Yoga is used for all sorts of reasons but, above anything else, the best thing about it is that it’s highly regarded and known to work in most situations. It’s accessible too, as you don’t need any special equipment and can conceivably indulge in the comfort of your own home. However, once you’ve mastered the arts in your local area, potentially with the assistance of a teacher, you may want to take things to the next level.
When you do yoga at home, you’ll likely still have many of the things that stress you out around you. That means that you’ll never quite reach the pinnacle of relaxation. To address this, many yoga practitioners decide to use their holiday time to head to a yoga retreat. The process of finding where to go shouldn’t add to your existing stress, so try out the following tips to find the ideal destination for you.
1. Start with a Location
The location of your yoga retreat of choice can make or break your entire journey, and it makes sense to put in the time to decide where you want to go. Start with the kinds of settings that make the most sense to you when you want to relax – perhaps the kinds of places you visualise when you meditate. This could be rolling mountains, sandy beaches or green hills as far as the eye can see. Use that as a starting point and rest assured that no matter what you need, there’ll be a retreat to meet your individual requirements.
2. Decide On Your Personal Goals Before You Travel
One reason why yoga is so popular is that it can easily become whatever the practitioner makes of it. We’ve referred to relaxation and destressing already in this feature, but it can also be used for fitness, wellbeing and a multitude of other reasons. Consider what you want out of your trip and look into how effective the destinations on your shortlist can be for reaching your goals.
3. Don’t Forget the Yoga Itself
Yoga is a fairly broad term, and there are many subcategories inside the main one. You have a couple of options here. You can choose a retreat that boasts the kind of yoga you’re used to. Alternatively, you can use this retreat as an opportunity to try something new. If you go for this option, ensure that the resort offers classes and sessions that are suitable for beginners. Just because you’re accomplished in one discipline does not mean you’ll be an instant expert in another.
4. Consider the Intensity of the Schedule
Some people travel to yoga retreats to immerse themselves in the lifestyle. There are locations around the world that can cater for this, where you can conceivably start first thing in the morning and keep on going all the way into the evening. If you’re not cut out for 12-hour sessions, you may be better off with something noticeably less intense and you’ll need to see how each destination operates.
5. See If a Retreat Offers Complementary Therapies
While the focus at these wellbeing retreats is mostly always on yoga, some are more open to combining the core teachings with alternative therapies. Massages and medicines are just two services you may want to indulge in when you travel, primarily if you practice yoga due to stress or illness. The specifics at each site will vary, so see what’s available before you book.
6. Think About Exploring the Philosophical Side
Most yoga practitioners explore positions and physical techniques first. Many that have never tried yoga think that this is all there is to it. However, the philosophy behind it can be every bit as relevant. If you have some knowledge but would like to build on it, or even if you’re a complete beginner, a retreat will afford you the time to brush up on both the mental and physical sides. If you opt for this approach, ensure that you research the teachers as well as the resorts themselves, as some will have better reputations than others.
7. Remember You’re on Holiday
Time off work varies from person to person, but the chances are that you only have time for a couple of extended breaks each year. There is nothing wrong with dedicating a couple of weeks to yoga, but consider whether you want to do other things while you’re away too, especially if this is the only opportunity you’ll get until next year. Most resorts do more than just yoga, but you should look beyond them to see what other activities are available in your destination of choice.
8. Factor the Full Length of the Program into Your Plans
If you were to ask us how long a typical yoga program is, we’d counter with ‘how long is a piece of string?’ Some extend no further than a couple of hours, while others take months to cover everything. You could do part of a program, but you need to remember that they are designed for results and timed accordingly. If you can’t get three months off work for a program that requires it, consider a couple of one-week yoga schedules instead.
9. Give Extra Consideration to Anywhere that Leaps Off the Screen
Nowadays, you’ll probably explore your available options online. You can see pictures and information about all sorts of retreats all over the world. On occasion, even those that don’t check all your boxes may make you feel like you have to go there. Given the nature of yoga, anywhere that can give you this feeling deserves extra consideration.
10. Build on What You Know
Wherever you go, you should always think about whether any given retreat will enhance your existing yoga knowledge. Try something new by all means, but always keep the focus on what you’ve learnt so far, as you don’t want to risk making your previous efforts redundant.