30 Reasons To Go On A Yoga Retreat


Yoga retreats are a chance to escape your daily life and go on a yoga holiday. What this means is that you get the best of both worlds; you get to go on holiday and you get to do yoga. Win-win.

Yoga retreats are not new and yet the yoga retreat industry seems to be experiencing an ever-growing rise in popularity. Indeed, a fairly recent article by Business Insider noted that the yoga retreat industry is expected to be worth an incredible $919 billion by 2022. 

Yoga retreats come in various shapes and forms. They can be cheap, they can be expensive, they can be a weekend, they can be a month-long, they can be with one teacher, they can be with many teachers, they can be on one style of yoga, they can be on many styles of yoga, they can include accommodation or not and they can include meals or not, they can be on a beach or even up a mountain.

The options really are unlimited! If you are new to the whole yoga retreat experience then I recommend reading my article: 21 Things To Expect At Your First Yoga Retreat & 9 Tips For Beginners

So lets have a look at the 30 reasons to go on a yoga retreat.

Time Out For Yourself

A yoga retreat is like taking a break from our everyday life and finding time for ourselves to recharge and reconnect with our true self. Whether just a weekend away or a 10-day course, you will have the time to focus on yourself, your practice, and your thoughts, and the time away will energize you.

When is the last time you did something just for your self? If you can’t seem to remember, well then even a short yoga retreat may just what you need. Naturally, the more time spent on a yoga retreat the better. However, even a weekend away will do you the world of good.

Whether you have a challenging job or are a parent, or your life has been stressful lately, a yoga retreat will give you the time and space to be ready to deal with everything again.

Deepen Your Practice

Photo I took from Matthew Sweeney’s shala in Ubud, Bali June 2019

There are a variety of different yoga retreats and each has its own focus. If you choose to do a yoga retreat with a well-known teacher in the style of yoga you already practice, then you will definitely get the chance to deepen your practice.

For example, I have several teachers I travel to practice with once a year if I’m lucky. One of my teachers does 10 day and 30-day yoga retreats. These are more focused on the practice and so accommodation and meals are not included (remember some retreats do not offer these things so make sure you know what you are signing up for).

In the 30 days, I got to spend with my teacher in Bali my understanding of my practice dramatically shifted. Being guided by an experienced teacher for such a stretch of time really did help me deepened my practice, both physically and intellectually.

Some yoga retreats, especially those tailored more to beginners may not place such a strong emphasis on deepening the physical practice.

If you do have a dedicated yoga practice and you want to deepen your practice, then look to go to a yoga retreat by a well-respected teacher of your style of yoga. if on the other hand, you want to relax and rest then you could aim for a retreat that offers beautiful accommodation, healthy meals and look out for the extras, like massages.

Make Like-Minded Friends

Yoga retreats generally have between 10 and maybe even 30 people. Being in a beautiful place with people you get to learn with, experience beside and share with is a wonderful situation to make friends. On the many yoga retreats I have been on I have experienced and witnessed friendships blossom.

Something unique about yoga retreat friends is that these friendships begin with a common passion: yoga. You already have so much in common, even if your lives, cultures, religions and ages are completely different.

I went to a 10-day yoga retreat several years ago and there were 20 of us, each from a different part of the world. Naturally, some people bonded more with others and so little pockets of friendships were able to form in such a short space of time. Beautiful to experience and beautiful to witness.

Learn Something New

Yoga retreats are a great chance to learn something new. This could be something new in yoga especially if your retreat has yoga classes of a different style you are used to practicing. This could also be on something as different as cooking or drawing, as some retreats have extra workshops.

This is something to look out for when looking to book your next yoga retreat. For example, I once went to a yoga retreat that had afternoon art classes. I have also seen some that offer local cooking classes or photography courses.

If you are indeed looking for an extra experience, such as photography, then it is perhaps worth searching for ‘yoga and photography retreat’ when you do your next search.

