7 Things to Expect on Your First Yoga Retreat (Besides Yoga)

July 17, 2017
Sonja Bolger
6 min read

Feeling a bit of trepidation about your first yoga retreat, and wondering what exactly you’ll be doing… besides yoga of course? Booking your first yoga retreat will give you a rush, as you anticipate the experience you’re in for. Don’t let doubts set in before you go, and find out what to expect on your first retreat.

Going on a yoga retreat is a big step. Flying to an unfamiliar place to spend time with people you don’t know, trying to have a break from your daily life but also fit in with a group, can lead to a bit of uneasiness about the experience in store for you.

Well luckily, there’s nothing to be worried about! Attending a yoga retreat will open your mind to new ideas and experiences, and it could even lead you down a different path in life. But at the very least, you should have a pretty great vacation that’s all about you, in a supportive environment.

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To set the record straight, going on a yoga retreat doesn’t mean you’ll be doing yoga for 12 hours a day. Partly because that would be a huge ask of anyone, but also because yoga retreats aren’t just about doing yoga! You’ll find plenty of information about the reasons to go on a yoga retreat, and how it can lead to deepening your practice, learning mindfulness, opening your mind and breaking bad habits.

Retreats have a lot of benefits, and many of them come from what you do outside of the general twice daily practice. But what exactly is that that you can expect on retreat then? These are the 7 things to expect on your first yoga retreat.

Things to Expect on Your First Yoga Retreat

A community

Going on a yoga retreat is like entering a new community. Yoga is about connecting, and you’ll be surrounded by like-minded people who are committed to more than a class fit in around their busy work week. It’s a wonderful opportunity to speak and learn with others and be a part of a community as much or as little as you like.

People often choose to attend a yoga retreat solo, but there’s no fear of being lonely. A sense of freedom can come from spending time with people who know nothing about you, and connections can form faster than you think.

Make the most of your retreat experience by having no expectations, of yourself or the other attendees. A yoga retreat is seen as a safe place, and there will be stories and experiences shared that people may not even choose to divulge to their closest friends.

Things to Expect on Your First Yoga Retreat

An opportunity to try new things

Yoga retreats are often held in beautiful locations around the world, and in places where there are some amazing adventurous activities to take part in. Most retreat leaders build optional activities into their retreat program so that when you’re not practicing yoga you can be trying out something new.

Typical options include paddle-boarding, surfing, and hiking, but you might find cultural activities like cooking classes or exploring local markets and towns too.

It’s up to you to decide how many of the extra activities on retreat to take part in, but you can be sure there’ll be something new to experience in your time away from the yoga mat.

Things to Expect on Your First Yoga Retreat

Seeing a new destination

Part of choosing the right retreat for you should be about the location. Ideally, going on a yoga retreat is an excuse to have a vacation in a new place, with the benefits that come from attending a retreat too.

There’ll be time for relaxation and explore the local area, as well as take part in fun and exciting new activities. Hopefully, you’ll be able to get back to the basics and immerse yourself in nature at some point during your retreat experience.

Things to Expect on Your First Yoga Retreat

Healthy food options

The food you eat on retreat is important, and most yoga retreats have at least some meals included, and you can bet on them being from the healthy end of the scale. Meals will be made with the aim of energizing your practice in mind, and you can expect to feel the difference.

In addition, meal times can be another time to enjoy being a part of a community, when you all sit down together and reminisce about the day while looking forward to the next.

Many retreats offer vegetarian food with the option to add seafood or possibly other meat at an extra cost. If you’re not vegetarian, you could use a yoga retreat as a chance to try going veggie!

Things to Expect on Your First Yoga Retreat

A chance to do a digital detox

Yoga retreats can be in a variety of different accommodation and locations. There won’t always have access to wifi or phone signal, but even if they do, going on retreat presents a great opportunity to try a digital detox.

Spend your retreat away from social media and the constant connection we usually experience, and focus on connecting with yourself instead. If you really can’t bear to be without a digital connection, try and limit yourself to a certain time of day, or to only a select few apps.

Things to Expect on Your First Yoga Retreat

Time for relaxation

With all this talk of the things that you’ll do on retreat besides yoga, you might be wondering when you’ll have the time to just chill out and enjoy your vacation. Don’t worry, your retreat leader knows that you’re looking for a break and a bit of downtime, and they’ll build that into the retreat program.

You can use this time to do whatever makes you feel more energized, whether it’s swinging in a hammock, reading a book, walking along a beach or nature trail, writing in a journal, or exploring a new town or city.

Things to Expect on Your First Yoga Retreat

A change in your body

A yoga retreat is still about yoga, and the increase in classes will likely lead to faster advances in your practice than when you’re at home. Without the usual distractions of daily life and the extra time to focus, you’ll notice a change in your body as your abilities advance.

On your first yoga retreat you can expect some aches and pains from the increase in practice but as the week goes on your body will feel stronger from a combination of the increase in yoga, the extra activities, and more relaxation than normal too.

Things to Expect on Your First Yoga Retreat

Hopefully, this insight into what to expect on a yoga retreat helps to set aside and fears you might have about what’s in store for you. So what are you waiting for, if you haven’t booked your first yoga retreat already, then check out our budget friendly yoga retreats around the world, or all our retreats on offer today!