Look, life is busy. It’s chaotic and stressful, and sometimes you question, is this what the rest of it looks like? I know this because I feel it myself sometimes.
Carving out space and time in life for a yoga or sadhana retreat is not only a luxury. It can actually be a necessity.
If you want to show up in your busy life with more spaciousness, pause, and joy, then seriously consider giving yourself the gift of your Awareness by retreating. And a yoga retreat simply means a retreat into your Self, to get to know your highest Self.
I created this list of 5 kinds of retreats to elevate your daily life based on my lived experience. There isn’t only one path, there are many, and they all lead to the same source. In the same way, finding the retreat experience that is best suited for you may take some research. So whether you’ve participated in many retreats or jumping in for your first, there is something here for you.
1. Daily Retreat: Your sadhana will be your spiritual anchor
What about creating a life you didn’t need to ‘get away from’?
↳ We start here, and possibly work our way backwards depending on where you are in your spiritual path. The daily retreat you practice, whether it be 15 minutes or two hours, will be the greatest investment into your well-being you could ever give yourself.
↳ You’re doing yourself a disservice if you are spending time right now browsing where and how to find space in your life for the peace you are seeking. The time to begin cultivating your retreat space is now. And that means when you head into a yoga retreat elsewhere, you can drop into the experience effortlessly.
↳ Start small and choose to retreat into yourself each morning. Create a special ‘retreat’ space or ritual in your home and bring yourself joy with meditation, yoga, reading, journaling…whatever simple practice allows you to rejuvenate your soul.
Try this FREE 7-day course to build your daily sadhana in 15 minutes a day.
2. Short Retreat: Keep it local, like super local
Why not retreat in the space you feel most comfortable, your home?
↳ Ok, so maybe that 5-star European retreat is a stretch. So check into your local area for a 1 to 3 day yoga retreat offerings. Last year I hosted a 4-day yoga and meditation retreat on the Sunshine Coast, British Columbia. And the attendees loved it! Check your favourite yoga studio or ask local meditation groups about what is happening in your area.
↳ If it’s still out of your means, consider creating a one-day retreat at home. I’m talking no electronics, preparing fresh, healthy food and dipping into nature, meditation and self-work. Tell your friends and family you’ll be unavailable for the day and see what shows up when you allow yourself the space to ‘un-busy’ your life, even for a day.
↳ If we go back to the roots of spiritual retreat, the Yogis in the Himalayan caves hundreds (if not thousands?) of years ago did not need anything fancy. Simplicity was key. No distractions, simply the opportunity to be with yourself. Try it out for yourself at home.
Not sure where to begin with your local retreat? Book a free call with me, and I’ll support you in finding or creating something that works.
3. Destination Retreat: Explore unknown territory, both inward and outward
Ready for adventure?
↳ Many of my yoga students budget a chunk of money each year for a holiday/retreat for themselves. It’s incredibly inspiring to see what can happen in one’s life when self-care is prioritized. We’ve all experienced burnout when we try to wear many hats, juggle, and be everything to everyone.
↳ A holiday retreat is a chance to recharge yourself FULLY. You allow yourself to be taken care of. Indulge in all the bells and whistles with an all-inclusive retreat with a host you trust with your spiritual experience (more on below👇).
↳ A destination retreat can be like a rocket ship for your sadhana. It gives you the time and space to begin cultivating the habits you will bring to fruition back at home. The key to a sadhana retreat is to go all in to carry the practices long into your post-retreat days.
Join me this September in southern Nicaragua for this very special sadhana retreat! Nourish every part of your being with this all-inclusive yoga, meditation and self-care experience I curated from the bottom of my heart.
4. Vipassana: 10 days of deep silence
Ready to block out the noise and get really, really quiet?
↳ Vipassana is a ten-day silent meditation retreat I highly recommend most folks consider doing once in their lives if not more. I did my ten-day Vipassana outside of Mumbai and found it incredibly profound. Imagine ten days of no talking, devices, or distractions – only meditation. As spiritual practitioners or sadhaks, we must move toward silence in a noisy world. This is where the truth is unveiled.
↳ It’s of the Buddhist tradition, although completely non-secular, and people of all backgrounds and ages attend. The women and men are separated, the food is light and vegetarian, and there are centers worldwide. Traditionally, it’s practiced with dark cells to inspire the practitioner to go deep into the depths of their consciousness.
