Taking time to find your perfect retreat is well worth the effort, here are a few tips about how to go about it.
Choose an area that will enhance your experience of a self discovery retreat, a quiet, tranquil area instead of a bustling holiday resort where you will be tempted to stay in the hectic, chaotic pace of modern life. Pick a location you’d really like to visit, maybe somewhere on your bucket list or somewhere different than you would normally holiday. Search for retreats in these areas and do some research into the local area, it’s customs and traditions, find some places you might want to explore while you’re there.
Research the accomodation, does it look like a tranquil place with clean rooms? Ask your retreat organizer if the center, hotel or location has it’s own website and check it out, look up the address on Google Earth or Street View at the location. Do they have other facilities like a spa or massage therapist, a pool, other facilities that you would make use of during your stay? If there’s no picture of the rooms or location to be found, or the pictures look dated, there might be something they are not saying. If you can’t find anything about the location anywhere, ask for some recent pictures to be sent to you by email.
Many people go on retreat with their own regular teacher, but if your teacher is not organising a retreat or not at a time convenient to you, or you just want to try something different; be open to looking for retreats with other teachers. Check out the teacher of the retreat you are researching; their schedule, teaching background, where they are from, etc. Check out their social media links; if there are a lots of pictures of him or her in advanced acrobatic postures, then it’s a safe bet the retreat may be focused on the gymnastics on the mat. What other things do they post about, do they live a yoga lifestyle or is there a feeling of contraditction in their posts? If you are unsure, contact the teacher direct and ask questions. Read the testimonials on the retreat website, but also about the teacher if you can find some, there can be quite a bit of info in these testimonials and they may give you a better idea of what people enjoyed about their stay at the retreat.
4. Style & Activities
There are many types and styles of yoga, and each teacher is different, but it’s worth thing about whether you are looking for a more rigorous physical retreat or a more restorative, meditational experience. Some retreats combine yoga with other complimentary practices such as Mindfulness or Reiki; you might discover a retreat that combines the style of yoga you want with a complimentary practice that you have always wanted to try or find out more about. Check out the rules and programme of the retreat, some retreats can be strict about their schedule, others more flexible; choose which type works well for you to be able to reach the goals of your retreat, whether that be to progress your practice or just to take time out to remember who you are! Participants often start out buzzing with nervous energy, asking for details on the schedule for the week, where the nearest town is, if there are extra acitivites, what to do during “freetime”….. they want to stay active at all times and keep the stressed pace of life they are used to… be open to doing less, taking time to pause from your usual pace of life and be flexible about what you’re going to do in your “freetime”.
5. Pricing & Timings
Think about what time of year is best to visit the area, peak season may not be the best time to go on retreat with the beaches or local sights packed with people, and off season there may not be anything open. Research about the best time of year to visit and what the weather will be like; if you usually live in a really cold climate and then go to a retreat that is really hot, will your body be able to cope with the heat and the physical demands of daily yoga classes? Retreat weeks can be costly, but if you plan ahead you can sometimes find great deals during off-season or end of season months. And remember the cheapest retreat may not always be the best choice for you, don’t make any decision just based on the price. Check out flight prices for the different retreat dates. Don’t forget to think about travelling to and from the retreat, some may offer transfers, but you might also want the independance of hiring a car or bike so you can get about and explore the area at your lesiure.
A Yoga Retreat can be hugely beneficial to your physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing, it has the potential to connect you with like-minded people who share similar passions, beliefs and outlook on life; a friend made on a yoga retreat can become a friend for life. It gives you the opportunity to make some space for yourself, quiet your mind, and find inspiration that can benefit your relationships, work and many other areas of your life. So start researching for your perfect retreat today and have a great time, learn things and relax!
Some useful links for you to explore: