A question we get asked a lot is how exactly to find a good yoga retreat. Our Om On tribe regularly travels to gorgeous locales across the globe for retreats, so we’d say we’re pretty good at helping people find their perfect retreat. There’s a lot of thought that needs to go into this decision if your retreat experience is going to be a fruitful one, and we’re here to help!
1. First and most importantly, know your intention for going. The retreat is your time to focus on allowing yourself to connect with your body and release any unwanted stress or tension. We can’t say enough that the most important step to preparing for a yoga retreat is to set intentions for your trip. When you go on a retreat with a good idea of what parts of your life most need renewal and reflection, the odds are better that you’ll achieve your goal.
2. Once you know what you want out of your retreat, it’s easier to narrow down your options. After setting your intentions, the specific kind of retreat you want to take is the most important element of this decision. If your goal is restoration, you’re probably not going to love an adventure retreat filled with hikes and horseback rides. You’ll want to consider what a normal day’s schedule at the retreat is like. Most retreats offer a twice-daily yoga practice, but what would you like to do beyond that? Are you interested in exploring your surroundings and being active outdoors, or would you rather spend most of your time off the mat relaxing with a cup of tea or having a massage? How long would you like the retreat to be, and how much time can you take away from your daily life? These are important questions, and it’s essential to answer them before making this commitment.
Yoga retreats are offered all over the world, and they offer yogis the experience to immerse themselves in an entirely new region or culture. After choosing which kind of retreat you’d like to go on, put some thought into where you’d like to be. For example, we’re especially drawn to the American West – our tribe just came back from Montana and will be heading back out to Colorado next month. The raw natural beauty reinvigorates us, and we adore sharing it with others. Islands like Costa Rica and Bali are also popular retreat destinations. The truth is that a yoga retreat can be just about anywhere, and it really all comes down to what kind of environment will nourish your spirit best.
3. So you’ve picked out your location, settled on a retreat, and set your intentions. You’re almost ready to go, but there’s still a couple of puzzle pieces left to fit in. It’s absolutely essential to research who’s offering the retreat. Do they specialize in yoga travel and make it a big part of their offerings, or is it a studio that takes a retreat every now and again? It should go without saying, but the more experienced they are with holding retreats, the more pleasant your experience will be. We also recommend getting to know the instructors who will be leading the retreat as best you can. Even the most well-regarded yoga instructors can have a teaching style that’s incompatible with your practice. If at all possible, visit their home studio and take a couple of classes with them before signing up for their retreat. A yoga retreat is a considerable time and financial commitment, and you shouldn’t make it without being 100% sure that it’s right for you in every way.
4. Speaking of financial commitments, you need to check and double check what is covered in the cost! Most retreats should cover the following:
Meals (most all should be included. If a few aren’t – which is normal – it should be clearly stated.)
Ground transportation to and from nearest airport to site (typically included, and essential when you’re traveling internationally)
Taxes on meals and room
It’s so important to read the fine print. Many retreats are advertised at a bargain price, only for you to find that accommodations aren’t included on arrival and departure dates, meals are up to you, and all excursions are add-ons. If you find yourself needing to tally up all those extra expenses before deciding whether or not to go, you may find that the cost wouldn’t justify the retreat offering.
Are you ready to go on a great yoga retreat? We might be a little biased, but we think ours are some of the best around. We’re gearing up for a retreat in colorful Colorado next month, with a visit to New Mexico coming up later in the fall, and we hope you’ll join us for one or both!