I can vividly remember having a conversation with my momma in 2011 when I first told her I was enrolled in yoga teacher training and how I might be able to combine my love of travel and yoga into offering yoga retreats. My husband and I both love to host get togethers, creating experiences for our friends and family to commune and spend time together. With all of this, leading retreats feels like such a dream come true. We learned a lot leading this first retreat, and I can't wait for many more to come.
Our first retreat was a wild success by any measure, but every event offers its own learnings. Here is what I’ll be changing up a bit for our Coastal Glamping yoga retreat in the fall.
Stick to the Schedule
No matter what, stick to the set schedule and have these printed out for your guests as they arrive to review throughout the time together. I flexed the program slightly for our morning practices which resulted in compacted timing for attendees to get out and enjoy their activities during free time.
To ensure everyone is able to have the experience they’re hoping to create, as a yoga teacher and retreat leader it’s essential to stay on task.
Keep meals simple
We had absolutely incredible meals throughout our weekend together but my assistant, and amazing husband, shared that these meals were really time intensive when cooking for a larger group. If you plan on hosting a retreat that doesn’t have a dedicated cook or full-service location, I recommend testing your recipes ahead of time to check on timing and keep in mind the amount of food that will be made.
Simple meals are just as delicious as more time intensive ones.
Location is prime
Joshua Tree is pure magic, and I was beyond excited to share the location with the yogis that attended, but it was a bit out of the way for my tribe coming from the San Francisco Bay Area. The drive from the bay area is eight hours, and though there are two airports close-by because they are smaller and less traveled the flights were significantly more expensive. Evaluate where your tribe is located—I don’t have a widely diverse following, and everyone that attended is local to my community.
Plan to keep the drive time under four hours or more easily accessible to larger well-traveled airports to accommodate travel times and costs.
Provide a unique experience
I really wanted my attendees to feel special and like they signed up for something extraordinary, especially since many of them were first-timers to a yoga retreat.
Here’s how I tried to enhance our experience:
Connect the theme throughout each activity, for us it was all about using Spring as a reflecting point; acknowledging stagnation the winter can bring, stoke our deepest desires, then stoking heat to fuel our passions. This helped to elevate my teaching, so our movement and practice felt connected to a deeper purpose.
Include something a little extra not found in your regular classes. I chose to incorporate essentials oils during our first active restorative class, and brought tennis balls for myofascial work at the end of our hike day to relieve sore muscles from a fiery morning practice and an intense day hike.
Welcome gifts are always a good idea! Leave something in their rooms or at check-in to help them feel welcomed. I opted for handwritten notes to each attendee and a pretty sweet collection of treats that would be useful during our time together: think snacks, energy boosters, and a small souvenir to remember our time together.
Everyone wants to feel special and feel the value of their investment, a few small touches can go a long way.
I’m beyond excited to offer more yoga retreats in the future and to keep learning. What have been your favorite parts of attending or leading retreats? I’d love to hear about your experiences too.
With deep gratitude,