As most of you know, I spent a week away at a yoga retreat in Sri Lanka. Leaving behind the husband and baby and trying to find some “me” time ahead of the insanely busy festive season!
I want to say Massive Thanks to Holly for co-ordinating and running an exceptional retreat. It was a fantatic experience.
Morning Asana practice, followed by an amazing breakfast. Exploring Unawatuna and the surrounding areas in the afternoon before coming back to our villa for an evening restorative yoga session. Fantastic food – with some of the best seafood I have ever eaten. Lots of sun, laughs and great experiences.
With this recent experience in mind I wanted to give some tips and advice on finding the right retreat. It can be very tricky, especially when you start thinking about whether you will like the teacher and their teaching style. Will you get on with the other people? Where in the world are you travelling and what impact does this have? You don’t want to be stuck somewhere for a week and be wishing you were somewhere else.
First thing to look at is Venue/ Location
Do you want to travel to a new country, explore somewhere you’ve never been? Maybe take an extra week pre or post retreat to really explore? Or do you only have 2 days leave remaining and just really want a long weekend somewhere close to home?
It’s important to look at exactly how long you have. A retreat should be a holiday for your body and your mind. If you only have a long weekend, travelling somewhere far away doesn’t make sense. You will have just arrived and need to leave again. It is becoming quite common to find mini retreats just outside of major cities. A little bit like a mini spa break but for someone wanting more of a yoga retreat atmosphere.
There are quite a few websites that help you to find retreats. And they aren’t all about yoga. You can go for a weekend of silence, meditation, specifically to do yoga or all three just as an example.
If you are looking for something a bit further afield then you need to investigate your venue with even more detail. Some things to consider:
- Are you comfortable travelling on your own in that country, will there be airport transfers
- Is the retreat being organised by someone who speaks English/ who is European
- What exactly is included
The idea of hopping on a plane to India and finding an Ashram where you will live for a week in silence, meditating and practicing yoga every day might sound fantastic. But don’t forget the practicalities.
Teaching Style, Teacher and other Students
Knowing whether you will like someones teaching style ahead of time is often difficult, unless you have attended one of their classes before.
Recommendations and reviews are your friend here. And this is where the big “find a retreat” websites are really good. They give a bit of security around the quality of the teaching and make it easier to find what you are looking for.
Talk to teachers you like and see if they have any retreats or teachers that they can recommend. Or if they are doing a retreat that you could attend.
If there is a venue/retreat you’ve found that you like the sound of, but don’t know if you’ll get along with the teacher, then contact them. Ask them what schedule they have for the retreat, what they expect to cover and maybe a bit about themselves and their style. Most of the time they should be very happy to give this to you and it will give a good indication on whether it is something you will enjoy or not.
Different teachers attract different students, and hopefully you will end up on a retreat with like minded people. Undertanding the do’s and don’ts of a retreat beforehand will help with this. Is it a vegan retreat? No-alcohol? Women only? All levels or aimed at a specific skill level?
Every retreat is different, and finding one that works for you is worth putting in the time. I hope you all find time for yourselves over this busy season and enjoy a moment of peace!