Do people keep talking to you about yoga retreats? Maybe your friend went on one that changed their life, or your yoga teacher has asked if you’d like to book a spot on her upcoming getaway.
If you don’t have any yoga retreat experience, it can seem a little mysterious. What’s actually involved — and what will you get out of it?
Here, you’ll discover 15 reasons why taking the plunge and booking your first retreat will be a profoundly positive decision.
Learn why a retreat can be a great choice for a beginner or an experienced practitioner.
#1 A yoga retreat for beginners will lay solid foundations
If you’re a beginner, it’s totally normal to think you’re not ready for a retreat. But actually, you’ll learn the basics of the practice under the close guidance of a supportive teacher. You’ll go home with the knowledge and confidence to walk into any open level class.
#2 If you’re more experienced, you’ll deepen your practice — quickly
Equally, retreats are perfect for experienced yogis who want to learn more and deepen their practice. You’ll have the full attention of your teacher(s) for the duration of the yoga retreat. You can ask questions, get help with specific postures, and learn more than you can in your usual class.
#3 You’ll gain new perspective
Going away anywhere helps to shift your perspective so you can see your life at home more clearly.
But a yoga retreat benefits your mindset more powerfully; with daily practices to uplift your energy, as well as the simple fact that you’re out of your usual environment.
#4 You will really relax
I know — flopping on the couch and sticking Netflix on feels like relaxing.
But actually, screen time and the stimulation of fast-moving images isn’t so great for lowering stress hormones in your body, and letting the ‘rest and digest’ function of your nervous system take the lead.
Yoga retreat vacations give you a chance to rest properly; and you’ll learn how to access that relaxation at home, too.
#5 You'll have time to reflect
Most of us are busy most of the time. And while busy has its benefits, it doesn’t leave much time for reflection. Almost all retreats have plenty of downtime for you to absorb what you’ve learned in practice and sit quietly with yourself. In those moments, you can uncover the clarity and gratitude you’ve been craving.
#6 You’ll make new friends
Let’s face it, making friends as an adult is hard. But on a yoga retreat, you have the time and space to build close friendships with new people. This happens naturally, without pressure; because you’re all there together, settling into yourselves and exploring your edges; and as you relax you begin to open up.
#7 You learn to breathe more deeply
One symptom of our busy lives and minimal rest is shallow breath. Do you ever catch yourself, and realise you haven’t taken a deep breath for hours? The focus on your yoga practice, over a sustained period of time on retreat, will help you breathe more deeply. You’ll develop greater awareness of your breath and the effects it has on your body and mind. So once you’re back at home, it’ll be easier to remember to pause and breathe.
#8 You could nail that pose that you’ve been struggling doing.
We all have those asanas we wish we accomplished with perfection.
And a yoga retreat is the best place to work on them. With an experienced teacher on hand to support you and show you what you can improve, you can develop the technique — and the confidence — to do the thing you thought you couldn’t.
#9 You’ll get fitter, effortlessly
Whether you want to lose weight, strengthen your muscles, or boost your overall health and fitness; a wellness vacation will kick start your journey. Away from the distractions and temptations of daily life you can focus on your health as you’re guided through daily classes.
But you probably won’t spend much time thinking about losing weight or getting fit — so the changes you notice by the time you go home will feel effortless.
#10 Nourish your body with healthy food
You will eat healthy, balanced and deliciously nutritious meals and snacks all day long. You will be asked about any allergies or food preferences beforehand. This is when you let people know if you’re Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatarian or allergic to nuts etc.
#11 You can reconnect with nature
Many yoga teachers value the power of being in nature, and choose locations to reconnect you with the natural environment.
If you feel the need to be outside, surrounded by trees or mountains or lakes, or to sit and meditate at the edge of the ocean; you’ll definitely find a retreat experience to suit you.
#12 You’ll experience the benefits of meditating with others
Whether you’re completely new to meditation, or you already meditate but you find it difficult to stay focused on your own, the experience of meditating within a group will brighten your soul.
I’d wager that all yoga retreats will include at least some meditation; and many have daily or twice daily meditation practice woven into the program.
Meditating in a group, and sharing that focus and commitment with the people around you, adds new depth. You will reach a deeper state of stillness and peace; and feel closely connected to the others in your group.
#13 Share positive energy and joy
The positive energy that grows from moving, meditating, eating, speaking, and even chanting together can feel a little bit like magic.
You’ll feel held and supported, and might experience a sense of freedom and hope that you’ll take back with you to your regular life.
#14 You could heal emotional wounds
People go on retreats for all kinds of reasons. But whether you’re expecting it or not, it’s not unusual to experience real healing.
With time to reflect, to focus; to breathe and meditate; and to connect and share with likeminded, non-judgemental folk; you find the space to open up and grow.
Sometimes this can be an emotional and challenging experience, but with kindness and patience, it’ll be worth the tears.
#15 Embrace the potential of the future
Remember that friend I mentioned earlier? The one who went on a yoga retreat that changed their life? Well, it could happen to you too.
It’s not that anything otherworldly takes place, but with space, reflection and positive energy that grows on a retreat, lots of us begin to see the future with fresh eyes.
You’ll feel rejuvenated, and recognize your own strength.