If you’ve looked it up online, you already know there are thousands of yoga retreats out there. And with so much choice, it can be hard to make a final decision. So, how to choose a yoga retreat that’s right for you?
Yoga retreats offer the opportunity to take time for yourself and for your practice. But, there are quite a few aspects to take into consideration before booking your yoga holiday.
If you’re considering going on a yoga retreat to pamper yourself and deepen your yoga practice, here are our best tips to help you find the best retreat for you.
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Location is probably one of the most important things to consider before booking a yoga retreat. If you decide to go abroad, you need to research your chosen destination first. Also, there are a few things you should consider like jet lag or the fact that English might not be well-spoken in some foreign countries. Would you be comfortable with that?
If you like cities, art, and culture, consider a yoga retreat in Greece or France. And if you want to go somewhere exotic do some research on Costa Rica or Bali. If you want to go out of your comfort zone, but not too much, why not choose to go on a yoga retreat in a different state of the US like Hawaii or California.
Are you a beach or a mountain person? That’s another thing to consider. Extra activities will also depend on your location, so ask yourself what kind of activities you’d like to do on your retreat – water activities, hiking, day trips…
Also, make sure the retreat you have chosen is easily accessible by public transportation or you’ll have to take a taxi. To make your arrival and departure easier, some retreats offer airport transfer. This is a great extra if you want to get to your retreat hassle-free.
2. Choosing the right teacher
Through your teacher, you’ll learn, experience and develop your skills. So, It is important to know if the teacher of your retreat can guide you and help you reach your goals.
If you don’t know the teacher who is going to lead the retreat of your choice, don’t hesitate to send an email and ask all the questions you might have. Also, it’s great to read other participants testimonials as they usually mention how good (or bad) the teacher is. You will definitely feel more comfortable if you have some kind of contact with your teacher prior to your retreat.
3. Type of yoga you’ll be practicing
There are many different types of yoga, and they each provide different benefits. Before booking your retreat, you should definitely look up the type of yoga you’ll be doing and make sure it suits your needs.
Most retreats teach 1 or 2 types of yoga. Hatha yoga, a combination of breathwork and physical postures, is a popular type of yoga taught at retreats. In the evening, you might have restorative yoga sessions followed by meditation. This type of yoga is more relaxing. You can learn more about the different types of yoga in this post.
The most common yoga types you’ll find at retreats are Vinyasa, Power yoga, Hot yoga, Ashtanga, Kundalini, Restorative yoga, and Yin yoga.
It’ll be easier for you to choose a retreat if you understand the difference between every type of yoga and see if it fits your needs and skills.
5. Theme of the retreat
Yoga retreats have many different themes. You definitely won’t have the same kind of experience at a spiritual retreat or at a retreat that combines outdoor activities with yoga. So, it is important that you define your goals and your needs. If the retreat is based on intense yoga practice and you’re looking for a relaxing yoga holiday, then it won’t fit your needs.
The best way to know what a retreat is all about is to read the program and the testimonials of previous participants.
However, everybody’s experience is different because we all have different personalities and intentions. So, make sure you know what is the focus of the yoga retreat and what are your reasons to go there.
The price of a yoga retreat depends on many things like the duration, location, program, extra activities, time of the year, accommodation, etc.
Our best tip is to avoid peak season in your chosen destination. It’s is always the most crowded time of the year and everything is more expensive. Also, don’t forget that flights are never included in the price of the retreat, so the cost of your flight tickets is something to consider when you choose your yoga retreat.
When looking at retreats, it’s easier to choose one that includes everything (accommodation, yoga, and food). It’ll be easier for you to establish your budget.
Don’t choose your yoga retreat based on your budget. If you want to have a beautiful experience, why not wait a little longer and save some more so you can afford your dream retreat.
To have a better idea of how much your trip will cost, here is what you should consider in your budget: price of the retreat, extra activities, flights, personal expenses, and food if not provided.
Many yoga retreats offer vegetarian menus. Some cater to specific diets and offer vegan, gluten-free, or even Ayurvedic cuisine. If you’re on a detox retreat, you might have to drink juices and eat raw food.
We have seen yoga retreats offering meat and fish in their menu, depending on where you go. If you have food restrictions or allergies, be sure to contact the host of your retreat to let them know. Also, there are retreats that only offer one or two meals per day. So, you’ll be responsible for some of your meals. If this is the case, make sure to check what the local cuisine is like, and the cost of restaurants in your chosen destination.
Another thing to consider is that most retreats will not serve alcohol. And we have even been on retreats that didn’t allow participants to bring their own. So, don’t forget to check what the restrictions are and ask your host when in doubt.
8. What’s included in the retreat
Checking out what’s included before you go on a yoga retreat is one of the best tips on how to choose a yoga retreat. There are many different programs and some retreats offer more than others.
Usually, yoga retreats describe what’s included in their programs. From the different food options to excursions. For example, some retreats provide meals, and some don’t. We usually recommend booking a retreat that has at least one meal included in their program. But if you can find one that has all the meals and snacks included, it’s even better.
Sometimes extra activities are also included or they might come at an additional cost. The type of activities you’ll be doing mostly depend on the facilities and the location of the yoga retreat. Popular extra activities include diving, hiking, surfing, horse riding, and spa treatments. To be honest, many retreats include at least one hike or a day excursion in their program, some even offer a massage. So, do look around before you book so you can get the best value for your money.
