What to expect at a Yoga Retreat: Advice for first timers

I’ve recently discovered yoga and pilates classes as my local gym. The classes are a true escape from reality for me where I can get in tune with my body and just remember to stretch and breathe. I find that the flexibility exercises feel amazing when I have been sat at my desk all day, and take me back to my gymnastic days as a child. This new found interest has got me thinking about going on a yoga retreat, something I have never done before. Despite a bit of research, I’m still left wondering what to expect on a yoga retreat and have called upon the help of passionate yogi Manmohan Singh to get some expert advice. Over to Manmohan…

What to Expect on a Yoga Retreat

So you’re thinking of going on a yoga retreat for the first time? Chances are, you’re not completely sure what it will involve (besides the obvious yoga and meditation). Is a yoga retreat right for me? How will it affect or transform me? Don’t worry. These thoughts are completely natural and I’m here to debunk some of the myths about what to expect on a yoga retreat.

Going on a yoga retreat is a really worthwhile thing to invest your time and money in. It’s likely to push you out of your comfort zone in a new and often beautiful location. You’ll spend time with some unfamiliar faces who are yet somewhat similar to you, each trying to break away from daily life. It’s natural to feel apprehensions about the unknown of a yoga retreat. The best thing to do is just go with an open mind and embrace all the changes and challenges.

What is a yoga retreat?

The intention of a yoga retreat is to provide a relaxing and focused experience for an individual to try yoga at their ability level. This could range from beginner to advanced and you do the retreat with other people in your same ability level. Yoga retreats are led by an expert yoga teacher who will guide you through different classes and practices over the duration of the course. Classes are often tailored to the time of day, from sunrise yoga to sunset and night yoga. Yoga retreats also include additional activities such as meditation, journaling, walking, hiking, massage, reiki, reflexology and holistic treatments.

Why go on a yoga retreat?

A yoga retreat provides you with an opportunity to escape your reality and truly slow down the pace of life. It encourages you to be present in the moment, be kind to yourself and others, and appreciate the power and the movement of your body. Yoga retreats often take place in beautiful, peaceful settings, allowing you to step off the busy treadmill of life and refocus.

What to Expect on a Yoga Retreat

1. Experience positive transformations

The core of the retreat programs revolves around the authentic wisdom of yoga postures, breathing techniques, and meditation that will greatly benefit your body, mind, and soul. The dedicated classes will help you transcend limitations and bring out positive transformations.

2. Adopt a Healthier Lifestyle

Yoga retreats provide the perfect chance to dive deeper into the ancient science of yoga and enhance your existing knowledge. An insight into the world of yoga, Ayurveda, and healthy eating inspires you to be more aware of your choices. Gradually, it helps you adopt a yogic lifestyle that fosters purposeful life and mindful actions. Along with yogic wisdom, a yoga retreat gives you an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone, make exciting discoveries, and indulge in some frolicking adventures around the town.

3. Escapism in Beautiful Surroundings

A yoga retreat ideally involves travelling to a place that is surrounded by natural beauty. Relax your body, mind, and soul by taking the practice of yoga and meditation on the beaches or in the shadow of towering mountains. Connect closely with nature and feel an intimate sense of rejuvenation, health, and happiness.

4. Savour Healthy Yet Tasty Food

Many live by the pre-conceived notion that food offered during yoga retreats is plain and bland. This is not the case. A quality yoga retreat serves vegetarian diet choices that are healthy on the body and equally delicious on the taste buds. Meals are served to guests with the aim of nurturing the body and energising the mind. Mealtime at a yoga retreat is another opportunity to sit together communally and enjoy delicious, healthy food.

5. A Digital Detox Expedition

If you feel you are somewhat addicted to your gadgets and smartphones then a yoga holiday could make a really positive impact. A yoga retreat gives you a chance to detox digitally by indulging in soul-satisfying activities where you won’t find the urge to look at a mobile or a gadget. It is a great time to disconnect from the artificial world and to connect with the real world.

6. Meet Amazing People

Besides enlightening yoga and meditation practices, yoga retreats are so much about forming good connections, indulging in spiritual discussion and invigorating learning. Going on a yoga retreat is like entering a new community where you get an opportunity to meet like-minded souls. You are surrounded by vibrant spirits who want to explore the amazing science of yoga to better their daily lives. It’s a wonderful opportunity to connect with people from across the globe from different cultures and backgrounds.

7. Relax and Rejuvenate

Many retreat packages include yoga therapy, meditation, Ayurveda classes and so much more for a complete rejuvenation of the body, mind and spirit. The healing touch of Ayurveda combined with the wholesome goodness of yogic food, Meditation, Pranayama, and Yoga Therapy is highly rejuvenating. You’ll also be given free time to do as much or as little as you feel like.

8. Take Back a Rewarding Experience

A yoga retreat is not the type of holiday where you get home and feel like you need a detox.

The experience and knowledge gained at a yoga retreat gives you the tools and skills to continue a healthy yogic lifestyle for a lifetime (if you want to). A yoga retreat is the starting pathway to long term holistic health and wellness.

Signs you should try a yoga retreat

  • Feelings of stress and overwhelm
  • You want to take on a new mental and physical challenge
  • You want to meet likeminded people who share an interest in yoga
  • You want to improve your yoga practice in a short space of time
  • You want to book a holiday that is good for both body and mind

I hope this post inspires you to try a yoga retreat and to grant yourself some self-love this year.

About The Author

Manmohan Singh is a passionate Yogi, Yoga Teacher and a Traveller in India. He provides Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh, India. He loves writing and reading the books related to yoga, health, nature and the Himalayas.


Has this post helped you to work out what to expect on a yoga retreat? Where in the world would you love to go on a yoga retreat?

What to Expect on a Yoga Retreat - Anti Gravity Yoga Bali

Jessica Ruth Gibson is the Founder and Editor of Travelista and an award-winning travel content creator of 10 years. She lives in York, UK with her son and has travelled to over 50 countries; her favourites being Italy, Canada and Vietnam.

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