How to Find a Yoga Retreat the Athletic-Minded Traveler Way
Some like it hot and some like it not.
Some like it hard and some like it soft.
Some like it early and some like it late.
Some like yoga and some are dumb. ;)
Our newest Athletic-Minded Traveler assistant editor, Daniel Gaz, wrote this post.
For me, practicing yoga offers a way to relax the mind and challenge the body. Yoga is not my primary workout. I use it to complement my other active pursuits. With core strength and flexibility, I can run faster, swim longer and pedal with more power. Yoga does this for me.
Pulling on my athletic-minded traveler hat, I recently planned a vacation—one that would maintain my healthy lifestyle yet still offer the relaxation I sought. Yoga RETREAT!
Here is what I learned:
- Skip the Google searching and instead start with a yoga retreat search engine. I like Yowunga, which lists yoga retreats from Argentina to the United States and every other country in between.
- Check the back of yoga magazines. Yoga Journal and Yoga Magazine have advertisements throughout each issue and offer another easy, convenient place to start your search.
- Consider one of the franchised studios, like CorePower or YogaWorks. These studios sponsor various retreats in the U.S. and internationally. (Bali anyone?)
- Define your expectations and determine preferences about location, style, pricing, and duration. Take into account your yoga experience, and whether you want it to be all yoga, all the time; or if you want a more balanced mix of yoga and other active and fun pursuits.
The search engines will filter output by Yoga practice style, retreat location, and budget. It is the next round of results that demands more personal filtering & evaluation. This is where I replaced my athletic-minded traveler hat with my Inspector Clouseau cap!
Editor's Note: CorePower vs. YogaWorks vs Bikram. We have the comparison here.
Once I had a short list of possibilities, I attempted to find out all that I could about the retreat site and the instructors leading the retreat. If it’s local, taking a class at their studio is a no-brainer. I looked up the teachers and their home studios on Yelp and Google Reviews to get a better sense for what they offer. While these reviews have their limits, I did find them useful.
For those who seek camaraderie in the planning process, consider rallying yogis from your home studio to join the trip. You’d be surprised at how many students and instructors are up for a retreat! And many more senior yoga instructors are eager to share their insight. Having an expert lend their approval can prove invaluable, especially if the trip is going to cost a well-stretched arm and leg.
So…now that I’ve armed you with the right tools to make the retreat decision, what choice did I make? My wife and I love Vinyasa flow practice, and we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate our first year of marriage than with this practice included. We didn’t want a retreat that was 100% yoga, and it was important to stay active, have great food, and enjoy life in a scenic locale.
Using Yowunga, I searched by location first, and found one in mid-June in Sierra Nevada that offered Ashtanga and Vinyasa, as well as hiking, spa services, great food and a ton of nature out the front door. The retreat is offered by Sol Yoga, and I was able to check out trip recaps on their blog (biased? probably…but the pictures told a thousand awesome words!), which left me confident that I was making the right choice.
Best of luck and Namaste!