Updated: Oct 1, 2019
You see on Facebook or Instagram that a very hippie, sort-of friend of yours just got back from Bali, from a life-changing trip. You might not be able to identify Bali on a map, but you know without a doubt that you could be frolicking there one day too, if you could just get a raise at work. Before you know it, you see that quite a few of your friends are signing up for retreats all over the world: yoga, wellness, and fitness retreats. Everywhere from Arizona to Costa Rica to Thailand to Greece. And more often than not, they are going alone! Single ladies taking off for exotic places with their yoga studio? Where do they find the money? How did they get into that lifestyle? And most importantly, can this once-in-a-blue-moon yoga student do this too?
The answer is YES! Yes, you can go on a yoga retreat too. Read on to see why you probably should.
1. You get to travel the world and check things off your bucket list.
If you're a dreamer, your bucket list is pretty long. But why wait until someday? Why not right now? I bet if you searched for it, you could find a yoga retreat anywhere in the world that you are planning on going to someday. The real question is, where do you want to go first?
2. Someone else does the planning for you.
I am a planner, so I actually enjoy planning trips. Having done a few of these retreats already, however, has taught me that after planning where I'm going before the retreat, and after, I want to be on the retreat, relaxing. Let someone else handle the logistics of that day trip to the waterfall in the rainforest, let someone else pay the taxi driver to take us to dinner, let someone else figure out my gratuity at the end of the trip (that I already paid for before my flight took off). Let me enjoy all the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells, and of course, let me take some beautiful photos in gorgeous locations.
3. You get to try things you may never have thought of doing on your own.
Drink coffee made from cat poo? Visit a local school and sing songs with the children? Take a ferry over to another country to go to a flea market? Learn the traditions of the locals and have the guts to participate? Why, I don't mind if I do.
4. Yoga, yoga, yoga.
Whether you are a seasoned yogi or a novice, practicing yoga is its own reward, but practicing yoga in a new and breathtaking location is both inspirational and exhilarating. If you are new to yoga, make sure you understand what style of yoga will be taught on the trip (Vinyasa, Power, Gentle, Ashtanga, etc.) so you can pack the appropriate clothes. If you are traveling with a yoga studio or teacher whom you have studied under previously, this is your tribe! This is your moment to clear all the distractions of everyday life and go deeper within. Sattva, baby.
(Also, you will probably have unlimited opportunities to take the prerequisite yoga pose photos at all the tourist attractions to add to your Instagram feed. No one is judging. This is your vacation!)
5. It's more affordable than you think.
Many of my friends tell me they don't know how I do it when I make about half the income of the state average. How do I travel for two weeks at a time all over the world? (Subscribe to my blog for an upcoming post about the particulars if you truly want to know how!) Well, it starts with some sacrificing, some planning and budgeting, and an open mind. If you were to hop on a flight to Greece from the United States, you'd probably spend upwards of $800 roundtrip. That's the same price whether you are going with your family, or with your yoga studio. But when you get there, things change depending on how your traveling.
Option A: Travel with your family. You pay as you go for: breakfast, lunch, dinner, sightseeing, gratuity where appropriate, transportation to all the attractions, airport transfers, the attractions themselves, etc.
Option B: Travel on a yoga retreat. Everything above is all inclusive. You pay for it in advance, over the course of many months at a rate negotiated for a larger group.
Just make sure that the yoga retreat you choose is all inclusive. Usually, alcohol is NOT included, and of course, any spending money for souvenirs.
6. Develop your yoga tribe.
Whether you are traveling alone or with a friend, you will meet up with the rest of the group for the retreat. This may be a small and intimate group, or a large and boisterous group. It may be all women, or there may be a few guys. There may be a mix of younger and more senior people and practitioners. Regardless of age, gender, and ability, these people will become your tribe. You will battle the rapids on that whitewater rafting trip together. You will lay side by side in savasana. You will learn each other's stories on the bus trip to the nearest city. You will bond and connect by the pool. And when you leave the retreat, having connected on social media, you will be in each other's lives forever. These are your yoga people.
7. The Food.
Someone else prepares the food for you depending on your dietary needs. It's all fresh and delicious and good for you. Do I even need to continue?
8. You'll feel like a warrior for doing this thing.
You had to be brave to travel alone or with people you don't know. Or maybe you knew everyone, but you still feel like a goddess/badass/warrior princess for figuring it all out and going on this adventure of a lifetime. You have a new swagger, a new confidence when you return from your travels. You are a new you. You've grown. You can't quite explain it. But anyone who has done this thing feels this way. You feel strong AF, like you can conquer the world. Because in some way, you already have.