By Alberto G. Güitrón of BookYogaRetreats.com
Yoga holiday popularity is steadily increasing among travelers wanting to enrich their practice with a yoga retreat experience. Because of the demand there are limitless options to choose from — though there is research that needs to be done before booking.
Ask yourself the following: How can I choose a yoga retreat that’s responsible?
To help you make an ethical choice we’ve narrowed down a list of top yoga holidays; but in the end, the decision is totally yours. Before booking your next yoga retreat, answer the following six questions to ensure you’re making a responsible decision. This increases the possibility of having a fantastic time while knowing you’re making a positive impact on the destination you’re visiting and the planet in general.
1. Do I want luxury or austerity?
You can find a yoga retreat for any budget, from luxury villas to rustic woodland cabins. It’s true the principles of a yogic lifestyle lean more toward the idea of having as little as possible. That said, if you want to pamper yourself and relax in a modern setting, do so if it will help you get comfortable in your yoga practice. Getting in your best mindset can help you help others.
2. Can I complement my yoga practice with another activity?
A great way to enhance your retreat is by using the principles of yoga while performing other activities that help you get the most out of your trip. There are many getaways that combine yoga with hiking, sailing, surfing, writing and many more options for a memorable holiday.
Whether you already do these things or are willing to learn during the retreat, the awareness and presence gained by yoga will help to improve your performance. And if you decide to solely focus on yoga, make sure the style fits your individual needs.
3. Does the teacher suit my style?
As with any teacher you’ve had throughout your life, each one has a different style and personality. And how you clicked with these teachers likely determined if you hated or loved a specific subject in school.
The same applies with your yoga teacher. Find someone you can easily relate to and who inspires you to keep learning. This person should motivate you to stick to the mat because you want to, not because you have to.
Conduct thorough research before clicking on the “book” button, making sure your teacher focuses the practice on what you value most. If you want to use your asana practice to meditate, reserve a retreat with someone who gives more value to that. If you’re looking to detox, find a practitioner who emphasizes this. If you’re interested in teachers who help the world, sign up with them and assist their cause.
4. Where is my money going?
Certain yoga retreat organizers give part of their revenue to a social cause, or even work on social good projects themselves that you can assist with during the retreat itself. Before reserving read about their philosophy, how they started and how the money you pay is used. If you want to contribute and help to achieve altruistic goals through your yoga practice, put your money in good hands — typically local organizations on the ground who know what local communities really need.
According to Sallie Grayson, Co-Founder and Program Director of People & Places, it’s important to be wary when asking organizations where money goes as the answer is “easily whitewashed by allocating a whole load of costs to “project development” – but what does that actually mean? It’s all too easy to allocate the organization’s travel expenses to project development – is the well paid chief exec’s whole salary allocated to project development? The important question to ask is where is the money spent?”
5. Is the venue environmentally friendly?
Most yoga retreat venues try to take care of our mother nature. Yoga and the environment go hand in hand, but there are some retreats that put extra consideration into the wellbeing of our planet. If this is an aspect that drives your passion for your yoga practice, look into what specifically is being done on the retreats you’re interested in booking. Narrow down your search to a few yoga retreats that look ecologically promising, then compare and contrast to see who’s making the biggest difference.
6. Can I help small economies?
Look for new or not-so-popular retreats that are still trying to position themselves. Who knows? Your visit could kickstart the business of good hard-working organizers and boost their enthusiasm to keep investing time in a yoga holiday.
Another option is finding a getaway that is held in an undeveloped place to help the local economy. Just make sure the yoga retreat is locally owned and operated, hires local peoples and sources food locally.
About Alberto G. Güitrón
Alberto G. Güitrón is the Community Manager at BookYogaRetreats.com, an online yoga travel marketplace. He is a socially committed yoga practitioner and equally passionate about writing and teaching.
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