Themes are important for yoga retreats, because they enrich the purpose beyond only the physical, while creating an overall cohesive experience and direction.
Sure, they’re not NECESSARY in order to have a great time. But they do tend to take “just another yoga retreat” to another level, helping your retreat to stand out.
Here’s a few days you can get inspired in creating a theme for your upcoming retreat.
1.Yogic Philosophy & Practices
Simply diving into yoga philosophy ALONE will open up enough theme ideas to last you a lifetime of retreats.
To give you a few ideas of the most simplistic: Niyamas (each day focuses on a different one), Yamas (same idea), the 8 limbs of yoga (perfect length for a week-long retreat).
Now for additional practices, you can focus on things like: Ayurveda (each day focuses on a different dosha), the 5 Elements (one day devoted to Earth Element, one day for Water Element, etc), or the 7 Chakras (also perfect for a week-long retreat).
Perhaps you’d like to simply choose one piece of philosophy for an entire theme like Seva- where you create a create that revolves around service.
Like I said, the options are really endless here. Have fun with it!
2. Time of Year, Seasons
As simple as this sounds, it can actually be quite profound. Think about it, different seasons usually come with an onslaught of emotions, mental and physical needs.
For example, you could create a Spring Clean Retreat that focuses on the importance of decluttering during this transitionary season that is Spring.
Or, you could host a Winter Retreat that really celebrates the natural tendency to hibernate in winter, through dedicated silence (during meals, for instance), and journal prompts for deep introspection during free time.
Focusing on the time of year can also mean a celebration of particular holidays, or astrological occurrences (I host a Solstice in Peru retreat annually for this exact reason).
Once you know where you’re going to host your retreat, I’d say leaning into what the location has to offer can be one of the easiest ways to create a theme for your retreat.
This might be really obvious if you come and stay with us, or go to Bali, or Costa Rica (anywhere with waves) in putting together a Surf and Yoga Retreat.
It might also look like offering a plant medicine retreat in the jungles of Peru, or an adventure retreat in Patagonia.
Look at what your surroundings have to offer, and lean into nature as your greatest muse here. My Nature Therapy Retreat in Nicaragua was created from this method exactly, and it’s my favorite retreat to lead in this country, because of it.
4. What’s Needed in the World
Okay, this sounds like a big one. Let me be clear in saying I don’t expect you to solve the world’s problems through your yoga retreat (I mean, that would be pretty cool, but let’s just take it one step at a time). What I mean is either looking at the world at large, or at YOUR world (your community) to understand what the need is.
Think about how we all felt (and still feel) coming out of Covid. You could create a retreat that’s simply called The Connection Retreat, aiding people in coming together in community again after years of isolation.
There’s always the option to zoom in tightly on your community, whether that’s in your state, your town, or even within your studio. Notice if there’s something that could use a little bit of intentional healing in the retreat space, and work with that.
5. Ask Your Students
Piggybacking off of the last point, this one can be really valuable if you don’t feel comfortable ASSUMING what people need. I’m not saying to ask them what to theme your retreat. I’m saying to ask people what they need.
Whether that means throwing a question box on your Instagram stories, or asking your students after class every day for a week- notice if you see any reoccurring themes in the feedback you receive.
Remember, who cares if you teach someone how to stand on their hands during your retreat, if they didn’t walk away feeling kindness, forgiveness, and compassion in their heart? Themes help to provide depth to the superficial nature of asana, which – in turn – creates the kind of experience for your students that won’t be soon forgotten.
Check out our retreats for Theme Inspo!