You get to bond with your practice

Especially for the solo and home practitioner out there, a yoga retreat is a perfect time to bond with your yoga practice. I have felt the lethargic energy of my practice shift immediately even in the first class of a yoga retreat.

This is true especially when you are practicing with a teacher you respect and one who knows your practice. It is for no surprise then that some teachers have a steady following of students who come back to the year in and year out. You both bonds with your teacher, and them with you of course, and you get to bond with your practice.

Experience a digital detox

It can be hard to remember what life was like before mobile phones and laptops. Not that you are not allowed to have such devices with you on most retreats, but your days will be so filled with classes and experiences that you may prefer to stay in the here and now than spend time on your phone.

As a yoga studio owner and manager, my phone has become an extension of my arm as I announce classes, take messages and booking, answer questions, and deal with the runnings of my studio. And so any time I go on a yoga retreat I use that time as a digital detox, something I know I want and need.

Enjoy beautiful accommodations

Depending on your budget and location of yoga retreat, you will most likely be staying in some beautiful accommodation. This can be a great luxury, especially if it is very different form what you are used to.

I have been to budget yoga retreats and I have also been lucky to have experienced the more luxurious ones. At the end of the day, even being away from your house can be luxurious enough!

Two trips for the price of one

You get to be a tourist and a yoga student, both for the price of one. Especially if you like to travel then look out for retreats that are slightly further away or in a place you have never been to. This way your yoga exploration gets to go hand in hand with your travel exploration.

Be still

In our fast paced daily lives, rarely do we have the chance to simple be still. That’s it. Be still and simply stay present. No phones, no distractions. Our yoga studio is generally the place where we get the chance to be still. So imagine experiencing that over a weekend, a week or even a month.

Yoga retreats really are a unique experience as we do get the opportunity to be still and fully experience the present moment. No running from this meeting to that engagement, form this appointment to that shop. Just be still and breathe.

Deepen Your Yoga Knowledge

Some yoga retreats place more emphasis on the physical practice and on the deepening of the students’ understanding of other aspects of yoga, such as anatomy or the philosophy. If this is something you want, then do look out for yoga retreats taught by experienced yoga teachers.

This photo was actually taken in Kadermo Conscious Living during an afternoon yoga anatomy class. Of course, if you want more of a yoga holiday and a chance to relax then do lookout for a yoga retreat the offers more of a yoga holiday.

Local, healthy, and nutritious food

One great benefit of going on a yoga retreat, especially one in a different country, is that you get to eat local and healthy food that is there to fuel your practice and leave you feeling energized. And let’s not forget that it has the added benefit that you didn’t have to cook it yourself!

Yoga retreats that also offer food tend to have chefs there to prepare the food. One retreat, in particular, that I spent a lot of time in has the added benefit of having a well-loved and respected cook all the way from Mysore, India.

For anyone who has been to Mysore in India, you will most likely know Anu, from Anu’s cafe. She is well known for having the super nutritious lunchtime buffet every day in Mysore. And so if India is too far away from you, you get to enjoy her cooking in Finland, at the Ashtanga yoga retreat Kadermo Consious Living. Well worth checking out for all the Ashtangis reading this.

Inner and outer exploration

When we have all our needs catered for, we are able to dig deep into our thoughts and experiences. It is for this reason that yoga retreats are a great opportunity for inner exploration. And then in between classes and meals we have the opportunity for outer exploration of the place we are staying.

On the yoga retreats I have been to, you notice people start talking on a deeper level of their thoughts and experiences, and so this is what helps bring people closer.

Embrace what comes up. And go for walks and explore your surroundings and process your thoughts and fears while discovering new parts of the world.

You get to have Fun

We tend to take ourselves very seriously. Especially in the yoga world we have this tendency to get lost in inner exploration. And so yoga retreats may have a very strong emphasis on yoga, through this they help lift our spirits and with the help of our yoga buddies, we get to really have fun.

