around hillsides? would you love the hustle and bustle of a town that allows you to explore and shop, or would total seclusion help you relax?
Also think about how you are going to get there: are you happy with a long flight and long drive to the mountains? or would you rather a shorter travel plan?
What style of Yoga is on offer?
Do you have a favourite style or would you like to try lots of styles? read up on what sort of yoga the retreat leaders will be offering.
Who are they and how many are there? maybe check out your favourite teachers’ retreats, or teachers they recommend, and also if there will be two or more teachers — it can be nice to have a variety of teachers to keep the classes varied!
Check the schedule
Some retreats offer 1 or 2 hours of yoga a day, some 5 or 6! have a serious think about how much Yoga you would like to do! If you’d like time to explore the area and/or relax doing your own thing, then 2 or 3 hours is good. If you are committed to an intense dive into your yoga practise then explore Ashrams that offer less luxury but invaluable yoga immersion!
More options! often the retreat discription will mention if its whole food, raw food, vegan, vegetarian, juices and smoothies, or just delicious local fare: make sure you know before you go! I once went on a week long juice detox retreat and one attendee wanted to know where the food was, she had booked without noticing that all our meals would be liquid! (she ended up completly inspired by juicing so perhaps it was just meant to be…:))
Certainly if you are intenting to partake in energetic yoga classes you will want to be well fuelled, if weight loss and detox are more your scene: a raw food or juicing retreat with very gentle yoga work nicely.
Length of retreat
Some people like a long weekend, maybe you’d like 2 weeks. If you are new to yoga retreats or just want to dip your toe into a yoga style — try a long weekend first!
Set yourself one and stick to it! (and bear in mind you will probaly have to pay for travel seperately, and keep some spare for taxis and unforseen adventures.) It is so easy to become seduced by beautiful retreats and end up spending more than you’d like. There are retreats to suit every budget, so stay focused!
Could you make your own retreat?
Something I have done in the past is stay at a hotel or villa next to a lovely studio and utilised their timetable of classes and workshops— add in a few friends and seek out healthy dining options and you have a your own tailor made retreat!
So you’ve found your retreat, booked, and you’re excited! how should you prepare?
A little bit of prep is always useful: make a list of things you want to acheive on the retreat, just to remind yourself — practise new poses? learn more about yoga history? nothing other than to completely relax? set your intention!
Here’s a sensible packing list
Yoga clothes, plenty of them! if you are practicing every day you’ll want clean leggings!
A water bottle — you will want to stay hydrated through your classes
Hiking/boating/sightseeing attire if you’re going on excursions
Casual spa/lounge attire
Tropical retreat? bring bug spray, sunscreen, sunnies & hat
Easy slip on sandals
Bathing suit/bathing suit cover-up
One or two dressy outfits (because, you never know!)
Books to read
Itinerary of retreat — try an get it before you leave so you know what to expect
An open mind! reatreats are a time for discovery; of new places, people and indeed, yourself. Be open to it, and you will come back a new improved person!
Be inspired! Namaste Yogis
(I run my own yoga retreats, and have attended a fair few as well. So if you have any questions this article doesn't answer, feel free to email me! firstname.lastname@example.org)
Don't head off for that retreat without a few essentials...