This year has been memorable—marked by uncertainty, social distancing, canceled trips and new safety measures. If you’re like me, you may be thinking it’s time for a trip to help recoup, rest and restore mentally and physically.
Yoga is a perfect activity to satisfy this need. Specifically, yoga retreats provide an opportunity to relax your mind and soul, with a focus on rejuvenating the body.
You might be wondering, are yoga retreats worth it?
As a yogi myself, I’ve been on and have led many retreats in the past. I can definitively say they are worth it and offer many benefits that extend well beyond the retreat itself. Here are 5 reasons to consider a yoga retreat.
1. Provides Long-Lasting Motivation and Structure
Let’s take a moment to reflect… Are you taking time for self-care? Are you scheduling time in your day for fitness, yoga or other activities that you enjoy?
If you’re pretty dedicated to your mat and practice, well done for sticking to it! If you’re like many and find it hard to stay dedicated to a routine, then it’s a good idea to consider a yoga retreat. A yoga retreat offers a daily (oftentimes, twice daily) structure that will give your body and mind a deeper practice.
By participating in a structured program with yoga at its core, it encourages a routine with tangible feel-good results. Additionally, it provides you with new elements to add to your lifestyle when you get back home.
2. Encourages Learning and Growth
I taught yoga for around ten years and have led retreats for three. It took me a while to realize that even though I was a teacher, I had much to gain and benefit from attending a yoga retreat as a student.
Where are you on your yoga journey? If you’re new and just starting to look for a practice to kickstart your journey, a yoga retreat is a beautiful opportunity to dive in.
Maybe you’ve hit a boring patch in your practice and think a yoga retreat would add some new “tricks” to your current practice. Maybe you’re a yoga teacher in need of some personal restoration and just need to be led for a bit in a practice. Or perhaps you want something new to share with your students.
Throughout my experiences, I’ve learned that the best teachers are always a student. One should never actually stop learning and there is always room for growth mentally, physically and spiritually. A yoga retreat provides you with the opportunity to learn and improve—both personally and within your practice.
3. Introduces New Techniques
One of the benefits of going on a yoga retreat is the countless opportunities to explore what your body is capable of.
On these retreats, discover new practices and yoga techniques that will leave you feeling empowered to embrace a new routine upon returning home. Learning new techniques will help to diversity your day, bringing upon new modes of relaxation. From solidifying the child’s pose to trying aerial yoga, there’s so much to learn on these retreats.
When considering the best yoga retreat for you, research the types of yoga, what equipment will be used and the facilities where you will be practicing. Understanding these elements will help your comfort level.
4. Discover New Locations
With the stressors of work, life, and relationships, sometimes all you need to do is get away. These yoga retreats can also transform your life by bringing you to a new destination. Whether that’s in the heart of New York City or by the waters surrounding Costa Rica, each location provides a unique atmosphere to help you center your mind and body.
Consider your location when picking a yoga retreat and visualize yourself in that location. When you’re doing yoga, what do you picture in the distance? What kind of environment makes you feel most relaxed?
While each location and yoga retreat provides a different atmosphere and intensity, the one thing all yoga retreats have in common is its focus on zen and well-being.
5. Connect with a Well-Being Community
Yoga can be seen as the physical journey of connecting the mind and the body. On a yoga retreat, this can also be an opportunity to connect with fellow yogis. You’ll learn to feel grounded in yourself and even support others in their journey. By doing this, you are establishing a new community of like-minded people.
Push yourself outside of your comfort zone by joining a group of unfamiliar faces in an unfamiliar place. This will open you up to a new world with new faces, allowing you to connect in a way you haven’t previously.
“Yoga is an opportunity to connect with like-minded souls and come together with new people as a community. It’s an opportunity to have experiential growth and learning and to literally immerse yourself into the yumminess of yoga in a beautiful setting with healthy delicious food, beautiful surroundings and great people.”Samantha Ho, San Francisco-based yoga and reiki teacher
Your Next Journey Begins Here
Final thoughts: Mindset is everything, especially when it comes to your expectations for a trip. Before going on the retreat, ask yourself:
- What am I expecting out of this retreat?
- Can a retreat even offer that, or fulfill it?
- What’s the worst that could happen if I did go on this retreat?
- Is my expectation even realistic?
If you’re looking to learn something new, experience something fresh, meet like-minded people and try something different than a regular vacation to a resort, then a yoga retreat may be a fantastic option for you.