People attend yoga retreats to relax and let other people take control. They go searching for peace, tranquility, and to learn a bit more about themselves and connect with like-minded people. As retreat leaders, we have the power to surpass participants’ wildest expectations of what a yoga retreat could be. But in order to get there, we need to keep a few things in mind in order to organize the smoothest yoga retreat ever.

The “4 E’s” of Pre-Retreat Organization

  1. Familiarize yourself with the retreat experience – Go on retreats as a student. Attend retreats as an assistant of a seasoned teacher. Take notes and learn from your experiences.
  2. Set realistic expectations – Get excited to organize and lead your own retreat, but know that it won’t be a vacation for you. Schedule at least a small amount of personal downtime for yourself each day, especially for longer retreats.
  3. Expend your energy wisely – Ask yourself: how much time, money, and energy am I willing to invest? How much do you want to take on vs. delegate to others (i.e., are you up for managing it all, from A to Z, or would you prefer to work with an agency that handles everything but takes a cut)?
  4. Do some self-exploration – Choose a destination according to your personality. Are you a beach person or a mountain person? Prefer warm or cold climates? Do you get more excited by culture or nature? A luxury aficionado or camping enthusiast? Are you comfortable in places where not everyone speaks English? What is your willingness to take on expensive or time-consuming transit?

Steps to Organize The Smoothest Yoga Retreat Ever

  1. Choose a yoga retreat center. Create a list of retreat centers that you are interested in hosting your yoga retreat at. If at all possible, visit the retreat center(s) that appeal most to you in order to experience the atmosphere for a day or two. Make sure that the retreat center’s management is professional, responsive, and organized. Nothing will make your experience more stressful than dealing with a retreat center that won’t work with you to achieve maximum success.
  1. Decide on a price per person for your retreat. Take into account the price per person from your retreat center for basics like accommodation, food, and the yoga space. Also make sure you factor in your personal compensation including classes and private client sessions that you are missing back home, your travel costs, pre-retreat marketing costs, and the time and energy that you’ll expend during the retreat. Then make sure participants are aware of any extras like airport transfers, amenity upgrades, or add-on activities.
  1. Create a simple sample schedule, so your participants know what to expect. A basic daily routine might include sunrise meditation, asana practice (moderate to vigorous), breakfast, non-yoga activity (2-3 hours), asana practice (gentle or restorative), free time, dinner, and meditation.
  1. Market your yoga retreat like crazy. Promotion is key to generating sign-ups. With time, you’ll gain a core following of students, many of whom will be repeat customers. Promote your offering within your personal network. Your students will bring their friends and their friends bring friends. Here are some other ways to promote your yoga retreat:
  • If you don’t already have one, create a mailing list and set up a Mailchimp account; send out regular mailings including information about your retreat (tip: early morning emails Monday to Wednesday often get the highest read rates).
  • Create flyers, site banners, or Facebook banners with canva.com or get a PDF postcard flyer from WeTravel for free.
  • Be present on one or two social media channels (regularly posting once or twice a week is great).
  • Create a Craigslist ad in different cities to reach yogis that are out of your area.
  • Find opportunities to teach in studios out of town and even abroad to increase your following.
  • List your retreat on websites that may reach your target audience
  1. Communicate with your group to relay the information that your participants NEED prior to your retreat. Send detailed emails about travel and packing tips, retreat guidelines, and the schedule and itinerary. Create a community. Set up a facebook event page – this builds buzz and allows people to connect with their fellow travelers.
  1. Stay flexible and spontaneous; don’t over-plan. You’ll inevitably have to adapt the schedule on site. Once you arrive at the retreat center, be prepared to make adjustments based on the experience, physical limitations, and general atmosphere of the group. Consider rest and relaxation as well as fun and adventure during your retreat. If offering non-yoga activity options (e.g. surfing or hiking), make them optional.
  1. Enjoy Your Yoga Retreat! If you follow these steps, you will organize a yoga retreat that your students will remember forever. The bonds that are formed on a retreat are unlike any other. Savor the experience, and appreciate the fact that you are changing people’s lives!

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