You have probably been thinking about leading a yoga retreat. You might already be leading yoga retreats. So what now?
- Are the steps you should follow?
- Should you do next?
- Are the steps I need to take so I know how to choose the right yoga retreat for my community?
How to Choose the Right Yoga Retreat
DECIDE WHERE TO GO
Where do you want to go? Where do you want to take your students? Choose a place that inspires you! Don’t go where everyone else is going. Be a fearless trailblazer and travel the path least tread.
DO YOU KNOW YOUR DESTINATION?
Okay, so you have chosen the retreat destination – BUT HAVE YOU BEEN THERE? Have you actually seen the place you want to bring your special community – the community that you have invested so much of your heart energy and time tirelessly building and cultivating?
THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS
Like so many people, I have noticed (more often than I would care to admit) yoga teachers seem to think that there is an easy way to this retreat thing and take the most shortcuts possible when thinking about how to choose the right yoga retreat. There are none. And if you do take them, there WILL BE karmic ramifications. Just because you are a yoga teacher, does not mean you remain unaffected by the laws of karma.
MAKE THE INVESTMENT
Have you taken the time to make the investment and go and see this place you want to bring your students?
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 inwardly 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, with integrity, take my students and community to this place I had never experienced first.
MY FIRST SCOUTING TRIP
This journey not only proved to be the adventure of a lifetime – watsu in 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, 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. More importantly, I had direct experience of everyone’s heartfelt intention.
Since that retreat in Hawaii, I diligently followed the same practice and would bring my community of yoga students to Costa Rica, India, Bali, Thailand, Cambodia, and numerous other locations. In the last 13 years, I have led well over 80 retreats.
NO MORE EXCUSES
There are so many excuses that yoga teachers have for NOT making their scouting trip.
TIME AND MONEY
But here is the thing. If you are NOT going to make the time and financial INVESTMENT in yourself and your students, how can you possibly expect them to make the time and financial INVESTMENT IN YOU? Furthermore, your #1 investment is in you. As you make the investment in yourself, other people will be drawn to make the investment in you.
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, looking back she admitted to me that she was unconsciously 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 THERE?
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 authentically 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 all of your students there. As you are 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 want your students to share in this amazing experience.
I have known yoga teachers who did not follow these simple instructions on how to choose the right yoga retreat and regretted it so much later on. The retreat they thought they were going to was not what was represented on the website. The retreat center does not suffer… the reputation of the retreat leader is what suffers.
When YOU INVEST in fully knowing your destination, your students will follow you anywhere.
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About Yogi Aaron
Yogi Aaron brings passion and adventure to his teaching. Inspired, 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 retreats worldwide and currently, serves as the yoga director at Blue Osa Yoga Retreat + Spa in Costa Rica