So, you’ve finally found the perfect retreat to start or boost your yoga practice. Congratulations! You’ve already won half the battle because finding the right place for yoga amongst the plethora of retreats that are out there can be daunting.
From the most austere ashrams to the most luxurious spas, there is a sanctuary for all kinds of yogis. What’s left for you to decide now are the essentials that you must pack to make your yoga experience truly memorable.
You might not think about it, but there are some essential items other than the prominent yoga mats and yoga pants which you should take along. I’ve put together this yoga retreat packing checklist while keeping in mind the environment that you will be in and the activities you may partake in. Continue reading to find out more about the things you should be carrying in your yoga backpack.
1. The right clothing
Tanks tops, t-shirts and long sleeve shirts are all a must. It can get cold even in an indoor studio if it is located in a mountain resort. Or you may be hosted in a sacred place like a monastery in Nepal or a temple in India. If you haven’t been instructed, you can take the initiative and ask the retreat organizers about a dress code if there is any.
Also, carry a pair of shorts, sweatpants, and pajamas for lounging around if you get tired of the form-fitting feel of yoga pants. Interestingly, I love to practice yoga in my sporty shorts. They are also perfect for running and sleeping.
Comfortable shoes are a must if you plan to take part in outdoor activities. If you don’t intend to move around or take part in activities other than yoga, flip-flops and a pair of simple training shoes should be enough.
However, do remember to bring a few pairs of warm socks so that your feet don’t turn cold if mercury takes a dip.
3. Outerwear and inner layers
You will need a shawl or a thin blanket, sports bra and a cardigan or a hoodie. It’s also wise to bring a swimsuit, especially if you are going to a tropical country like Indonesia, with warm water temperatures all year round and natural hot springs and saunas.
4. Weather protection
Make sure you carry a rain jacket and sunglasses in your backpack. Bring along a sunscreen and apply generously if you are practicing yoga outdoors. It’s also wise to pack insect repellant (spray), as many retreats are in the wilderness of jungles, in forests or by the beach, and you wouldn’t want to be bitten by sandflies or ants. Other weather-related products, if needed, can be bought or rented from somewhere near the yoga retreat. This includes things like umbrella and rain boots.
Workout accessories might be useful for you at the retreat as well. Headbands or a bandana, hair ties and pins are helpful in keeping your hair away from the face. Resistance bands can also be taken along, as you might use them at any time.
Wet wipes always come in handy – they help me cool down and feel fresh instantly after a yoga session. Plus, they are excellent at ‘cleaning’ sweaty armpits and dirty feet.
6. Must-have toiletries and intimates
Depending on your location, like an ashram or a monastery instead of a guesthouse, you may have to bring along your toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, soaps, toothbrushes, toothpaste, laundry soap, towel, etc. Deodorant is a must-have, especially if you plan to do yoga when it’s hot outside.
You should also have some cotton bras and a couple of clean underwear to last you a few days without doing the laundry every other day. These don’t take up a lot of space so you can pack at least five for an entire week. Don’t forget your tampons and other similar items like panty liners.
A small neck and hand towel will be handy. You can also bring anti-fungal mat wipes if you want to avoid infections. I usually clean my yoga mat with a spray of diluted essential oils, diluted lemon juice or just a plain wet cloth.
Diluted essential oils are excellent because they do lots of other jobs. They can work as perfume, insect repellants, facial moisturizers, anti-bacterial spray for cuts and air purifiers.
Essential oils help you relax, sleep better and reduce stress and anxiety. Make sure you perform a patch test before using diluted oils directly on your skin.
If you are attending a yoga teacher training course or a yoga class for beginners, you need to make sure that you have all the information recorded. Carry a notebook, pencils as well as gadgets like a phone or a tablet.
8. Special clothing
The list above was curated mainly for the needs that you may have inside your yoga facility, including the studio, bedrooms, and toilet. However, you should also pack things you would use for going out or visiting the local attractions.
One or two dressier options like a tunic top to be worn with yoga pants or a skirt to be worn with a tank top or a tee should always be packed. Belts, a small purse, and a scarf will also be useful and would make your outings special.
This list should be enough for light packing for a month or two at the yoga retreat. Light packing is very important – the last thing you want is to worry about carrying your heavy stuff around. Your number one priority should be functionality and comfort. Also, check with your retreat organizers on whether they provide yoga amenities beforehand. You don’t want to bring along your mat, blocks and other props all the way if you are okay with sharing.
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Planning to go on a yoga retreat anytime soon? Now you know what to pack. And if you haven’t already decided on a destination, BookYogaRetreats.com is a great place to start your search for a pampering yoga wellness retreat!