Whether you are going for a weekend or for a longer immersion there are a few practical things to consider apart from there being a fabulous yoga teacher on hand to guide and enlighten you. The location you choose will depend on length of time, cost and distance. We have put together a little check-list that will help you decide how to choose your venue and make your retreat a truly wonderful experience.
“5 things to look for”
Facilities & Sleeping Arrangements
A very wise man once told me “In the western world you need two things to set your day up right. A good bed and a decent pair of shoes”. His reasoning was simple and efficient. If you’re not in one of them, you’re likely to be in the other.
As we are talking about yoga we can safely dispense with the shoes but the facilities and sleeping arrangements are important. A good bed will let you sleep soundly. It will wrap you in your dreams and deliver you fresh for your morning practice. Most venues offer shared and group sleeping options.It wont hurt you to do a bit of digging to establish exactly how many people you will be sharing with and if the venue has en-suite bathroom facilities or not.
Food. Delicious, Nutritious & Varied Food
If food is your thing check how they source their ingredients. Do they grow some of the herbs and veggies themselves? Do they use local produce wherever possible? What’s the background of the chef? The comestibles must be delicious, seasonal, wholesome, preferably organic and made with love. There has to be enough to go around and the menu should be interesting. Does the retreat offer healthy snacks for between meals. Is it a food or juice retreat? Don’t get caught out. Check the small print.
Small Things Matter
Be organised. Make sure that you have a number to call if you are running late or lost en-route. Find out beforehand if you have the choice not to to be involved in absolutely everything. Handy for those times when you want to escape into nature alone for a moment to yourself.
Research your location thoroughly. If you want yoga and hill climbs find out about the terrain. Is there a local walking guide? If you want sunshine and beaches choose your destination with care. From personal experience the retreats that are located in climates that vary tend to have a robust ‘plan B’ up their sleeve. It can be very disappointing booking a yoga retreat in a far away place, expecting sun-soaked, down time when with little warning the island gets hit by a freak storm and the centre is ill equipped to deal with it.
Yoga retreats don’t have to be sparse. A bit of pampering goes a long way to make a nicer human being. Soft towels, a relaxation area, somewhere to read or meditate in peace. A beautifully decorated bedroom can make all the difference.
“5 things that could throw a spanner in your asana”
1. Do Your Research
Check that the style of yoga on offer is the type that you like. You don’t want to book a retreat to relax and restore and find yourself in some hardcore acro-yoga classes for a whole weekend. Find out about the teacher, look at the reviews. Contact people who may have visited already.
2. Check Your Location
Avoid the stresses en route. It might sound obvious but you can caught up in the excitement of your trip and forget this important detail. If you are going with a friend make sure that one of you has responsibility for checking the details. If it’s a remote location don’t rely on google maps. They have been known to get it wrong. If you’re not sure where it is located. Call the venue personally to see if they have directions.
3. Manage Your Expectations
If you have specific dietary or health requirements please make sure that you let the centre know in plenty of time so as they can cater for you.
4. Room Sharing
On most retreats you will be sharing a room. Unless you are going with friends this might not be always someone that you know. If you are sound and light sensitive take ear plugs and an eye mask with you. That way you will be able to switch off from your room mate if you need to. Find out beforehand how many are sharing with you. Check if your venue offers mixed rooms or single sex.
5. Digital withdrawal
Hopefully it won’t be too severe. If you need to be online for whatever reason find out if there is a WIFI service. Many retreats do not offer full time WIFI if at all. Be prepared. Take a book!
Now that you’re armed with a few tips you can peruse the web at your leisure. Rest assured, a good yoga holiday or retreat will nourish and revitalise you. You’ll meet new friends and bring back warm memories of your trip and you’ll be ready to take on the world again!