Yoga retreats are on the rise with more and more popping up all over the world. Some are offered all year round, others are just a weekend, some are offered next to a beach and others take part up a mountain. The options really are endless.
Yoga retreats are a wonderful way to take a break from our everyday lives. This can be just for a weekend and this can also be for a full month. It all depends on your budget and for how long you can be away.
Even a weekend away can do its wonders so if that is all you can be away for, go for it!
If you are still looking for why to go on a yoga retreat, you may find my article interesting: 30 Reasons To Go On A Yoga Retreat
And for those who are new to the yoga retreat experience, you may find my other article interesting: 21 Things To Expect At Your First Yoga Retreat & 9 Tips For Beginners
So without further ado, let’s now have a look at my 25 essentials to pack when you are packing for your yoga retreat.
1. Passport / ID
Regardless of where your retreat is, you are most likely going to need to bring a passport if it is abroad, or some form of identification if it is somewhere more local.
Just a little tip, make sure you check when your passport expires, especially if you are traveling abroad and need to apply for a Visa.
The need for a Visa depends on the country you want to travel to. This interesting website lets you check to see the countries you can travel to without a Visa and the ones you need a Visa for, depending on your passport. Worth checking out if you are unsure!
Unless you are driving to your yoga retreat, you will most likely have purchased a tickets or even a series of tickets. Make sure to print them out and/or have then saved on your phone.
If you are flying to your yoga retreat, it is worth checking in online and then saving your boarding pass to your phone. This will make your traveling much less stressful.
4. Everyday clothes
In most yoga retreats, you will have the opportunity to explore the local surroundings. And so it is worth bringing some everyday clothes with you. This naturally depends on where your retreat is and also the time of the year.
For example when traveling to a warm place, make sure to pack T-shirts, shorts, and comfy trousers. You may even get to go out one night with your retreat buddies so it is also worth packing one set of nicer looking clothing, just in case!
5. Underwear and socks
This is something we all need and yet tend to never pack enough! As a rule of thumb, try to pack one set for every day you will be there. And then and a few. So for example if you are going to a 10 retreat, try to pack around 12 sets of underwear and socks, just to be sure!
6. Rain jacket
This is one most people tend to forget about. I know I did when I went to a one month yoga retreat in Bali. It was June and so I figured that my bikini is enough! And yet, we had 4-5 days of extreme rain! So of course I had to go out and buy a rain jacket.
Now this is a piece of clothing that can be amazingly versatile. You can wear in in the morning walking to class when it may be a bit chilly, you can wrap up in it during savasana, and you can wear it over a simple vest if you are going for an afternoon walk.
8. Yoga Clothing
Now this is something that is super essentaial if you are going aon a yoga reterat. And interetsingly enough, it is somehting we often get wrong!
I have learnt from my past mistakes and so this is how I pack yoga clothes.
Depending on how many days the retreat is, I will try to pack that many sets. Remember, especially if it is going to be hot, you are going to be sweating a lot! So unless there are clothes washing facilities, you are going to have enough sets of yoga clothes.
I prefer long leggings to capris or shorts. I always bring capris and shorts and never wear them! So be honest with yourself. Here is how I would pack for a 7-day retreat:
- 7 pairs of leggings
- 7 tops
- 3-7 crop tops/sports bras
9. Comfortable shoes
We tend to be slightly more active during yoga retreats and so it is worth bringing a pair of shoes you will be able to walk a lot in. So for example during the summer I always wear my Birkenstocks. They are super comfy and so I can walk for hours without getting tired.
10. Flip flops/boots
This one depends on the time of year your retreat is taking place. If it is during the summer, then definitely bring a pair of flip-flops as you may be going to a pool or to the sea. Similarly, if your retreat is during the winter, bring a pair of boots, and try to make sure they are waterproof.
Most places you will travel to will not provide toiletries and so try to bring your own. These could include:
- Hair styling product
One little tip is that is you are planning on traveling light, try to keep your bottles less than 100ml so you can pack them in your carry-on bag.
This is another thing that most women pack on a yoga retreat and then realize they don’t really use it. If you still want to have something just in case, bring some BB cream (with SPF). Then some mascara and perhaps some lip balm may be enough.
