Yoga retreats are a refreshing way to connect with nature, live with purpose, and find healing. But selecting the right yoga retreat can be a daunting task.
The world is full of amazing places to practice yoga and improve your yoga skills. But how do you know which yoga retreat is right for you? You may be already leading yoga retreats and want to take your expertise a bit further. Or you are a beginner and want to learn more about the many benefits yoga has to offer. Either way, finding the right retreat can be scary if you don’t know where to start. Well, that’s where we come in to guide you through the process of finding the best yoga retreat for you.
The key to maximizing the benefits a yoga retreat can offer is to first select one that is the best fit for yourself. This involves the level of practice and style of yoga, as well as the destination. Time of year and even the teacher(s) who will be guiding you along your journey are important things to consider. Cost, time, and commitment are also things to consider when scouting out the best place for you. There is a lot to think about, but DON’T WORRY, we are here to help.
Here are some tips and areas that we will explore to help you make the most of your yoga retreat. We have even included the story of how Yogi Aaron selected Costa Rica as the place for Blue Osa. If you are interested in learning if Blue Osa is right for you, here is a great read on the ways in which Blue Osa yoga retreat and spa will steal your heart.
When do I book a yoga retreat?
The first step to booking your yoga retreat is to select a time that suits your schedule. Choose a time when stress and worry won’t be bothersome. And your daily life or job won’t be on your mind.
You also need to decide how much available time you have for your getaway. Are you in need of a simple short weekend for a bit of healing? Or do you think you need to escape for a week or more?
Yoga retreats offer escapes that range from a single day to several weeks. If you find you currently have a lot of commitments, don’t let that stop you from at least taking a weekend break. More time doesn’t equate to a more fulfilling experience. Be assured that even a short yoga retreat can rebalance your life and get you back on track.
How do I choose where to go on a yoga retreat?
The next step to finding your perfect yoga retreat is to select the destination. If you don’t have a lot of time, you may want to find a retreat that is closer to home or one that involves a short flight. You may wish to find a destination you have always wanted to visit if you find yourself with extended free time.
Choose a destination that suits your personality. If you love the sun and tropical beaches, search for a yoga retreat in Hawaii, or Costa Rica. If you love the mountains or the more rugged landscape, think about booking a flight to Iceland or Canada. Yoga retreats are all over the world. So there is no need to settle on a destination that doesn’t suit your tastes.
The most important thing when choosing a destination is to select a place where that makes you relaxed and happy. Selecting a destination that interests you will enhance your yoga experience. It will also allow you to experience new and exciting things you have always wanted to explore.
For teachers, where do you want to take your students? Choose a place that inspires you! If YOU are inspired, your students will be too. Don’t go where everyone else is going, yoga is about following your own path and doing what is best for you. Be a fearless trailblazer and travel the path least tread. Once you have chosen your retreat destination make sure you know what you are getting into – have you BEEN THERE? Have you seen the place in person? If you want to bring your special community – the community that you have invested so much of your heart, energy, and time building. Then it’s important to know what you are getting into.
There are no shortcuts when it comes to selecting a place for your retreat and it’s not an easy thing to do. Many teachers believe that there is an easy way to this retreat thing and take shortcuts when thinking about how to choose the right yoga retreat.
But the truth is – THERE ARE NONE.
And if you do want to take them… there WILL BE karmic ramifications.
Being a yoga teacher does not mean you remain unaffected by the laws of karma.
NO MORE EXCUSES, there are so many excuses that yoga teachers have for NOT making their scouting trip.
At Blue Osa, we not only offer a great place for yogis to come and learn but we also offer a great place for yoga teacher training. Read about yoga teacher training in Costa Rica to learn a bit more about what this experience is like.
Like people, yoga retreats come in all shapes and sizes so to speak. You will find that many yoga retreats have themes, so you want to select one that offers the benefits you are seeking. Some retreats may focus more on life coaching and personal growth whereas others may be more about health and fitness.
Sizes of retreats will also vary, so it is wise to inquire about how many guests the retreat caters to. If you do not like large groups, select a smaller intimate retreat. If you are seeking companionship and looking to find friends, look into a retreat that caters to large groups. Selecting a retreat that is true to who you are means that you will be meeting like-minded people with who you will be more able to create bonds.
Some retreats are luxurious while others may be a bit more rustic. Are you looking for an off-the-grid camping experience in the wilderness? Or do you favor a private beach hut with modern amenities, running water, and electricity? You must also think about your meals. Some retreats may be vegan while others may focus on fasting or juice cleansing. Some retreats may not offer certain comfort foods or allow alcohol. So you want to choose a retreat where you won’t have to forego your normal comfortable diet if you do not wish to. If you are unsure of what kind of yoga you like, here is a guide on how to select your style of yoga.
How do I choose the right yoga teacher?
You want to be sure that the yoga retreat you select offers a teacher that aligns with your needs. Each yoga instructor has a unique teaching style, so you want to be sure to find one you are comfortable with. Ask for recommendations from your typical yoga instructor you trust at home or ask if they run a yoga retreat themselves. Don’t be afraid to search reviews and testimonials to be sure you are selecting a qualified instructor. Look into the instructor’s personal website and social media to see if their teaching style resonates with you.
Some retreats and their instructors may impose more strict guidelines when it comes to how much yoga there is. Others will allow more free time to explore the culture. And attractions of the destination you have chosen.
