So, you think you want to give a yoga retreat?
Putting on a retreat is a matter of having all the right ingredients and then just following the recipe.
The first crucial stage is having a vision – the intention for what you want to accomplish. This can be as simple as wanting to get students together in a natural setting to deepen their experience of yoga.
My intention for holding the recent retreat at Falls Forest was to support Dr. Mary White in showcasing her stunning property at Johns River, New South Wales. I thought that this superb conservation area would be a perfect setting to explore Patanjali’s aims of yoga: to still the whirlpools of the mind, and to allow pure awareness to abide in its very nature.
Once you’ve arrived at why you want to put on a retreat, your choice of where and when is all important. Wintertime we naturally like to head for sunny, warm climes; summertime, we probably want to be near the water.
My friend, Michael, used to run retreats for the whole month of January in Red Rock, New South Wales, right next to the ocean. How good is that for a real Aussie treat – sun, surf and asanas? If you get excited about your venue, then it will follow that your students will want to enrol.
A retreat venue needs to be quiet, natural, clean, and aesthetically pleasing. Bali, as popular as it is as a retreat destination for lots of good reasons, has many areas that are choked with congestion, noise and crowds. Aren’t we trying to escape all of that sort of thing so as to experience a gradual unravelling of our complicated, busy lives, and sense the special something that renews us? On the other hand, if you want to offer a cultural element to your yoga activities, an exotic location is the go.
Before you get organised to promote your retreat, it’s not a bad idea to have chosen a caterer. Then you can tout the kind of fare you are offering, i.e., vegetarian, gluten-free, locally grown organic…. Great cooking can make a yoga retreat so you want to choose someone whose cooking will satisfy the participants on all levels – physically, emotionally, even spiritually.
You can build interest for your retreat by letting students know well in advance of the time you have your advertising out. These days when our discretionary spending has become quite limited, it’s good to have some lead time to think about attending a retreat. Talk up the event in your classes, or telegraph your intentions on Facebook, or write about it like I did early on on this blog.
I’ll talk more about advertising in tomorrow’s blog.