Do you want to begin planning a yoga retreat, but not sure where to start?
You are not alone. When we started planning retreats many years ago, we had no idea how to begin. We stumbled along the way trying to figure out what steps to take in order to create successful retreats.
What Are The Key Elements of Planning Successful Retreats?
Timeline planning • Selecting your venue • Itinerary & program design • Sustainability considerations • Marketing • Financials & profitability • Legal forms & liabilities • Insurance
But after lots of experimenting (both wins and mistakes), we created a roadmap for planning amazing and profitable yoga retreats. It’s called the Retreat Design Map™. This roadmap begins by setting the foundation for your retreat BEFORE you jump into the planning all the fun details, (i.e. accommodations, food, class plans, etc.)
And what is the foundation of retreat planning? Connecting to your purpose and knowing your students. Having this foundation when you’re planning a yoga retreat will give you so much clarity for every decision you make throughout your retreat planning journey.
What happens when you skip the step of creating a foundation for your retreat? What if you aren’t clear on WHY you want to host a retreat? And what if you don’t really know what your students want and need?
- You won’t be connected to your bigger purpose. You may end up planning a yoga retreat that’s not as aligned with your values. And without a clear connection to your WHY, you may end up feeling overwhelmed and discouraged at times in the planning process.
- Your retreat may end up being too general and watered-down.
- You won’t know how to best serve your students or how to create a retreat they actually WANT to sign up for.
- You’ll be less likely to create something unique that stands out in the crowd.
4 Essential Steps to Planning a Yoga Retreat
1. Connect with Your “WHY”
This is the key to any big decision. Why do you want to lead a yoga retreat? Before focusing on whether to go to Mexico or Italy, or do a yoga/surf or yoga and wine tasting retreat, it’s always important to get clear on your WHY.
- What’s the bigger purpose behind this retreat?
- What do you want to create for your students?
- How will leading this retreat impact your own life?
Getting clear on your WHY will make all the other decisions in your retreat planning process so much easier. And it will help you stay grounded and connected to your bigger purpose, even in the midst of some of the not-as-fun tasks (i.e. budgeting, marketing, etc.)
Some ways to connect with your WHY for planning a yoga retreat are journaling, meditation, or talking it out with a friend. Once you’re super clear on your WHY, write it down to help you stay connected and aligned with your bigger purpose.
2) WHO Do You Envision at Your Retreat?
After getting clear on your WHY, take some time to think about WHO you envision at your retreat.
Since you’re planning a yoga retreat FOR YOUR STUDENTS, you want to offer something your students actually want, need or desire. You want to offer something that truly resonates with your students and that will get them to sign up for your retreat in a heartbeat.
Think about some of your favorite yoga students:
- What are they like?
- Do they work full-time?
- Are they stay-at- home moms?
- What do they love to do?
- What do they stress about?
- Why do they need this retreat?
You may be thinking “But my students are all SO different.” Of course that’s true, but you can always pick out some similarities between them. Remember that they are all attracted to you as their teacher for a reason AND they may have more things in common than you think.
There are several creative ways learn more about your students. You can ask them out for coffee or tea. You can send an online survey to ask what they’d really want in a retreat experience. And you can simply take time to chat with students after class.
In addition to thinking about your existing students, think about the students you would like to attract to your retreat. Try to envision your dream tribe, what does it look like?
By keeping the needs and desires of your ideal students in mind, you can create a retreat that will really resonate with them + something they actually want and need.
3) Align Your Retreat with your WHY + Your Students
Getting clear on WHY you want to lead a retreat + knowing your students is the foundation for the entire retreat planning process.
Whether you’re deciding on when to host your retreat, what type of yoga to offer, what kind of food to have, or what fun activities to include, always reflect back to this foundation.
Every decision you make needs to align with your WHY and your students.
For example, when choosing a date for your retreat, think about what time frame works best for you AND for your students. When considering your retreat location, consider not only where YOU would like to go, but also where YOUR STUDENTS would like to go.
And remember that connecting to your WHY + your students is a practice. Continue to reflect back on your purpose and what your students want/need with every decision you make in your retreat planning journey.
- If your dream retreat is in Bali or Thailand, is that feasible for you and your students right now?
- You may want to offer a detox retreat, but is this really what your students want?
- Some of your students may want a weekend camping retreat, but is this something you are passionate about doing and do you have the needed outdoor skills for it?
4) Bring it Home
Finally, remember the bigger picture of the whole retreat experience. How do you want your retreat to impact the lives of your students?
Think of ways you can help your students to bring the retreat experiences home.
- What can skills can you teach them?
- What daily self-care routines can you do with them (i.e. meditation, journaling, silence) to inspire them to bring that home?
- How can you help them find solutions for the changes in their life they are looking for?
As for you, how do you want your retreat to impact your own life? Do you want to step into your role as a retreat leader in order to be a better, more confident teacher?
Do you want to be re-inspired in your own practice so that you have more energy to give back to your students? Do you want to continue leading more retreats, and if so, what will that give you? Remember your bigger purpose for leading a yoga retreat.
Maybe you want to lead retreats in order to bring in more income and give you financial freedom. Maybe you want to teach less weekly classes and find more balance in your life.
Always come back to your WHY and remember what you’d like to manifest out of this whole experience.
Renee and Paloma help yoga teachers to plan + lead successful dream retreats so that they can travel, teach, and thrive. Through their online trainings at Rock Your Yoga Retreat, they help yoga teachers to transform their careers from teaching too many classes and living paycheck to paycheck, to having more profitable, sustainable, and inspired yoga businesses.
Learn more HERE about their online yoga teacher training, the Retreat Design Map™. If you found this helpful and are looking for more tips on how to plan your dream yoga retreat, we have a free 60 Day Yoga Retreat Planner HERE.