Start close to home
You feel inspired and want to host your first yoga retreat! Great! You have started visualizing the experience and dreaming of all that you want to offer to your students, and all the experiences that you want to share with them. Fantastic!
Before you go ahead and book an exotic venue, it is best to test your idea in a setting closer to home. It is important to get a feeling from your community, explore their intentions and their preferences. They will help you explore and test your options, and they will put you on the right track in terms of planning an appealing and successful retreat.
Dream big but keep your feet on the ground
Let’s be realistic. The people that will come to your first retreat will be the people that belong to your local community. It’s OK if it’s your mom, your sister, and your friends. It’s great!
Just make sure to talk to them before making any decisions. Ask them anything you can think of about your retreat.
- Where do they want to go?
- How much can they pay?
- How many days is a good duration for them?
- Which program do they like best?
Host a workshop to test the waters
The best way to move forward is to host a workshop in your home studio and test the waters on a smaller scale. It is essential to design an event that is true to your vision, but at the same time, you need to experience the reality of making it happen. You need to accumulate knowledge and experience so that you can be realistic about what you can handle.
For example, even a small event takes a lot of work, so it’s best to try it out first and see how it goes. You need to know how much energy you are going to need and how easy—or difficult—everything is to manage. Things like marketing—and selling—planning, and organizing the logistics require a serious amount of effort. Of course, you can always opt to collaborate with an experienced retreat centre, like the Yoga Loft, that can help with back end service and make your life a lot easier.
When you plan a workshop, you have the opportunity to:
- Test the size of the class you are comfortable teaching.
- Test a program that is appealing to your students and yourself.
- Test how much time and energy it will take to make everything happen.
Are they interested at all in going on a retreat with you?
You also need to consider the possibility that your students are not interested in a retreat with you. Not yet, anyway. It is better to face that reality now rather than later. If this is the case, you can always give it time, nurture your relationship with them and keep clarifying and communicating your vision.
Nothing is stopping you from visualizing the experience and exploring your options. You can start collecting information and liaising with a retreat centre like the Yoga Loft where people really know their stuff and can help you PLAN A RETREAT THAT PEOPLE WILL LOVE. They can provide both practical assistance and valuable tips. For example, did you know that it only takes six students to make a retreat profitable? Quite achievable, don’t you think?
You should know that even accomplished retreat leaders fill their retreats with members of their close community, for the most part. A strong community can have your retreats filled in no time. When your tribe gets excited about a retreat, then they get their friends excited. Never underestimate word-of-mouth. Connect with your students, attend other teachers’ workshops, build relationships with studio owners, and float from studio to studio. Your community, your tribe, is key to your development as a yoga teacher and a springboard for your endeavors. Listen to them.
Start slow, start small, and build things up from there.
Embrace your warrior spirit and start now.