yoga retreat ethics
yoga retreat
6 Important Questions For Choosing A Responsible Yoga Retreat

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.

Sure, an at-home yoga staycation can be fun; but nothing beats immersing yourself in a beautiful place while flowing from pose to pose.

So, before booking a retreat, 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 lists of top yoga adventures, delicious vegan wellness retreats, active hiking yoga retreats, and even some of the best yoga and wine retreats; 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.

yoga retreat
A luxury yoga retreat in Thailand

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 being 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.

yoga retreat
Having other activities within the yoga retreat makes for a well-rounded experience

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.

yoga retreat
Yoga teaching

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 to 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.

yoga reteat
Understand how your hard earned dollars are being used

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 the 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?”

yoga retreat
Being a tree hugger isn’t a bad thing!

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.

yoga retreat
What kind of impact is your yoga retreat having on the local community?

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 on 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.

Bonus Yoga Retreat Resources

15 Best Yoga Surf Retreats In Bali

15 Amazing Vegan Yoga Retreats For Plant-Based Wellness

15 Incredible Yoga & Wine Retreats Around The World

15 Best Transformative Yoga Adventures Worldwide

How To Enjoy A Silent Meditation Retreat In Mexico

10 Effective Ways To Deepen Your Yoga Practice While Traveling

15 Best Yoga And Hiking Retreats Around The World

15 Best Mallorca Yoga Retreats

15 Best Caribbean Wellness Retreats & Resorts

Jessica Festa

Jessica Festa is the editor of Epicure & Culture as well as Jessie on a Journey. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia, agritouring through Tuscany, and volunteering in Ghana.

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5 Comments

  1. You’re totally right. These are all really important things to consider before you commit to a destination if you want to have the most optimal experience. Very valid points you make here! Thanks so much for posting!

  2. All such good questions! I really wonder about the sanitization process of the blocks, as well.

    I always wonder about classes that are super packed. There are always people inevitably doing poses incorrectly (probably me)! Will the instructor always correct you? How do you know if you have the pose right or wrong, in general? At my studio, I typically hear instructors say “it doesn’t matter how it looks” – how can that be true and/or safe?

  3. I love the yoga retreats that have other activities going on. Cooking classes, kayaking, etc.

  4. I am planning to go on a Yoga retreat soon. Thanks for sharing.

  5. If you are flying there, the retreat is not ethical.

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