Yoga Retreats: To Plan or Not To Plan?

banner4Written by: Donna Amrita Davidge

Source: The Daily Practice

Finances are important to everyone these days. Not only should you consider the cost to your students, but if there will be a cost to you if you do not meet a certain booking criteria. Some places require that you bring a minimum number of people and if you don’t meet that quota, you still owe them the cash. Make sure you have a legal and clear agreement before you sign up.

If you are not interested in doing a lot of marketing, some places offer guest teacher slots where you can exchange teaching for accommodations. Some of my friends have done that at a place in Jamaica and I have done that at Nu-Age Spa in New York. Some retreat market their visiting teachers too, and this can be a great benefit to getting your name out there.

Be realistic about your teaching and your retreat. When I had been teaching about 10 years I got a call to teach in Costa Rica. I thought it would be easy to pull in 10 people. I got 3. The following year, the Omega Institute sponsored the teachers, I got 5. If things don’t go as expected have a back-up plan in case the retreat needs to be canceled. Unfortunately, it does happen.

Make it a retreat that fits where you are with your teaching and with your students. These days, students are flocking to larger retreats to take classes with superstar teachers. Don’t forget, these teachers have worked long and hard to build up a following, writing books, creating DVDs and touring. They often have large marketing machines behind them.

If you are unsure of where to plan your retreat search the internet or even ask your students if they have any suggestions. They may have already been somewhere great that they can recommend. Most retreat centers have websites with photos making it a good place to begin your research.

Visiting a location first is ideal but not always necessary. Make sure it is clear to your students if it is their responsibility to arrange their travel to the retreat, or if you will be helping them with those details. Remember, they may have never gone on a retreat before. Good communication, a clear explanation of what is and is not included, and a schedule of activities and options is helpful in making your retreat a success. Once you cover as much of that as possible, promise them a great time and ask them to let go of any expectations.

Smaller retreats of ten students or less can be a great way to offer more personal attention to your students and give them the chance to further deepen their practice. Larger retreats may make you more money, but the lack of intimacy and personal attention may not appeal to some students. Whichever route you go, and whatever your goals are in planning a retreat, take the time to carefully plan and research your options.

Donna Amrita Davidge owns and operates Sewall House retreat center in Maine since 1997 and has been teaching since 1985. She has taught retreats at Nu-age Spa in NY, Pura Vida in Costa Rica, Spannochia in Italy (Yoga & Walking) and runs retreats in Maine.

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