I’ve found that the reasons for this will be different if you are a yoga practitioner, or if you are a teacher. I’ll address both!
For practitioners: Perhaps you’ve been practicing yoga asana for a while now…and you go to class a few times a week, and well, that feel like it’s working pretty well. So, why fix something that isn’t broken?
Yoga retreats are great if:
1. You like yoga, and would enjoy (trying for the first time?) doing it a few times a day. Sometimes more actually IS better! And in the context of a yoga retreat, you get a chance to experience practicing in a new environment, often without all the hustle to get to class (less stress!), and feel what it is like to practice daily, or in some instances, 2x/day!
2. You enjoy structured time off. Some people actually DON’T go on vacation, because they aren’t comfortable with an absence of structure. At a yoga retreat, there is a schedule, that often includes time off, but rarely that much!
3. You enjoy trying new foods. Often yoga retreats will take the opportunity to introduce participants to new and different ways of eating. Would you like to try eating vegetarian, but wouldn’t do it on your own, and aren’t sure you want to commit? A yoga retreat may be a good place to give it a whirl! Not all yoga retreats necessarily promote a particular way of eating, so you will want to check out what the menu is! For instance, at Kripalu, where I often go to teach, it used to vegetarian, but now routinely includes an animal protein on the menu. BUT–! You can explore eating a macrobiotic diet! Or an Ayurvedic diet! At Lux Yoga, where I teach in the summer, the food is a centerpiece, with Michelin Star chefs, local fare, and animal protein usually on the plate.
4. You like meeting new people who share the same interests. At yoga retreats, there’s ONE big filter. YOGA. You can pretty much be sure that any conversation you begin on that topic will lead you to interesting other topics. In general you can bet that people on yoga retreats are interested in living a healthy lifestyle, learning, and a certain level of self inquiry and personal growth. These people could even become lifelong friends! Some people who attend my LUX retreat have been returning for years!
5. You enjoy traveling. Yoga retreats offer such a wide variety of travel options. Heck, you can even do a retreat without leaving your home town! For instance, some Forrest Yoga colleagues of mine run a Urban Retreat around every New Year. Basically stay home (if New York is your home! Some people travel for this event!), and do SO MUCH YOGA! I also lead regional experiences at Kripalu, in Lenox, Massachusetts, and Omega, in Rheinbeck, New York. AND–if you’re into international travel–The South of France. You can travel down the block! You can travel around the world! It’s a structured way to experience different people, regions, and sometimes cultures and languages.
O.K., O.K., I know you. You’re working all the time, and if you take time off, it’s PROBABLY going to be to go to another yoga training. Stop. Right. There. Listen up.
Yoga retreats are essential to your health and development. Here’s why:
- You need to receive yoga medicine. I’ll say it again. You. NEED. To Receive. Yoga. Medicine. Remember those days when you just went to class, and didn’t know anything about the hustle and bustle of teaching? Blissful, bygone memories, I’m sure. One way to get that back is to take yourself on a retreat. There’s no purposeful learning…no certificate to receive…no new skill to wow people with once you get back. Just…hit the reset button. Be a student. Be a beginner. Be a person immersing themselves in the joy of just experiencing. I suggest going to a yoga friend’s retreat, or a senior teacher you enjoy. It can be nice if you find a retreat just for teachers, but even as I’m writing that I’m thinking nah…it’s important to be with the rest of the WHOLE tribe, in grace. As teachers, part of our uplevel is to be a real human, in real situations, and have our teaching prowess integrate everywhere. Just hanging out with someone else’s students can help you practice that skill.
That’s it for now! Perhaps I will edit this as I think of more. Here’s a list of upcoming opportunities this summer and fall, to retreat with meeeeee. I hope to see you soon! Love to you, Erica
July 21-27, LUX Yoga: Practice Gratitude, Receive Grace
August 24-27, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health: Yoga and Body Confidence Conference
October 13-15, Omega Center: The Forrest Yoga Formula for Change