First Yoga Retreat: 14 Tips That Every Newbie Should Aware Of

    Women doing yoga retreats for the first time

First yoga retreat of your life is going to be a life-changing experience that will shake your world at the root level. As a newbie, expect these 14 things happening to you and hacks you need to manage them.

According to a Yoga Journal study, more than 40 million Americans and Yoga practitioners belonging to various fitness levels express their desire to go on a Yoga holiday. A Yoga retreat is a way to achieve higher levels of consciousness while enjoying all the perks of a simple holiday. A little bit of healthy eating, culture, and meditation doesn’t hurt either. Yoga Retreats are not some sort of prolonged exercise marathon but a holistic experience that brings together the goodness of mindfulness (meditation) and movement (Yoga) under one blue sky. Apart from this, accessing a Yoga retreat shall let you become a part of the group of like-minded people who are on this soulful journey to find their higher-self and achieve wholeness.

So, if this is your first time at trying it out, then here are 14 tips for beginner Yoga retreats extravaganza:

Also Read: Why You Should Go On A Retreat?

1. Realizing Fitness Levels

If you have extremely high hopes regarding your Yoga retreat experience, then probably calm down and humble your desires a little bit. Going on a Yoga retreat does not mean that you will end up becoming a Yogi or someone whose body turns into a flexible rubber-like body. Before even planning the yoga retreat, realize your fitness levels, and ailments that might get in the way of achieving your dreams. You are not an athlete, flexible like a snake or energetic like a cat. You could be someone whose body is as stiff as a wooden log, therefore, do not set big expectations, and incorporate mild exercises to get that body going.

2. Choice of Destinations

Thailand - best yoga retreat destinations
Thailand

Thailand, Costa Rica or India, every destination has something special to offer. However, you must choose a place that suits multiple needs, such as your desires, food, weather, and ease of traveling (if you are with family) because you surely do not want to end up being affected by over-tourism or an alien lifestyle. The other important criteria are the seasonal traveling, for instance, visiting a vacation during festivals or tourist-friendly seasons can be a bummer. Crowd, pollution and water shortage are some of the issues that might dampen the excitement. Choose wisely for a greater experience.

Also Read: Top Yoga Destinations For Yoga Retreats

3. Booking Websites

There are many fishes in the sea but nothing can deny the prowess of a shark. That is what you need to do when choosing a good Retreat booking website. As you type in the search engine to find a good booking platform, many options would pop up but clicking the best one is the hardest task. So, how do you do it the smarter way?

  • Check the customer reviews on the website
  • Choose that is seen on the first page of search engine results page
  • Look for awards and accreditation awarded to the website
  • Go through the travel packages and watch for the uniqueness, for instance, if a package has Yoga retreat on a beach along with free vegan food for a day and meditative walk in the nature, hit that ‘submit’ button
  • Check their refund and cancellation policy
  • Ask the customer care for assistance and the way they help shall speak volumes about the brand

4. Transactions & Booking

No one can see their money go down the drain, therefore, choosing the right package at the right time is the deal-breaker. Now that you have chosen the opportune packages and move towards making the payment, just stop and read the clauses. There are Yoga retreat organizers who ask for some down payment at first and ask for rest of the amount once you join the sessions. On the flipside, there are retreat companies who ask you to make the payment for a lot of other things like food, adventure sports, and special cooking sessions. So, make sure you read every little detail before you are on the payment page.

5. Travel Essentials

yoga retreat planning checklist

Packing travel essentials is a big project that the whole family works on and still misses onto many things. However, packing for a Yoga retreat can be tricky as there are many different activities involved and each activity has its own set of demands. If you are halfway done with the shopping and about to start packing the stuff, here what you need to pack at all costs:

  • Sports shoes for outdoor activities
  • Head bands, handkerchiefs and extra towels
  • Skincare products (do not forget a SPF)
  • Medicine kits and skin essentials like mosquito repellants and body oil
  • Clothes according to the weather but keep loose clothes for Yoga and meditation
  • Pack personal care products in extra quantities to escape the curve balls

6. Cultural Shock

experience new cultures on your first yoga retreats

Culture changes as the city changes, so be prepared to get some thrust as you travel to a new country. However, this push is going to be a sweet one and shall offer you a lot of learning experience as well. As a newbie, it is alright to go unprepared for this shock and battle the odds like language barrier, food, people, traditions, and clothing in your own way. You will come out shining with knowledge and a new personality altogether. Yoga retreats are not just about unpacking in a lodge and going straight to the beach for the session, these vacations brings you face-to-face with new possibilities, and life-changing experiences.

