Once upon a time, going on a yoga retreat meant that you were disconnecting from the world at a secluded location – often far away – to immerse yourself in the physical and spiritual practice of yoga. Your intention was to dive deeply into learning and the discovery process, perhaps to transform something in your life.
Today, a yoga retreat looks more like a souped-up vacation with luxe excursions, guaranteed high-speed Internet access, and a lengthy wine list. Some even offer a tour of wine country with yoga at the end of the day. Yoga is no longer the focus; it’s just another amenity.
Yoga retreats are a significant part of the reason that the business of yoga is projected to be worth $11.56 billion by 2020. According to some recent stats on the yoga industry in America, while only 8 percent of yogis have attended a yoga retreat, 62 percent are interested in attending one in the future.
The rise of “yoga-cations” has made yoga more accessible to mainstream practitioners and also made it possible to create revenue streams for modestly paid teachers of group classes. However, yoga-cations also dilute the authentic experience of a traditional retreat, which is focused on the physical, spiritual, and emotional work needed for true life change.
Here’s a quick comparison of the two to determine which you need and why:
Bottom line: Yogis who want an experience that feels like a getaway should choose retreats that are more like yoga-cations, with all the options of a typical vacation destination. If some serious soul searching is in order, more isolation and attention to the philosophy and practice of yoga is recommended. Look for these descriptions and keywords to plan a yoga experience of your choice.
To get the most out of both types of retreats, let go of the need for immediate gratification, your attachment to technology, and a desire to cram as much into your retreat experience as possible. Enjoy the space you create for yourself and trust the journey.