Take a peak inside the world of yoga retreats — it’s a whole lot of bliss.
Have you ever dreamt of submerging yourself in a yoga retreat and taking relaxation and self-awareness to the next level? Does the sound of practicing yoga and meditating daily, while being guided by nature and led by an expert, excite you? Do you remember the last time you ventured outside of your comfort zone and found a new tribe to experience life with? Whether you have been to five yoga retreats or none at all, you will walk away with “more of everything” — more desire to practice, more space to breathe, more adventure in your life, and a deeper sense of inner peace.
The ultimate goal of a yoga retreat is to experience the blissful trifecta of yoga, spiritual nourishment, and community all within a natural setting. When these elements align, you’re a step closer to sattva, the Sanskrit word describing a state of harmony, balance, joy, and intelligence that radiates from the inside out.
So pack your mat and explore the possibility of experiencing the most authentic journey of self-discovery.
There’s a myriad of yoga retreats available, from ashtanga, vinyasa, and power yoga, to meditation and even silent retreats. The goal is to find the one that works for you.
Here are seven tips to help you embark on your next yoga journey:
1) Guru or no Guru?
One of the best ways to pick a yoga retreat is to sign up for one that your own yoga teacher is facilitating. It’s an easy place to start, you’re familiar with their style, and you may already know other people joining in on the retreat. Otherwise, you might want to research a yoga teacher who inspires you, or with whom you would want to have more personalized time. If you don’t have a particular teacher in mind, don’t worry, retreats are led by experts, so you will be well-guided the whole way. Be open to try and get out of your comfort zone. You might even try a new style of yoga!
2) Location & Time of Year
Mountains, the ocean, or both? I personally love the tropical environment for a yoga retreat. Warm weather is ideal, considering the fact that you’re in yoga clothes most of the time. It’s helpful to know that you can accomplish several travel goals at once. If you’ve dreamt of an exotic location, how about a yoga retreat in Bali? If a mountain adventure is on your bucket list why not find a retreat in Iceland? There are retreats all over the globe from Europe to the Americas; from Africa to Southeast Asia. The world is your oyster.
3) Budget & What’s included?
Yes, yoga retreats can be expensive and yes it’s worth it. There are retreats in exclusive locales around the globe, with luxury accommodations and celebrity chefs. There are also retreats where you can share a dorm room and community kitchen and still have the time of your life. Food and lodging costs are the bulk of your expenses, but what other amenities are included or optional? A growing trend at retreats is to feature other experts such as nutritionists, healing practitioners or astrologers. Retreats can run anywhere from $300 to $1,000 per day or more. In fact, that is the most alarming discrepancy seen in this industry – there is no average price. You get what you pay for. So if that trip to Greece for 10 days is calling you, then Greece it is! Be adventurous, be bold and succumb to the wanderlust within!
4) Solo or with a Tribe?
First of all, you need to ask yourself, “Is this a time for me, or a time to create memories with friends?” A retreat enhances both experiences. You will gain a greater connection to yourself and transform your life, and you will likely meet a new group of like-minded individuals. I’ve met some of the most amazing individuals while on a yoga retreat, because they share the genuine intention to evolve and grow.
5) What to do to prepare, and what to bring
If you already have a yoga practice, you’re on the right track. If you don’t, this is a great way to start one. Either way, a retreat is an opportunity to deepen your asana practice and find a new level of inner peace. Take a mat that you’re comfortable using on your journey (most airlines allow you to take it on board as a carry-on). Other suggested essentials are a water canister, a medicine kit, and anything that compliments your relaxation — for me it’s essential oils, an iPod with my favorite playlists, and a great book. Pack plenty of yoga clothes, layers of breathable clothing, and consider bringing a journal. Some of the most profound moments of your life are likely to happen at your retreat, when you have given yourself the time to reflect and express.
6) What to expect and leave behind?
My biggest area of advice is to expect nothing and to leave behind everything – stress, expectations, as much of what you think you need. That includes technology, such as connections to emails, social media and the Internet. It will all be there when you get back. Consider meditating to remove obstacles and limiting beliefs from your mind, or incorporate a mantra before going into your retreat. “Om Gam Ganapatya Namah,” a mantra I’ve used, means, “make the space within to go deeper.” Walk in with an open mind and let the adventure take you into new places of inner discovery, and leave the rest at home.
7) What you will gain
A deep grounded sense of inner peace and balance are almost guaranteed after any retreat. Let’s face it, our society is a pressure cooker of demands and obligations. Taking the extra time to unravel, restore balance, and find peace, is not only valuable to you, but to the world around you.
Go to the events section of YogaHawaiiMagazine.com to see upcoming retreats.
Marni Suu Reynolds
Marni Suu Reynolds, MBA, certified yoga teacher, and founder of Om & Roam – a yoga-based lifestyle brand and blog dedicated to a healthy lifestyle, eco-chic adventures, yoga retreats and seva work. Om & Roam facilitates yoga retreats exclusively in Hawaii and abroad in Myanmar. www.omandroam.com.