Engage Your Body, Mind, and Spirit On An International Yoga Retreat
There is a variety of different reasons why people sign up for yoga retreats. Coming from all walks of lives, we join together for a yoga retreat with vastly different intentions and expectations for the time ahead. I took my first yoga retreat to Bali with an open mind, having few expectations outside of practicing yoga every day and enjoying pure, healthy food. I ended up receiving much more than I could have ever anticipated. My heart’s desire was now set on finding and joining a teacher’s training retreat–a life changing decision. After being on several different yoga retreats, and walking away with different discoveries from all of them, I’ve realized one of the most important things you can do is prepare for a yoga retreat. Preparation allows our minds to tune in and be ready for discoveries that might lay ahead.
“Yoga is the journey through yourself to yourself”
As Rumi has wisely stated, we take the journey of yoga to discover more of who we are. If you are prepared for this discovery with your physical and emotional body, the transformation will be easier. Our conscious mind controls our thoughts, and from thoughts, we form feelings. This means by controlling our own mind we can manage and guide our feelings. Taking time to develop control over our minds through preparation is the first step in being open to new discoveries waiting for you on your yoga retreat.
So, how can you be adequately prepared for your next yoga retreat?
Ready, Set, Go! How To Prepare For A Yoga Retreat
1. The Power Of Intentions
We often underestimate the power of our mind. When we set our mind to things we want to accomplish, we often succeed. Determination and mindful presence are great drivers. While you prepare for a yoga retreat, take time to set clear intentions, and then set your heart, mind, and soul on attaining that thing. Take time to think about what it is that you need most at this moment. It can be as simple as eating healthier, being more present in the moment, getting more sleep, or reducing your stress. Whatever it is, make a mental note of your intention and be mindful of it throughout your entire yoga retreat.
2. Set Reasonable Goals
Examine your intentions for participating in a yoga retreat, and then draw reasonable goals from those intentions.
-Are you looking to reconnect with yourself?
-Are you looking for a change of pace?
-Are you looking for a vacation that doesn’t involve indulging in poor food choices, too much alcohol and exhausting nightclubbing?
-Are you looking for better tools to deal with life?
-Are you looking for inspiration to make healthier lifestyle choices?
-Are you going through change and need time to take a breath?
It is ok if you checked all of the above. Being honest with yourself is the first step in making changes. Good preparation for a yoga retreat starts with honest reflection.
3. Bring On The Practice
If you have a weekly or daily practice – keep that. If not, it might be good to start bringing yoga into your weekly routines before the retreat to ensure your body is up for daily practices. Additionally, practicing daily on your own will build up the confidence needed to take you to the next level at your yoga retreat.
You can find great yoga practices through online resources.
Be patient with yourself during preparation. If you can’t practice as much as you want to, or find yourself struggling through certain asanas, it’s okay. Your yoga retreat is meant to challenge you and take you to the next level. We are all at different points along our journey. Embrace the spot you’re in now and look forward to the change that’s coming your way. The best thing about yoga is that it’s not a competition. At your retreat, you will see that all yogis are simply individuals at different levels in their practice. Good teachers will adjust each practice to suit everyone, no matter how advanced they are.
4. Practice On Your Mat
Most retreat centers offer a mat, but if you plan on bringing your own, you should practice on it beforehand. Whether it’s your favorite yoga mat or a brand new one, you’ll want to be familiar with the surface you’ll be practicing on. You may also want to bring a yoga towel, as it packs easily, is light to carry, and often comes in handy.
5. Leave In Peace
To be able to fully relax and focus on your yoga retreat, you need to leave in peace. Make arrangements to get fully away from work, leave your desk clean, and delegate duties in the office so you can be 100% unplugged. Leave an “Out Of Office” note, and transfer all calls. You need this time completely away if you want to see change take place in your life.
Leave your home in harmony, as well. Clean up around the house and make sure it’s in a condition you will enjoy coming back to. Say goodbye to family and friends, and don’t promise to call every night. You need this space to disconnect and reconnect. Often yoga retreat centers are in remote places with little wifi access. A perfect opportunity to get away from it all and learn to be present in the moment.
One of the best ways you can prepare for a yoga retreat is to consider what you will be returning to. It’s important to be mindful about returning, as you won’t be the same person. Plan to give yourself plenty of time to adjust your new self to the world you once lived in. Don’t go back to work the next day. You need to give yourself at least a few days to allow the changes that took place to settle in.
6. Mentally Engage With Location
While you prepare for a yoga retreat, conduct research about the place you are going so you will have a better idea of what to expect and can better adjust once arriving. If you’re heading to Blue Osa, there is plenty of information on the Blue Osa Retreat Center and its beautiful surroundings of the Osa Peninsula.
7. Pack Lightly
As you are working on your aparigraha–your non-attachment–be mindful about what you pack. Less is more. Layer as much as you can, choose natural fibers, and bring just enough yoga clothing for your time. Long pants might be a good choice as they protect from mosquitos. Choose light yoga clothing that breathes, and dries quickly. Be mindful in your packing, taking the time to think about what you will need, and ruling out what will be unnecessary.
Simple Packing List To Prepare For A Yoga Retreat
– journal and pen
– Mala beads
– yoga towel
– bug replant
– picture of something meaningful to you
– adapters & cords (unless you can totally unplug)
– refillable water bottle
– canvas bag to keep your stuff dry
Nutrition is an essential part of every yoga practice. Most retreats offer pure, organic food. At Blue Osa, we are careful to consider all types of dietary needs and are happy to accommodate for every yogi.
While you prepare for a yoga retreat, take time to consider what type of dietary needs you have, or if you have specific dietary goals you want to achieve during your yoga retreat. If you have a special diet, just make sure to communicate your needs with our kitchen beforehand to ensure you get what your body needs. Learn more about our unique cuisine and let us know how we can best suit you.
Don’t be afraid to ask! Check out our FAQ and as you prepare for a yoga retreat, don’t hesitate to send us any other questions you may have.
Yoga Retreats in Costa Rica At Blue Osa Yoga Retreat + Spa
Blue Osa hosts various types of retreats to meet everyone where they’re at. Some retreats are more intense than others. You can go all in and join a silence retreat complete with juice fasting, or make your yoga retreat a fun escape by pairing it with adventure activities or tours in the community. Blue Osa’s gorgeous location makes it the perfect place if you want to top off a morning yoga practice with a hike through the rainforest.
Single yogis, smaller groups, or people that simply can’t find a yoga retreat to match their schedule may like to take advantage of one of our individual retreats. You can also cehck out our upcoming group retreats, or join Yogi Aaron for a yoga journey to beautiful Frace and Angkor Wat.
Most importantly, leave all stress behind, pack an open mind and adventurous spirit. Enjoy the journey!
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About The Author
Inka means literally “The Child of Sun”. This radiant world traveler from Finland is in her thirties has explored in 55 countries and lived in USA, Latvia, and China. For the past decade, Inka has been working in the Global Mining Industry as Marketing Manager, promoting a sustainable technology solution for the world’s metal producers and process industries. While working in China, she truly discovered Yoga and completed her Yoga Teachers Training. Inka is on her amazing adventure through Americas for 3 months which of one-month volunteering in Blue Osa. Her Mantra is: “The Universe is my Home – my yoga mat my temple. We have one life – so live it well. Choose to be happy”.