9. Timing and duration
Most yoga retreats last between 1 and 2 weeks. You’ll also find plenty of 3-4 day weekends, especially near big cities. These short retreats are perfect for a relaxing getaway.
We always recommend going on a retreat for at least one week, so you can get a good idea of what it’s like and really take time for yourself. However, we know that longer retreats are not necessarily better. On top of that, not everyone can afford to go on a yoga retreat for an entire week.
If you feel like you need a weekend to restore your energies and unwind, do it. Sometimes all we need is just a few days off to recharge our batteries.
If you are looking at a yoga teacher training retreat, you’ll be looking at 2 to 4 weeks, sometimes longer, of intense practice. Just make sure you have the energy to do it, and allow 2 to three days to rest before going back to work.
10. Level of luxury
There are retreats everywhere and for all budgets. Whether you want to stay in a 5-star retreat center or in a rustic accommodation in the jungle, you’ll find retreats to suit your needs. Just because you are going on a yoga retreat doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in some luxury.
There are 5-star yoga retreats that offer luxury style rooms, carved terraces, sunken stone bathtubs, and five-course meals. On the other hand, you’ll also find rustic retreats where you’ll camp in a national park, hike and practice yoga in the wilderness. There are plenty of options in between too.
This is your experience and your vacation. You should choose the retreat that fits best your expectations. Just remember to look at all the details in the accommodation description. You can also look up the place online, and read reviews on Booking or TripAdvisor.
11. Number of participants
The number of participants is a very important thing to consider when choosing your retreat. Be sure to check or ask your host the maximum number of guests on the retreat. The size of the group can have an influence on the activities you’ll be doing, but also on the quality of teaching.
We personally prefer going on retreats with no more than 15 participants. We feel like it’s good enough to meet new friends, but no so big that you don’t get any attention from your teacher. Some retreats do run even if there are only 1 or 2 guests, and it sometimes happens that people end up alone at their retreat. So, if you don’t want this happening to you we suggest sending a message to your host a week or 2 before the retreat to find out how many participants there will be.
12. Intensity of the retreat
Some yoga retreats offer intense programs from sunrise to sunset. Is it what you’re looking for?
We found that most retreats offer 2 yoga classes per day, with some activities in the afternoon or free time for you to enjoy the area. These retreats offer a good balance between learning and relaxing. If you’re not that much into yoga, you can also find retreats that only offer one yoga class per day.
However, there are also high-intensity retreats that’ll focus entirely on the practice of yoga and alternative therapies (meditation, pranayama…). These retreats can be great especially if you’re looking for a challenging experience, that’ll change your perspective of life and will help you focus on yourself. But, it can be exhausting. Be sure to review your personal goals and to check the schedule of your retreat before your book.
13. Your goals and intentions
Everyone has their own reasons for going on a yoga retreat. Whether you want to deepen your yoga practice or simply relax and have a good time, there’s plenty of options.
Before you choose your yoga holiday, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do I want to go on a yoga retreat?
- What do I want to do at a yoga retreat?
- What do I expect from this retreat?
If you want to unwind and enjoy a relaxing yoga holiday, choose a retreat that offers plenty of free time to explore the local area. If you want to focus on your needs, and maybe deepen your knowledge of yoga, research the teacher and the teaching schedule. Does the retreat offer meditation classes, journaling activities or workshops? These are things you should be looking for in an intense yoga retreat.
Knowing what your intentions are is one of the best ways to know how to choose a yoga retreat. So, make sure to take your goals into consideration before you decide where to go.
14. Other activities available
Yoga retreats are not all about yoga. Some retreats often combined yoga with another activity. For example, you’ll find a lot of yoga and surf retreats, yoga and hiking retreats or even yoga and climbing retreats. But honestly, the options are endless. These retreats are usually active and are best for people who want to enjoy a fit holiday. They don’t focus on yoga, and only use yoga to improve your skills for the other activity.
Other retreats focus only on yoga and offer extra activities such as meditation, day excursions or journaling. These retreats usually focus more on your personal goals and the whole philosophy of yoga.
The weather is another really important aspect to consider for your yoga retreat. Your experience will be totally different if you have sunny days or if it rains the whole time. You should also check the weather before you go to know what to pack for your retreat.
Don’t forget that seasons are different from one continent to another. For example, if you want to go on a yoga retreat in Costa Rica, it’s better to go from mid-December to April. In Hawaii, you can go in April, in May, September and October. Finally, if you want to go to Greece, the weather is ideal from April to October.
To be sure that the weather will be good when for your retreat, you can check on this website.
16. Follow your intuition
Last but not least, we simply recommend you to follow your intuition. This yoga holiday is about you, so you are the only one who knows what’s best for you. It’s important to research and think before you decide, but in the end, you should choose the retreat that appeals to you the most.
Keep an open mind, trust your guts and go with the flow.
Whether you want to enjoy a relaxing yoga holiday or improve your yoga skills, it’s important to know how to choose a yoga retreat.
Before you book, research the location, teacher, and check availabilities. Consider your goals and intentions and follow your intuition. This is your yoga retreat, and you know best what suits you.
How do you choose a yoga retreat? Let us know in the comments below!