Oh my goodness, this is a very requested post. I have gotten so many yoga retreat questions! Today I am going to try and answer all of your questions.
Who should go on a yoga retreat?
Anyone! When I went to Costa Rica this past time, the age range was literally from age 23-75. There were students who were in great shape (yoga teachers taking the retreat), students who were just starting out, and then students in between like me who’d only been practicing a year or so. You do NOT have to be in great shape to go on a yoga retreat. Of course it helps, but it’s not necessary.
I would say that you should probably have had a consistent practice for about six months just so that you know what you’re trying to work on and maybe already have a relationship with your teacher. I say this mostly because a yoga retreat is expensive! It would feel like a waste of money to me otherwise… just go on vacation instead!
How to Pick The Best Yoga Retreats
I get asked about this at least once a week. I will be really honest, I can’t even imagine spending the money on a yoga retreat if I had never taken class with the teacher leading the retreat. I know that a lot of you don’t have a regular studio / do yoga online so that probably is not helpful so I am going to give you all of my personal favorites.
The best reason for doing a yoga retreat is to bond with your favorite teachers and deepen your practice. In all honesty, retreats can be pretty expensive so if I weren’t doing a retreat with one of my favorite teachers I would rather just book a vacation to a pretty destination that also has yoga classes.
So if you take one thing away from this, try your best to find a teacher that you really love who leads retreats. If you’re in LA or NYC I got you with recs, see below.
Go with your studio/favorite teacher.
This may be more of a chicken/egg thing. If your studio does not offer retreats, find one that does.
I am not sure if it’s a New York / LA thing but every yoga studio I’ve ever gone to offers retreats. If you can’t find a teacher who offers retreats I’m listing my personal favorites below!
My Favorite Yoga Retreats
- Sky Ting – this is the yoga studio I go to every day. I love all of their teachers, and they have really incredible retreats!
- Three Suns – this is my favorite Sky Ting teacher (Christopher Golden)’s retreat company. I took his retreat in Sag Harbor last summer and went to Costa Rica with him in April.
- Yoga for Bad People – my first ever yoga retreat was with YFBP! Heather Lilleston is amazing and has such great energy. YFPB definitely takes a lighthearted approach to retreats. The yoga is serious, but they have a lot of fun in between.
- Sacred Fig – this is Anton Brandt’s company and he is AMAZING. Whenever he’s in New York teaching at Sky Ting I make a point to get to his class.
- Love Yoga – full disclosure I’ve never taken a Love retreat BUT they are Sky Ting’s “sister studio” of sorts in LA, and I know they team up with Sky Ting quite a bit for retreats.
What to expect on a yoga retreat
I think it’s important to do your research and figure what kind of a retreat you are looking for. Are you looking for a full on detox (no booze, strict meals, etc)? Are you looking to do yoga but also explore a new city and sneak in some nightlife? I personally love Christopher’s retreats because we have the same philosophy – we both love good food and like the whole “two drinks and then home to do my skincare and bedtime routine.” I’ve been on retreats where there was no alcohol and I’ve been on retreats where there’s a lot. I prefer something in between.
I’m sharing a typical day below but note that it’s totally different if you retreat in a city (like Havana). When I went to Cuba our whole day was scheduled (which was really cool!) because we were running all over the city and learning about Cuba’s history + culture.
A typical day on a yoga retreat:
- 7am – wakeup, answer emails, check in on work stuff.
- 8am – breakfast
- 9-11am – practice (yoga + meditation. Usually we’ll sit for a longer time, about 30 minutes, followed by 90 minutes of yoga.
- 11-12:30 – free time (usually work!)
- 12:30-1:30 – group lunch
- 2-5 – free time to go to the beach, relax, read, work.
- 5:30-7 – evening yoga
- 7:30 – dinner. On most retreats, dinner is at the property but they usually have 2 open nights so that you can get out and explore/eat somewhere new!
- 9pm – free time. On some retreats this means going out, I personally usually end up home to answer emails/do a little work and then read and be asleep by 11!
What to pack for a yoga retreat?
This was a funny discussion on my last retreat. Of course you want to pack the standard stuff for a vacation (bathing suit, comfortable walking shoes, all of the sunscreen and bug spray galore!) But how many yoga outfits should you pack!?! I like wearing clean clothes every time so O generally pack one outfit per class (which means 10-12 yoga outfits, which is a LOT of laundry and also rather cumbersome to pack).
There were students with different views. You can rinse your clothes out after and hang them in the sunshine; that definitely saves room. I rinse mine out anyway bc I hate packing stinky sweaty clothes. It’s really up to you – everyone takes a different approach!
As for actual yoga outfits, I am usually in Outdoor Voices or Girlfriend Collective. From OV I love this bra and these leggings.. from Girlfriend I love this bra and these leggings. I do a lot of matching sets that can easily mix and match.
You should check with your instructor ahead of time about props – most retreats should have mats, blocks, etc. I’ve had to bring my own mat a few times and love this foldable travel yoga mat.