Being a fairly 'normal' yogi (I drink diet coke, I watch Eastenders etc.,) the thought of going on a yoga retreat would have scared the bejesuz out of me not so long ago. Everyone has preconceived ideas about yoga or the type of person that might go on a yoga retreat or what a retreat might be... Let me dispel some yoga retreat myths for you:
What I thought about Yoga Retreats (and REALLY didn't want):
1. I did not want to be stuck with a group of weirdy, hippy women talking, eating and breathing yoga and sharing their feelings all day.
2. I didn't want to be stuck in a 'yoga classroom' all day listening to someone speak baffling Sanskrit when I could be outside in the sunshine or exploring the local culture or meeting people.
3. I didn't want to be forced into scary yoga positions or made to feel inadequate because my body just wouldn't do what the skinny lady's next to me could.
4. I didn't want a regimented schedule of 'what you must do now.' I want a holiday not a school trip!
5. I didn't want the aforementioned weirdy women crying on me or giving me the evils at dinner because I asked for a glass of wine.
6. I didn't want to live off lettuce leaves for a week.
7. I didn't want to lie around on my back all day when I could be doing something active.
8. I didn't want to miss out on checking out the sights, surfing, paragliding, swimming, diving and all of the other fun stuff that I like to do on holiday!
How to find the right retreat for you
Now thankfully, I've never been on a retreat like the one mentioned above. I think the important thing here is to get the RIGHT retreat for you.
Check out the Teacher
Before you even think about booking a retreat, check out the teacher or school that is leading the retreat. You don't just want to check out their teaching credentials, but also, what is their vibe? Their teaching style? What kind of person are they and how are they likely to conduct the retreat? If the person leading the retreat is a traditional, serious yogi then you can expect the retreat to be... traditional and serious :) If the teacher has a reputation for being flexible, open and friendly, then that's most likely to be the 'vibe' on retreat and will attract like-minded people.
Support on Retreat
How will you be supported by the retreat team? Will you get lots of one to one attention or do you find your own way there and hope for the best? Will the teacher be guiding you on your personal yoga journey or just throwing out a class every morning?
Ask about the Retreat Structure
A lot of retreats are 9-5 hours and have a very strict format, similar to a yoga training as opposed to a yoga holiday. Are there workshops or is it just taught classes? Do you have to attend every session? Do you get any free afternoons or evenings? Are there other nice things, like massages or spa facilities included in your retreat package?
Ask about the Level of Yoga Practice
Who is this retreat for? You don't want to turn up at advanced retreat when you are a complete newbie or vice versa.
Accommodation and Food
Are these included in the package price as this can make a huge difference to your costs? Are you looking for a luxury retreat or something basic? Are you willing to share a room or do you want private accommodation?
Ask about the food provided too: will it be healthy eating? All raw? Vegan? Can they accommodate for your allergies? Is there a bar and an option to drink alcohol if you want to?
Think about Location
You've probably thought a lot about where you want to/are able to/can afford to travel to for retreat which helps you hone down your options. Once you've done that, start thinking about what else is there to do outside of retreat hours locally? Choose a retreat which has fun things to do outside of yoga class and make sure you have plenty of free time to do those things too.
I hope these pointers will help you find the right yoga retreat for you. Remember that every retreat and every teacher is different but by asking the right questions, you can enjoy a really awesome retreat experience.
I am running my next beach front PeaceLoveYoga Retreat in Bali, from January 29-Feb 4 2016. This friendly, inclusive women's only retreat will help you focus on the year ahead, with a mixture of yoga classes in different styles and workshops to help you integrate yoga into your everyday life. the retreat is suitable for all levels of yoga practice and our all inclusive package includes all of your nutritious meals and accommodation in Deluxe Garden View Villas. You can enjoy use of the Jaya Spa, will receive a complimentary one hour Balinese massage and have plenty of free time to enjoy the sights of beautiful Bali. If you'd like to find out more or request a full brochure drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org We have a couple of places left and have prices starting from £926.