Yoga retreats rank near the top of many peoples vacation wish lists. How could it not? With tropical surroundings, fresh foods and calming music, there’s not much missing from a vacation check list. Unfortunately, even the cheapest retreats can have hefty price tags exceeding most of our budgets for the year, let alone a week vacation.
I am here to let you in on a little secret I like to call, The Economical Yoga Retreat. Through years of traveling and a lifetime of frugality, I have perfected the poor man’s ultimate vacation getaway.
Begin by determining where you want to vacation; a beach, the mountains, a metropolis, etc. Obviously, the more exotic or foreign the destination is, the more expensive it will be to travel to and from. Beach locations are typically the best for yoga vacations since the two seem to go hand in hand. That is not to say a mountain top vacation would not suffice, though it might be difficult to find multiple yoga venues.
Once you have chosen your destination and booked your flights or mapped your drive, it’s time to find a place to stay. Your accommodations can make or break your vacation, so take the time to research the best place for your needs. Try to steer clear of chain hotels and opt for local lodging. The best way to experience a new city or country is to live like the locals. There are various websites for hosts from around the world to advertise their homes or units to tourists. These websites typically offer unique and affordable accommodations. And an added perk for booking local is that most hosts are happy to offer tips for navigating the city.
The next step is creating your yoga schedule. A lot of yoga studios welcome drop-in students and first time students with no extra hassle of becoming a studio member. There are minimal fees or donations associated with these classes, though they rarely exceed $15. Look into as many local studios as possible and choose a handful of classes you would enjoy.
If you are vacationing in or near a large city, many yoga retailors offer free weekend classes to the public. These usually take place an hour before store opening hours, and since they are held on weekend mornings, the classes usually don’t begin until after 8am. Which is great for vacationers who do not want to rise with the sun. Again, find as many of these offering as you can and work them into your agenda.
If you are near an ocean, lake, or any body of water, you can expect to find beach yoga classes, or paddle board yoga classes. Adventures such as these are catered towards attracting vacationers so they tend to be more expensive than local classes, but I recommend experiencing at least one.
Once you have found enough yoga classes to satisfy your inner yogi, make up an informal schedule. Don’t get carried away with attending each and every class you find, be flexible and enjoy your time. If you miss a class or two, that’s okay. If you planned to attend a specific morning class each day, but after your first visit you weren’t comfortable or didn’t enjoy your practice, there is no one forcing you to go back. It is your vacation, your personal retreat, don’t spend any of it less than happy.
While an official yoga retreat would be nothing short of amazing, creating your own retreat has its advantages. You get to hand select the classes, the buildings, the beaches, or the studios you practice in, along with the times you want to practice. You can eat when you want and sleep when you want without regards to a group timeline. You can also incorporate conventional vacation activities like shopping, museums, and various sightseeing tours, which normally are not included in a yoga retreat.
Be Creative and Make it Happen
If you pine over photos of beautiful yoga retreats with the overwhelming itch to travel, but assumed it was an unrealistic fantasy, think again. Take matters into your own hands and budget a one-of-a-kind yoga vacation that only you could dream of, and then make it a reality.