A yoga retreat is a nice opportunity to take a step back from the distractions of daily life. They also help you focus on and immerse yourself in your yoga practice, while also experiencing new places with new people.
As rejuvenating as this experience can be, many find the idea of a retreat slightly intimidating. Yes, for some, even a retreat may seem daunting at first, as many wonder if it's really a relaxing vacation or a challenge that puts you too far outside your comfort zone.
Here are a few handy tips and tricks to help you get the best out of a yoga vacation and feel ready to immerse yourself in yoga and travel.
Pick the right retreat for you
Your experience all depends on the retreat you choose, as different retreats have different areas of emphasis and intensity. Some are more yoga focused, some have more time for sightseeing and others are more about delicious food. Others incorporate other things like meditation, reiki, time in nature or even wine tasting and cooking classes.
Some are more of a vacation and others are more serious about yoga. If you're craving discipline and practicing multiple challenging yoga classes each day, there's a retreat for you. If you want a vacation on the beach with nice relaxing yoga class as an addition, there's a retreat out there for you also.
Make sure you look around and find the yoga retreat that suits you best. Some are more of a vacation and others are more serious about yoga. At most retreats, all classes and activities optional, which means you get to choose your own adventure and are not confined to a strict schedule either.
Before signing up for a yoga retreat, it can be helpful to make your yoga practice more consistent leading up to it, although it's not necessary. Go to classes or start practicing at home a little more. This will help prepare your body and mind for more yoga than usual that you will have available at most retreats, especially if you're not used to practicing multiple times per day.
Your retreat can also be your time to practice, so if you don't have the time to make it to your mat more beforehand, don't worry, you'll still get the benefits of the yoga on the retreat.
Pack lightly & appropriately
An important part of prepping for any vacation, yoga or not, is the packing! Make sure that you pack light so you can stay relaxed and stress-free getting to and from the retreat. Think about what you will really need at the retreat to make things easier. You'll probably need more yoga clothing than other vacations you've gone on, but it is also okay to repeat a few outfits if you need to - nobody is going to judge you.
Yoga vacations can be a time to focus more on simplicity. Too much primping and preening is something to worry about less on a yoga retreat. It's not to say you can't look and feel your best, but it's a good time to worry less about that stuff. Also, make sure to pack according to the weather at your destination and the demands of your itinerary, so you're comfortable.
Research the destination
Sometimes the location of your yoga vacation is just as exciting as the retreat itself. Few things can match the thrill of heading to a new city, or a new country, and discovering its heritage, culture, and sights. So before you head off into the unknown, take some time out and do your research on where you are going.
It's good anytime you go to a foreign country to know even a few things about the culture there, or a few words in the language. You can also get an idea of which excursions and activities you might be excited about. If nothing else, do the research to get yourself excited about the vacation and give yourself something to look forward to.
Some, but not all yoga vacations involve a change of diet for many. At some retreats, the food offered is simple, healthy, and usually vegetarian. Some have no caffeine, alcohol, meat, or processed foods. So if your eating habits include a fair amount of wine, coffee, or chicken and you're heading to a vegan yoga retreat, you might want to try cutting back on processed food a couple of weeks in advance to avoid shocking your system from a drastic change in diet at the retreat. Other retreats have gourmet food and many are not focused on a strict diet and have coffee, alcohol and meat available.
Now that the rest of the preparations are complete, all that's left is to set out for a rejuvenating experience. But wait! Before you go in search of peace, you need to make sure that you are able to leave peacefully as well without anything you need to worry about back home.
The last step to preparing for a yoga vacation involves making sure that you can focus entirely on your mind and body, without too many distractions from back home or at the office. Make arrangements to delegate tasks, set "out-of-office" responders, and transfer your calls. Inform your loved ones in advance so that your time away can be spent as "unplugged" as possible.
These are a few simple steps that will help you prepare well for that long-awaited yoga break. Keep your mind and heart open to these revitalizing experiences, and you will be amazed at how uplifting making your next vacation a yoga retreat can be for you.
By Nisha Baghadia
Nish writes articles on yoga, fitness, wellness, remedies, and beauty. She is a regular contributor to StyleCraze.com & other lifestyle websites.
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