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How To Organise a Yoga Retreat People Will Love!

blog freebies yoga Jul 25, 2021
yoga retreat, beam academy

When I decided to run my first yoga retreat over 10 years ago, I found the experience quite nerve racking.  There were so many aspects to consider and so many things to remember.  12 years down the road and having run numerous retreats within the UK and abroad I can now honestly say I love them.

Every yoga retreat I run is a unique experience not just for my guests but for me too.  Welcoming people from all over the world, from a variety of backgrounds and bringing them together to experience everything I have organised is humbling, especially as the days go by and a sense of community, friendship, and fun starts blossoming.  It’s so beautiful to watch and feel the natural and organic connections that grow.

So here is an outline of my checklist for running a successful retreat.

  1. Venue: What sort of location do you want to take your guests to? Think of your audience, how many people you feel comfortable tending to, the style and experience i.e private villa, glamping, yoga retreat house etc
  2. Costs: Look at the venue costs, transport costs, meals and any extras i.e excursions, massages etc. Unless you have all the props yourself it might be easier to use a retreat house that has everything ready for you.  Although most people like bringing their own mats.
  3. Promotion: Once you have added all your costs and settled on a price start promoting. I would recommend you allow yourself at least 6 months till your retreat.
  4. Theme: Is your retreat going to have a theme? Although Ashtanga is my main event, I like to create different classes with a focus on different parts of the body, or different chakras and this allows me to weave in meditations, music, and readings that complement each other.
  5. Schedule: Having a schedule is important for you and your guests as well as the venue. Although you may deviate slightly depending on circumstances and some people may opt out of certain classes or excursions it is important for everyone to know what the general picture looks like.

 

Before your guests arrive:

  1. Welcome letter and Questionnaire: Once people sign up you need to gather as much information as you can from them to ensure you are able to accommodate different needs and abilities. Ask your guests why they chose your retreat and what they want to get out of it.  There answers are gems of information for you, and it also helps you build a relationship with them straight away.
  2. Dietary and medical needs: Make sure you are aware of all dietary requirements and medical needs.  It’s crucial that you understand who will be attending, their yoga experience and any limitations or injuries they may have so you can support each person in your group appropriately.  Ensure you have a disclaimer in place especially regarding medical and physical aspects.
  3. Little extras: Who doesn’t love a gift? I always add little extras in their room on arrival.  Maybe a small goodie bag with local products i.e organic soap from a local producer, homemade lavender bags etc
  4. Excursions: Offering a few outings to your schedule so your guests can get to experience the area is always a good idea.  Just make sure they understand that these excursions are completely optional and if they prefer to just chill by the pool then that’s fine.  Forced fun is not fun.
  5. Food: There are 2 things I believe make or break a yoga retreat. The yoga and the food. Working with your venue or with a local chef/ catering company, to ensure a high-quality menu is imperative.  Include local organic products, local recipes and delicacies that will add to your guests’ experience.

During:

  1. Welcome day: On the first day I always have a little meet and greet session so I can introduce myself and talk through the schedule. It’s also an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other over a refreshing drink and local delicacies.
  2. Enjoy and relax: You are the host, so you need to make sure you lead by example.  If you are stressed and rushing around the vibe will not be one of relaxation and zen. Enjoy yourself.  Your guests have come to relax, get away, rejuvenate and experience new things so just relax, be yourself and this energy will help your clients feel comfortable and connected with you, your values and your retreat style.
  3. Go with the flow: Yoga is fluid.  You have organised everything, you have a schedule, you have a plan but as we all know sometimes things don’t go to plan but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing.  Be flexible, move with the mood and atmosphere and be prepared to adapt to any unforeseen changes.

 

After:

  1. Have feedback forms and maybe even a testimonial book. It’s vital to hear about their experience so you can improve certain aspects for next time, however small that detail is.  Also positive testimonials will help with future retreats.
  2. Collect and share photos – Setting up a whatsapp group for your guests is an easy way for everyone to share photos and maybe even stay in touch. Photos are also a useful tool for you, so as to promote future retreats (make sure you have people’s permission to use their face in photos).
  3. Thank you letter – Everyone loves a thank you letter. I always thank my guests for trusting me with their practice.

Be yourself, your energy attracts your audience.  This maybe my checklist but what makes your retreat is you! Be unique and true to yourself and have fun, enjoy yourself and make your retreat a treat!

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