You’ve taken the plunge, become a yoga teacher, and now find yourself dreaming of hosting your own yoga retreat but don’t know where to start. You’ve come to the right place.
Side story: I’ve heard teachers belittle themselves saying, “I’m not good enough to host a retreat” and this is so far from the truth. Speaking of truth, everyone has theirs, and that is what you have to share. That is why you are “good enough” to host your own retreat. Full disclosure, a huge reason why I had the confidence to host my first retreat is because someone believed in me! I had a resort owner approach me and ask to host a retreat at their place in the Greek Islands. Because this person showed confidence in me, I found confidence in myself. All of the sudden, I realized, “Yeah, I can do this!” The funny thing is, in the end this person cancelled on me, but the beautiful thing is, by that time the momentum was there and I was full speed ahead towards hosting my first yoga retreat.
Find the motivation, confidence, whatever you need to DO IT!
After I launched registration for my first retreat, I was really disappointed with the amount of sign ups. Most of the people who had signed up were friends and people I knew, so I told myself I would just cancel. I was scared. But, there was one person that I knew, but hadn’t seen in years, and had already gleefully told me she was able to get off work for the dates. That one person is who held me to my truth — kept me moving forward, and motivated me to push my fear out of the way and just DO IT.
The beautiful thing is this woman had no idea that she was the sole purpose I was hanging on. She had no idea she was my motivation to keep moving forward. Before the retreat, she came to one of my yoga classes and after not seeing each other for years, we sat down to catch up after class. This would be a moment I would never forget. She confided in me she was diagnosed with lupus, and according to her doctors, she should had been dead by now. She shared with me that over the years, seeing my yoga journey unfold was an inspiration to her and the path she would take on her journey towards health. She told me when I announced this yoga retreat, it became everything to her, and accompanying the alternative medicines she was choosing to heal herself with, she knew yoga would save her life. I couldn’t believe it. I was unknowingly an inspiration to her, and she was unknowingly an inspiration to me. That’s when I knew how important it was to follow my truth.
Know that there could be someone out there, ready for you to change their life with your truth.
Plan the location.
Get creative! The opportunities are boundless. It could be as casual as a “bring your own tent” camping style retreat at a state park, or as lavish as renting out an upscale yoga retreat center in Italy.
For my first yoga retreat, remember how I mentioned I was cancelled on? Well, I immediately pivoted and realized I could simply host the retreat on my families retired orange grove property in Florida. A small cabin, a few bunkbeds, and some tents, we made it work!
You can rent out The Grove here. My sister Corey manages the rental so mention that you’d like to host a group and she will accommodate you accordingly.
Another great option is a DIY “do it yourself” yoga retreat center. These centers will usually have accommodation, onsite chefs, and a yoga space so all you need to do is bring you and your people! A fantastic center that I hope to host a retreat at one day is Prashanti Yoga Retreat in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. They have 7 gorgeous rooms and a large yoga shala right on site! With jungle views to wake up to and the sound of a river to fall asleep to, it’s a serene option that is still walking distance from the main part of Ubud. It neighbors the famous Campuhan Ridge Walk, so the views truly are spectacular.
As I mentioned previously, the options truly are endless. Get creative! With the yoga retreat market growing, there is going to be more of a demand for unique opportunities, so, use your imagination. For example, I am hosting a yoga sailing retreat in February 2019. I love the water and I love sharing yoga, so this an absolute dream come true for me! Instead of renting a location to host this retreat, I’ve rented a boat so now we will have the opportunity to sail, island hop, and still have a relaxing and rejuvenating yoga retreat. Find out more about the yoga sailing retreat here.
Plan the promotion.
For me, this was the scariest part. But, just as you have to muster up the courage and confidence to want to host your own retreat, you have to have the courage and confidence to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion. Come on, it’s 2018…everyone’s doing it ;) Begin to share your upcoming retreat! Word of mouth, social media, printed flyers, whatever you feel is best for you and the demographic you’re trying to speak to. Ask friends to help share, or partner with local teachers or coffee shops to spread the word. Network!
Plan the communication.
Make sure your students know what to expect. Managing expectations is extremely important. I suggest that as people sign up, require some sort of questionnaire to get to know your attendees more. Maybe even require a Skype / phone call interview. This will also help if your accommodation options require people to share rooms — you will get to know them and be able to match people up in an intentional way.
Also, you’ll want to help cultivate excitement leading up to your event. A great way to do this is creating some sort of group — an email thread, facebook event, Whatsapp group chat, whatever is best for you and your students. Send out periodic emails, videos, or posts to get everyone on the same page and excited!
Remember, you are a leader.
Plan the meals.
The prep for food will depend on your location. Besides accommodation, this is the most important part of your planning! You want people to be comfortable and happy, and obviously food and shelter are the basics. To make sure this need is met, hosting your retreat at a center with a kitchen and chef already provided is a great option. But, if you’re going to host your retreat in a unique location, you’ll have to get creative! For my first retreat at The Grove, I had my vegan chef friend Lokesh of The Twisted Indian come out to help! He planned the menu, I did the shopping, and the rest is tasty history.
Plan the lessons.
This will vary widely for every teacher but goes without saying. A simple way to guide your lesson planning is to ask yourself, what do you want your students to walk away from your retreat with? Give them that.
Have fun! Relax! Don’t stress about the little things! Remember, you are a leader — and your attendees will be looking to you throughout the retreat. This can seem like a lot of pressure, and it is. I was broken to tears at one point during my first retreat, I’m not going to lie. But I learned, A LOT. And how did I learn? I DID IT.
And to sign off, I’ll drop some Yoda yoga knowledge on you,
“You want to know the difference between a master and a beginner? The master has failed more times than the beginner has ever tried.” — Yoda.
Find out more about Om the Go retreats here.