If you’re living anywhere in the world where yoga is popular, I am pretty certain you have heard of yoga retreats. You may have wondered what actually happens when a group of strangers travel to some faraway place to immerse themselves in the practice.
Do they only eat vegetables?
How many hours per day is class?
What if I am not good at yoga, can I still attend?
Why would anyone want to sacrifice a vacation to be tortured on the mat?
All really valid, common questions for people who have never been on a retreat but are curious about the experience.
That’s where I come in. I’m here to answer all the questions you may have about retreats but either 1)you had no one to ask 2) felt too awkward to ask or 3) just decided yoga retreats aren’t for you. So here’s Retreat 101 at a glance.
What is a yoga retreat?
A yoga retreat is usually a 4-7 day trip that is led by 1 or 2 yoga teachers along with 10-20 students. Yoga retreats include classes, workshops, all meals as well as down time to chill, relax and unplug.
Are yoga retreats for everyone?
A yoga retreat could be for everyone, but it is helpful if you have some experience with yoga. It is best to talk to the teacher leading the retreat to make sure he/she is open to any concerns you may have. Most teachers welcome everyone so don’t worry if you can’t place your leg behind your head just yet.
Do you have to be good at yoga to attend?
Absolutely not, which is why we call it practice. Everyone who attends a yoga retreat is working on something, ranging from developing a foundation to exploring more advanced poses. Retreats allow more time and space for you to explore your practice so you can return home with a deeper understanding.
How do you choose which retreat to go on?
The retreat market is definitely saturated so it’s best to find a price range, time frame and location that interests you. It is helpful if you know the teacher or have practiced with him/her to make sure you like their style and approach. If that’s not possible, try communicating with the teacher via email to discuss any injuries and specific things you want to focus on during your time away. You may also want to explore if the retreat offers anything else besides yoga like surfing, volunteer work, cooking classes or other local adventures.
What is usually covered in the price and what is a typical price range?
Usually, the cost of the retreat covers transportation to and from the airport, all accommodations, three meals per day and any yoga classes and workshops. Some teachers include excursions in the price and some do not, so best to check the specifics. Most of the time, airfare is not included along with spa services, gratuities and alcoholic drinks. The average price point ranges considerably from about $1500 to $3000 depending on location, room preference (do you want a single room or shared?) and teacher.
How much yoga do you do on retreats?
The amount of yoga ranges on each retreat so again, best speak to the instructor. For the ones I assisted, we practiced 5 hours per day, 3 hours in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. That is obviously not for everyone! Now that I am teaching my own, I begin each day with a 2 hour morning practice and on alternating days, a 2 hour restorative workshop.
What’s so special about them and why should I go?
Retreats are amazing experiences. Every time I have been on one, either as a student, teacher, or assistant, it’s been one of the best weeks of my life. You unplug from work, technology and the routines of daily life and reconnect to yourself. Retreats immerse you in nature with a group of like-minded individuals all on a similar journey. You get to explore and deepen your practice while refining the poses and expanding your knowledge of yogic philosophy. You make new friends and return home with a strong bond that continues to grow well beyond the retreat. It gives you the opportunity to reflect, clarify and heal any issues and space to face fears and grow as an individual. Most of all, from my perspective, it’s one of the most powerful ways to transform.
There you have it! Basic retreat questions answered so you get a sense of whether this is something you want to do. My vote is an obvious yes! You will not regret it!