The last yoga retreat I went to was in Bali. Within the first few days we all seemed to have formed our little groups of friends. And so each evening we would go out for a meal and share stories and laugh and make jokes. We had so much fun together and I actually really miss my yoga buddies form that trip!

It’s a holiday you don’t have to plan

Yoga retreats tend to have a specific and set structure. And so you can think of it as a holiday that you don’t need to plan, as everything has already been planned to suits everyone’s needs and desires. Look up the yoga retreat’s schedule so as to know what to expect and see if it is right for you.

Gain perspective

By stepping away from our lives we get the opportunity to gain perspective. All the things that occupied our thoughts and became a massive weight on our shoulders seem to feel much smaller as we distance ourselves. And so even just by being away, we are able to gain perspective.

Add to this the daily yoga classes that will leave your body and soul feeling energized and taken care of. All of this while eating healthy food and being with people that most likely are going through the same. Yoga retreats really can be life-changing experiences.

Explore another part of the world

Yoga retreats can be seen as the perfect excuse to travel and explore another part of the world. I have been to yoga retreats which were just 2 hours from my home and I have been to retreats literally on the other side of the world. Depending on your budget there is something for everyone.

Embrace the place you have traveled to, collect memories, explore, take photos and bring all your new experiences back home with you. You will most likely treasure the memories forever. I know I do!

It’s ok to be selfish

Be selfish. Just this once. Be selfish and enjoy yourself. No need to feel guilty about leaving your responsibilities or loved ones behind. Be selfish and take this time out for yourself and for your well-being. You deserve it! Embrace everything the experience can offer.

This one is true especially for the parents reading this. I see this in yoga classes and tell the parents in the class to remember that the hour that we are together is just for them. And so a yoga retreat is the same, just a slightly more extended in duration.

A long-term reset

The longer the duration of the yoga retreat, the more efficient the reset. Though I will point out that even a month-long retreat can go by in the blink of an eye. It may not feel it at the time, but time really does tend to fly.

And so my advice to everyone would be to fully embrace the experience and you may be surprised at the changes you may then make in your lives after this experience.

You’ll feel refreshed

Just think of the positive effects a daily yoga practice and healthy food can have on your mind and soul. And top that off with not having any household chores and work responsibilities to deal with. You are most likely to feel refreshed and renewed after your time away.

You’ll learn how to practice yoga daily

Yoga retreats generally offer a morning yoga class and then an afternoon and or evening yoga class. The morning class tends to be more dynamic while later in the day class tends to be calmer and more gentle. Over the duration of the retreat, both will do wonders for your body and mind.

Again this all depends on the retreat you have focused to go on. One retreat I went to had Ashtanga in the morning and then complemented it with a yin yoga practice in the afternoons. Another had Ashtanga in the morning and then a philosophy class in the afternoon.

The emphasis generally tends to be in the morning classes. Look out for the yoga retreat schedule so you can have more of an idea of what to expect.

You deserve it

This one really goes without saying. We have a tendency to put a lot of pressure on ourselves and tell others to take it easy and that they deserve a break. And yet we forget that we also need a break. We also deserve to take care of ourselves.

I remember one retreat I went to, when we introduced ourselves at the start of the week-long course, a woman told us her name and then said that she was in her 60s. She told us that this was her first-ever yoga retreats and that as a grandmother of 5 grandchildren she decided that now was the time to treat herself and she derived it. I’m sure we can agree that she did indeed deserve it!

Everything is taken care of

Picture a scenario where you do yoga in the morning, breakfast is then served. You didn’t prepare it and you don’t need to do the dishes. Same at lunch and then after your afternoon yoga class, the same happens at dinner. So one of the beauties of a yoga retreat is that everything is taken care of.

Need I say more?!

More Than Just Yoga

Yoga actually becomes just a small part of a yoga retreat. If we were to think that in a 24 hour day, we may practice yoga for a maximum of 5 hours in a day during a yoga retreat. And so the rest of the time os there for you to bond with your classmates, explore the surroundings and enjoy yourself.

