How to Get the Most Out of a Yoga Retreat

How to Get the Most Out of a Yoga Retreat

Sometimes the least preparation is actually the best preparation

So you've locked in the yoga retreat of your dreams—now what? Like with any trip, you'll want to do a little planning. Keep in mind that it's impossible to know exactly what to expect on a retreat, no matter how much time you spend Googling or how many people you talk to, but there are a few things you can do to prepare and truly have a rewarding experience.

Do a Little Research

It's always nice to have some background on the country or town you'll be visiting. GLOW Yoga Retreats' Kayla Nielsen recommends reading up on the destination before you visits, which she says is important "to ensure you're respectful even in everyday instances—like how you greet someone, when eating and how you dress." Always check the climate before you pack, and take only what you need. Be realistic about what you'll definitely wear (a yoga top and leggings!) and what you probably won't (those new heels you've been wanting to break in). If you're visiting a foreign country, check to see if there are certain standards for dressing. Kayla urges, "Please don't rely on Instagram photos to determine appropriate dress, especially when it comes to visiting temples or other religious areas."

Keep an Open Mind

It's natural to wonder what will happen at a yoga retreat and how it might "change" you, but try to let go of any expectations. This will allow transformation to happen more organically, Kayla says. "Sometimes we walk away with lessons, discoveries and relationships that we never could have imagined, so it’s really important to work on remaining completely open along the way in order for these breakthroughs to occur." It's trusting in the unknown and going with the flow that's the most exciting part of the whole experience anyway!

Be True to Yourself

The word "retreat" may raise vacation vibes, but it's important to note that, in most cases, yoga retreats aren't escapes from reality. "It's best to join our retreats in an effort to obtain some new tools to carry with you back home, rather than joining because you're avoiding issues in your daily life," advises Kayla. And these tools? You already have them, she says. "We believe that everyone shows up with the tools inside themselves, even if they don’t realize it yet. Our job as teachers isn’t necessarily to teach you something new, but rather to support your journey of unearthing these tools." Talk about transformative! Yoga and yoga retreats are all about authenticity, and that means that wherever you are in your journey is exactly where you're supposed to be. Don't feel like you need to be super-skilled at yoga before you go, or in a certain headspace. Allow yourself to be exactly who you are, and you'll no doubt feel more rewarded in the end. After all, Kayla says, "the point of joining a yoga retreat is to take time to learn more about yourself, both on and off the mat." Her best advice? "Show up exactly as you are every day. Whether you’re happy, sad, ecstatic or heartbroken, let yourself show up completely in order to get the most out of every class, workshop and in-between moment."