Have you ever thought about going on a yoga retreat, traveling the world, or doing an intensive exotic yoga teacher training? Has the idea fluttered into, and then right out of your brain, because it seemed like too much work, or too stressful to find and plan and book one of these trips?
If you are a seasoned yogi, or even a newly obsessed yogi, and you’re looking for a fun, tropical, getaway that includes some yoga classes on the beach, awesome excursions, and lots of yummy, healthy food, then a yoga retreat is for you.
Know what kind of retreat you want
First, decide what you want to do! Do you want to do a week-long retreat? A month-long 200-hour yoga teacher training? Or maybe your work schedule will only allow a weekend trip? Start by narrowing down your search, by deciding what kind of trip is right for you.
If you have been practicing for several years, and are interested in taking your knowledge of yoga a step further and getting deeper into all of the things yoga has to offer, then maybe consider a yoga teacher training program. Keep in mind that a teacher training does NOT mean you have to come back home and teach! A lot of people will go through a teacher training for the other benefits: the deepened understanding of yoga philosophy, anatomy, and the personal development that happens when you’re devoting 200 hours over the course of a month to an activity.
Don’t feel the burden of teaching after an experience like this. If you feel like a better version of yourself, and you’re better able to explain to others what the practice means to you personally, then you’ve succeeded.
Ask yoga teachers around your area
And now? How do you decide where to go? You could research among your favorite yoga teachers or studios in your area. Lots of experienced teachers will often host one or two retreats a year, and it’s a great comfort knowing the teacher you’re going to be practicing with, to know what you’re getting yourself into.
If there aren’t any teachers or studios in your area that are offering retreats, there are many options online where you can find your favorite destination. If you’re dying to go to Costa Rica, look into some retreat options there. Make sure if you’re going this route that you do your due diligence. Read lots of reviews, email the retreat manager and ask some questions, make sure you know what you’re getting for your money, what’s included (transport to and from the airport, accommodation, food), and look at more than just one option.
If a retreat sounds like your jam, but the vacation time or the price tag doesn’t, look into your favorite teachers and studios for some weekend-long workshops or day-treats. One of my favorite teachers in Chicago holds an annual ladies’ day-treat a couple hours from Chicago, and this can be a great alternative for someone looking to get their feet wet! It’s still a getaway from reality and the hustle and bustle of the city, without the time or monetary commitment.
To keep in mind if you go for a teacher training
If you’re ready for this leap, the right school will lend itself to you. Know that a teacher training is hard work, there are at least 2.5 hours of practice a day, meditation, readings, anatomy lessons, learning poses and Sanskrit names, understanding sequencing of poses, the history of yoga, and so much more. It’s a training. It’s school. It’s a lot of work. But it is incredibly rewarding and life-changing. If you’re not 100% sure you are ready for this kind of commitment, try a retreat first, maybe it will spark your inner student, or maybe it will quench your yoga thirst.
I’m speaking from experience here. I decided to do a destination teacher training, and I knew I wanted to go to Bali. I researched 4 or 5 different schools, I spoke on the phone with the owner, I emailed with several previous students and met one Chicago based previous student for coffee. I got a really good idea of the kind of experience it was, and the kind of people it drew, and knew that it was a good match. I had a great experience. I learned a ton, I practiced a ton, I came back a different person. I teach now, I practice still, and I use the techniques and knowledge I learned all the time. I could not recommend it enough.
Last piece of advice
Know yourself, know what is best for you. I encourage you to do your research. I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone. Talk to other yogis, talk to your yoga teachers, find something or someone that resonates with you and go for it. You won’t regret it.
If you have any specific questions or are curious about learning more about my personal teacher training experience, or want my recommendations for any retreats, teachers, etc. in Chicago, contact me!
Ready to go on your first yoga retreat? You could try a beginner’s yoga holiday to get your feet wet before a yoga teacher training!