How to Find Your Perfect Yoga Retreat
By West Norwood Therapies Team, Mar 14 2018 09:00AM
Yoga teacher Emma Klein shares some tips on how to find a yoga retreat to suit your taste, budget and yoga preferences.
In 2016, I spent a week away at a yoga retreat in Sri Lanka. Leaving behind the husband and baby and trying to find some “me” time ahead of the insanely busy festive season! It was an amazing experience, and one I would definitely recommend to anyone considering it.
Morning Asana practice, followed by an amazing breakfast. Exploring Unawatuna and the surrounding areas in the afternoon before coming back to our villa for an evening restorative yoga session. Fantastic food – with some of the best seafood I have ever eaten. Lots of sun, laughs and great experiences.
First thing to look at is Venue/ Location
Do you want to travel to a new country, explore somewhere you’ve never been? Maybe take an extra week pre or post retreat to really explore? Or do you only have 2 days leave remaining and just really want a long weekend somewhere close to home?
It’s important to look at exactly how long you have. A retreat should be a holiday for your body and your mind. If you only have a long weekend, travelling somewhere far away doesn’t make sense. You will have just arrived and need to leave again. It is becoming quite common to find mini retreats just outside of major cities. A little bit like a mini spa break but for someone wanting more of a yoga retreat atmosphere.
There are quite a few websites that help you to find retreats. And they aren’t all about yoga. You can go for a weekend of silence, meditation, specifically to do yoga or all three just as an example.
If you are looking for something a bit further afield then you need to investigate your venue with even more detail. Some things to consider:
• Are you comfortable travelling on your own in that country, will there be airport transfers
• Is the retreat being organised by someone who speaks your native language or at least a language you are comfortable with conversing in
• What exactly is included
The idea of hopping on a plane to India and finding an Ashram where you will live for a week in silence, meditating and practicing yoga every day might sound fantastic. But don’t forget the practicalities.
Questions to ask yourself to help with cost:
• Do you mind sharing a room – most retreats will have the option to share, either in a bigger bunk house or a twin room. Sometimes this can be with someone you’ve never met or maybe you could travel with a friend. Sharing a room often makes the retreat cheaper
• What is the travel cost – sometimes, local retreats cost almost as much in travel expenses as foreign ones as getting to them is difficult
• What is included in the cost/ How much spending money do you need? If you need to be buying your own meals, then you need to factor this into the total cost as well as any outings or souvenir buying if you are in a foreign country.
• Finally, what is the per day average cost. This helps you to really compare one vs another. If you include transport and spending money and then figure out a per day cost you can see which retreats work out more cost effective.
Teaching Style, Teacher and other Students
Knowing whether you will like someone’s teaching style ahead of time is often difficult, unless you have attended one of their classes before.
Recommendations and reviews are your friend here. And this is where the big “find a retreat” websites are really good. Some good examples are Book Yoga Retreats – www.bookyogaretreats.com and Adventure Yogi – www.adventureyogi.com
They give a bit of security around the quality of the teaching and make it easier to find what you are looking for.
Talk to teachers you like and see if they have any retreats or teachers that they can recommend. Or if they are doing a retreat that you could attend.
If there is a venue/retreat you’ve found that you like the sound of, but don’t know if you’ll get along with the teacher, then contact them. Ask them what schedule they have for the retreat, what they expect to cover and maybe a bit about themselves and their style. Most of the time they should be very happy to give this to you and it will give a good indication on whether it is something you will enjoy or not.
Different teachers attract different students, and hopefully you will end up on a retreat with like-minded people. Understanding the do’s and don’ts of a retreat beforehand will help with this. Is it a vegan retreat? No-alcohol? Women only? All levels or aimed at a specific skill level?
Every retreat is different, and finding one that works for you is worth putting in the time. I hope you all find time for yourselves over this busy season and enjoy a moment of peace!
Emma is launching new dynamic yoga and pregnancy yoga classes on Wednesday evenings in April.
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