Yoga retreats can be life-changing experiences. They give you the chance to take a break from your everyday life, unwind and dive deeper into your yoga practice. If you’ve never been on a yoga retreat, it helps to know what to expect.
There are yoga retreats for everyone, from beginners to more experienced yogis. Whether you’re looking for a unique yoga holiday or an inspirational experience, you first have to define your goals before you book.
But whatever you choose, there are things to consider before signing up for a retreat. So, here are 13 things to know before you go.
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1. Explore different options
There are thousands of yoga retreats everywhere in the world, which is why you should really explore different options before choosing your retreat. If you’re wondering where to go, choose a place you already like or a place you’re interested in discovering.
For a first retreat, we always recommend going with a teacher that you know and trust. At least, you know you’ll enjoy the instruction. If you don’t have a regular teacher, you can still research retreats and have a good idea of what the teaching will be like when you read the description.
To choose the right yoga retreat, you should also consider the group size. It’s always best to be in a small group of 10-15 people. This way, you can have more interaction with your teacher and learn better. If you are very sociable and want to meet a lot of people, you might enjoy a bigger group though.
2. Establish a budget
Most yoga retreats include yoga classes, at least one meal per day and accommodation. Sometimes, extra activities such as spa services or excursions are also included or available at an extra cost. It is very important for you to establish a budget before you book your retreat, or you might end up with a big surprise at the end.
To do this, you need to research what exactly is included in the cost of the retreat and consider the extra costs such as plane tickets, and extra activities.
With that being said, we don’t recommend choosing your retreat only based on your budget. A yoga retreat is a wonderful and meaningful experience that will be really special to you. You should definitely save and wait until you have enough to go on a retreat that offers everything you need.
3. Define your goals
To choose the right retreat, you need to know your goals. Do you want to deepen your yoga practice? Unwind? Or simply take time for yourself? Retreats have different themes, intentions and you need to make sure your goals fit those of your chosen retreat.
In our experience, most people attend yoga retreats to destress and get away from their hectic life. Attending a yoga retreat can be a great way to spend more time with yourself and focus on your well being. In fact, yoga retreats are truly wonderful experiences, and they have taught us so much about ourselves.
If you want to reduce your stress levels, clear your mind or need help dealing with emotional issues, a yoga retreat is just what you need.
4. Consider going alone
Many people attend yoga retreats on their own. It’s actually the best way to enjoy and make the most of your retreat. If you go solo, you’ll be pushed out of your comfort zone, and will be more likely to talk and connect with fellow yogis. Trust us, you’ll meet super interesting people and most probably make new lifetime friends.
If you don’t hit it off with any of your fellow travelers, enjoy this time to read a good book, unwind, or simply soak in the sun.
5. Check out the extra activities
Most yoga retreats include two yoga sessions a day in their program. But group activities are also very important. We always recommend choosing yoga retreats that have at least 1 or 2 group activities included in their program. Don’t worry, most of them usually include a group excursion or relaxing activities such as spa experiences or massages.
Group activities are vital to relax, connect with others and simply be present. So before you book your retreat, make sure the extra activities proposed by the retreat are of interest to you.
Also, you’ll find many retreats offer a combination of two activities such as yoga and surf, yoga and climbing, yoga and hiking, and so on. These retreats can be really interesting, especially if you have an adventurous spirit, and want to try something new. You’ll quickly realize that yoga is a great way to improve other valuable skills for different sports.
6. You don’t have to be a yoga expert
This is probably one of the most important things to know before going on a yoga retreat. You do not have to be a professional yogi to go on a yoga retreat. In fact, many people who’ve never tried yoga go on yoga retreats. Obviously, it is better to have a few hours of practice under your belt before you go.
Most retreats make it clear who they target. And you’ll see, most of them welcome beginners and intermediate yogis. In fact, you’ll notice that teachers usually propose several versions of one pose to accommodate students of all levels.
So, if you’re new to yoga and are nervous about being the worst person in the class, don’t be. Be prepared to be challenged, try new poses and learn new ways of practicing yoga. However, we always recommend practicing a little more frequently in the weeks before your retreat. Otherwise, you may end up being very sore after one or two days. If that makes you feel better, you can tell your teacher straight up that you are a beginner.
7. Research what kind of yoga you’ll be doing
You’ll find that most retreats offer a mix of yoga classes. From Vinyasa to Hot yoga, there are many different styles of yoga, so do some research on the retreat program before you book.
Also, don’t forget to check how many yoga classes a day are included. Sometimes it’s just one, but more often it’s two: one in the morning, and one in the evening. If you’re a complete beginner, the best would probably be to get a mix of Vinyasa and Restorative yoga classes.
