As you prepare for a yoga retreat, here are some essentials you'll want to consider—for your body, mind, and spirit.
For Your Mind & Spirit
- Bring an open mind. You may try poses or techniques that you’ve never tried before. Stay open to new postures, breathing techniques, or meditations.
- Remember your voice. Many people define yoga to mean “union” or “bliss.” If you start to feel out of alignment, speak up. Teachers and assistants can help you find a way to work at your level. Personalize your practice, remembering that each time you get on your mat, it's a new experience.
- Be ready to listen—to your mind as well as your body. If a pose feels too strenuous, you can always back off. Don’t feel like you have to stay with a challenging pose just to look good to your neighbor.
- You may want to set an intention for your yoga practice while you are away. Keep it simple, such as “I will listen to my body,” or “I will be grateful for each practice I attend.” Don't overdo it and allow time for letting the effects of your practice sink in.
- Practice patience, kindness, and resilience. Spending more time with your yoga practice might bring up some unexpected or unpleasant emotions. Be prepared to feel frustrated along with feeling the pleasure of a great practice. Let yourself roll with it. Yoga is a great way to develop mindfulness as you also develop physical strength.
For Your Body
- Comfort should be key in deciding what to wear. You can skip the dressy attire and opt for simple, well-fitting clothes and shoes that you can wear all day. Plan for a few t-shirts and tank tops, yoga pants, shorts, or casual clothes for relaxing outside of sessions.
- Be prepared for cooler or warmer temps, especially in the mornings and evenings, depending on where you go. Do you need to pack an extra sweatshirt or more breathable fabrics? How about rain gear?
- Bring a travel size soap, such as Dr. Bronner’s, which can double as body wash and laundry detergent, to help keep your clothes clean throughout a sweaty week.
- Light, healthy snacks—like trail mix, granola bars, or fresh or dried fruit—can help tide you over during long stretches of practice. Juices and smoothies are great options, too, and they are available for sale at many retreats. Bring extra cash so you can purchase them, as well as any other items you may find you need.
- Don't forget sunscreen and a good hat for sun protection. Depending on the location, insect repellant might be a good idea, too.
- Pack your favorite water bottle so that you can stay hydrated throughout the day. Consider bringing some travel packets of evaporated instant coconut water for a boost of electrolytes in your water.
- Bring any medications you will need, and any first aid supplies you might want to have with you. You may want to bring Arnica or Tiger Balm to help soothe aching muscles.
- Think about miscellaneous items you might like to have, like a flashlight or backup alarm clock. Pack your usual travel toiletries, plus an extra towel or blanket.
- If you’re travelling internationally, make sure your passport is current.
- Finally, prepare your body ahead of time by taking some extra classes before you go. You’ll probably be practicing more than you would at home, so do your best to train a little before you go.
© 2014 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies