While yoga and meditation are skills that one needs to learn and practice, many retreats are open to beginners. Most retreats for beginners are challenging enough even if you have done yoga or meditation before. More advanced classes need significant training from qualified teachers. It can take years to learn everything one can do.
The best thing you can do to prepare for a yoga retreat is to practice. This can mean taking a weekly class at your local gym or yoga center or doing yoga along with a DVD. Get an instruction book or pre-reading material that the teacher of your retreat will follow and read through it and practice some of the exercises so you know what to expect.
While you don’t need to be in perfect shape to do yoga, a good general fitness level is recommended. The majority of yoga requires significant strength and flexibility. Many exercises can only be touched upon and will be practiced and perfected for years after. Many injure themselves through yoga by attempting to bend in ways they shouldn’t and over testing the limits of their flexibility. Flexibility is something that increases with time and shouldn’t be rushed.
Drinking lots of water and eating well balanced meals are a must to maintain your energy. Many yoga and spiritual retreats are quite fond at promoting healthy eating, vegetarianism, and organic foods. If you have never been exposed to these types of foods, it might be a good idea to eat at your local health food restaurant before your trip.
Gear Requirements/Packing lists
There is no essential pieces equipment to bring with you when doing yoga or meditation except an eager mind. Still, a few accessories can help make the trip easier. A small back pack will help to carry basic necessities such as water, sunscreen, glasses, maps, and a camera. A good book on yoga or a novel is a good idea to keep with you so you can read while waiting for or riding planes, trains, and busses.
While there aren’t specific clothing requirements for yoga and meditation there are some options that may be more comfortable than others and make your retreat that much easier. Clothing that is light, non-constricting, airy, and loose is often best for yoga and stretching. Many sport accessory companies and adventure outfitters make clothes specifically designed for yoga.
The yoga mat is a popular item as well. They are often already provided on these kind of retreats or can be purchased for a small fee. If you prefer your own mat or a specific type of mat you should bring your own.
Considering many retreats are in tropical destinations rain is a frequent issue. It can last for weeks and even during dry seasons a strong bout of rain can occur, therefore waterproof and easy drying clothing is a good idea. Ponchos, raincoats, and umbrellas are also a good idea to keep in your luggage. Protection from the sun in the form of hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen is important as well. Rubber sandals with Velcro straps can be a blessing for many in tropical areas. They are rugged enough to climb stone steps and to cross streams without getting damaged.