How To Choose a Yoga Retreat That’s Perfect For You

Meditating by a lake - "How to choose a yoga retreat."
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While the best yoga retreats are often beautiful, life-changing experiences, this isn’t always the case. With so many different retreats available it can be difficult to know how to find a good yoga retreat.

If you’re feeling confused and don’t know which retreat to pick, here’s a guide all about how to choose a yoga retreat that is right for you.

Exotic locations and beautiful pictures are tempting and taking a retreat is a great way to deepen your yoga practice while traveling. But when choosing a yoga retreat you need to consider your needs and intentions and do your research beforehand to avoid ending up on a retreat that doesn’t match your experience level, requirements or expectations.

What’s more, yoga retreats are an investment in your health and well being, so it’s essential to ensure your money and time is not wasted attending a retreat that’s not the right one for you.

To help you have the best experience possible, we’ve put together this guide on how to choose a yoga retreat. Don’t book a retreat without considering the following factors!

How to Choose a Yoga Retreat That is Right for you

1. Consider Your Intention

To know how to choose a yoga retreat that is perfect for you, first you must consider your reason for going on retreat. If you don’t know your “why” you might book the first retreat you come across, which might not be actually what you want or need.

For example, there may be better choices than a jam-packed adventure retreat if you seek a peaceful break where you have lots of time to self-reflect. Or, if you want to treat yourself to a week of pampering, visiting an authentic ashram in India may not meet your expectations. 

If you need clarification on your intention, I recommend journaling on it. For example, what is calling you to go on a yoga retreat? Do you want to connect to nature or your spiritual side? Do you want to deepen your yoga practice and learn more about it? Or do you want a pampering escape where you can relax without being hassled?

2. Choose your Dream Location

Aside from having a specific intention, many people go on a yoga retreat to combine their love of yoga and travel. It can be a great way to tick off a new country on your bucket list or see a new side to a country you adore. Retreats are often held in beautiful or spiritual locations. Some of the most popular yoga travel destinations include Bali, Costa Rica, Thailand, Europe and Peru.

So when choosing your retreat destination, think about where you want to visit. Also, bear in mind that your intention may determine your location. For example, if you’re seeking a silent retreat, choosing a remote, secluded place in the mountains is a natural choice. 

If you need some inspiration for where to find the best retreats check out our pick of the world’s best yoga travel destinations. Also remember to check the weather for the destination you plan to visit to make sure you don’t accidentally end up on a tropical island in the middle of monsoon!

Although nothing beats practicing yoga outside on a warm beach, if you don’t have the time or money to jet away somewhere exotic there are also some great options for short breaks and weekend yoga retreats in the UK and in the US where you’ll save a lot of money on travel costs yet still feel refreshed after your wellness escape.

How to choose a yoga retreat that's perfect for you.
Look for yoga retreats in your dream location.

3. Check the Type of yoga taught

An easy mistake to make as a beginner yogi is to assume all yoga retreats will teach the type of yoga you currently practice. 

There are so many different types of yoga , some of which differ significantly from one another. Thus, be sure to confirm the style of yoga taught with the retreat organiser before booking.

While trying new yoga styles is always great, a retreat may not be the best way to do it. For example, if you’ve only ever practised Ashtanga Yoga and decide to learn Kundalini, it would be best to attend a few drop-in classes rather than book a Kundalini-specific yoga retreat.

That being said, many retreats offer a combination of different styles. This is an excellent way to practice your favourite one while testing out others. This way, if you decide Kundalini Yoga isn’t for you, you can just attend the Ashtanga classes without feeling like you are missing out.

4. Make sure it’s suitable for your Level Of Experience

Although the majority of yoga retreats cater to all levels, you can find some that are designed for beginners, experienced practitioners, or even yoga teachers. 

This is easy to forget when researching retreats, but it can have unfavourable consequences. For instance, if you’ve only ever attended a few yoga classes, accidentally ending up at a retreat full of seasoned yogis or on a yoga teacher training course, will not meet your needs, no matter how welcoming they are. 

Be honest with yourself about your level of experience, you’ll have a better time on a beginners yoga retreat if you’re relatively new to yoga. If it’s your first time, check out our tips for going on your first yoga retreat.

5. Consider how sociable you want to be

Some people think of yoga retreats as a way to spend time alone and connect with their inner selves. Others see it as a fun way to meet like-minded people or a safer, more social way to travel solo. Because these two visions are drastically different, ensure your chosen retreat matches how sociable you want to be if you’re heading to the retreat solo.

For example, if being in big groups makes you anxious, you might feel more comfortable at a small group retreat without pressure to join additional activities or excursions. On the other hand, if you’re an extrovert, you may struggle at a silent retreat or one that doesn’t focus on cultivating a social atmosphere. 

Group of people learning yoga.
Some retreats are more social than others.

6. Check the Retreat Facilities & Activities

You can find yoga retreats of all budget and intensity levels. So understanding what is important to you regarding the facilities and activities offered is an essential aspect when it comes to knowing how to choose a yoga retreat. 

Are you looking for an all-inclusive luxury wellness retreat where you stay on-site with all meals included and use various facilities like a swimming pool and spa? Or do you prefer to just pay for the yoga classes and organise your own accommodation and explore the local restaurants?

Do you prefer to attend daily yoga and meditation sessions only and have the rest of the day to use at your leisure? Or would you like a jam-packed schedule with multiple activities and trips to the local sights?

If choosing an all-inclusive retreat where food and accommodation are included, make sure you know what to expect. Some retreats offer only very basic rooms and might not have AC or other things you deem essential. 

Some budget yoga retreats may only offer shared dormitory accommodation, which might not be suitable if a private room is important to you. Some retreat centres may give guests access to a kitchen which can be very handy if you want to save money on eating out.

In addition, many yoga retreats offer a vegetarian or vegan menu only, and some may not serve alcohol. If you eat meat and are not aware of this beforehand, this may come as a shock and require some adjustment. 

In general, retreat catering is geared towards nutritious, clean eating. If you want to use this time to indulge and check out the local cuisine, you might prefer a retreat that offers more meal-time freedom. 

7. Check Reviews from previous guests

Finally, if you’re wondering how to find a good yoga retreat, checking the retreat reviews is a must! 

Like with any product or service, marketing descriptions are not always accurate. The best way to get a sense of what a retreat is really like is from what past attendees have said about it.

Rather than looking for reviews on the retreat centre’s website or Facebook page, I recommend using an impartial site such as BookYogaRetreats.

Additional Tips On How To Find A Good Yoga Retreat

Knowing how to choose a yoga retreat that is right for you can seem overwhelming as there’s so many different retreats and so many things to consider.

However, by using a dedicated yoga retreat site like BookYogaRetreats, you can use the search function to find precisely what you want.

For example, you can search for retreats in specific locations. Or you can select categories like budget, luxury, beginners, spiritual, fun, or nature, eliminating any yoga getaways that don’t match your particular intention.

Following the steps mentioned in this article and carefully considering your requirements and intentions is also key to knowing how to choose a yoga retreat. Keep in mind that what one person considers a good yoga retreat may not be the best choice for another person.

Once you’ve found and booked your ideal retreat you can use our posts on common Sanskrit yoga words to know, the best travel yoga mats and what to pack for a yoga retreat to help you prepare.

What insights did you have from this guide on how to choose a yoga retreat? Let us know in the comments below.

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