Whatever you choose, it is important that the style of yoga you’ll be practicing meets your needs. Some retreats also include a short meditation session at the end of their yoga practice. There could also be chanting, journaling or philosophy.
8. Go with an open mind
Going on a yoga retreat is an amazing experience where you’ll be part of a wonderful community, and being open-minded is essential if you want to get the best out of it. Leave any judgmental attitude or negative vibes at home.
Throughout your experience, you’ll meet amazing people with whom you’ll share incredible moments and try new activities. Maybe you’ll discover new skills and abilities that you didn’t know you had before. Don’t be afraid to talk to people and try new activities during your yoga retreat, and you’ll discover yourself even more.
A yoga retreat is a wonderful opportunity to connect with like-minded people who are committed to yoga as much as you are. Many people will be there on their own, so this is a real opportunity to make friends!
Open your heart, share stories, don’t expect anything from anybody and enjoy every single moment. You’ll see, you’ll build beautiful connections.
9. Make sure you’ll get free time
Going on a yoga retreat is not about practicing yoga all day long. Of course, there is a schedule to follow but it usually includes a lot of free time. In fact, at most retreats, you’ll be attending two yoga classes a day and have the rest of the day to yourself.
Yoga teachers know and understand that you are here to take a break from your daily life. That’s why the schedule is usually divided between yoga practice, group activities and free time.
During your spare time, you can chill out and relax at the beach, read a book, write your journal, go for a hike in nature or even discover the local area. Don’t forget that this time is for you to unwind and relax, so don’t overcommit to yoga – unless it is your goal.
The main goal of a yoga retreat is to get you more energized and relaxed. So, keep this in mind before you book your yoga holiday.
10. Pack light
This is probably one of the most important things to know before you go on a yoga retreat. There is no need to overpack. You definitely won’t need as much as you think you do. If you’re going for a week, don’t bring more than a couple of yoga pants, and one top for each day. Avoid packing things like a hairdryer or straightener, and high heels.
Before you go, don’t forget to check the weather to make sure you have packed accordingly. This is very important, especially if you’re traveling abroad.
Pack only your essential items, and leave room for souvenirs. If you’re worried about your looks at the retreat, don’t be. Everyone is accepting and your fellow travelers are not here to judge you. So forget your jewelry, makeup and fancy dresses at home.
For more info about what to pack for a yoga retreat, check out our ultimate yoga retreat packing list.
11. Be prepared to disconnect
An important thing you should know before you attend a yoga retreat is the rules regarding technology. Many retreats have strict restrictions on phone and computer usage because current technologies have become a source of omnipresent electromagnetic pollution.
Some retreat hosts will ask you to leave your devices at home or to turn them off as soon as you get there. In some retreat centers, wifi is not available, or only in designated areas. However, going on a yoga retreat is a great opportunity to completely disconnect and enjoy a digital detox.
Whether you are ready or not for such an amazing experience, make sure to always read the description before booking your yoga retreat or eventually send an email to the retreat and ask what are the rules regarding the wifi.
12. Eat healthy
Most yoga retreats usually provide fresh, healthy food, with minimal processed products. You’ll probably be served vegetarian food, but most retreats can cater to specific diets such as vegan or gluten-free. Before you book, read the description carefully or contact your host to know more about the food that will be provided. Some retreats don’t even provide caffeine, alcohol or meat.
Before going on a yoga retreat we suggest you try eating as healthy as you possibly can. Focus on the quality of the food, avoid alcohol and cigarettes, drink fresh juices and get your body cleansed.
Include more fruits and vegetables in your diet and think about your goals. Yoga retreats are the perfect opportunity to start a new and healthier lifestyle.
13. Get ready for an unforgettable experience
Yoga retreats are great experiences. You’ll be part of a community, learn so many things about yoga, meditation, and spirituality. You’ll get to meet new people, and make new friends.
A yoga retreat is the best place to share unforgettable moments, try new activities and learn about each other’s passions and hobbies. Everybody has a different story and you’ll learn a lot from other participants’ experiences. Don’t be shy to open your heart and connect with people. That kind of experience might even lead you to a different path in life.
Also, many yoga retreats are located in amazing places surrounded by nature, beautiful landscapes and wonderful wildlife. It’s a chance for you to live an amazing experience, enjoy new adventures and discover beautiful places. So, get ready for an unforgettable experience.
A yoga retreat is a wonderful experience, and it’s the perfect opportunity to take some time for yourself. Once you’ve defined your goals, you can book the retreat that fits your needs.
Don’t forget to explore all your options, practice a little more yoga before you go, and get ready for the experience of a lifetime!
We hope these 13 things to know before going on a yoga retreat will help you plan a successful yoga holiday. Have you ever been on a yoga retreat? Let us know in the comments below!