When you consider signing up for a yoga retreat, you will soon notice that you have an abundance of choice! As yoga gains more popularity, so do various yoga retreats around the world. Not only can you pick almost any location you want, but you can combine yoga with just about any other activity you love! This leaves you with a burning question - what exactly is it that you want? And how do you find the perfect Yoga Retreat among all the retreats offered?
Step 1 - Active or Reflective?
Before you decide anything else, think about what you would like to get out of your retreat. After the retreat is done, what have you learned or achieved? Are you looking to do yoga and be active, or would you like to practice yoga and be reflective with the rest of your time?
This will pretty much determine the theme of your retreat, and the rest of the decisions you can base on that. Why is this so important? If you are looking to do some surfing or mountain climbing between yoga, you are perhaps not going to be content in a retreat based more on restorative activities. If on the other hand rest and restorative is all you're looking for, paragliding after your morning flow may feel a bit extreme.
If you want action next to your yoga, there are countless of options for you out there! Surfing, mountain climbing, SUP yoga, diving, horseback riding and hiking just to name a few. Look for Yoga Adventure retreats and pick one that speaks to you!
For those of you looking to reflect, try combining your yoga with extended meditation, massage, life coaching, art or creative writing.
Step 2 - Location, location, location!
Or budget, budget, budget. Once you have figured out how active you want to be during your retreat, you can start thinking about the location. When you imagine yourself on a yoga retreat, where do you see yourself? Half way around the world on a tropical island perhaps, or more close to home.
Ask yourself how long you are willing to travel to get to your destination. If you only have limited time available, jetlag may take a big bite out of your yoga experience. Before settling on that perfect island get-away, check how to travel to your destination, and how much you are willing to spend on your travels.
Location comes with budget, and the further you go, the more you are likely to spend on airfare. On the other hand, some locations, such as South-East Asia and Bali, offer retreats with lower prices, since the local expenses are relatively low. So before you are fooled with a high airfare, check the total amount you would be spending before ruling out some locations.
Check beforehand how flexible the yoga retreat is regarding extending your stay. You can plan your travels around the retreat, or stay longer in the same location where the retreat is offered.
Sometimes it's also nice to not to travel anywhere, physically, and purely focus on your inner journey. Many yoga schools offer daily retreats where you enjoy yoga for days in a row, but go home for the nights. Snoozing in your own bed after a day of yoga can also be the most relaxing thing ever!
Step 3 - Style of Yoga
When you know your preferred level of activity, and you have an idea of the perfect location, think about what style of yoga you would like to practice. Are you experienced, and prefer more advanced level classes? Then you may focus on furthering your practice with a retreat offering advanced level yoga. If you are a beginner, look for retreats where no prior experience is required, where the yoga is more likely to be gentle and restorative.
If you have a specific style in mind, such as Yin, Vinyasa or Ashtanga, look for retreats that match your style requirements. The best yoga retreats are clear about the style of yoga they offer, so this should be an easy task to figure out.
Step 4 - Size of the group
It's important for your well-being that you feel comfortable with the surroundings. If big groups give you anxiety attacks, opt for retreats that are offering small groups, or even private retreats! Or perhaps you want to be surrounded by like-minded people, and want to have plenty of new friends around you. If it is not clear, ask how big the group sizes are to be sure.
You can also ask how flexible the retreats are. Some offer retreats with a fixed date, when the groups are likely to be a bit bigger. Others offer retreats that are available all-year-round, making them much more individual.
Step 5 - Style of the stay
Do you imagine laying by the pool between classes, or venturing out onto empty beaches? There can be big differences in the style of the accommodations offered. Are you more the eco-resort type, or do you want more comfortable amenities around you, such as air-con and a pool? Be honest, it's no crime to desire cold towels delivered to you by the pool, it's your holiday! You know what would make you smile and your heart sing.
Related to the style of the stay is the style of the kitchen. Are you looking for all inclusive, or would you want more choice? Some retreats are offering a vegetarian cuisine, whereas others are based more on the local cuisine. Check before hand what is possible to avoid any disappointments.
Another thing to keep in mind is the level of sharing you will be doing. Are you willing to share a room with a potential new friend, or do you want your own private place to retreat to. Most yoga retreats offer you an option to share, or to opt for a private accommodation. If you are not the sharing kind, then look further for accommodations where you can be on your own.
Step 6 - Additional Services
Most Yoga Retreats already offer a list of activities to do during the retreat, but some offer additional activities you could do, excluded from the price of the retreat. Whether you would like to have daily massages, life coaching, private guided meditation, sightseeing tours or spiritual practices, look for the extra services the yoga retreats are offering. This can bring a nice additional touch to your experience, and make the retreat more individually tailored to your needs.
As you can see, the question is not so much about what do the best yoga retreats have to offer, but rather how to find the best yoga retreat for you. The more clear you are about what you want, the more chances are that you will find your perfect match. And when you do, just let go of everything else, and enjoy!