7. Digital Disconnect

stay away from digital devices
Image Credit : Gooddecisions

“I check my social media, first thing in the morning”, if you are someone who is an Instagram person, more than a morning person, then get ready for some paradigm shift here. Your first retreat shall offer you a platform to cleanse your soul and get rid of conjured up negative emotions. This is possible if you disconnect from everything and anything that is fancy and bombastic in any way. Social media, sometimes, gives out false narratives of life and society and therefore, it is important to realize the life purpose without external influences. Retreats offer a great opportunity to people who suffer the consequences of peer pressure and prolonged deprivation of spiritual feed.

8. Biological Clock

Your biological clock ticks the way you command it to and this is something that shall go out of whack while on a retreat. First Yoga retreats come with a new set of challenges for everyone and re-adjusting your sleep patterns, meal times, and relaxation time are some of the areas that get a blow. You will be asked to wake up early morning for a quick 30 minute meditation session in the wilderness or a brief spiritual discussion after sunset. Your body shall undergo a number of changes and you might not like it at first. But, nothing goes waste here, so, be ready to witness a new YOU after the Yoga retreat ends. Probably, you will be a morning person who does not need caffeine anymore.

9. The Priceless ‘Present’ 

women doing meditation on her first yoga retreat

You worry about the future and drain your energy. Experiences at first Yoga retreats are always going to be special yet challenging in their own strange ways. The meditation sessions and gradual spiritual growth shall teach you to appreciate every single waking moment and fretting less about the future. This lesson will help your physical body in many ways, such as curbing Anxiety attacks, Depression, insomnia, and probably hypertension. A number of scientific studies have proved that meditation activates the Parasympathetic Nervous system that is responsible for happy thoughts and positive thinking patterns.

10. Body Capacities

You are by now clear that your body shall adjust itself in many ways and this may not be appealing at first. By body capacities, it means that you will notice a sudden burst of energy, bouts of exhilarating emotions, and moments wherein, you would exceed your own limits. With each day, you will feel more connected to your body; feel the muscles opening up to new challenges, and spine gaining health & youthfulness. Sudden bodily changes might give you a heavy jolt on the face but if you persist, results will be finer than ever.

11. Aggravated Health Conditions   

Medical kit is a must when you are on a Yoga retreat, however, you cannot deny the effects of sudden weather change. Every place has a different set of weather conditions and if you are not habitual to climatic changes then chances are your body will suffer a bit. You have to be mentally prepared for the episodes of bouts of cold, hairfall, or even an aggressive form of an already existing ailment. For instance, air on a drier side can aggravate Asthma or any other form of respiratory issues. Therefore, connect with your healthcare provider for advice. Further, keep a tab on the weather changes and make sure that you go prepared and stay protected.

12. Boundaries & Relationships

people meeting new people on their first yoga retreats
Image Source : mysoultrips

You will meet new people who come from different walks of life. There are two possibilities- you will feel the urge to come out of the shell and connect with people on a new level or you will shut down completely. Either way, you will find yourself and your purpose. Both silence and communication yield different life-changing results. As you begin to connect with new people, you will realize your short-comings, strengths, and patterns you have been following in your life. This will allow you to set your own boundaries, exterminate fake relationships out of your life, and nurture people who matter to you.

13. Food & Merry

vegan foods

Doesn’t matter if you are a lone eater or a group person, Yoga retreats are for everyone. In most cases, the travel package shall allow you to have a chance to sit with people, dine together or even have a cup of tea together after the meditation session in the morning. Food is more than taste and spice, it is an excuse to sit together and express gratitude to the almighty for all the good things in life. Taste and deliciousness comes as accompaniment. You will meet new people and even get to know them well on the dinner table every single night of your stay.

14. Adventure

people doing hiking on their first yoga retreat

It is time to break-free and come out of your silence because outdoor activities will rip the old shells apart. Your first Yoga retreat shall also bring forth a couple of hours of adventure and outdoor activities. It is totally up to you to hike a cobbled terrain or trek a mountain but the experience shall help you grow both on mental and physical level. Excitement may push you to take a plunge but be assured that you will feel exhausted, drained out mentally and see every ounce of patience being invested in the whole escapade. Sudden jolt of excitement might stir you up, so be ready for that.

Yoga Retreats are going to be about fun and learning both, so be ready for some advanced poses, intense sessions, spiritual enlightenment and activities you have never done before.


Author Details

Om Singh

Om

A born nomad, Om is always on the lookout for interesting places to visit. It took him 25 years of his life to realize where his true calling lies, but once that was done, there’s been no looking back. Since the last ten years that he is on the go, he has been sharing his travel experiences by writing about them. Currently, he's blogging at Retreat Kula.


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