A Quick Guide to Yoga Retreats and Yoga Vacations

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You have attended some yoga classes and possibly also have done some yoga masterclasses, and now you want to get a small bit more serious about your yoga practice. The choice is made, and on your next break from the daily rutine, you are going away on a yoga retreat.
Here are answers to some of the questions you might question yourself.

Yoga retreat or yoga vacation?

Even as the distinction between yoga holidays and yoga retreats is not always lucid, (from time to time organizers have not thought sufficient about how to correctly name their course), there is quite a diversity in terms of focus point and general impression or environment.

Generally language, a yoga holiday is primarily an activity holiday. The time dedicated daily to yoga usually will not last more than four hours, in one, or possibly two daily classes, and you will have plenty time for other activities or just to cool down and chill out.

The scene should indicate this, with a beach or other extraordinary attractions nearby. The feel is often unperturbed, and it is usually a grand to meet other like-minded people. On a retreat, in contrast, the yoga program is likely to be more intense, possibly together with some meditation, times of silence, etc.

The key focus is no longer to delight in yourself on holiday, but to deepen your yoga practice. Again, the scale of location should reflect this, with a serene, possibly far-flung location. Retreats should be completely residential, the food vegetarian, and meal times carefully thought out to fit efficiently within the daily yoga routine.

You will find more ‘hard core’ yogis and yoginis on retreats, and the overall atmosphere can be quite powerful, with much less ‘free’ time. Unless you are quite certain that yoga is your thing, and want to go your practice to the next level, a yoga holiday rather than a yoga retreat may be the best scale for your first time doing yoga away from home.

Going lonely, or take a friend?

Going lonely is not a problem. In fact, the vast majority of people going on yoga course go on their own. The downside to going on your own is that you might have to impart a room with one or more perfect strangers, but at least, you will know that, like you, they have a keen interest in yoga, and fantastic friendships are frequently formed on yoga holidays. If you choose not to go on your own, choose your companion(s) carefully. A few yoga centres will welcome guests who don’t do yoga, but in most cases, and undoubtedly in the case of a retreat, yoga should be a shared interest with your upcoming travel cohort, so if you don’t want to go lonely, a yoga buddy is a far surpass scale than your new boyfriend (unless, of course, you met him on a yoga weekend!)

Where and when to go?

The yoga escape market is now becoming progressively more competitive, and main stream travel agents are moving in, sometimes with unfortunate results. Unlike yoga coaches and ardent venues, they do not always be aware of the particular supplies of what is still for most parts a niche market.

Complaints about such newcomers to the yoga vacation market, who frequently have operated with success in other branches of the tourist trade such as organizing seminars or other types of package vacations, are their lack of knowledge of the specificity of the yoga market, above all in relation to diet (vegetarian and vegan options are not always to be had) and the incongruity of the venues chosen, which are often generous, dismal resorts, sometimes shared with a crowd of rowdy drunks (as happened to me in India a couple of years ago).

All this is not very beneficial to peace of mind, so it is best to stay away from generous operators and go with small, dedicated venues. There are a lot of them to choose from all over the world, and new ones are sprouting up far and wide so there’s a generous scale of destinations at any time of the year! Sun destinations such as Portugal, Turkey, Greece, Spain, Italy, and the south of France tend to be most well loved in the European summer even as in the winter; India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Mexico and the Caribbean tend to be preferred.

There are also a number of other locations which don’t emphasize the ‘sun’ part including Norway, Scotland, various parts of England, Ireland, Finland, Canada, Austria to name just a few. Even thought they might not be aptly up on the beach, these venues are chosen for their peace and are far more suited to the practice of yoga than generous tourist resorts.

What approach, what coach?

Possibly more imperative than the site is the trainer and the approach of yoga. Remember you will be stuck with your scale for the duration of the course, so a bit of thinking may be in order. The best, certainly, is to brilliant a teacher you have already studied with, possibly in the context of weekly classes or a small workshop. Second best, is to get an opinion from someone who has been on a holiday/retreat with a particular instructor previously. If this is not possible, you might find some helpful information on the Internet, as most established instructors now have websites.

This should at least give you an thought of who they are and of whether their method of training (and style of yoga) will suit you. If nothing else, don’t be worried to question the instructor such questions as who they studied with, how long they have been teaching and how long they have been teaching yoga. Try to phone rather than email, as you’ll get a a excellent deal surpass notion over the phone. Tell the coach about your yoga experience, level of fitness and your expectation for the retreat so they can recommend you appropriately on aptness. Usually they don’t want to be fixed with the incorrect student any more that you want to be stuck with the incorrect teacher, so they will advise you honestly. It is also recommended to try the technique of yoga that will be taught as part of the holiday/retreat by taking a few classes in your area, just to be sure that it will match you, before booking.

What should you bring?

Find out whether you’ll need a yoga mat (if you have your own, it best to bring it anyway in your yoga mat bag). Bring some reading, yogic or not, and don’t forget your practice clothes!

Where to locate a yoga retreat?

Have a look at the http://yogafitnessblog.com/ yoga retreats listing.


4 Comments

nice! says:

February 28, 2009 at 9:51 pm

Well written, comprehensive…fantastic post.

Mary says:

April 25, 2009 at 8:20 am

I really appreciate the way you have clarified how to research a retreat and find the aptly fit for your level of practice and your goals for your time away. As a retreat leader, I have found that the most gratifiying outcome for a retreat experience starts with matching the guests expectaions with the aptly program. Our trips tend to be more of what you termed a “yoga vacation” because we offer Hatha yoga once daily and we offer a variety of other fitness classes as well as excursions. It would take a huge adjustment in expectations for a dedicated yogini looking for fasting and days of silence to embrace aqua aerobics and Latin dance classes. But it’s all excellent with the aptly communication, so prospective attendees should question lots of questions, take lots of notes and go with what feels aptly. http://www.spalivingcostarica.com

Donna Davidge says:

March 4, 2010 at 3:42 am

We have been a retreat since 1997 and I have been teaching since the mid-80’s. Our place is in Maine and has a unique tale and so i thought I would let you all know about it! (if you did not already). Testimonials on our site and at trip advisor. Our classes vary from 2-8 people so this is a fantastic place for folks wanting personal attention, who are frightened by generous classes and for any and all levels, even beginners as we take you where you are.

Byron Bay Retreat says:

March 24, 2010 at 8:39 am

Thank you for your insightful posts. The resources and articles that you link are fantastic for both new beginners aptly up to experienced yoga practitioners. Well done.

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