Jivamukti or Restorative? English country pad or Mediterranean agroturismo? Go solo or take a friend? Choosing a yoga retreat can be overwhelming and time-consuming – not what you need when you’re craving some stress-free time out. Here founder of Stretching the City and regular yoga retreat organiser, Sally Lovett shares her top 5 Yoga Retreat tips.

1. Do your research and pick a yoga style that resonates.

Assess your intentions for wanting to go on a retreat. Do you want to build your pratice with a strong and dynamic style, or are you craving a much-needed rest with some restorative yoga? Find out who the teachers are and what kind of style of yoga they teach. At the same time, be open to exploring other styles you might not have tried. On Stretching the City yoga retreats we have a super relaxing yin yoga class on the Saturday night, which is often our guest’s first introduction to yin yoga, and for many of them, their favourite class all weekend.

2. A yoga retreat isn’t just about yoga

On a typical yoga retreat day you’ll have two classes- one in the morning and another in the evening. Whilst yoga plays a prominent part on the retreat timetable the retreat experience is inevitably so much more than the twice daily classes. The location, nourishing healthy food and like-minded company also make up the magic of the retreat. So make the most of it by exploring and soaking up your retreat surroundings, mingling and making new friends and squeezing the most of the time between classes.

3. Pack wisely

Irrespective of the location and climate of your retreat, I’d suggest taking a good book for indulgently relaxing afternoons, some cosy PJs or loungewear and slippers to make yourself feel right at home and a notebook for some self-reflective musings. Try and leave your phone alone. You’ll undoubtedly want to take some snaps of the instagram worthy food that’s served up, but try and hold off posting until your return home. A couple of days away from your online world will leave your mind feeling much clearer.

4. Everyone is welcome

If you’re worried about being the only bloke, coming on your own, or even with your other half, there’s no need! Admittedly, there is usually a majority of female guests, but we have male guests too. In fact, it works well for the group dynamic to have guys and girls. Solo retreats are the norm and will be teamed up to share rooms with others travelling solo and we also warmly welcome couples, groups of friends, siblings and parents and offspring.

5. The retreat doesn’t have to stop at home time.

Often at the end of retreats we see our guests leaving feeling inspired by new recipes, raring to get on their mats every morning, or simply leaving with a spring in their step. Even the best intentions can be a challenge to keep when we’re back in your home routine, so at the end of retreat, write down 3 things you want to take from the retreat and do your best to stick with them. It might be making a new recipe, or making a commitment to meditate every morning. Whatever they may be, committing to a regular practice will keep your post-yoga retreat glow in tact for weeks to come.

by Sally Lovett, founder of Stretching the City & Wellness Coach. Sally runs yoga retreats through her company Stretching the City and 1-on-1 wellbeing consultations. Visit www.stretchingthecity.com/retreats and www.sallylovett.com.

Image: lululemon