Gearing up to lead your first yoga retreat? It’s an exciting process, but sometimes also an intimidating one. Luckily, there’s lots to learn from the seasoned retreat leaders who’ve trod this path before. We’ve gathered six experienced, knowledgeable yoga teachers to share some things they wish someone had told them before they held their first retreat.
1. Consider Who’s Your Ideal Retreat Client
Kameko Shibata, of Nadi Girl Ayurveda, advises you to think outside of your immediate network (especially friends and family) when it comes to retreat clients. They “tend to have bigger expectations, may not respect you in the same way as a teacher, and place heavy demands on your time,” she says.
2. Nurture Yourself to Nurture Your Students
In the days before your retreat, take time out for yourself, says Margi Young, a Bay Area-based yogini who started her teaching career in NYC. She says, “It’s intense holding space for people and you have to be fortified! You owe that to yourself and your students.”
3. Don’t Do It All Yourself
Susan Pualani Alden, founder of Mind Body Aloha, says “it’s ALWAYS helpful to have support.” Don’t feel like you have to conquer everything, like doing 100% of your social media marketing or administrative work. You may opt to work with a co-teacher or hire an aspiring retreat leader as an assistant.
4. Set Aside Quiet Time
“Consider working silent mornings, including breakfast, into your daily retreat routine,” says Melina Meza, a former studio owner in Seattle who now resides in Northern California. It not only promotes mindful eating, but helps everyone, including you, conserve energy for the day ahead.
5. There Will Be Bumps In The Road
Jordan Ashley, of Souljourn Yoga, wishes she knew this the first time around: “Not everyone will like every meal, every practice; remember that you’re there to support your students, not control the shape their experiences take.”
6. Get Testimonials Right Away
Even well-intentioned people get busy once they return to their daily lives, explains Oakland-based Pilates and yoga teacher Lila Heller. If you gather feedback on the last day, e.g. in a closing circle, it won’t be an issue.
Do you feel a bit more prepared to lead your first yoga retreat? Just know that when in doubt, you have an amazing network of fellow teachers to guide you on your journey!
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