You've finally taken the leap, squared away commitments, done the research and booked your first Yoga retreat: a week away from it all to re-center, become still, look inside and move and breathe your way back into the here and now.
Now the question: what to bring? We've made a list here of our favorite essentials to enhance your retreating experience.
1. A travel Yoga mat. This is such a very personal and subjective decision – and there are so many different mats to choose from! Still, it feels good to step onto a familiar surface, create a sacred space for your moving and breathing practice on your own mat – and then bring that mat, imbued with all of those magical retreat moments, back into your life at home. A travel Yoga mat is typically thinner and lighter-weight than a regular studio mat. We particularly love Liforme's beautiful travel mat which comes with their super useful alignment markers and a surface that stays wonderfully grippy even during a sweaty, tropical, Vinyasa practice in Bali.
2. A journal. Even if you're not the journaling type, and even if you only write during this one week and then stow your notes and musings away, you will then possess the most salient reminder in those writings of your unfolding and the many subtle processes that can unfold over the course of a retreat week. You might use this as a space to reflect on thoughts, feelings and inspirations after morning practice, you might jot down the most magical moments of your day after sunset meditation, doodle the contours of the tropical scenery as seen from your spot on the beach, or collect sweet reminders and contact infos from the beautiful souls you meet during your week.
3. A reusable water bottle. Many retreat destinations - like much of the planet - suffer from an overload of plastic waste. But luckily more and more retreat centers are taking care to offer purified water stations so that you can avoid creating more waste by purchasing bottled water, and can simply refill your personal bottle and stay hydrated and healthy. Be sure to inform yourself before you go if this is the case, and then plan accordingly.
4. Your favorite essential oils. We've found that the right essential oil can work wonders for many of the unforeseen or unexpected small maladies that go along with travel. Peppermint oil is wonderful if you're feeling sluggish or headachy as you adjust to a different climate.. Lavender oil helps to calm and soothe if jet lag keeps you awake in the first nights. Tea tree oil is magical for anything that needs antiseptic care and works to relieve itchy bites. And to prevent those bites in the first place, pack some citronella oil!
5. Most important: a wide-open mind and heart. A week of Yoga retreating is of course a time to go inward and discover richness and nuance within, but expect also to make new connections, to share laughs and breathtaking moments and most of all expect the unexpected – transformation is not predictable, but wonderfully wild and free-form. Allow yourself to become unbridled, to truly go with the flow and your retreat experience will take you on a spectacular journey through the self and to the self.