13. Sanitary items and painkillers
Regardless of when your trip is, I would recommend brinign sanityary items and painkillers just to be on the safe side. And even if you are lucky enough not to get your period, you may get to help out one of your retreat buddies.
14. Yoga Mat
Most yoga reterats don’t supply yoga mats and so you will have to bring your own. The main thing to consider is if you want your mat to be carry on luggage or if you are able to check it in.
Different airlines have different rules on whether they will allow a yoga mat on the plane with you. To be on the safe side, I would advise you to check your mat in, unless of course you have a very thin travel yoga mat that you can simply fold in your backpack.
Here are two articles I wrote that may be able to help out. One talks through the different airline policies for you to see if you can bring your mat on the plane: I Contacted 11 Airlines About How To Travel With A Yoga Mat
The other talks you through the different types of yoga mats, so you can see all your options: Ultimate List Of Ashtanga Yoga Mats (plus what reviewers are saying)
15. Small Towel
You will want to bring a small towel with you, especially if you sweat a lot, or if you are traveling to a hot country. And actually, add a large towel, especially if there is going to be a beach or a lake nearby.
Especially if you are traveling to a hot country, don’t forget to bring some sunscreen. Both for the body and more importantly, your face!
I only own one pair of sunglasses and these come everywhere with me. They were in Bali with my last year and on a beautiful Greek island the year before that. And so especially if you are traveling to a sunny destination, remember to pack your sunglasses.
To be more specific, I would actually recommend bringing two notebooks/journals.
One notebook for taking notes during the classes and one for writing down your thoughts and experiences. Yoga retreats are a wonderful opportunity to develop your practice and also get in touch with your inner thoughts and feelings.
And so this could be a wonderful opportunity to write some of these things down because once you are back in your everyday life all these beautiful thoughts may end up being a distant memory.
19. Water Bottle
Most times I forget to bring a water bottle and then immediately regret it. So make this one a priority on your list.
One water bottle I once saw a teacher using and then did a little research on was the Black+Blum Eau Good Water Bottle with Charcoal Filter. It is eco-friendly and the activated charcoal helps filter the water. Something particularly useful especially when traveling to a different country.
20. Bathing Suit
One yoga retreat I went to was on a Greek island. After morning practice and brunch, we all walked to the closes beach and spent a couple of hours there. A purely magical experience!
And so if your yoga retreat is on an island or near a beach or a lake, try to pack one or even two bathing suits.
I absolutely love to read when on a yoga retreat. Especially if it is a 10-30 day retreat. There are many types of books I like to read and so I always bring my Kindle and read any book I feel like any given day.
If you want to read yoga-related books, you may like my Ashtanga book recommendations: The 23 Best Ashtanga Yoga Books
If not, well here are the books I read during my last yoga retreats:
- Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
- The Thread: A Novel by Victoria Hislop
- Mentors: How to Help and Be Helped by Russel Brand
A camera is a great thing to bring with you on a yoga retreat. You’ll see that there will be countless moments you will want to capture, with your teacher, your yoga buddies, and of the place too.
Here is a great and highly rated camera that is mirrorless, meaning it is compact enough to travel with easily.
23. Hair ties
The last retreat I went to was in Bali. I had forgotten to pack hair ties with me and so spent the first day practicing with hair all over my face. And as I wasn’t yet familiar with the shops, I didn’t know where to look to buy some.
Thankfully, one of my new retreat buddies had brought enough to share with me. So these are now always on my list!
Depending on the devices you want to bring, you will need to bring the corresponding chargers.
One thing to note is that if you are traveling abroad, you will most likely need an international adapter. This will allow you to use all your chargers, even USB on a variety of different plugs.
25. Ear plugs and eye mask
I don’t know about you, but I always have a bit of trouble sleeping when I change the environment. Most yoga retreats have shared accommodation and so as most times you don’t know who you will be sharing your room with, one tip would be to bring some earplugs, just to make sure you get a good night’s sleep.
Another thing to add to the list is an eye mask. You may want to rest during the day and there may not be any curtains or blinds in your room, so it is worth getting an eye mask, just to be sure you are able to get good sleep, regardless of the time of the day.