By Grace Van Berkum, R.H.N., Tropical Retreat Specialist and writer for SUNWARRIOR.com.
As published in Sunwarrior July 30, 2015.
Interested in going on a retreat? Want to get healthy, maybe lose some weight (instead of gaining it like on a typical vacation), become inspired, learn some new skills, detox from life’s daily stresses, and meet other like-minded people around the world? Retreats as a healthy vacation are really trending right now, especially as the world is starting to become more health and environmental conscious. There are so many different kinds to choose from with some of the most popular ones offering yoga, surfing, detoxification, fresh juicing, hiking, and much more, in beautiful, tropical destinations. Here is an awesome checklist to ensure that your wellness retreat vacation will provide you with everything you desire for a transformational experience and memories to last a lifetime.
1. Length of Retreat & Timing
Do the retreat dates offered fit in with your vacation schedule?
There are so many different retreats to choose from these days. One day retreats, three day, five day, seven day, ten day, fourteen day, even thirty day retreats. The most popular ones seem to be seven day retreats so you get a full week of revitalization.
2. Retreat Intentions
What is the focus of the retreat? Daily yoga? Detoxification? Surf? Adventure? Exploration? Partying with new friends? Make sure that you understand the retreat description clearly so that you don’t end up at party yoga surf retreat when you were looking for a quiet yoga detox retreat.
3. Teachers and Resort
Know who your teachers are and how much experience they have. Check out testimonials of the teachers on their websites or Facebook and look at testimonials of the resorts on Trip Advisors. You can get a pretty good feel about their professionalism and knowledge (if that is what you are looking for) by doing a little bit of research online.
Know your location. If you are attending a retreat in the jungle, you just might see spiders and snakes. If you’re attending a retreat at a yoga ashram, there might be a dress code and 5 a.m. wake-up bell. If you’re attending a retreat on a tropical island, wi-fi might be limited. Save yourself some big surprises and know where you are going and how to prepare. Ask questions before you arrive if you are not sure.
Know what the daily schedule is and see if it is in alignment with your desires and needs. Don’t pick a yoga retreat that starts with 5 a.m. meditation if you want to sleep in. Don’t pick a vegan retreat if you want to eat fresh fish. Don’t pick a detox retreat if you want to drink wine every night. Know your location, and know the retreat intentions which will determine the retreat schedule.
Your entire retreat week will be affected by how good (or not good) the menu is. Many retreats around the world are done in beautiful, more isolated locations so it’s sometimes not easy to get all the foods you can easily get back home. If food is something not normally important to you on a vacation, thenmaybe you should start considering it. Retreats are healthy vacations that help recharge your soul, and also your body from the inside out, so a good retreat will spend meticulous attention to ingredients and menu planning that will help nourish and energize you throughout the week so you leave your vacation feeling amazing. A good quality retreat will ensure that a big part of your retreat experience offers a menu that is deliciously revitalizing to your cells.
What is the cost for the retreat? What can you afford? Seven day retreats can run anywhere from $800 to $5000 depending on what is included in the retreat and the quality of the teachings. Most retreats include all food, accommodation, and activities, but some don’t, so make sure to check and see what is included in the price, and if there are any extra costs. Don’t assume everything is included. For example, some retreats do not include dinners in their cost, or massages, or extra activities. Don’t forget that you also have to include the cost of your flight to get there.
When you pick a retreat that meets all your needs and desires in terms of timing, location, country, weather, cost, schedule, teachings, and menu, not only will you be more satisfied as a guest and student, but you will also be participating in a special retreat journey with other people from around the world who are drawn to the same things you are looking for! How cool is that! Some of the greatest, unexpected gifts a retreat gives you are the friendships formed that week based on shared experiences and shared life goals.