Yoga for beginners and all levels

Beginners may feel like everyone else will be more advanced. And that is normal. Quickly you get to know everyone there and you will see what a mixed level group you actually are. And that’s the beauty of this experience. Some retreats are tailored more to beginners’ needs so look out for them.

I have been to retreats where there were people who had only attended one yoga class practicing next to someone with almost 2 decades of experience. And what was beautiful to see was the experienced practitioner encouraging the beginner and giving tips and talking about how they evolved from a beginner.

It’s your chance to disconnect

Disconnect from your everyday stresses. Disconnect from your work. Disconnect from your phone. Basically disconnect from everything that is draining you and not filling you with joy. The longer the retreat the easier the disconnect as after a while you start to forget your normal life.

It’s your chance to reconnect

Reconnect with your deepest desires. Reconnect with your heart. Reconnect with what you have always wanted to have in your life. By taking a step back and nurturing our body and soul, we are able to reconnect and truly listen to what our heart wants and needs.

You will Grow

A yoga practice, a yoga retreat, a positive thought, a good deed to ourselves can be seen as a seed that has been planted. By nurturing this seed with what we know is good for us will we be able to really grow and experience the existence we have always dreamed of for ourselves.

Professional Guidance

Especially for yoga retreats will experienced yoga teachers, you will truly get to experience what it is like to be guided by someone who just knows their stuff and also who knows how to help you experience it.

And so feel free to open up to your teacher about your thoughts and needs and you may on your path to some eye-opening answers.

Yoga retreat with your child

In one retreat I went to there was a family of four. Mum and dad were both long term practitioners and they brought their two kids. As the kids slept, the parents did their morning practice and then the parents took turns in coming to the afternoon classes while the other was with the kids.

This could seem like the ideal scenario for someone with kids. If that is not possible for you, it is worth speaking to the retreat teacher and see if there is an option for you to bring your child. Some retreats are tailored to parent’s needs and so may offer babysitting services.

Another option, of course, would be to bring a friend who would be able to take care of your child as you went to all the classes. If your friend doesn’t participate in the classes they would also be able to get a discount. So this could also be an option worth exploring.

Related questions

Should I go on a yoga retreat?

If you have read the above article and found even a handful of reasons that resonate with you, then the easy answer would be yes!

How much should a yoga retreat cost?

The cost of a yoga retreat varies based on several factors:

  • Duration. A weekend yoga retreat will cost much less than a week-long retreat which in turn will cost much less than a month-long yoga retreat.
  • Accommodation. Some yoga retreats don’t offer accommodation and so naturally this will bring the cost down. However, keep in mind that you will still need to pay for accommodation. Additionally, some retreats that offer accommodation, offer luxurious accommodation while others offer ost basic accommodation. And so it depends on what the course offers.
  • Meals. Some yoga retreats offer meals while others don’t. Again, it may be cheaper to book a retreat that doesn’t offer meals, however, you will still need to pay for your food if you choose the cheaper option.
  • Travel expenses. Though not part of the retreat itself, keep in mind that a yoga retreat that is a 2-hour drive will be much cheaper to get to compared to a retreat on the other side of the world which may need at least 2 flights.

What do you do at a yoga retreat?

Most yoga retreats publish their schedule for students to be able to see what they will be doing. In general, there are yoga classes in the morning and then yoga or extra activity in the afternoon/evening. The time in between is generally spent with the people on your course, of course, if you choose, you could spend the time alone and go for long walks or read a good book.

Alexia Koletsou

Alexia Koletsou is a Level 1 Authorized Ashtanga Yoga Teacher with a Ph.D. in Science Communication. She received her blessing to teach Ashtanga Yoga in 2019, from the Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore, India, where she has had the honor of practicing with R. Sharath Jois multiple times over the years. She is the owner of her own Shala in Greece and now shares her knowledge on yogamyoldfriend.com and her YouTube channel Alexia K Yoga.

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