Wellness retreats…. Spa breaks… everyone’s going on them. But with so much choice available nowadays, WHERE do you book yours to?!
From Cornwall to Koh Yao Noi – retreat destinations are in no way far and few and while this leaves us (quite literally) with a sea of different options, it also means an hour-long plough through Google, searching “Yoga Holidays”, doesn’t really get us anywhere.
Nonetheless, with over 25 years of experience in Yoga, here at The Yoga Wellness Company we have put together the most important features to look out for when booking your escape.
The clue is in the name.
As very clearly indicated, a retreat is an escape from your hectic life and with this in mind, while that dreamy beach-resort billboard you’ve been walking past every morning on the tube seems like a good choice, it might not seem so great when you arrive and see that the whole of London’s morning commuters had the same idea… oh and they bought their kids too – yikes!
Your retreat should be an opportunity to embrace seclusion and appreciate a view that isn’t made up of high-risers. While it’s great to soak up some sun, try and pick a location with a diverse backdrop, for example, our Miarestate, SA retreat (2nd-8th April) not only offers a panoramic view of the Indian ocean but is also located on a Wildlife estate. Locations such as Miarestate give you the benefit of experiencing an escape from the world as you usually perceive it, allowing you to feel “at one with nature” and thus completely away from home; only when you are away from a home-like environment will you be able to fully escape the worries and concerns you associate with your day-to-day life.
Unlike a normal holiday, where everyone including the in-laws decide to jump on the bandwagon, a retreat is time for you. Nine times out of ten, they’re born out of a need for some self-love and therefore your chosen destination should reflect this.
While some retreats offer strict dietary plans, these aren’t always the best options if you truly want to leave your retreat feeling as though you’ve given yourself chance to recuperate. While healthy and balanced food options are an important asset to wellbeing retreats, opting for somewhere with a range of food options allows you to (re)treat yourself and moreover, won’t have you running for the Krispy Kreme shop when you land back in the UK. Furthermore, drastically changing your diet while you are away can make you subconsciously believe that you are only able to stick to a healthy diet while you are on holiday and subsequently when you return home, your diet may quickly deteriorate – which isn’t what you really had in mind.
It is for this reason that all of our retreats at The Yoga Wellness Company, offer extensive menus including healthy options and local produce as well as giving you the option to treat yourself for the year-long slog you’ve put up with! Our Calvi, Corsica retreat (11th – 14th May) is based at the 5* Hotel La Villa which offers three restaurants including La Table which is run by a Michelin starred Chef.
As outlined in the previous section, your retreat should be focussed on and around you and therefore, unlike a normal holiday, it should be an opportunity to develop and discover.
Many locations on the market boast immaculate beach-fronts, and while these destinations are great for just relaxing, they can offer little else for your personal development. You may be thinking “why do I need to develop?” and the answer to this is actually about how you feel AFTER your retreat. It’s all well and good to leave home and set off for the sun for a week, but we’ve all had holiday blues at one time or another and if the purpose of your retreat is to reinvigorate, then incurring holiday blues is hardly the cure – in fact, you’ll most likely feel worse after your retreat than you did before!
For this reason, your location should be somewhere unique and not necessarily somewhere you would visit on a normal holiday. It’s hard to walk away from a beach vacation and tick it off your bucket-list as something you don’t need to do again! Instead, look for non-stereotypical destinations, retreats that offer distinctive experiences such as a sunset 4×4 game drive (Miarestate, SA) or an Alpine retreat that offers cyclist trails through the Jizera Mountains (Cottonina, Poland 10th – 17th June). Experiences like these are unique – they don’t need to be repeated – and thus give you a sense of fulfilment. You will leave your retreat having done something new and with a sense of accomplishment that will inspire you to do more than slump at home feeling depressed about the British weather!
All in all, the “right” destination varies from person-to-person and ultimately you should go for a retreat that suits you – incorporating what you want from it as well as what would be best for you long-term. At The Yoga Wellness Company we offer a diverse range of 4* and 5* experiences from Miarestate, South Africa to an Alpine retreat in Cottonina, Poland.
For more information about the retreats we offer visit www.theyogawellnesscompany.com/wellness-retreats/
We hope you find the retreat that is perfect for you and would love to hear back about any experiences you have been on.