Whether you are into Bikram Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, or Iyengar Yoga, you can be certain that you will be able to find a yoga retreat. Even an instructor that will allow you to enjoy the yoga you prefer.
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Where to find a yoga retreat that fits my budget:
Yoga retreats cater to almost any budget, so you can be sure there is one that will fit yours. You must ask yourself whether you favor quality over quantity or whether you can forego certain luxuries to enjoy a longer getaway. You often get what you pay for so it is wise not to book the cheapest yoga retreat.
Many yoga retreats are all-inclusive, meaning you can stick to your budget without any hidden fees or surprise expenses. You can also reduce costs by choosing dorm-style accommodation as opposed to booking a private room. Remember to factor in the cost of flights. Long international flights will, of course, be more expensive than short ones.
For teachers: If you are NOT going to take the time and financial INVESTMENT, then how can you expect to make time and financial INVESTMENT IN YOU? Furthermore, your #1 investment is in you. As you make the investment in yourself, other people will make the investment in you.
Who do I travel with on a yoga retreat?
You also need to decide whether your yoga retreat holiday will be an escape for yourself. Or whether you and your partner (or even your entire family) need a bit of rebooting. Traveling with trusted family or friends allows you to share your yoga experience. While also challenging each other to grow. You need not worry. But if you find yourself traveling solo, your yoga retreat will provide a supportive community. Here, you will most likely develop long-lasting friendships.
How to Lead And Sell Out Yoga Retreats
I started to lead yoga retreats almost 13 years ago. I never dreamed of taking my students to a place I had never been to before.
The very first big trip I EVER took was to Hawaii. I had heard whisperings of this amazing retreat center located on the Big Island of Hawaii called Kalani. So many people had recommended it and I felt that it was time to take the plunge and lead my community on a retreat. Even with all the great recommendations, I could not take my students and community to this place. Because I had never experienced it before.
My First Scouting Trip:
This journey was the adventure of a lifetime for many reasons. Volcanic hot springs, huge fruit platters every morning, swimming naked on the local black sandy beach, practicing yoga at the volcano with the sun rising on my right, and the lava pouring out on my left… I also had the opportunity to stay at the yoga retreat center for 5 days. While I was there I would eat the food, practice yoga in the studio, soak in the volcanic steam vents and so much more!
I Got To Know the Community:
The most important thing that happened during my initial five-day adventure was that I got to know the caring community. At the end of five days, I knew beyond any doubt that my students would thrive during the week I had planned for them in Hawaii. I had INVESTED THE TIME and CULTIVATED a relationship with the yoga retreat. But more, I had direct experience of everyone’s heartfelt intention.
Since that retreat in Hawaii, I followed the same practice. And would bring my community of yoga students to Costa Rica, India, Bali, Thailand, Cambodia, and many other locations. In the last 13 years, I have led well over 80 retreats.
When it comes to time and money, invest in the place you are selecting for yourself as well as your students. Recently we had two teachers come to Blue Osa. They were both friends who shared a previous training experience. My friend Randy had spent a lot of time at Blue Osa but he did not have much of a yoga community to offer his retreat to. His friend Leslie, was a powerhouse yoga teacher with an amazing large following of people but NEVER MADE THE TIME to come to Blue Osa. Randy brought ten people! And Leslie brought zero.
When I spoke to Leslie about this, she admitted to me that she was skeptical about suggesting Blue Osa to her community because she had never been. She regretted her decision about not making the time investment.
Why Go + Visit The Yoga Retreat Center First?
There are SO MANY BENEFITS to making a scouting trip to the retreat destination. Here are a few.
- SCOUTING TRIP – More than likely there are other yoga retreat centers close by. You can check THEM to compare and contrast your experience.
- FREE VACATION – Many retreat centers will give you a couple of days of FREE or discounted lodging. Your vacation is almost paid for. Some might even pay for your airfare.
- SHARE – Once you experience the retreat, you can share how wonderful it will be for your students to come.
- PHOTOS – You can get your photos – You can take lots and lots of photos for your retreat.
- START YOUR MARKETING – Your marketing for your retreat began the moment you found the retreat location and started to plan your trip there. You can Facebook about it, Tweet it, Pinterest about it, and so much more. Your community will be SO EXCITED about this new adventure they are going to take. Give your community little tastes of the retreat experience.
- INTENTION – You need to go because the shakti needed for this retreat will cultivate while you are there by yourself. As you practice yoga in the yoga space, you will visualize your students there. See yourself walking on the beach or making a trek up to the waterfall, you will feel your students and community with you. As you taste the amazing food, you will become more excited, and you see your students sharing this experience with you.
I have known yoga teachers who did not follow these simple instructions on how to choose the right yoga retreat. And regretted it later on. The retreat they thought they were going to was not what was on the website. The retreat center does not suffer… the reputation of the retreat leader is what suffers.
When YOU INVEST in knowing your destination, your students will follow you anywhere.
Yogi Aaron, author of “Autobiography of a Naked Yogi” is the co-owner of Blue Osa Yoga Retreat and Spa, where he brings passion and adventure to countless students through his teachings and lectures. Inspired by his own practice, he guides students to secret and far-flung locales, empowers them to realize their own limitless potential, and makes yoga relevant and accessible for the modern world. Since 2002 he has been traveling and leading more than 100 yoga retreats worldwide. He currently serves as the yoga director leading the Yoga Teacher Trainings at Blue Osa.