How to Make the Most of Your Retreat Experience

July 12, 2017
5 min read

Spending your hard earned cash on what you hope will be your dream experience, only to walk away feeling unsatisfied is not how it should be.

Deciding to go on a retreat is an amazing thing, but it can also be nerve-wracking choosing the right retreat for you and then making sure you’re getting the most of out of a dream experience. So before you set off on your dream retreat adventure, here are some tips on making the most of the experience.

Make the Most of Your Retreat Experience

Choose the right retreat for you

Start things off on the right foot by choosing the right retreat for you. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can be extremely rewarding, but don’t set yourself up for an experience you won’t enjoy. It’s one thing to grow through new experiences, but another to be miserable because it’s too much. If you’re after a relaxing retreat, don’t choose an adventure filled program, and if you want a bit of luxury, don’t go for rustic accommodation.

Set your intention for the retreat

We all have different reasons for wanting to attend a yoga retreat. To help make the most of you retreat, it’s a good idea to think about why going on a retreat is important to you, and what you hope to gain. Set an intention for your retreat by reducing these things into a short phrase or several words. When you’re on retreat this will help you to stay focused and make the most of all your experience during your wellness vacation.

Make the Most of Your Retreat Experience

Pack well

Making the most of your retreat experience isn’t just about the right clothes. Download some podcasts, take an inspirational book, and make use of your free time to work on your mind as well.

Let go of judgments and expectations

Set yourself up for the best possible retreat experience by having no expectations on yourself and others.

When you’re choosing a retreat you’ll read plenty of retreat descriptions and likely book the one that makes you the most excited about your trip. However, do your best not to form too many judgments and expectations about the retreat, so that you can take the experience as it comes and enjoy it for what it is.

Avoid judgments and expectations of yourself on retreat too. If you’re not connecting with your yoga practice like you thought you would or making as many advances as you want to, don’t be hard on yourself. The things you learn and absorb on retreat might not be clear for some time afterward.

Make the Most of Your Retreat Experience

Show up

Just because you’re on retreat doesn’t mean you’ll feel like practicing every day, and often more than once a day. But even if you don’t feel like practicing, show up on the mat. You may have to adjust your poses or simply meditate, but be there. You won’t walk away wishing you hadn’t. At the same time, listen to your body and what it needs. if this is your first retreat and you’re finding the increase in practice hard, speak to the retreat leader to see what you can do to get the best experience for you.

Go with the flow

Although a retreat leader will do their best to create a great retreat program for you and the other students, not everything always goes to plan. Be prepared to go with the flow on retreat, from changes to the program, to how you feel on any given day, as well as how your body is coping. Do whatever you need to do to make the experience the best it can be for you.

Make the Most of Your Retreat Experience

Deepen your practice before the retreat

Many retreats have two sessions of yoga a day. If you’ve only been going once a week then a retreat can be a bit of a shock to the system. Try to up your practice before the retreat if you can, so that you can make the most of the practice on retreat and not feel so overwhelmed.

Active travel retreats like a running retreat will require you to push your body further than you normally might. Be sure to prepare for differences in altitude, increased pace or distances run over the retreat.

Try the food

The food you eat on retreat is important, so even if you’re not sure about it, try the food and find out more about different ways to nourish your body. Of course, if you don’t like something then don’t force it, but give it a try before you make that decision.

Make the Most of Your Retreat Experience

Digital detox, at least part of the time

Going on retreat is a fantastic opportunity to close off and just be present. The digital world makes up a huge part of our daily lives, but sometimes more than necessary. If you can’t totally detox while on retreat, or you want to be able the stay a little connected, then try limiting yourself until a certain time of day, or put a few apps off limit for the duration of the retreat.

Take advantage of optional activities

Have the best retreat experience you can by taking advantage of the optional activities on offer. Treat yourself to a massage, sign up to try a new activity, embrace new cultural experiences. If you’re worried about your budget, look into affordable retreats and budget-friendly retreats so you can save money on your booking and make the most of the experience when you’re there.

Make the Most of Your Retreat Experience

Connect with the community

Your retreat is a community of people coming together for all different purposes. You never know who your retreat companions will be and what you can learn from them. Take some time to try to connect with other attendees during the retreat. If group activities are planned, take advantage and get involved.

Outside of your retreat, try to connect with the wider community where you’re staying. Look for authentic local experiences, try different foods, and immerse yourself in a new culture when you have free time. You never know what you might learn or come across!

Keep a journal

Keeping a journal while you’re on retreat can help you to have the best retreat experience possible. Write what you’ve done, or your thoughts and emotions that day. A journal is a great place to record your intentions for when you’re back home so you remember how you felt and what you thought on retreat, and what you wanted to do to improve your life afterward.

Take your experience home with you

Going on a retreat has many benefits, but they don’t have to stop once the retreat is over. Use what you learn and take your wellness practices home with you. If you and the other students are open to it, stay in touch.

Make the Most of Your Retreat Experience

If you’ve recognized the signs that it’s time for your next retreat and you want to make the most of it, then following these steps should help you to do so. Start out right by checking out our retreats and finding the best experience for you!