I’ve been teaching yoga retreats for almost a decade now, and it still doesn’t get old to me. There’s something so special about taking time for yourself in a beautiful location, with like-minded people, to connect within while eating the most beautiful nourishing foods.
I mean, c’mon, doesn’t that sound enticing?
Plus, yoga retreats are fun. Yes, there’s a lot of pausing, relaxing, and replenishing happening- but there’s also activities, adventure, and laughter, too. Blending introspection with curiosity and play creates the perfect environment to experience life-altering moments, and even spiritual awakenings.
However, planning such a powerful event is a whole different experience, as you might imagine. In fact, many yoga teachers feel too intimidated to even get started with planning a yoga retreat, because you know that you need to make it a lot more special than just an ‘ole studio yoga class.
Yes, you are absolutely juggling many balls when it comes to planning a retreat. But that doesn’t mean it’s anywhere near impossible. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you should avoid doing it!
Today’s post is for anyone interested in hosting a retreat, but doesn’t know exactly how to get started. I’m sharing a guide on how to plan your first retreat successfully, so that you can provide your students with the kind of experience that won’t soon be forgotten.
For more, check out my masterclass on How To Plan Your Own Retreat HERE.
Read: What Is A Yoga Retreat.
How To Plan A Yoga Retreat
Creating a successful yoga retreat takes time, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to do it perfectly the first time around. Remember, done is better than perfect when it comes to launching.
Learn more on this launch concept HERE.
Don’t forget that organizing a yoga retreat is really more in the world of hospitality than it is teaching yoga. If you’re not as interested in the organization aspect, then I suggest you hire someone who can take on this part. Or, focus more on leading yoga retreats as a hired teacher for other businesses and studios.
Step 1: Define Your Audience
When it comes to marketing and selling anything, you want to make sure that you define your audience first. Who are you selling your experience to? Try to get as specific as possible.
The reason this is important is that your retreat won’t happen if there’s no students, right? Your audience is the reason your business will exist at all, so make sure you understand who you’re selling to.
Selling to everyone means you’re selling to no one…as “they” say (I don’t know who said it first, but it’s a common phrase in the marketing world). Basically it just means you should be as niched down and detailed as possible when it comes to defining your audience.
Step 2: Create A Budget And Business Plan
Once again, be as detailed as possible with your budget. Remember, it’s okay for yoga teachers to make money. The major areas you’ll want to consider when you’re making your budget are: accommodation, food, transport, and activities.
Factor in the cost of all your teacher trainings when it comes to the ideal profit you want to make. And try to make sure that the amount of students you need in order to break even is no more than half of your venue size.
When you host a yoga retreat, you’re going to be doing a lot more than teaching an hour-long class once or twice a day. This is why you don’t want to forget to consider your travel time, emailing with the students, and class planning hours in your goal profit.
Your budget should also include liability insurance and travel insurance to ensure that you’re fully protected.
Step 3: Choose A Location
Okay, now comes the fun stuff. Where do you want to go? Actually, scratch that…where does your defined audience want to go? They’re the ones who are buying the retreat tickets, remember.
Start by honing in on a country, then zoom in more to a specific area. Once you’re there, then look around for a retreat center or other rentals that are suitable for a retreat.
Using a retreat center is ideal, because these are spaces that have been created for retreats. Yes, you can book a sick Airbnb, or grandiose villa somewhere, but just make sure that you actually have space to do yoga. And also check in on the mat and block situation.
As you’re choosing a venue, make sure to consider the accommodation’s food. Are you including meals? Or, are you going out to eat? How close are you to other restaurants and places to eat? These are important questions to consider in your planning process.
Once you’ve decided on your venue, make sure you get quotes from them about activities that you’re interested in so that you can stick to your budget.
Consider yoga retreats in Nicaragua.
Step 4: Decide On A Theme & Create Your Classes.
Coming up with a theme for your retreat is something that can be inspired by the location, by the time of year, by a clear need of your defined audience, and so much more.
Learn more about how to theme a yoga retreat in this post HERE.
As a retreat leader, it’s vital that you’re able to offer a variety of styles of yoga. If you’re not comfortable or confident in being able to lead a variety of yoga classes, then partner with someone who can teach something different than you.
People pay a lot of money for yoga retreats, so they don’t want to just have a regular drop in Vinyasa style studio class every day. Consider workshops, sound healing, meditation, and restorative options, as well.
Step 5: Make An Itinerary
When you lead a retreat, it’s really important that you have an itinerary prepared ahead of time. In fact, I’d make sure you have it ready before the launch, because people want to know what’s included in their purchase.
Your itinerary will not only include yoga classes, but also meals, carved out free time, and included activities. Keep looking at your defined audience for guidance and answers when it comes to deciding about how many meals to include, what kind of activities to choose, and how much free time is too much.
Learn more about how to make the perfect yoga retreat itinerary HERE.
Step 6: Create A Website
Creating a website can also feel pretty dang intimidating. I get it, it’s a labor of love. However, it’s absolutely necessary when it comes to selling your yoga retreat.
You can also use a retreat planning platform like WeTravel.com as a website substitute. Or, just create a single landing page, instead of an entire site.
If you’re looking to create a full website for your retreat, check out this post here on what you need to build your first website for tips.
Step 7: Launch And Promote
I know I’ve already said this once, but it’s worth saying again: done is better than perfect when it comes to finally sharing your retreat. I say this because a lot of people get caught up in the perfectionism of it all, and then you run out of time to promote your retreat.
As long as your budget, accommodation, and itinerary are clear- then you’re good to go for the launch.
Social media is the perfect place to share your retreat, because advertising is totally free there. Well, you can also do paid ads, but I’d save your budget for that until you’re more established, honestly.
Learn more on how to leverage your social media for growth HERE.
However, social media isn’t the only way. Make sure to share your retreat with your in-person students, and also share it on your monthly mailing list. You might feel like you’re being annoying when you’re constantly talking about it, but consistency is the only way to sell. Consistency builds trust, and trust generates sales.
You’ve got this!