↳ I’d offer two suggestions if a ten-day vipassana seems extreme for your first or early sadhana retreat. One, do it anyways. Sometimes the thing we resist the most can be what we need. Or two, go into silence at home in one of those personal retreats. See what pops! Because something definitely will.
Find a Dhamma center near you: www.dhamma.org
5. Ashram Retreat: A traditional spiritual experience
Wanna do like the old school yogis have done?
↳ An ashram is a spiritual centre where people gather for satsang, yoga, meditation, singing, pooja, seva, and just about anything that will elevate the consciousness to unite with the supreme self or God. I’ve been a part of an extraordinary ashram community for the past nine years, and the pilgrimage I make each year is essential to my sadhana and spiritual growth.
↳ Putting yourself in the company of those seeking the ultimate truth beyond the limitations of the ego, mind, intellect, and senses can be a huge turning point in your spiritual path. It’s very rare to focus on spiritual growth; it can be lonely and isolating, so I always recommend making big efforts to be around other yogis and wise people.
↳ Ashrams are vast, just like other yoga or sadhana retreats. There are ashram retreat centers worldwide, but I recommend you go to the source and visit one of the thousands of ashrams in India. Do your research, ask friends and be diligent in vetting your first ashram experience!
Ashrams in India to check out:
- Parmarth Niketan Rishikesh www.parmarth.org/
- Sivananda Ashrams (across India) www.sivananda.org.in
- Sri Ramana Maharishi www.sriramanamaharshi.org
Here are 7 things to watch out for when booking your sadhana retreat:
Ok, so you’ve made a choice and are looking for a sadhana retreat. Congrats on steps toward Self-realization! There can be a lot of disingenuous tricksters out there offering non-legit experiences.
- Host: This is everything. Plenty of clowns are masking themselves as sincere when they’re not. What a bummer to invest your time and money into a retreat, only to be disappointed by the one guiding the whole thing. Contact your potential host, request a call, or take one of their classes. Ensure you vibe with their teaching style and that they are walking their talk. If you’re taking a yoga-specific retreat, make sure the teachers are accredited teachers or, if not, have many years of experience under their belt.
- Value: Retreats have become wildly popular in recent years, and the price varies dramatically from $50 to $500 a night. Research market prices by looking into other retreats of similar length and location to understand what feels fair to you. And obviously, teachers or organizations with higher status will charge more – but that doesn’t always mean higher value. More often than not, a smaller, more personalized experience can offer you more for less $$$.
- Food: Yoga is vegan and ahimsa (non-violent). Whether you’re a meat eater or vegetarian, consider finding a retreat where you can cleanse your body, mind and spirit by eating vegan. Light, fresh, organic, local, and plant-based will give you the vitality to do deep sadhana.
- Location: A retreat may seem appear exotic, lush and beautiful online, but make sure you find the exact location, read venue reviews, and determine accessibility from your home. And most retreats should include transfers to the venue or support at least. Nothing is more stressful than turning up in a country and having no idea where or how you’re getting to your destination (speaking from experience 🤦🏻♀️).
- Legitimacy: Does the retreat you’re considering have actual people who can share their real experiences? Ask your friends what retreat experiences they’ve had, and remember to take them all with a grain of salt. If you’re really into a certain retreat but have your doubts, reach out and ask if they have any previous attendees who you could message. It’s all about building a trusting community, after all.
- Support: Is your host available before, during and after the retreat? To get the most out of your retreat experience, no matter the size, you need to be supported, hands down. Determine what support you need and ask the host directly if they can provide it. Bringing your expectations early on will help you feel easy before you arrive. Bring on the peace!
- Extras: Many yoga retreats, especially destination ones, offer extras like excursions, spa treatments, welcome gifts, pre-retreat intention-setting calls, and more. Look for these extras and add them to the possibilities that will add meaning and value to your experience.
Don’t delay. If you’ve considered ‘doing that thing’ for yourself, do it now. Don’t regret wishing you would have done it when you could have. Treat yourself to a sadhana, yoga, meditation or self-care retreat and reap the benefits long after. Check out this specially curated retreat I’m hosting in September.
Lastly, If you’re travelling out of country, don’t forget your travel insurance if you’re travelling out of country. I’ve been using Safetywing for two years now.
Any other retreat questions? Contact me and I’d be happy to support your sadhana retreat experience!