Why do we stress about packing for vacations? It’s supposed to be a time to pause and relax.
After leading many yoga retreats, I’ve noticed that packing is a big conundrum for many. It's hard to strike the perfect balance of traveling light and having all the adequate necessities. Here’s my best list of essentials for your next retreat.
1. Comfortable Clothes, Layers
What you wear to practice on retreat and what you wear in your home practice might be different. Is the studio indoors? Outdoors? Sunny? What is the climate of the studio?
For example, at home I practice in spandex pants and tops. On retreats in Central America, I find the air too sticky for this and much prefer loose Buddha pants and flowy tops. I suggest bringing loose layers of comfortable cotton or breathable clothes to practice in.
2. A Journal and Pen
There will be time for reflection. There might be some epiphanies. Be prepared. Don’t forget the pen.
3. A Good, Inspiring Read
Take this time to go a bit deeper into your spiritual and authentic self. Leave the trashy beach reads at home and bring something a little more meaningful with you on your retreat.
4. Reusable Water Bottle
Be kind to the environment and hydrate! Make sure to carry a reusable water bottle with you. There will be ample opportunity to fill up wherever you’re staying.
5. Travel Mat
Most likely you do not have to bring a yoga mat with you. The retreat center should have many extras. However, if you’re picky about your practice surface, bring your own. I suggest taking a small travel mat or yoga towel for the beach or to put on top of the mats provided for extra comfort.
If your retreat is taking place somewhere remote, it is probably a good idea to bring a flashlight or headlamp. Walking around the property at night might be dark or if you’re sharing a room with new friends and want to read late night, reading by your own light is courteous to early bedders.
7. Good Walking Shoes
Think comfort, not style. You’ll want to go exploring.
8. Hair Elastics
These are a must if you’ve got long tresses. Don't be stuck without them.
9. Ginger Pills
For upset tummies, nausea, seasickness, and boosting immune system, ginger pills are an all-natural travel essential.
10. Tips for the Staff
This is an unforeseen extra cost for many retreaters. If the staff at your hotel or retreat center is going above and beyond to make you feel comfortable, tipping is commonplace and greatly appreciated!
11. A Hashtag!
This might seem silly, but on your retreat you will most likely be using social media to share your photos with your fellow retreaters. Creating a group hashtag will allow you to easily search, share, and explore each other's retreat experiences through photos.
12. Mala Beads for Meditating
Totally optional, but a yoga retreat is a great time to explore meditation and the use of tools and tokens to do so. Having your own mala with you will allow you to infuse it with intentions and have it feel extra special when you get home.
Avoid the pre-travel stress by keeping this checklist by your suitcase when packing for your next retreat. You'll be packed and prepared for your next yogic adventure with the confidence of a light but well-fortified bag.
What are your travel essentials? Were you ever surprised to travel to a retreat only to be missing a key item?