“The secret of success in business is creativity.” ~ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Yoga retreats are a dime a dozen . . . literally. The market is saturated with spiritual souls aspiring to take other spiritual souls on sojourns near and far . . . all centered around yoga.
You know what I’m talking about, right?
As a yoga enthusiast, I’ve traveled as far as Rishikesh, India to get my downward dog on. It was quite the long haul from Los Angeles where I live (but so worth). The vegetarian Indian food was amazing, too. Flying there in first class? Even better.
As a yoga retreat devotee, I know a thing (or two) about running a successful (and sold-out) yoga retreats. And, as a retreat business coach, I’ve unfortunately seen so many yoga retreats fail . . . time and time again.
Say it isn’t so!
But it is so. Yoga retreats are all the rage. And yet, yogis near and far routinely miss the mark in putting together unique yoga retreats that stand out from the crowd (and sell-out too)!
As a retreat business coach, it’s my mission to help my fellow yogis break the cycle of boring yoga retreats.
To do just that, I’ve put together 7 necessities every yoga retreat should have. Here goes!
Necessity #1: Have a Creative Focus
That’s right! Your yoga retreat must be unique and creative to stand out and shine. My best tip to do this? Mix your yoga focus with another focus you’re passionate about (and your peeps are, too). And don’t just choose “healthy eating.” That’s so boring! Why not be different? As I’m passionate about yoga and the art of the sacred feminine, I would blend the magic of yoga with the deliciousness of feminine movement to empower my students to create more intimacy in their relationships. Talk about out of the ordinary!
Necessity #2: The Magic of Meditation
In my book, yoga and meditation go hand in hand. Every successful yoga retreat I’ve ever seen, run and been to, had a component of mindfulness to it. What are my favorite ways to weave meditation into a yoga retreat? Do a nightly meditation before bed with your people to relax their minds and prime them for deep, juicy sleep. Chant ancient mantras with your tribe early one morning while the sun is rising to supercharge their day (yes, it works!) Do breathwork with your peeps to pump up their systems and have them focus on their bodies . . . as opposed to their heads. These techniques are amazing at quieting the monkey mind.
Necessity #3: Time in Nature
Nature is a MUST on a successful, sold-out yoga retreat. Seriously! When you plan your retreat, make sure you choose a setting that offers something spectacular to do outdoors. And, it is even better if that something is an activity that is tied to the purpose of your retreat. The last thing people want to do on a yoga retreat is be indoors the whole time. Yuck! Get your people outside . . . often . . . and take advantage of the natural surroundings at your retreat local to make your yoga retreat extra special.
Necessity # 4: Delicious, Healthy Food (And No Alcohol)
This one almost goes without saying, but it is worth saying nonetheless. The yoga crowd tends to be health conscious and a bit food picky. So, the last thing you want is to serve mediocre food at your retreat. Ideally, your cuisine should be mouth-watering and deliciously full of healthy, fresh ingredients. Also, I would stay away from serving alcohol on your trip. It kills the whole “mindfulness mood” and can alter people’s consciousness. No thanks. Yoga is all about consciousness. I’m definitely not anti-alcohol (my favorite is a glass of champagne), but a yoga retreat isn’t the time or the place for libations.
Necessity #5: A Dose (At Least) of Practical Wisdom
The beauty of yoga is all the amazing wisdom that comes along with it. The mind-body connection yoga offers is life-changing! So, it’s super-duper important that you insert practical, everyday wisdom into your yoga retreat to ground it into the real world. Your people are looking for transformation. Give it to them! Teach them what they need to know to solve their real-life pressing problems . . . the ones that got them to come on your yoga retreat in the first place. My favorite yoga teacher here in Los Angeles does his dharma teachings during his yoga classes . . . and they are amazing. Give it a try! It’ll take your yoga to a whole other level.
Necessity #6: Time to Sleep In
Please! After all, it’s a retreat! Your people need their rest (and you need it too). So many yoga teachers have their peeps getting up early everyday to do yoga. That’s such a drag. And a mistake. Mix up your schedule! Otherwise, it starts to feel routine. At least one day of your trip, give your people a break in the morning. Let them flow in their own natural rhythm. If you want to do yoga that day, do it at another time. Your people will thank you! And, if I were on your retreat, I would too. I can’t tell you how many yoga retreats I’ve been on where it’s an early call time everyday for yoga. It gets me every time!
Necessity #7: Free Time to Have Fun
Yes! Fun is required. It’s not all about yoga, mindfulness and transformation . . . although those are incredibly important. Give your people free time to have some fun. I also like to have loosely structured group time in the evenings (before bedtime meditation) where we do some playful things together. One of my favorite playtime rituals? Break your peeps into small groups. Tell your peeps that each person in the group gets one wish to share with their group . . . and it is the responsibility of the group members to make it come true as best they can. Yes, imagination is required . . . as sometimes people have wild wishes!
On one retreat I attended, a man in my group wanted to go to the zoo. So, we pretended we were animals, and we took him on a “trip” to the “zoo” to see the animals. It turns out, he had always wanted to go to the zoo since he was a kid and had never been. He started crying when we made his wish come true. It was so special! Aweeee yes . . . the power of a little child-like fun!
As a self-proclaimed retreat-junkie, Melanie knows firsthand the power and transformation of traveling with a group of like-minded people who are ready to dive deep into themselves. It’s pure magic! Melanie has planned, co-facilitated and attended dozens of retreats all over the world and is beyond excited to help other retreat enthusiasts do the same. As a Retreat Blueprint Business Coach & Copywriter, Melanie specializes in helping retreat peeps crank up the marketing mojo of their businesses & add sparkle to their offerings so they shine to the cosmos and back. If you’re looking to take your biz to the next level in 2018, reach out to her and say “hi” at email@example.com.