What could be better than yoga and traveling? Possibly nothing! Leading a yoga retreat is a dream for instructors nowadays. It’s almost seen as if you have leaded a retreat; you have more experience teaching yoga. Taking a yoga retreat sounds simply, but when you are the leader is not. It is not a paid vacation to an exotic place for teaching yoga; it’s more than that, and you have to keep in mind that the students’ needs come first.
Here are some tips for taking a yoga retreat for retreat leaders, yoga teachers and students to make the experience as pleasant as possible.
For Retreat Leaders
Pictures can lie! It is important for you to be sure about the place you are inviting to. Try planning the retreat in a place where you have been before. And if you have not been there, please visit the property, city, country… where your retreat is being held. Doing this you will know the things the students should bring, the spaces you have for the activities, and if the place flows with the energy of your company, of your retreat, or the yoga style you teach.
Details matter. Be picky upon knowing the retreaters. Ask for allergies, sickness, preferences, diet, and limitations. You don’t want anybody to get sick or feel uncomfortable.
Also staff plays a huge roll! Kindness, friendliness, efficiency, and cleanliness… these are all very important. And last but not least, be on schedule! Organization is your best friend.
For Yoga Teachers
For the yoga teachers who are reading this: taking a yoga retreat, in which you are the instructor, doesn’t mean you are getting a paid vacation, you are working! So take it seriously. From the moment your students arrive to the moment they leave, you are on.
Be discreet, when yoga retreats run well, the retreaters have no idea what goes on behind the scenes. If you are in trouble with something, try to solve it in the right moment. Provide a sacred space, attend to their needs, teach yoga and host the group.
You have to know that most of the attendees have high expectations into their yoga retreat. They hope you to change their lives in a week or weekend. It is your responsibility to provide spaces that are conducive to that kind of healing and growth.
For Students and Retreaters
You are taking a yoga retreat probably as vacation, but remember: is a –yoga retreat- so don’t expect to go party and get wild. You will have fun, you will enjoy, you will make friends and you will laugh a lot… But you will also be quite, you will wake up early, you will eat healthy and you will learn of others’ experiences. So try to be open heart and open mind to get the better for your growth.
Consider that you are going to spend a lot of time with people you don’t know, especially with the teacher. So do your research! Who is the instructor? Do I like their style? How much will I do yoga? Do I like the food? How is the place? At least check out the photos of the instructor and the place, and listen to your feelings. You know when you flow with someone, when you like something.
Don’t be afraid of going alone. Most of the retreaters will go alone too. So they (as you) are willing to meet new people, to make friends, to be friendly. You wont feel alone; you will feel like you have known them for a long time.
Whether you are thinking about taking a yoga retreat or leading one, it is important that you spend time and thought deciding if it is the right decision for you. Figure out what you need and get an idea of what to expect.