The Best Way to Find Out if that Yoga Retreat is Worth It
So you're enjoying your weekly yoga class more than you expected, sometimes leaving work early on a different day so you can squeeze in an extra session. Do find yourself dreaming about yoga? Or planning out yoga for the next couple weeks? Does your car have anywhere from 1- 100 of stickers like this? Maybe you've even considered taking a yoga retreat, so you can fully immerse yourself in the experience, instead of just cramming the serenity into an already busy day. But you always brush the idea aside, wondering if it's worth it. Do you really want to go to the trouble and expense of planning an entire trip around yoga?
There are certainly enough options available for you to be able to answer the question for yourself, with a little guidance. Here are the basic factors to consider when making your decision:
What are you looking to get out of your trip, and how much can you afford? There are many different types of retreats available, so make sure you find one that fits your budget. Don't go overboard and stretch yourself too thin — the stress of coming home to a stack of un-payable bills will negate the purpose of your trip.
Would a weekend in Sedona or the Berkshires satisfy your craving, or would you want to go for something more exotic, such as a ten-day retreat in Thailand? Getting acquainted with a new place is one of the joys of travel, but especially on trips like this one. If you can afford it, get as far as possible out of your comfort zone.
Distance and travel time.
That said, you want to devote as much of your available time as you can to your classes. If you only have a week, it makes no sense to travel halfway around the world, as you'll spend the whole trip jet-lagged and miserable.
Many yoga retreats will include the cost of all meals and snacks in the package price; shop around to see what sort of deals you can get for your price range. If you have your heart set on one that doesn't include meals, research the nearby dining options. Bear in mind that you should be eating healthy foods during this particular vacation — if there's nothing but McDonald's for miles, reconsider the trip or choose another location.
Other available activities.
Balance is always important, even on a journey such as this one. Check out what other outdoor sports and recreation are on offer at the resort, or even in the general area. If you've always wanted to try windsurfing, for example, and there's a facility nearby that offers classes, the trip will be worth it for the added benefit of crossing that off your bucket list.
How many people are admitted?
This is another case of personal preference taking the reins. Do you prefer a smaller, more intimate retreat? Or would you be more comfortable in a larger group? Some people might want to make new, like-minded friends on their retreat; others might want to keep their focus inward.
How long does the retreat last?
Will a weekend suffice, or do you want a longer immersive experience? If you don't think a few days will be long enough but that's all you can afford — whether time- or money-wise — consider putting the trip off for a while.
Since the practice of yoga is inherently a journey toward a better, more aligned version of the self, it stands to reason that no one can decide for you whether the time and expense are worth it. Just remember: whether you practice alone in the privacy of your home, or in a group beneath the shadow of a mountain, your ultimate goal remains the same. Namaste.
Not sure you're ready for a yoga retreat? Check out our beginners guide to yoga here.
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