Are you thinking about organizing your first retreat? Do you want to lead your own retreat, but you are worried about it? Well, I’m not here to say it’s an easy task, but it is certainly something you can manage. And one thing that will really help you clarify your path and realize your dream is to visualize the experience.
Visualize the experience
Before you go ahead and start planning anything, take the time to visualize the experience that you want to offer to your students. Write everything down and create a mental map of your retreat. Contemplate in detail the kind of experience you hope to offer to your students. Your written vision will help you stay focused and make the right decisions along the way as things get more complicated, and decisions need to be made.
Your written words will keep you on track as you walk down your chosen path. They will help you stay true to yourself and your original vision when you start planning, and the reality of the logistics poses its challenges. Your vision will be a constant reminder of the core elements of the experience you dream of creating for your students. Don’t forget that your retreat will be a success as long as you stay true to yourself and realize your authentic vision.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself that can help you zoom in on your dream and capture all the elements of your vision for your first retreat.
What is a successful retreat for you?
Write down a detailed description of your ideal retreat. What is the type of retreat you would sign up for? Your students will most likely resonate with your preference. Think about what defines success for you. Set down the parameters for success, so you have a solid foundation for your planning. Is it about exploring a new location? Creating a new community? Presenting a new class? Once you know how success looks like for you, you know where to go.
What is the perfect location for your first retreat?
It helps to be realistic and ask your students what they would like, but it is also essential to choose a location that truly reflects your authentic vision. Choose a place you are excited about! If you love the location, your students will share your enthusiasm. Do you see yourself on a mountain or by the sea? Somewhere close to home or somewhere far? A big place or a more intimate one? Once you have a clear image, things will get a lot easier, since choosing a location is a big part of it.
Don’t get carried away by all the hype about some typical yoga destinations. Choose a place that speaks to your heart and caters to your needs. You must definitely go to a place that inspires you, but try to be a bit practical about it as well. Consider the following questions:
- Can your students get there easily?
- Are flights available?
- Will they enjoy the place?
- Can all dietary needs be met?
- Will the weather be good during the time you plan your retreat?
- Are there other interesting activities the students can do there besides your yoga classes?
Places like the Yoga Loft provide circus training, like aerials and flying trapeze, and they also have a fitness gym. Plus, Cabarete, where it’s located, is a popular surf and kite destination. Lots to choose from!
Sadly, you also need to be a bit realistic and check whether your dream location is easy to reach. Are flights available? Our sweet The Yoga Loft, for example, is super easily accessible via international airport Puerto Plata, and there are other airports, such as Santiago or Samana, close by.
Make sure that the venue you choose is run professionally and is appropriately organized to host a yoga retreat. A place with a great community vibe that is emerged in the yoga culture will offer a welcoming environment. Staff that knows their stuff can certainly help you with all the little details. And don’t forget about the food. Your students will appreciate tasty and nutritious food, I’m sure!
How many students do you envision?
Clearly you will not be answering this question with precision, but knowing the ideal number will be a great help. At places like the Yoga Loft, your retreat can be financially profitable with as few as eight students. If you aim at that number, a final count of 10 or 12 students will be a great success. Of course, the more, the merrier, but you need to know what feels natural to you and makes you comfortable. If bringing a large community together is your dream, then go for it.
One last thing you need to think about is the time of the year. Places like the Caribbean have excellent weather all year round, but this isn’t the case everywhere. Plus, you need to plan ahead and book the dates well in advance. Εxperience shows that you need to start planning at least six months in advance, and you need to consider the environmental and weather conditions of your perfect place during the time that you want to realize your retreat. Consider which time of the year is ideal for your students. That will also help you narrow down your options.
Visualizing your retreat is important
Writing down the details of your vision for your retreat might sound frivolous, but it will actually provide precious help in your decision making. A few steps down the planning process, you will start facing some difficult choices. Referring to your original vision will help you remain authentic and make your decisions decisively and timely before any deadlines are missed. Furthermore, when you start facing all the practicalities of organizing a retreat, it is good to have someone to ask for some help or advice. For your first retreat, it is a good idea to choose a venue where people know how to take care of everything and can relieve you from concerns about meals or transportation. Check out what the Yoga Loft in the Dominican Republic has to offer. It is a place with a strong community vibe that really lives and breathes yoga.