You’ve seen the ads—an open-air studio filled with yogis in Down Dog amid a backdrop of the Caribbean. Or maybe it’s a winter lodge surrounded by snow-capped mountains with the yogis meditating in front of a roaring fire. Yoga retreats can look pretty darn good. In most cases they are, and can even be life changing. If you’re wondering if a yoga retreat is right for you, keep reading.
What happens at a yoga retreat?
Generally, yoga retreats offer a daily schedule that includes several times for and styles of yoga instruction, healthy meals, perhaps additional activities such as tours or nature walks, discussions about the practice of yoga, meditation options, lifestyle reflections and time for getting to know your new yoga friends, according to certified yoga instructor Veronica Zador, director of the Beaumont School of Yoga Therapy at Beaumont Hospital in Michigan.
Students of all levels can find a yoga retreat that is right for them.
Who should consider going on a yoga retreat?
You don’t need to be an expert to attend a yoga retreat. “Yoga retreats are a great way to get away from it all and find yourself immersed in something you are interested in, with people who are skilled in teaching you new skills or developing a deeper understanding of what you are already practicing in yoga,” Zador says. “For this reason, students of all levels can find a yoga retreat that is right for them.”
What to consider when looking at retreats
Ready to look for a retreat? Make a list of your needs and don’t be shy about asking questions from the organizers. Zador offers the following considerations to help you determine your retreat needs:
- Is the yoga style they offer a good fit for you? (vigorous versus gentle, for example)
- Ease and duration of any required travel
- Food offered (will they accommodate any dietary restrictions?)
- Types of lodging (shared room or bathroom, for example)
- Health and healing considerations (can you modify practices if injured?)
- Is there an emphasis on meditation or a spiritual practice?
Preparing for your yoga retreat
Spending some time planning for a retreat beyond the obvious like the weather will go a long way in helping you enjoy it and get the most out of it. Zador offers these tips to assist you in getting ready for your retreat.
- Investigate the website and promotional materials to learn as much as you can so that you feel comfortable with the skill level and type of yoga instruction offered during your retreat.
- Don’t worry about trying to improve your yoga before the retreat. A good instructor will offer specific modifications and direct instruction.
- Ask about additional learning options that are available, such as discussion/study groups, so that you can begin to create your schedule.
- Inquire if you can contact someone who has already participated in the retreat to share their experiences with you.
- Whether you are a new or continuing yoga student, assess your goals and discuss them with the retreat organizers to ensure they can be met.
- If you have specific health or healing questions, speak with the organizers prior to your arrival and learn how the instructors can best serve your needs.
- Don’t register for too many of the optional activities. Remember that the idea for any retreat is to have enough time, attention and comfort so that when you return you feel a sense of depth, restfulness and understanding about your yoga practice.
- Inquire about necessary clothing, yoga attire, mats, blocks, blankets, including information about additional packing considerations such as hiking gear, sports options, outerwear, range of weather and temperatures during your stay, and whether bedding or towels are included in your registration fee.
If you’re ready to check out some yoga retreats around the world, visit this fun website: Yogascapes